VDMX at DECIBEL 2014

Hey everyone!

This week we're on our way to the infamous Decibel Festival in Seattle to teach some special [free!] workshops for VJs.. and in the after hours checking out some of the best electronic music and new media acts around today.

Let us know if you'll be in town and want to connect, hope to see lots of you there!

VJing Basics – WTF is it all about? (Wednesday)

Description: For musicians performing at live shows, touring and posting their music online, having the ability to bring a full multimedia experience to your audience is becoming increasingly important as a means to set yourself apart from the crowd. In this workshop we’ll explore the role of the VJ at concerts, take a broad look at the tools being used by visualists today and discuss how to add visuals to your own live shows.

Performing Live Visuals with VDMX (Thursday)

Description: Learn the basics of performing, producing and manipulating visual media with VDMX. Topics to include a general introduction to live video fundamentals including FX processing, image composition and audio reactivity. We’ll also discuss tricks for keeping everything in sync alongside audio software and other pro techniques for creating outstanding show visuals.

Back To School Sale: Ends September 10th!

Hey everyone!

Yes, it's that special time again to get VDMX at a deep discount with 100 USD off on every purchase!

This means that through September 10th 2014, students, educators and anyone applying for our starving artists discount can buy a license of VDMX for only 99 USD!

Visualizing audio waveforms with VDMX

Along with being a powerful tool for VJing and live visual event production, VDMX is also a great environment for learning the general fundamentals of image processing.

For new VJs looking to find out what this is all about, we've got a whole suite of tutorials to pour through including fun technique topics and guest visits from amazing artists. Also make sure to download free sample loops to get started with!

 

If you've not already read about the special discount for hobbyists and new artists, the idea is simple — help others get started by doing a community based project such as:

  • translating, or recording a new video tutorial,
  • documenting the details of a project you are working on in a blog post,
  • creating an original set of creative commons sample movies,
  • open sourcing some useful creative code, 
  • a DJ could share some audio loops for video artists who need soundtracks for demo reels,
  • sharing Quartz Composer compositions, 

Or write to us about another idea that uses your existing skills in exchange for a discount on a full license of VDMX. Some examples can be found in our roundup of featured projects from last year.

And don't forget that for the first time ever this offers applies to the every day sales price of VDMX making it an ideal time to get a serial number and start saving project files.

For more information on the sale visit our buy page, or send us an email with a scan of your school photo ID or a proposal for the starving artist rate, and we'll send back a coupon code to get your full license for 99 USD when purchasing VDMX from our online store.. but act soon, this offer ends September 10th, 2014!

Dear Apple: Please bring 3rd Party Codec Support to AVFoundation

Hey everyone!

Like many other developers who are writing video software for the Macintosh one of the biggest road blocks for us moving to a 64-bit version of VDMX is swapping out QuickTime code for AVFoundation. While this is becoming more and more possible with the release of Mavericks, in particular the ability to use specialized 3rd party codecs such as Hap has not been opened to the developer community and is severely limiting to real-time visual artists working on the Mac.

Front Pictures using 26 layers of Hap Q on 52 projectors played from Touch Designer on Renaissance

If you're a developer or video professional on the Mac, please take a few minutes and fill out a feature request for 10.10 asking Apple to release the documentation for the "Professional Video Workflow Plug-In" specification. Below is a template you can use, or write your own feature request explaining how you use 3rd party codecs like Hap in your own work.


 

Please post documentation and/or sample code with the specs and requirements necessary to produce a "Professional Video Workflow Plug-In" for OS X.

The quiet addition of "Professional Video Workflow Plug-Ins" and their use in Apple's own professional applications is a tacit admission that a modular plugin architecture for working with codecs is still a necessary and vitally important step in using AVFoundation to develop professional and special-purpose video applications.  Third-party developers need this capability every bit as much as apple's internal dev teams, for the very same reasons.

If a specific example would help clarify the issue, look no further than the Hap codec, which has been specifically optimized to enable the playback of large numbers of high-res video files simultaneously: 
https://github.com/vidvox/hap

-- Under QuickTime, a stock retina MBP can play back 10 layers of 1080p/30fps Hap video in OS X before it starts dropping frames; more video can be played back simply by adding more/faster drives:
http://vdmx.vidvox.net/blog/hap

-- The d3 "4x4 pro"- a media server for major event production widely used by more professional touring musicians than you can shake a stick at- uses Hap to play back eight layers of 4k video in realtime:
http://www.d3technologies.com/products/4x4pro

…and to nobody's surprise, we've learned that Hap is extremely well-suited to projection mapping and dome installations, both of which are typically seen in large-scale, high-end events:
http://www.augmentedart.com/projects/red-bull-murals-a-heros-journey/
http://www.blendydomevj.com/
http://omnido.me/

None of the examples on this page can be achieved with AVFoundation in its current state- all of the above apps are either based on QuickTime (OS X and Windows) or DirectShow (Windows).  Unfortunately, AVFoundation's built-in codecs are several orders of magnitude too slow for this type of application, and our inability to create a third-party codec means that this sort of performance simply cannot be realized with the framework- and this is just one concrete example.

This is an unfortunate and hopefully short-lived shortcoming, as AVFoundation appears to be capable of working with externally-produced codecs installed as "Professional Video Workflow Plug-Ins".  Please publish the information necessary to allow third-party devs to produce their own "Professional Video Workflow Plug-Ins".  Doing so can only help to cement OS X as the platform of choice for creative professionals with ambitious visions- visions that depend on the sort of bleeding-edge performance and flexible, useful API everyone should associate with OS X and Apple hardware.

 

(How to fill out a feature request for 3rd party codec support)

Once again, the place to point your web browser is https://bugreport.apple.com/ to ask Apple to include official 3rd party codec support in AVFoundation for the next version of the Mac OS!

Thanks for taking the time!

New VDMX Update With Improved Chroma Mask, Audio Analysis Visualizations and More!

Hey everyone!

We've released an update that includes a bunch of new features and other improvements – watch the video and read below to get the highlights on what's new!

If you want to jump right in, here's the download link: Download VDMX


Audio Analysis FFT and Waveform Values Published as Video

Using the FFT Color Lines generator to visualize the audio frequency spectrum and raw waveform

When an Audio Analysis plugin is active two new video streams are published that can be used by generators and FX to create new forms of music visualization.

The FFT and raw audio waveform are provided by the plugin as grayscale video streams that are 1 pixel tall. You can access them anywhere a video input menu is found such as a preview or masking FX.

To get started try using the new example FFT Color Lines and FFT Spectrogram ISF video generators.


New ISF Video FX

Earlier this year we released a new format for making custom generators and FX for VDMX called ISF. For this update we've created a bunch of our own new high end FX using the new format.

New film style "Lens Flare" FX

These are some of our favorites:

  • Updated Chroma Mask.fs, greatly improved color masking (eg. green / blue screen).
  • Color and Film FX: Chroma Desaturation Mask, Color Replacement, Ghosting, Bleach Bypass and Lens Flare.
  • Glitch FX: Collage, Convergence, Slit Scan and Pixel Shifter.
  • Geometry and Distortion FX: Optical Flow Distortion, Side Scroller and Flip, Shake and Shockwave Pulse.

Pro tip: Don't forget that you can also make your own ISF based generators and FX using these as example starting points!


Support for Generic HID Controllers

HID Input Plugin connected to SpaceNavigator

The HID Input Plugin interfaces with game controllers, 3D mice, and other devices that support the Human Interface Device (HID) protocol. Buttons, joysticks and sensors are made available to control UI items in VDMX like any other data-source. These can be a fun alternative to using a MIDI or OSC instruments.


Import / Export Control Surface Templates

Exporting a Control Surface layout to a JSON file

From the inspector panel of the Control Surface plugin you can export the layout and settings as a template file that can be easily imported into other projects or sharing standard layouts with other people.

Use the “Import JSON layout” and “Export JSON layout” buttons in the inspector to respectively load and save the templates.


Custom Movie Recorder Directory Paths

Enable the 'Custom export location?' toggle in the Movie Recorder Options panel

When using the Movie Recorder plugin to capture video and images, an optional custom folder location can now be specified in the inspector panel.

The default location for movie recordings can still be set in the VDMX Preferences – this new setting is an optional override for situations where the videos are further parsed or handled by another application or to make sorting the files easier.


Hope you enjoy these new additions and refinements! As always if you have any problems or suggestions send us a message by choosing “Report Bug” from the Help menu.

Once again, here's the download link: Download VDMX

Have a great weekend!

- Dave & Ray

HERMAN KOLGEN / SEISMIK

Premiered at Mutek Montreal 2 weeks ago, SEISMIK was one from HERMAN KOLGEN we had to get some more details about..

Performance or installation about the vertical layering dislocations

inspired by geodetic phenomenoms, frictionnal slidings, fossil earthquakes and the geologycal modelings, seismik use stress fields to provoque tension between vertical layering dislocations.
using the siesmic data of our planet territories, herman kolgen create, with this new work, nervous stratigraphic audiovisual motifs.


How was it made? Herman Kolgen sent us these images and description of their setup,

We created different app in OpenFrameworks to connect in realtime with the seismik data

and by OSC I control audio+video and my Modular analogue kit
by Syphon the audience can see the net connection and mix with my other clips


If you think this looks cool in your web browser, check the vimeo page for more videos and the Herman Kolgen website for upcoming live shows that might be coming to you later this year!

How to get VDMX stickers!

Hey everyone!

We've just arrived back from Mapping Festival where one of the highlights was getting to see visual artists and VJs of all levels from around the world learning new skills not just from the workshop instructors, but also from each other. Everyone openly shared their experiences and techniques using all kinds of software and hardware tools video production and live performance.

The first box full of VDMX logo stickers!

It was also our first chance hand out our new VDMX logo sticker design. Seeing people excitedly applying them to their laptops, bags, notebooks and other random gear was absolutely humbling.

To share this new vinyl goodness with everyone who couldn't make it to the festival we'd like to announce our new totally free “Stickers for Meetups” exchange program.

The idea is easy:

  1. Organize a meetup or workshop for visual artists in your city.
  2. Share the details online for people to RSVP (Facebook, EventBrite, Meetup, etc)
  3. Email us a link to the page and a shipping address for us to mail the free stickers to.

You can host anything from an informal coffee shop gathering to a full workshop, hackathon or jam session. Schools and other organizations that teach classes are also eligible, just send us an email!

Once you receive the stickers, bring them to your meetup and hand them out to people who show up. Use it as an opportunity to exchange your knowledge about VDMX with people who are experts with other tools.

Bonus points if you send us photos from the event to include in our image gallery showing off possible uses for your stickers!

And don't forget that you can also order your own VDMX coffee mugs, available in standard and high-defination models.

The Hap Video Codecs, Now Available For Windows!

Front Pictures pushes the limit, 26 layers of Hap Q on 52 projectors played from Touch Designer on Renaissance

Front Pictures pushes the limit, 26 layers of Hap Q on 52 projectors played from Touch Designer on Renaissance

Last year in a collaboration Tom Butterworth we had the pleasure of sharing a powerful new set of open source video codecs called Hap with the Mac real-time video community. The goal of Hap was to serve a broad audience with the same need to push more pixels, benefiting everyone from show designers on expensive media servers handling 2k and 4k arrays to weekend VJs now able to playback multiple HD streams off a laptop.

One thing we've learned about artists in our time writing video performance software is that in the real world they take advantage of all kinds of tools for different projects and to create their unique visual style. With every new application that adds native support for the Hap suite, now counting at more than a dozen, it makes it easier to get the best performance regardless of what software is used to get a job done.

This mixing and matching of software isn't limited to a single platform and today we're extremely excited to announce that the GPU accelerated codec of choice on the Mac is now officially supported on Windows!

As of this announcement, the Hap video codec family can now be natively used on Windows in TouchDesigner, OpenFrameworks (via ofxHapPlayer), Jitter (via jit.gl.hap), DirectShow and Unity (via RenderHeads AVProQuicktime), with support coming very soon to D3 Media Servers and the Isadora programming environment.

To celebrate, we've updated the Hap homepage to include our new photo gallery of the various applications and frameworks that have adopted the format on both platforms. The homepage is also the place to check out how Hap compares to other commonly used codecs for live visuals.


The installers for the QuickTime Hap codecs for Mac and Windows can be found on the downloads page: https://github.com/vidvox/hap-qt-codec/releases/

(remember that the application you're using will also need to natively support Hap!)

Mac and Windows developers who are interested in learning more about Hap can visit the GitHub project page for technical details and sample code: https://github.com/vidvox/hap

Thanks again to all of the developers who have helped build this Hap-py community, and infinite praise for the infamous Tom Butterworth who continues to make it all Hap-pen.

Behind the scenes of Minuek visuals with MÙM at Looking Outside My Window Festival

From one of our favorite regular guests Minuek comes this stunningly beautiful collaboration with Tupac Martirs and a huge production team to create the visuals for Múm at the Looking Outside My Window Festival.

Below, a few images and some videos from the performance followed by an explanation from Minuek about how the project came to be and his techniques for getting ready for the show.

I was recently invited to perform at Tupac Martirs, Looking Outside My Window Festival in London. The event combine music, art, visuals, performance, dance, cuisine and cinema.

For the Saturday night event I worked alongside lighting director Bambi Buneo first creating visuals for a short set by Bruno Zamborlin and Plaid using Mogees (http://mogees.co.uk/) For this set I ran single Quartz Composer patch that slowly developed for the duration of the set.

The main event of the night was the performance from Múm, All the video had been created created in the 2 weeks before the show after receiving the set list and rendered out in the Hap codec using QTZ Rendang. The benefit of this is the ability to use very high amounts of iteration for building complex scenes. I normally prefer to use as many Quartz patches live as possible. For this show working with a band like Múm required a much more planned process. Working to the setlist I created clips for each track and made heavy use of the Layer Mask.fs effect.

VDMX set up was a 2 channel mixer with 4 Layer on each side. One Layer with the Layer Mask.fs applied to each side and using a Livid Ohm to control all effects and fades live. Other .fs effect used were VVMotion Blur, False Color and Displacement Distortion.

Mappathon and VDMX Workshop at Mapping Festival 2014 in Geneva

For the first time ever this year we'll be heading to the Mapping Festival in Geneva to participate in a special 3 Day NYC Mappathon event. Along with our very own David Lublin (who will be sharing VDMX tricks) the event will also feature Syphon creators / Quartz Composer masters Anton Marini (aka vade) and Tom Butterworth (aka bangnoise), and hosted by CHiKA of Mappathon.

More information and sign up can be found on the Mapping Festival website here:

http://www.mappingfestival.com/2014/workshops/ny-mappathon/

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VDMX Masterclass @ ACMI and streaming online March 1, 2014

Hey everyone!

Next Friday I'll be doing a remote workshop to ACMI in Melbourne along with the infamous Jean Poole. For those of you who can't make it to Australia for the event we'll also be streaming the whole thing over the net for anyone who wants to follow along.

The event will take place on March 1st, 2014 at 12-3PM A.E.S.T. (online viewers remember to check your time difference), then go to the online youtube stream.

New Free Video Clip Packs from CandyStations

A few months back we did an artist profile on the work of Deborah Johnson, aka CandyStations. It's taken a little time but we've finally gotten her to put together a set of video clips for all of us to add to our VJ loop collections.

In particular these sets include several movies rendered at an extra wide resolution of 3840 x 1080 for display on dual output setups, and the “Flower Drops” clips are all encoded in Hap Alpha making them especially useful as overlays on top of other video layers.


Download the free clip packs here:

or download preview versions of all 22 clips in h264 – sorry no alpha channels with these versions but you can convert them to Hap (or another codec) yourself for a faster download.

Fantasia Drops

Space Nebula

Solar Wind

Stippled Geos

Paper Planes

Ribbons

Flowers

Shape Trip

Variations at 32 x 9 aspect ratio

These clips are totally free to use for non-commercial use. Thanks again to CandyStations!

DIY 3D Projection Mapping with VDMX On Instructables

From Dominic Sandoval aka Doctypebeats comes this great walkthrough on setting up a DIY 3D Projection Mapping system using VDMX, a projector and some foam core panels.

For my design, I wanted something lightweight, easy to transport, versatile, and of course nice and bright. The solution was foam core panels, which I bought at my local hobby shop. The large panels cost $8 dollars while the smaller panels cost $6. 6 Panels were purchased in total. 2 - 30"X40" and 4 - 20"x"30".

Volume Unit, from The Media Workshop LTD at Lumiere 2013

This project by The Media Workshop LTD and Artichoke was part of Lumiere 2013, a four-day international light festival in Durham, UK last November.

“The public are able to tweet their favorite track and then that track is live VJ'd live on the side of the building. So Tim and Darren are frantically working being the scenes to pick all the graphics and colors that you can see to essentially make the building dance to the track that is playing.”

Looks like a pretty massive setup including 6x 20k projectors, 2x Retina Macbook Pros, VDMX, Quartz Composer, and a bunch of MIDI controllers and iPads. More information can be found on their vimeo page.

Introducing ISF Video Generators and FX

ISF stands for "Interactive Shader Format", and is a file format that describes a GLSL fragment shader, as well as how to execute and interact with it. The goal of this file format is to provide a simple and minimal interface for image filters and generative video sources that allows them to be interacted with and reused in a generic and modular fashion. ISF is nothing more than a [slightly modified] GLSL fragment shader with a JSON blob at the beginning that describes how to interact with the shader (how many inputs/uniform variables it has, what their names are, what kind of inputs/variables they are, that sort of thing). ISF isn't some crazy new groundbreaking technology- it's just a simple and useful combination of two things that have been around for a while to make a minimal- but highly effective- filter format.

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Making a gameshow powered by VDMX and Quartz Composer by I Love QC

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Our friends over at I Love QC reminded us that the tools we normally use for live visuals and installations can be used in ways we never really thought of before – for this project they made a gameshow for the iSellMobile Awards 2013. The system was powered by solely by VDMX and Quartz Composer along with a dozen Samsung tablets for the contestants to buzz in.

For more details and additional photos visit the I Love QC Blog, or check our recent guest tutorial with Shakinda for an introduction to using Quartz Composer.

Bundle Deal, VDMX + Livid OhmRGB = Save $300

Hey Everyone!

Back in September we ran a special two-week promotional deal with MIDI controller maker Livid Instruments featuring a bundle to save $300 when buying VDMX and the OhmRGB together through the Livid Online Shop.

Since the deal ended we heard from a bunch of people who missed out, and after unofficially sending out a few coupon codes, we've decided to go ahead and officially extend the offer through the end of the year!

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