Using an iOS Device as a Live Camera Source in VDMX

Now that iPhones, iPads and iPod Touch devices are readily available as extra mini-computers in our everyday lives, VJs and other video artists can take advantage of this by using them as additional live camera inputs in VDMX.

iOS Screen Mirroring over Lightning Cable

One of the cool new features that is available with recent updates to iOS is the ability for your Mac to directly capture the video on the display of your iPhone or iPad without any special hardware other than a standard USB to Lightning cable. Whatever is on the screen of the device will be available as a live input making it possible to use any of your favorite mobile apps as sources for VDMX.

In this first video tutorial we'll look at how to use connect an iPhone as a camera input and display a running app as a layer. Like other camera inputs we can also play-thru the audio and record directly to disk as a movie file that can be either immediately remixed or saved for later use in other video software.

The first step of is to connect your iOS device to your Mac with a lightning cable.

Mac, iPhone 5s and USB to Lightning cable.

iPhone 5s connected to Mac by USB to Lightning cable.

Once connected the iOS device will appears as an available as a source for layers under the "Live Input" category along with any other AVFoundation supported webcams, video digitizers or BlackMagic capture devices.

You can access more options for the device by going to the "Workspace Inspector" in the "Vid In" tab. From here you can configure an optional audio play-through for the sound from the device. Using the available controls you can also record audio and video directly to disk as movies which can be automatically loaded onto a page in VDMX for immediate remixing.

Tip: If you wish to record into a different video format, or need additional recording options, you can also use the Movie Recorder plugin.

Wireless iOS Camera via AirBeam and Syphon

Another useful technique when working with iOS devices is to use an app called AirBeam to transmit the camera feed wirelessly to remix in VDMX. One of the advantages of this technique is that it can work over a wireless connection which means it will also work with older iOS devices that have an older 30-pin connection cable.

AirBeam can purchased in the iOS app store. To receive video feeds on your Mac you'll also need to download their free client software which connects to VDMX by Syphon.

Once you have the software installed simply launch AirBeam on your iOS device and on your Mac. Make sure the devices are on the same wireless network. On your Mac you should see the iOS camera appear with a small preview. Within VDMX the AirBeam camera will be available in the list of Syphon inputs and can be added to a media bin page to be triggered like any other media file.

AirBeam on the Mac shows a preview of the camera and includes other useful controls.

The raw camera feed is available via Syphon in VDMX.

Once you've mastered these techniques for connecting your iOS device to VDMX, move on to tutorials that involve using the audio feed in fun ways or compositing the camera feed with other layers using masks.