In Boston, a VJ Competition, and a Glimpse Inside the Live Visual Scene

Along with New York, Boston was really my introduction to what was happening in live visuals and VJing. So, I already took interest when a couple of friends sent word of a VJ competition in Boston. Then, of course, things in that city turned very strange indeed. The festival “Together,” scheduled in May, couldn’t have a better title – we’re thinking of you. So, Northeast USA, I absolutely am pleased to alert you to this competition; I hope we get some CDM readers in it. And for the rest of us around the world, here’s a look at what a …

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First Look at ArKaos’ Video Mapper Tool [Screenshots], as the VJ Developer Goes Pro

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world of mapping. Mapping as a technique can be accomplished in any tool, and its use predated specific end-user tools by a number of years. But 2013 seems the year that the ubiquitous MadMapper will see some serious competition as other tools specifically move in on its turf, with specialized facilities for creating custom geometries in projection and lighting. And so, we see in screenshots a better look at how ArKaos’ offering will look. Works for me: competition is healthy, and each of the visual software vendors has its own cadre of devoted artists. …

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First Look at ArKaos' Video Mapper Tool [Screenshots], as the VJ Developer Goes Pro

It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world of mapping. Mapping as a technique can be accomplished in any tool, and its use predated specific end-user tools by a number of years. But 2013 seems the year that the ubiquitous MadMapper will see some serious competition as other tools specifically move in on its turf, with specialized facilities for creating custom geometries in projection and lighting. And so, we see in screenshots a better look at how ArKaos’ offering will look. Works for me: competition is healthy, and each of the visual software vendors has its own cadre of devoted artists. …

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Gantz Graf, the Max for Live Plug-in: Reactive-Visualizing Your Tracks

Hang about. I may have given away the punchline in the headline, and now there’s not much more to say. “Hey, is there a plug-in out there that I can just switch on and visualize music with?” I can’t count the number of times I get asked this. That could make the following a very popular download, indeed. Animator Alex Rutterford’s original Gantz Graf video, interestingly, was not reacting to audio. But generative technique has moved on since then, so aping the style of the visuals in a patch makes some sense. The results aren’t perfect, but they do demonstrate …

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Hap to Make VJs Happy: Codec Looks Better, Plays Faster on GPU, Free [Mac]

Hap as in happy sounds about right. Hap is a family of free and open source video codecs for Mac OS X. The notion is that the computer’s GPU – rather than CPU – does the heavy lifting of decoding frames. Because GPUs are optimized for lots of parallel operations in a way CPUs are not, that means the ability to use higher resolutions. And, best of all, you can get this for free. The code that makes Hap work is already up on GitHub, and you can begin using it right now if you’re in VDMX. I quickly polled …

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Spray Cans and Beamers: Urban Projection Mixes Pixels, Live Mural Painting

Stylus – Episode #1: Projection Mural from Urban Projections on Vimeo. The movement forward in projection isn’t so much about projection mapping in the geometric sense as it is a chance to find a new materiality for digital imagery. In this work, the artists blend pixels and paint so that the different media can coexist. In a beautifully-documented project, Rebecca Smith and Pete Barber show off their technique for mixing live mural painting with projection and – via stylus – “digital drawing.” Thanks, Bec, for sending this info CDM. The artists, based in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire [UK], write: S T Y …

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The VJ Rigs That Power Momo (for deadmau5), Eclectic Method, Live [VDMX]

What’s making performance video shows tick for the like of live visuals for deadmau5 and Eclectic Method? And once those tools are in order, how do the artists express their ideas live? Vidvox, makers of Mac live visual tool VDMX, have kicked off their own blog offering some insights into how people are actually making stuff with their software. We saw one very nice example portfolio yesterday working with VDMX. And here are two more excellent examples. First up, our friend Momo the Monster, who last guided us through his live Glitch Mob show, is now working on deadmau5. The …

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On Fashion Runways and Live Shows, Dynamic Visuals from Chile [Featured Work]

Fashion venues in general offer a new opportunity for live visual performance to thrive – even when its growth has sometimes been stunted by over-reliance on clients in clubland and the corporate world. So, it’s fitting that the favorite portfolio example from this week’s featured work comes to us by way of the runway. There, color and texture can dance across surfaces in ways that make light itself an extension of fashion. The example is labeled “projection mapping,” but it’s relatively recta-linear; it’s the content that comes to the fore. Diego Salinas is a visual artist from Telefunken Studio, a …

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MusicMakers Hacklab Report: Blinking Lightbulbs with MIDI, Why Working Together Matters

It’s a wonderful time to be experimenting with technology and music. You can create something that looks like the stuff most people imagine as “the future” – elaborate dances of light, power over sound just by waving your hand, software that seems directly out of Star Trek. But you can do it with technology that is now reaching maturity – decades of experience of artists, engineers, and designers is at your back. “That’s not new,” someone might say. Exactly. Instead of technology being a disposable commodity, forgotten in a couple of years, it’s actually something you can get good at. …

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V-4 Video Mixer, Now HDMI: First Look at Roland’s V-4EX

For years, the Roland V-4 was the battle axe of the VJ and visual performance scene. Not owning one almost meant you weren’t serious about playing. And the ubiquity of these at community events meant more collaborative and back-to-back sets. Then computers evolved past – and even dropped – composite/component analog video outs, and the V-4 was left behind. The V-8 was a step forward, but still couldn’t keep up with the shift in video ins and outs. At last, we get the Roland V-4EX. Like the original V-4, it’s a four-channel mixer with effects. And it shares the V-4’s …

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