Instant Knoll


When The Knoll (the building that houses CCRMA) was renovated in 2004/2005 we (Richard Humphrey and myself) installed a cheap ethernet connected camera on top of Trailer B (a temporary trailer behind The Knoll that lasted all of 20 years!). The other end of the ethernet cable was connected to one of our computers, which snapped one picture every minute, day and night, for almost 1 1/2 years, and stored them in one of our servers. More than 28Gbytes of low quality pictures...

"Instant Knoll" is a 5 minute excersize in algorithmic video and audio generation. A set of simple scripts gather a timeline for a movie composed of 20 minute fragments of each day starting at sunrise, each one successively later in the day by 20 minutes, with the landscape changing second by second. Storms are captured and one of them actually toppled the camera (which kept snapping pictures all the time!). Additional functions perform video compositing of "interesting" events hand picked from the pictures into the streaming background (cement trucks, storms, rainbows). Titles and fadeout are also incorporated algorithmically. The same script writes a short lisp program that is latter interpreted by CLM into a soundtrack that is precisely synchronized to the video, and both are assembled together by open source programs.

"Instant Knoll" was created with open source tools including bash, perl, ImageMagik, mpeg2enc, CLM, etc, etc.

The first version of "Instant Knoll" was very short (less than two minutes long) and was created for Mark Applebaum's Popcorn video show at Stanford, on February 2nd, 2005.