A new way of recording music: A camera that “sees” vibrations

Capturing any kind of audio can be done using any number of microphones and audio engineering techniques. Ideally, you’ll want to record each element of a performance–vocals, the instruments, and so on–on separate tracks so you can mix everything together afterward, a process more complicated but in the end more convenient and precise than just using one microphone to record everything together. This new tech, however, takes things in a completely different direction.

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University figured out how to use a couple of ordinary video cameras. But turning them into “optical microphones,” the cameras sense the vibrations and frequencies of the individual elements of a performance and hone in on them. There are lasers and complicated algorithms involved that are best explained by this video.

A deeper dive can be found here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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