Here's another feature from our friend Blair Neal over at Fake Love. A few months ago they were brought on by 7UP for the task of working with famed EDM musician Martin Garrix to create an immersive concert experience for an audience of deaf students. What they came up with is bound to inspire some new ideas for concerts everywhere.Read More
In addition to VDMX and several related free utility applications, one of our major focuses at VIDVOX is open source software. We have found that open source code and open standards are especially important for creative communities such as ours where interoperability between tools is often crucial for artists to achieve their visions. We encourage other developers of creative technology and artists themselves to share their low-level knowledge and support the adoption of open standards in their work.
Below you can find links to some of the significant projects that we are particularly proud to maintain and sponsor.
Much of the low level code for VDMX can be found in the VVOpenSource project which is maintained by our own Ray Cutler. In particular you can find the code for our MIDI, OSC and OpenGL backends to use in your own Mac and iOS apps. This project also contains several example applications such as the OSCTestApp and MIDIviaOSC tools that are also useful for non-developers.
The Hap video codecs are an open standard for high performance movie playback originally created in collaboration with Tom Butterworth. Today Hap is supported cross-platform by over 20 different applications and creative coding environments.
Related to this, our free AVFBatchExporter Mac app utility for converting movies into Hap and other standard formats is also open source.
Interactive Shader Format (aka ISF) is an open format for GLSL based video generators and image filters that we created for use in VDMX. ISF based shaders now can be used in a handful of VJ softwares, as well as with OpenFrameworks and on the web. Developers looking to add ISF support to their Mac and iOS can applications can find example code in the ISFKit portion of VVOpenSource. Artists can get started with ISF using the online editor or Mac desktop editor.
We are proud sponsors of the Syphon framework for video sharing between applications on OS X. The introduction of Syphon into our community has reshaped what is possible for visual artists working on the Mac and we are looking forward to continued support of its future development.
Lastly, there are several open source libraries that we are unaffiliated with but do make use of in our own work. We'd like to additionally thank developers like Mike Ash, Dave DeLong, John Engelhart, the libartnet team and the countless others who have shared their code online for us to benefit from.
Along with VDMX, we publish several free utility apps that visual artists on the Mac may find useful...Read More
Happy New Year Everyone!
To celebrate 2016 we're running a special sale on VDMX through January 16th for a special price of only $249!
And as an added bonus, during the sale, students and starving artists can apply to get VDMX for as little as $99! Visit the buy page for more details, or send us an email with a scan of your school photo ID or a proposal for the starving artist rate.
Last week I had a chance to be a special guest for the final presentations in Patricio Gonzalez Vivo's GLSL class at Parsons. One of the big take aways from the class was how versatile the language is, with students presenting projects ranging from web based mapping to 3D Unity worlds, realtime data visualizations in openFrameworks, and of course for live visual performance, all driven using GLSL.Read More
Some exciting news over at VIDVOX today – as you might know the last several months Ray and I have been immersed in changes for the 64-bit conversion of VDMX – and now it is ready for some testing!
A more detailed change log is linked below, but here are a few highlights and notes before you try it out:
1. The new 64-bit update requires 10.10 or later!
2. If you'd like to keep this and the older 32-bit versions installed at the same time, simply rename the existing VDMX on your computer to something else (eg VDMX b8232 or VDMX 32bit) before running the new installer.
3. Various old movie codecs are no longer supported by AVFoundation. PhotoJPEG, Hap, and h.264 are now generally recommended for use in VDMX. ProRes is also supported.
(For other codecs such as Apple Intermediate you may need to install the latest pro video formats from Apple)
4. That's right, you can use h.264 movies! To get the best performance while scrubbing / adjusting playback rate make sure to set every frame as a keyframe when encoding.
5. Movie Recorder can capture to h.264 with hardware acceleration on supported GPUs. Recorder can also capture to PhotoJPEG / Hap / ProRes.
6. Vuo support! See the release notes for full details, but essentially Vuo compositions can be used as sources, FX, text sources and plugins.
7. Lots of bug fixes, performance improvements and time saving workflow tweaks.
Full release notes and additional discussion on the 64-bit update can be found on the forums here:
Additionally, today is also the date that Apple released its new OS update, version 10.11 also known as El Capitan. For VDMX users looking to upgrade their Macs we've written up an upgrade guide to cover frequently asked questions:
Download Spirals And Loops in Hap Alpha
Today we've got a new free clip pack courtesy of Herry, one of our recent visual performance students from Dubspot who was using his motion graphics skills to make his own video loops to use at live gigs.
One of the useful techniques discussed in class is creating several variations on a theme or style to have in your clip library during a live show. This can be in the form of having different color palettes, or exporting individual parts of your compositions with included alpha channels. Often this is normally part of the process when creating clips, but often instead of trying to create several clips, people focus on making one 'perfect' version which can actually be less useful in a live setting.
By having multiple similar versions of a clip you can quickly select the best one to match the needed energy level. It can also allow for creating more interesting performances where mixes begin simple and have new elements layered on along with the music.
This set of clips is designed for just that purpose. Each clip is in Hap Alpha so you can layer them on top of each other and there are several variations that can be switched between. They also serve as a good example of how simple changes in style can influence the feeling of a loop. The intention for a live mix was to start with the simple black and white outlines and then introduce the ones with color, but you can use them any way you'd like.
Here's a few examples from the collection:
PS These clips are totally free to use!
In case you had missed it last week, the newest music video for Sun Drug titled “Wildman” premiered over at the Creators Project. Along with being awesome to watch and listen to, the process behind it has some pretty interesting behind the scene details that co-director Brian Randall shared with us via an excited set of emails and photos.Read More
The plan is for something informal – a chance to share some drinks, pizza and stories with other performing visual artists. And of course we'll have a projector set up for impromptu demos or jamming, so bring along laptops for showing off.
This event is free and open to the public – hope to see you there!
Date: June 1st, 2015
Time: 2-5 PM
This month we're excited to host another free VDMX workshop at Dubspot NYC, this time featuring Zak Norman who is taking a day off touring with Squarepusher to show off his setup and talk shop.Read More
VDMX co-creator David Lublin hosts this visual performance workshop with special guest Ben Krall on content creation and performance with VDMX5. Ben will discuss his approach to building the video design for The National's 2013-2014 Trouble Will Find Me international tour and share some of his experiences from video and lighting designs for concert tours, theatrical shows, and architectural / fine art installations. Together Ben and David will discuss approaches to live design, production planning and fabrication, freelancing, and visual art.Read More
Download GifToSyphon (requires Mac OS X 10.9.5 or later)
GifToSyphon is a free Mac utility that combines two things that VJs love – Animated GIFs and Syphon.
Powered by the awesome Giphy search engine, a Mac VJ with an Internet connection can now instantly pull tagged GIFs from a huge online library and use them directly in their favorite Syphon enabled video application.
When not connected to the net GifToSyphon can also still use images from its local cache or using any of your own animated GIF files. These downloaded GIFs can also be loaded into most VJ software for remixing alongside your other media files.
For a quick introduction to using GifToSyphon with VDMX watch this new video tutorial:
(using the 4 channel mixer example via the Templates menu if you're trying to reproduce at home)
Recently we had the opportunity to take Montréal on an inter-galactic journey alongside techno pioneer Jeff Mills. We transformed the Studio St-Ambroise using over 50 meters of LEDs, a massive video-mapped elephant, moving lights and more, all controlled in real-time using CoGe, VDMX, and the Madlight feature of Madmapper. Our mission during the voyage: to have both the lights and video move harmoniously and seamlessly along with music, while still allowing us to perform with them live. For the lights, Quartz Composer patches with published parameters for each fixture were loaded into CoGe and syphoned to Madlight. Video animations were created in Cinema4D and After Effects and mixed live with VDMX. We also mapped the accelerometers of two Numark Orbit controllers and used audio react on various parameters for both the lights and the video to give them a more organic feel when mixing.
We wanted to make this an especially Hap-Hap-Happy Holiday for all Mac VJs (not just the VDMX-ers) and what better way is there than with another awesome open source code release for the hardware accelerated Hap video codecs?
It looks like 2015 will be the year that Mac VJs move to 64-bit and to help make that a reality for everyone we've updated our GitHub repositories to include new source code and documentation for developers to use the Hap video codecs with AVFoundation in their 64-bit applications.
Developers can find the new repository here: https://github.com/Vidvox/hap-in-avfoundation
Hap playback and encoding through AVFoundation works with the same classic .mov wrapper so all of your old Hap encoded movie files will work just the same, and likewise any new Hap movies created will be backwards compatible with older 32-bit application (and cross-platform with Windows).
As a recap on the technical details and history of the move from 32 to 64-bit processing, for a long time on the Macintosh most video processing software has relied on using a technology from Apple called QuickTime for movie playback. Over the last few years Apple has been trying to transition everyone to use their new modern movie playback engine known as AVFoundation which has several advantages, but was also lacking in certain pro capabilities needed for fully featured real-time video processing applications like VDMX.
In particular one big limitation for VJs was the lack of support for 3rd party pro video codecs such as Hap...
Thankfully as of a few weeks ago it became possible to use Hap in AVFoundation, taking care of our big stumbling block on making VDMX a native 64-bit application.
Though we still have a more work to do to fully realize the larger goal of having a 64-bit native version of VDMX, including further optimization and bug testing, we wanted other developers stuck on this same problem with their apps to be able to get their software working with Hap as soon as possible.
We'll be posting more information and details about the next round of VDMX updates in a few weeks so stay tuned for more announcements!
So once again, happy holidays to all and looking forward to seeing you in 64-bit land in the new year!
- Dave & Ray
ps. Devs don't forget that you can also use the Hap codecs on Windows too!
This is a long very overdue post on the work of Blair Neal, who after interning with us many many years ago has gone on to be a lead developer at the award winning fakelove creative agency where he makes totally sick interactive installations for some of the worlds top brands. Along with this he somehow still manages to find time to make music videos, live show visuals and share his tools for other artists in the field; no doubt many of you have already probably used his Canon To Syphon app or read his invaluable in depth Guide to Projectors for Interactive Installations or one of his other projects shared online.
Today Blair published a new project he's developing called “We're Live” which involves using real-time face replacement algorithms available in OpenFrameworks to insert his (or any other face) into a live television feed that he's watching at home. It's a crazy amount of fun.
Along with photos of himself “guest staring” on a variety of popular shows, the blog post includes the technical details and his open sourced, Syphon-enabled face replacing app for download should you want to try this at home with your VJ software of choice.
His blog post also goes into the inspiration and background of the project:
We’re Live allows a user to composite their face (or any face they choose) onto a live television stream. Essentially, anyone you watch on TV can finally look like you….or anyone you want. You could make everyone on TV look like Bill Murray if you really wanted to.
One of television’s greatest powers is in its ability to display very structured and edited views of reality. By watching the fabricated streams of the shows, viewers begin to wish for the interesting, exciting and impossible lives of the characters. They can subconsciously desire the smiles and trouble free lives enabled by buying the products in the advertisements. With this software, viewers can come one step closer to truly seeing themselves on screen.
We’re Live is a project involving live HD cable TV and face substitution software. It is a hardware and software method for doing a real time facial composite/replacement on live television. The original face substitution implementation and cloning shader was created by Kyle McDonald and Arturo Castro in 2012. The face tracking algorithm that enables this kind of high quality facial substitution was developed by Jason Saragih.
A quick recap from Decibel Festival 2014 where I went to host some VJ workshops.
For those that couldn't make it, I've converted my notes from the introduction “VJing – WTF Is It?” talk into a blog post and some random photos below. Along with the presentations we also held a special VJ panel discussion with guests Chiaro, Ali Demirel and effixx.
As always the biggest highlight of the event was getting to have face time with other people in the A/V community. Huge thanks to the festival organizers, volunteers and other partners who brought an amazing lineup of electronic musicians, visual artists and educators to Seattle, we can't wait to make it back next year!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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:
-- 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:
-- 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:
…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:
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!