How to control an Ableton Live project from a web browser (and other software) in about a minute

The OSCQuery Protocol is a new specification that allows live performance tools to automatically communicate its parameters for rapid setup and improvisation between performers. Along with native support within VDMX here at VIDVOX we have developed several useful utilities that make it possible for people to take advantage of these new capabilities with software that support MIDI and OSC.

In this introduction tutorial we’ll be looking at how to use the free (and open source!) MIDI OSCQuery Helper utility to publish parameters from an Ableton Live project so that they can be accessed as browsable OSC parameters from other software such as VDMX. The MIDI OSCQuery Helper also includes its own built in Interactive Web Interface which can be loaded in web browsers on desktops, laptops, smart phones and tablets to remotely control any published controls.

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Receiving NDI® Audio/Video Streams in VDMX

The NDI® protocol from NewTek is a way to publish and receive audio / video streams over a network as a way to share live feeds between systems. From within VDMX, any number of video streams can be both output to the network and input from other applications.

In this tutorial we'll looking at capturing NDI® video streams that are published from other applications on the network and use them as the source for a layer. More information can be found in the VDMX manual in the section on video inputs.

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Sending NDI® Audio/Video streams from VDMX

The NDI® protocol from NewTek is a way to publish and receive audio / video streams over a network as a way to share live feeds between systems. From within VDMX, any number of video streams can be both output to the network and input from other applications.

In this tutorial we'll looking at taking layers in VDMX and publishing them for other NDI® enabled software to access. More information can be found in the VDMX documentation in the NDI® Output plugin section.

Tip: For a quick demonstration try the "NDI® Output Example" option from the Templates menu in VDMX.

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The OSCQuery Client Plugin

The OSCQuery protocol makes it easy for software that supports OSC to access each others parameters for remote control, without a lengthy setup process. Within VDMX there are a few ways to take advantage of this and in this tutorial we will focus on using the OSCQuery Client plugin which can be used to browse the address space of a server and add UI controls that are automatically configured to send to it.

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Using OSCQuery In The Control Surface Plugin

The Control Surface is one of the most widely versatile plugins in VDMX, making it possible to create sets of custom interface elements that can be used to control nearly any aspect of your workspace or send MIDI / OSC / DMX to other systems. The Control Surface plugin also has the ability to publish its list of parameters over a local area network using the OSCQuery protocol so that other software can remotely browse and control almost any aspect of your VDMX project.

In this video tutorial we'll be looking at the basics of using OSCQuery protocol from within the Control Surface, and three ways that those parameters can be accessed from software running on other devices: using our free OSCQuery Browser utility, another copy of VDMX and a web browser running on an iPhone.

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Using the Built-In VDMX OSCQuery Browser

The OSCQuery protocol makes it easy for software that supports OSC to access each others parameters for remote control, without a lengthy setup process. Within VDMX there are a few ways to take advantage of this and in this tutorial we will focus on using the built-in OSCQuery Browser window which can be used to browse the address space of a server, send OSC messages and add OSC sending elements to our workspace.

The built-in OSCQuery Browser Window can be opened from the Window menu or by using the cmd+5 keyboard shortcut. From this panel you can access, browse and search the namespaces of other applications. For each of the listed OSC address destinations at the remote server you can:

  • Use the provided interface control to quickly send test data.

  • Dragged the listed item on to UI elements in VDMX (such as sliders, buttons, and color wheels – this also works with the list of variables in the Cue List plugin inspector) to automatically configure OSC sending to the remote hosts.

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Creating a 'Falling' audio level data-source using number FX chains in VDMX

Along with the basic controls of inverting values and applying basic math equations, number FX chains can used to adjust the values of data-sources before they are applied to sliders. In this example the 'Fall' FX will be applied to an audio analysis level to create a falling style before being applied to a VU meter generator.

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Show Production: From Mood Boards to Technical Riders

Along with the technical tutorials on how to use VDMX and other software tools, one of the main focuses of this site are topics related to the field of performing live visuals. In this post we'll be looking at some of the techniques that are used to bring a show from an idea through to an actual production, covering the areas of:

Mood boarding: A primer, or “mood board,” is used to gather ideas for the overall style and palette for the visual design. This may include a collection of colors, graphics, textures, image references, screen grabs and sketches.

  1. Mood boarding: A primer, or “mood board,” is used to gather ideas for the overall style and palette for the visual design. This may include a collection of colors, graphics, textures, image references, screen grabs and sketches.

  2. Storyboarding: A storyboard takes the elements derived from the mood board and places them in time, typically matching up events such as style changes with important moments in other elements of the show production, such as the music or theater scene changes.

  3. Pre-production: During pre-production any prepared material, such as video files, still images, interactive generators, custom FX, that are needed for the show are created and arranged in the performance software for rehearsals.

  4. Technical riders: Technical rider documents are often created as a way to clearly describe the broad technical aspects of a show production, including details like equipment lists, wiring diagrams, stage layouts, venue requirements, and contact information for people involved.

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Animating Properties of GLSL Shaders in VDMX

When writing GLSL shaders that run as generators or are used as image filters, one of the most fun parts of the process is playing with different control functions to animate all of the various variables that you've created in the composition. Using the ISF specification, GLSL shaders can publish their uniform variables so that host applications can provide user interface controls that can be connected to MIDI, OSC, DMX or other data-sources for automation.

In this tutorial we will look at adapting an existing GLSL shader into ISF, publishing some of its variables as uniforms, and loading the composition into VDMX where we will animate its properties using a variety of different plugins and MIDI input.

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Introduction to Connecting VDMX and Processing with Syphon and OSC

While VDMX offers many ways to extend its capabilities with code by Quartz Composer, Vuo and writing your own custom interactive GLSL shaders, there are times when you may need to use a video generator, image processor, or data controller that for whatever reason require using another most extensive programming toolkit for some aspect of your live performance.

One of the most popular creative coding languages being used today is known as Processing, a free, open-source development environment with an extensive community of artists and technologists around the world. You can look online to find hundreds of examples and they provided wonderful educational materials to help you get started with learning how to write code to make art.

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Blair Neal's Survey of Alternative Displays

For anyone currently working in the field of live visuals, one of the most exciting areas of bleeding edge technologies is on the side of displays – the place where people look at to see the amazing imagery coming out of our computers. There are a lot of new – and ancient – techniques to learn about and along with that a lot of new information to take in – all of which our good friend Blair Neal covers in his recently updated blog post “Survey of Alternative Displays

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Loops – Performance, Production, and Progression

The heart of almost every VJ / Visualist performance is the loop. There are lots of techniques and training for the production of loops, but there are some common approaches and methodology of creating a “pack” that are explored in this guest tutorial by Colin Evoy Sebestyen. To demonstrate these ideas Colin breaks down a project he created with musician Nonagon for a performance series at The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.

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How to create a retro Halloween visual style in VDMX

Creating the right look for Halloween and other spooky themed events is one of those tricks that every visual artists needs to have in their go to bag of tricks. There are lots of different techniques that can be used and in this guest tutorial we are joined once again by Colin Evoy Sebestyen for a demonstration of how to use a combination of LUT based FX, real-time video generators and logo images to create a retro horror film graphic scene in VDMX. In particular this look is inspired by intro sequences like the one from The Gate and more recently Stranger Things.

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