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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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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Kalma Shows How To Get Started With VDMX

One our favorite questions for people who have been using VDMX is to ask them how they would show it to someone who has never used it before and we are especially excited to see how teachers are introducing the software in classrooms and workshops. Everyone learns best in a different way and it is always helpful for us to see new approaches to VJ techniques.

For this guest video tutorial we are joined by Kalma who has been organizing workshops in Europe on topics including VJing and 3D Mapping, covering a wide variety of software including VDMX.

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Guest Tutorial: 10 Workflow Tips from DocOptic

This guest tutorial from the DocOptic team goes over some of their favorite tips to improve our workflow while using VDMX including keyboard shortcuts, BPM automation, presets, and more. Also covered are a few techniques using features of VDMX such as the Alpha Mask effect and using application windows as media sources.

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Connecting VDMX and Unity3D by Syphon

While mainly designed for cross platform game development many Mac VJs take advantage of the Unity3D engine for the purposes for creating 3D worlds and other real-time generated graphics for use in visual performance. By connecting these environments to other VJ applications like VDMX over Syphon and OSC we can control these worlds and mix, process and output the virtual camera signals from a scene like any other live media source.

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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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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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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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Guest Tutorial: Connecting Unity 3D Pro and VDMX by Syphon with Alejandro Crawford

For this guest tutorial we are joined by Alejandro Crawford, the visualist for MGMT (among other bands), in which he'll show us one part of the setup he uses for creating his live visuals by connecting a scene rendered in the powerful 3D gaming engine Unity to VDMX using the Syphon to pass video back and forth between the two different programs.

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Guest Tutorial with Roger Sodré: Connecting VDMX and Blendy VJ by Syphon

Today we are joined by Roger Sodré, creator of Blendy VJ which is an advanced tool for working with multiple projectors in situations where there is an overlap that needs to be smoothly blended to appear as a single continuous output. In this guest tutorial Roger demonstrates how to set up VDMX to send video over Syphon to Blendy where it is split into two separate signals that then have a soft edge blend applied over the section that will overlap when projected.

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Guest Tutorial: 4 ways to sync VDMX and Ableton Live with Mattijs Kneppers and Studio Rewind

Over the last few years artist / programmer Mattijs Kneppers ​has been developing “Livegrabber,” a set of plugins that can be used to easily sync Ableton Live with other applications by echoing out actions in Live over the OSC protocol. For the release of the newest version of the plugins, we're joined by Mattijs and Studio Rewind for a demonstration of how to use the Livegrabber plugins with VDMX.

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Guest Tutorial with Shakinda of iLoveQC

Since it was started about a year ago the iLoveQC website has become one of the top resources and community sites for Quartz Composer developers and Mac VJs using the node based language. If you haven't already taken the time to check out the site, they've got some great interviews with artists, tutorials to get started, FX for download and even Final Cut Pro plugins for non-realtime video production. For this guest tutorial we're joined by iLoveQC founder Graham Robinson, also known as Shakinda who has been part of the in the VJ community for quite some time and is an all around QC guru.

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VJ Spain Guest Tutorial Part 3 - Usando Quartz Composer en VDMX

Today we are once again joined by guest poster Marcos Prack with part three of his series of Spanish video tutorials for a lesson on using Quartz Composer iterators and using compositions inside of VDMX: "En este tutorial os muestro como crear una composición en Quartz Composer y publicar parámetros que controlaremos luego en VDMX."

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