How to build the Waveclock Demo template

In this tutorial we'll be looking a closer look at using automatic BPM detection for syncing up the timing of visual events with music by recreating the core parts of the Waveclock Demo template that is included with VDMX.

The approach we'll take is to create a virtual video instrument in the form of a Quartz Composer composition and animate its interface controls with Step Sequencer and LFO plugins. Presets for patterns in each plugin can then be saved and switched to match the energy level of the music while VJing during a live set. 

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Syncing the playback of multiple movies in VDMX over a network using OSC

One of the data-sources available within VDMX for controlling playback, FX, and composition parameters, is the current playhead position of each movie playing on a layer. Like an LFO or audio analysis value, you can assign this to any slider, button, or other UI item by using the UI Inspector or from the right-click contextual menu.

In this tutorial the movie “normalized time” parameter (time as a percentage, ranged 0.0 to 1.0) will specifically be used to synchronize the playback of multiple movie files – this can be a useful technique for working with batches of clips that have the same duration, and high-end projects that involve powering more displays or projectors than can be connected a single Mac.

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VJing with a WiiMote game controller in VDMX

While MIDI devices and OSC enabled applications tend to be most commonly used instruments by VJs when getting away from the computer during a live visual performance, another extremely powerful controller that can be paired with VDMX is the WiiMote game pad which can be connected to a Mac wirelessly over Bluetooth.

The basic configuration only takes a few moments to set up and then we can begin to put together a sample project that is designed to get the most out of the possibilities of the combining accelerometers with game style buttons for performing live visuals.

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Recording a demo reel from a Quartz Composer composition or other video generator to share online

It kind of goes without saying that these days, posting your work online is a great way to promote yourself as a VJ or creative coder, and to make new contacts for future collaborations. Along with a studio or live mix of your visual work, including some of the original resources that were used during the making of your process for other people to learn from is another way to make your mark on the community. 

For this technique tutorial we'll be looking at recording a demo reel that shows off the different ways that your generative compositions can be used in a live setting by using different sets of control data to drive its parameters, such as time based LFOs, MIDI / OSC control, and audio analysis data-source providers. Once we've finished creating the sample movie, we'll also walk through how to share the files using the videopong.net website where they can be hosted, downloaded and remixed by other video artists for free.

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Making custom face tracking video FX and data-sources for VDMX with Quartz Composer

For this quick technique tutorial we've made two basic Quartz Composer compositions using the “Detection” object that can be loaded into VDMX to perform basic face capture and replacement FX that can be connected in a variety of ways. You can also use these example patches as starting points for your own patches that perform more complex behaviors like tracking multiple faces within a single frame or publishing additional control information.

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Creating Gesture Based Controls for VDMX using the Gestrument Kinect MIDI controller app

Last week featured on CreateDigitalMusic we noticed the beta release of Gestrument Kinect, a  simple Mac app that can be used to convert the camera depth data from a Kinect to MIDI for controlling music and VJ live visuals. Since it sends of standard MIDI, it only took a few seconds to connect it to VDMX for a quick demonstration on how it's data can be converted into gestures used to trigger movie clips and adjust video FX parameters.

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DJ Mixer EQ Style Masking FX for VDMX (with bonus X-Session Pro template)

In this technique tutorial we'll focus on two different ways the idea of a DJ style low, mid, high EQ control can be interpreted in the world of video as FX in VDMX as a means to mask out or adjust the gain level on separate discrete parts of a video stream for the purposes of blending video layers together.

The first example exchanges the low, mid and high levels for the individual RGB channels of the image for raising or lowering the intensity of each independently. The second qcFX uses a similar concept to a 3-band equalizer, breaking down the image into three different sections based on the luma (brightness) level of each pixel instead of its frequency ranges.

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The Dual Mix 4 Layer Livid OhmRGB Slim Template

When compositing layers of video together in VDMX or another VJ application, one of the standard techniques for combining images is the use of “masking images” which black out parts of an image by setting its transparency (alpha channel) to less than 1.0, allowing it to in front of content behind it instead of simply blending the two together.

This template is a variation on the technique described in the four channel mixer example in which we have two groups of layers (left and right bus) set up making it possible to preview and transition between mixes on the fly. Here the idea is similar, but instead of two mixes that use separate sets of clips, in this template each bus shares the same set of four clips, each with different controls for layer opacity, FX and blend modes. For an added twist, the four source for this template is used as a mask overlay for each bus that can be used in a variety of ways to combine the two separate mixes together in the main output.

In this video tutorial we quickly go through the design of this template and how it can be used to mix two movie clips along with an audio reactive or LFO driven Quartz Composer composition as an overlay or mask.

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Remixing Seamless 360 Degree Panoramic Movies Shot with the Kōgeto Dot in VDMX

As part of our series on different techniques for VJs and visual artists to create their own content for performances and installations, today we are featuring the “Dot” camera attachment from Kogeto which lets you easily shoot panoramic video from an iPhone that can be loaded into a VDMX for real-time cropping and panning for adjusting the point of view as the movie plays back or is remixed during a live performance.

In this video tutorial we'll look at some tips for working with movie clips shot using the Dot in VDMX, including setting up seamless 360 rotational loops, syncing the POV angle to the movie time, and how to fade between two different panorama clips.

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Bar graph visualizations with Quartz Composer and VDMX

Among the many uses of Quartz Composer, and perhaps one that is often overlooked, is the ability to make visualizations of data and other information. Since the compositions are rendered in realtime, when creating them for this purpose it can be helpful to make the patches reusable with published input values for use in other environments, or replicating within QC itself.

In this two part video tutorial we'll first create a composition in Quartz Composer that renders a simple bar graph data visualization with inputs for changing its labels and values that can be used in other applications. Once the patch is completed it can be loaded into VDMX and set up to respond to a variety of different inputs as a visualizer of tempo or audio levels as part of a VJ set, an on screen display of MIDI / DMX channels, or any other arbitrary data that you can get into your computer by OSC.

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Three Different Ways to use Audio Analysis (or other data-source) to Trigger a Movie in VDMX

​In this quick tutorial we'll be looking at how to use the Audio Analysis plugin instead of the typical keyboard MIDI, OSC, or DMX shortcuts for triggering video clips in a media bin. This can be a particularly useful technique for using VDMX to run interactive installations that respond to sound and other inputs, or for automating and beat syncing parts of a VJ setup.

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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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Multi-display video mixing with VDMX on a Retina MacBook Pro

​Along with being able to work with more layers at higher resolutions, faster computers and more powerful graphics cards make it possible to output to multiple projectors or monitors from a single machine. In particular, the new 15" Retina Macbook Pro features a combination of a fast SSD hard drive along with two Thunderbolt and one HDMI port making it possible for a VJ to power 2 or 3 different HD displays from a single Mac laptop.

In this video tutorial we'll walk through the basic steps of preparing VDMX projects with a double-wide and triple-wide design to output with separate source layers for each display.

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Creating Video Feedback Loops on a Mac with VDMX

One of the most powerful techniques used to create real-time visuals and computer graphics going back to the early days of video is the use of feedback loops - the method of taking the current output and using it as a source frame in part of the next rendered frame. This incredibly useful process is particularly useful for Mac VJs and other graphic artists looking to find a unique look or style for their visuals, and is easily simulated within VDMX by using layer groups.

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