Lesson 1.0 – Introduction to Video Fundamentals Series
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 to the point you could almost prepare an entire course on VJing and live video production from our collection of tutorials.
With this in mind we've started to put together a new “Introduction to Video Fundamentals” curriculum that focuses on teaching the basic knowledge needed to get started with working with visuals. While these ideas are usually demonstrated with VDMX a lot of the underlying techniques are generally translatable to other software and hardware used for video and lighting production.
This set of lessons provides basic introductions to help you get started with learning everything related to the world of video. Additionally each section includes links to tutorials covering specific topics in more detail and assignments that you can use to test yourself on your knowledge.
Teachers can also use these as starting points for lesson plans on teaching real-time visual techniques in their own classrooms and workshops.
Lesson 1.1 – Live Cameras, Interactive Video Generators, and Pre-Rendered Movies
Typically the original source material used in video production falls into one of three categories:
Tips & Notes:
- In VDMX the Media Bin plugin is used to organize and switch between video sources.
- When using pre-rendered movies export to the PhotoJPEG, Apple Intermediate or Hap video codecs for the best playback performance in VDMX.
- Each source type has its own set of controls for manipulating the playback and output during performance.
- Download a set of sample clips to use with the VDMX simple player template.
- Download interactive ISF generators from interactiveshaderformat.com.
- Create a set of your own A/V loops using a camera or other captured footage.
Lesson 1.2 – Mixing and Applying Visual FX to Video Sources
Whether working in a real-time output environment like VDMX or a non-linear editor like Final Cut Pro, the technique used for digitally processing video source materials is essentially the same:
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Tips & Notes:
- Layer masks adjust the opacity of individual pixels during composition to obscure parts of an image. Use with the OpenGL Over or VVSourceAtop blend modes.
- Preview windows in VDMX can be set to view layers both before and after FX are applied.
- New custom FX and composition modes can be created using ISF (GLSL), LUTs, Quartz Composer and other popular formats.
- Mix, and fade between sources with the example Four Channel Mixer template.
- Make a pre-rendered animation that makes use of alpha channels.
Lesson 1.3 – Publishing Video
Once video sources are processed and composited together, the next step is to output the result:
Tips & Notes:
- The final output can be stretched across multiple displays.
- Use Perspective Correction (quad mode) for simple projection mapping onto uneven surfaces.
- Lighting designers can use the VDMX “Video to DMX” plugin to translate video streams to ArtNet universes.
- Create and share online a short demo reel from what you've learned so far.
Lesson 1.4 – Instruments and Automation
Pretty much every parameter in VDMX can be controlled by external hardware or automated with data generator plugins:
- MIDI, OSC, and DMX (ArtNet) are common protocols for creating networks and connecting physical instruments to computers.
- Step Sequencers and LFOs generate control values with oscillators and looping patterns.
- Audio Analysis and Beat Detection algorithms listen to music from sound inputs to sync visuals.
- Timecode for syncing with other systems.
Tips & Notes:
- The VDMX Echo mode can be used to set up easy “talkback” to MIDI and OSC instruments with light up LEDs and other dynamically updating interfaces.
- Layout files from TouchOSC can be directly imported into VDMX for quick mapping of parameters to iPhones, iPads and Android tablets.
- Lightning designers can configure VDMX as a custom DMX controlled media server and virtual lighting rig.
- Custom control plugins can be created with Quartz Composer.
- Use audio analysis (or another data-source) to trigger video clips.
- Create a virtual layout of a MIDI instrument with the Control Surface plugin.
- Sync the playback of movies on two computers across a network with OSC.
Each of the sections on this page is a brief introduction to some of the major topics involved with live visuals and VJing.
In part two of this series we first look in depth at the three different types of sources (Live Cameras, Interactive Video Generators, and Pre-Rendered Movies) discussed in part 1.1 of this lesson.