Video Fundamentals – Part 3 – Visual FX

Once a video is playing, the next step in the process of visual performance is to apply real-time FX to each frame to change the way it looks before it is shown to the audience.

In some cases the FX being used are in a utility function, for example a Color Correction filter makes it possible to adjust the contrast, saturation, and brightness levels when calibrating projectors. Others are designed to stylize the image to match a particular aesthetic such as glitch or film.

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More Fun Audio Analysis Techniques

Using individual plugins to directly automate the control of different aspects of a video performance or interactive installation can create some pretty awesome results, but one of the most powerful capabilities of VDMX is the ability to connect these plugins to each other to create more complex behaviors and visual effects that can be switched between during live VJ performance.

For this set of tutorials we'll look at a few ways that the Audio Analysis plugin can be used alongside the LFO plugin and standard interface controls as a demonstration of this technique.

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Using a Step Sequencer to trigger media clips

Along with being able to control any standard UI elements like sliders, buttons and color pickers, tracks in the step sequencer plugin in VDMX can be used to automate the changing of the media files playing back on a layer and create visuals rhythms. This general technique can be useful for a lot of projects such as VJ performances and building interactive video installations.

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Connecting the x-OSC wireless I/O board to VDMX

For this guest tutorial we are joined by Will Reardon, a motion designer and artist, currently developing video art objects. Currently Will is using VDMX and the x-OSC I/O board to create a device similar to his previous ‘Compendium’ with added interactive functionality.

We'll start by making a basic test connection between the software and hardware over WiFi, then begin to add a series of sliders and knobs to VDMX that receive values from the I/O board analog inputs.

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Setting A Movie to Resume Last Playback Position

When preparing movie files for a performance, one of the more subtle controls you may want to customize on a per clip basis is the start point of individual clips when they are triggered. While the default behavior is to playback from the first frame of the video, it may be necessary to have a clip resume playing from the last time it was used. This is accomplished in VDMX by using the Files section of the Workspace Inspector where you can specify custom playback behaviors of individual clips.

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Applying Math Expressions to Slider Receivers

Using control data from other applications, external hardware, and internal providers like LFOs or Audio Analysis is a major component of VDMX- every UI element is capable of being controlled via MIDI/OSC/DMX/other data sources. The procedure for doing so is consistent across all UI items- you add a receiver (which receives data from things) to the UI element you're working with using the UI Inspector.

Typically the range of numbers being received can be automatically translated by VDMX to cover the local minimum and maximum envelopes of a slider UI item. However in some situations you may want to override the default number mapping behavior by using the settings in the sub-inspector panel for receivers. In this tutorial we'll look at some of the common cases you may run into and how to handle them.

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Creating and Installing ISF FX

An ISF, or “Interactive Shader Format” file is a GLSL fragment shader (.fs) that includes a small blob of information that describes any input controls that the host application (such as slider, button, and color picker controls in VDMX) should provide for the user when the FX is loaded for use, as well as other meta-data including the authorship, category and a description.

In this two part tutorial we'll cover the basics of applying ISF based FX to layers in VDMX and how to install new example ISF files you may download from the Internet, followed by a quick introduction to creating your own image processing GLSL fragment shaders.

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Creating and Installing ISF Generators

An ISF, or “Interactive Shader Format” file is a GLSL fragment shader that includes a small blob of information that describes any input controls that the host application (such as slider, button, and color picker controls in VDMX) should provide for the user when the generator is loaded for use, as well as other meta-data including the authorship, category and description.

In this two part tutorial we'll cover the basics of using ISF generators within VDMX as sources for layers and how to install new example ISF files you may download from the Internet, followed by a quick introduction to creating your own GLSL fragment shaders.

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Overview of Available Data-sources in VDMX

A big part of using VDMX is taking advantage of the ability to automate any of the standard interface controls (sliders, buttons, color pickers, pop-up menus) which are used to control everything including things like the opacity of a layer, the volume or rate of a movie, the intensity of a blurring FX being applied, or even the settings of any of the automation plugins themselves.

For this quick reference tutorial we'll look at all of the available data-sources that VDMX publishes internally for automating controls. These can all be used on their own, or together, and in some cases you may have multiple providers of each type.

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Using a mask to apply an FX to only part of a layer

In this guest tutorial we're joined by the Rockwell Group's LAB division who work as an interactive design team within a larger architecture firm where they focus on projects that blend physical and virtual spaces.

For a recent projection mapping installation in NYC, one of the techniques used by the LAB was to apply a real-time video FX on to a specific portion of one of the pre-rendered movies so that part of the image was left unprocessed in the main output while another section was color shifted to match the lighting effects in the room. Today we'll show you how that was accomplished.

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Creating a multi-channel live camera video sampler

For this technique video tutorial we'll be looking at how to use VDMX to create a multi-camera video sampler setup with the ability to record movie clips from a live feed to be immediately remixed and saved for later editing. As movie clips are sampled they will be automatically added to the bin page where they can be triggered for output making this simple example useful either on its own, or added on to an existing project.

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Video Fundamentals – Part 1 – General Workflow

Since the first introduction of our new blog almost a year ago the number of topics covered has grown to include a wide variety of subjects that at this point you could almost write an entire class on VJing and live video techniques from our tutorials.

With this in mind, rather than trying to teach how to use VDMX to new potential users, we've started to put together a new “Introduction to Video Fundamentals” curriculum that focuses on the basic knowledge needed to get started. While these ideas are usually demonstrated with VDMX, a lot of the underlying techniques are generally translatable to other software and hardware for video and lighting production.

In part two of this series (stay tuned) we'll start to look at some more advanced topics for putting all of this together along case studies and tips from the pros in the field.

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How to make a customized Livid OhmRGB Slim template by eatyourwork

For today's guest post we're joined by eatyourwork who first introduced us to the possibilities of using OhmRGB Slim alongside of VDMX in a blog post a couple of years ago. Since then we've made a few basic templates for new video performers to get started with a simple VJ video mixer setup with the Ohm, but in this video tutorial Simas shows off the extent to which you can customize your layout and MIDI mapping when making your own video performance rig.

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How to Turn an Old Building into an Interactive Driving Range by Gabe Shaughnessy & Dan Cohen

For this guest tutorial we're joined by Gabe Shaughnessy of Lumenal Code for an in depth look at how to create a well executed one off event video event that involves substantial preproduction from storyboarding, to animation and fabrication, and final live performance:

“Red Bull Mural is a project that pairs an athlete with an artist in a unique collaboration. Red Bull asked New Creatures to create a psychedelic, immersive experience for pro golfer Rickie Fowler in Washington, DC’s historic Uline Arena. New Creatures asked Lumenal Code to provide a story, artwork, and animations, and then to create the interactive projection mapped targets and operate them during the event. ”

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