If you’ve worked in experiential marketing, production, or creative technology you may have encountered the need to transfer data between devices on a network. Devices that don’t typically speak to each other. Enter open sound control. OSC is a protocol for sending computer data over a network. Its messages are transported across the internet or within local subnets using UDP/IP and Ethernet.
The primary advantage we find is that it has interoperability which can allow us to have unique devices communicate with each other in their native tongue. OSC is often used for show control. There are dozens of applications for OSC, including real-time sound and media processing environments, web interactivity, software synthesizers, programming languages, and hardware devices. OSC is used extensively in experimental musical controllers and has been built into several open source and commercial projects across the world. While working at Cognition we produced several activations which utilized OSC.
At Comic-Con San Diego for the Netflix Dark Crystal Activation we included several RFID triggered, media playback stations, and lighting control systems. We found OSC to be an excellent means of communication between the RFID reader triggering a computer to send an OSC string to the media server to tell which program the lights should change to, which sounds should play, as well as which videos should begin playing.
Working with Adidas we built a full-scale soccer skill drill game where a player would race the pre-recorded time of a pro athlete dribbling through pylons. We used a light sensor wired to a Raspberry Pi to trigger an OSC string which was sent to our Hog 3 lighting console with prearranged lighting programs, which would trigger lights to display from above as a visual cue for players to set the pace with.
For Pandora’s El Pulso event we worked with Pandora and Nissan to create an in-dash interface that allowed participants to control a custom-built lighting rig surrounding a Nissan Vehicle in both Miami and Hollywood. We used OSC to handle communication between the vehicle and the d3 media server which was controlling the environmental lighting using ArtNet and DMX.
Open sound control can be useful in applications within a local network with no outside connection to the internet. It was originally intended for sharing music performance data. Things like gestures, parameters, and note sequences between musician’s instruments and computers. We use it similarly in experiential marketing as a bridge for sending data to production equipment. The coolest thing about OSC is that it’s often used as a technology for taking the computer out of the equation, while still maintaining interactivity between computers and human beings.
If you have questions about creative technology or want to build a custom activation like these reach out to us today. We’d be happy to discuss how Cognition can help craft your next experiential marketing activation.