Bit Shifter & Flight404 • “Feedback” / “Flight Risk” from Bit Shifter on Vimeo.

It’s not just sound going chip, lo-fi, retro. Live visuals are, too. With Jaymis at Brisbane’s Game On fest and New York’s chip blowout the Blip Festival coming up next week, it seems a perfect time to look at some inspired 8-bit visuals – call them, instead of chiptune, chipviz? Both are set to the wonderful sounds of Bit Shifter, a star of the 8-bit scene if ever there were one.

flight404 aka Robert Hodgin is known for lush, digital videos, the very opposite of lo-fi. I know I’ve heard more than one live visualist getting into Processing who was disappointed to discover the effects are often rendered, not live, because even high-end computers can’t do all of the eye candy in real-time. Now, it is very possible to scale back just a bit and get some sophisticated-looking 3D eye candy out of Processing, his open-source, coding-for-artists tool of choice. But on this week’s occasion of the 1.0 release of Processing, it’s just as nice to note that Processing will take you the other way – toward minimalist, elemental graphics. Coding in this way is the perfect tool for that sort of thing, and it works wonders for live performance because of the amount of control you can have with the music.

Robert muses on the significance of this work. I guess it’s not at all fair to call it 8-bit, but let’s say 8-bit-inspired:

From the vault [flight404 blog]

If it’s genuine lo-fi visuals you want, look no further than the wonders of noteNdo, aka Jeff Donaldson. Working with modded consoles, digital sources, and the ravages of tape (VHS, MiniDV) as an effect, he comes up with fantastically-organic, glitchy results. If you ever spent parts of the 80s staring into the worst of your VHS collection because you liked what it did when it got destroyed, you’re one of us. Props to Jeff for making it into real art.

See y’all at the Blip Festival. But my (deserving) adoration for your work aside, don’t be surprised if CDM holds an underground 32-bit party, just to be spiteful and defend our fetish for more Fi (Hi-Fi, that is).


Bit Shifter & noteNdo • “Tea With Galactus” from Bit Shifter on Vimeo.

  • http://truechiptilldeath.com peter

    http://vimeo.com/2225905

    oh yea here's some REAL 8bit visuals w/ bit shifter.. :D

  • http://www.colour-burst.com cat

    http://uk.youtube.com/results?search_query=zx+spe

    Heres a act I work with, half the visuals are machine coded on zx spectrum, some of them run audio and visuals on the same machine, all coded by Clive1 and Clive2 (Brian Duffy from the Modified Toy Orchestra and Mike in Mono previously one of Plone)
    The other half of the visuals are vvvv emulating 8 bit visuals, done by me, but I bow before the z80 coding! All music is playlive of the spectrums, no emulators are used (except by me, charleton that I am!)
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=h3Dz5xT91ak is one of the av tracks on a single zx spectrum, for the ultimate in Geek Power, Now this is REAL 8Bit, no 32bit processors involved at all!