MAKE 19: MIDI camera control

MAKE 19: MIDI camera control

One of my favorite DIYs in the newest issue of MAKE, Volume 19, is a sweet project titled “MIDI Camera Control” in our DIY Imaging section by Josh Cardenas. A while back, Josh got the rare opportunity to run visuals for The Hard Sell tour, a collaboration between renowned turntablists DJ Shadow and Cut Chemist. These fine gentlemen were out to show nonbelievers that DJs do more than “just play records” by simultaneously performing using only original vintage-pressing 45 rpm records played on 8 turntables through 4 mixers. Josh was tasked with coming up with the unobtrusive multi-camera live setup for the show. And what he presents us with in MAKE 19 is how to make your own lower-budget version. He uses standard CCD security cameras and pan-and-tilt brackets with a couple of servomotors for each one. To avoid the prospect of interference during showtime, though, instead of R/C, Josh chose to use MIDI for control. You can roughly see the setup in the performance shot above, but here’s a closer look:


Read the full DIY in MAKE Volume 19, which will be in your hands any minute now if you’re a subscriber. Otherwise, look for it on newsstands on August 18th.

And for kicks, check out this awesome little intro video for The Hard Sell tour, explaining the concept:

2 thoughts on “MAKE 19: MIDI camera control

  1. Mark says:

    If you are interested in doing this sort of project, but don’t have a PC with Windows XP and a USB MIDI adapter, then check the link below for a multi-platform serial to midi software.
    With this software, you could rework the project with an Arduino.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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