Looks like it’s audiovisual kick-ass-o-clock over at resolume.com. They’ve totally revamped version 3 of their VJ software, included comprehensive audio controls, and made it available for both mac and PC.
Basic Interface Concepts
Okay. VJ software. Living mixing of clips. We get that. Lots of apps for VJing now, but how does this one work? At a quick glance, there’s a bank of clips to choose from on the top half of the screen, and a range of parameters to change them underneath. Looking closer reveals that the grid of clips is arranged in rows, and each row is a separate layer of video. Only one video from each row can play in that layer at a time. The bottom layer is rendered first, and each layer above is layered above that with a selected blending mode. Layers can be assigned to A or B, allowing cross-fading between each. Each set of rows of selected clips, can be saved as a ‘deck’ and reloaded at any time.
Underneath the rows of clips, the software’s three pronged approach unfolds :
– properties / effects for Clips – fine-tune settings for each individual clip, so it always triggers the way you want.
– properties / effects for Layers – so all clips loaded in a particular Layer can be processed the same.
– properties / effects for Composition – settings to control the final composited output of all clips and layers.
It’s a well considered approach, and becomes intuitive fairly quickly. What especially jumps out is the audio parameters integrated in each of the above areas, alongside the video parameters. Adjust some blur on layer one. Add a little distortion to the squawking bird on layer two. Adjust the brightness. Pan the audio to the left a bit. This has been especially designed for people who wish to play with audio and video simultaneously. One cool facet of this is the way that any audio and video parameters can be linked to the same on-screen controller, enabling a mouse or midi device to control both audio and video at once, and enabling highly synchronised and customised audiovisual effects.
Also in the interface: a couple of preview monitors ( one for the final output, and while it plays, any other clip can be previewed below this by clicking the clip’s title), and a file browser on the right hand side for loading clips, loading compositions, choosing sources (camera, feedback, gradients, solid colour) and for loading visual ( FreeFrameGL ) and audio (VST) effects.
– Framerate. With all the rendering being done on the graphics card rather than the CPU, clips are quick to change, even when many layers are involved. Resolume Avenue is fast.
– Audio playback controls, effects and easy combining with visual parameters to make audiovisual effects. With well integrated volume, panning, VST effects, as well as beat based looping and matching, the audiovisual possibilities are huge.
– The interface. Easy to understand, and scales to suit any size screen.
– Easy mapping of keys, midi or OSC to control any of the program’s parameters.
– The solo button and mute buttons on each layer, these allow different layers of an overall audiovisual piece to be easily cut in and out ( eg stripping a multilayered piece back to just a visual drum loop, then re-engaging all content again).
– Recording! Easy, efficient recording of mixed clips, and reintegration of them back into a layer. Clips seemed to record at 15 fps, and play back fine, meaning Resolume Avenue can be used for a quick turn around production tool as well.
Still to be Refined?
– Subtle interface enhancements needed here and there. ( Eg Sometimes the tiny arrows to set parameter ranges are tricky to re-click and adjust )
– Occasional sound glitches ( sound drops out, or distorts / glitches badly – improved in the latest version, and resolume recommend using separate video and audio files, then dragging them together inside their software, to avoid such glitches – which makes sense when making new sets of beats perhaps, but not when you already have large collections of cinematic snippets ).
– Some video files don’t load ( eg some older clips encoded with sorenson 3, that work fine in quicktime or vdmx ).
– More options and flexibility needed in places, which’ll probably be added over time. ( eg adjusting the cross-fade time? Having an option so that each clip triggered auto-scales to fit in it’s layer?)
– The Auto-Beat detection, while great for tightly sync-ed clips, makes simple playback of other clips tricky, with a juggle of pitch shifting and adjusting the number of beats to try and make the clip play at it’s natural speed, pitch and duration ( even when the clips’ individual settings are set to avoid beat snapping ).
Still to be Added?
Flash playback, audio FFT analysis and DMX support ( will be available as free future updates). And presumably some kind of sequencing that takes advantage of the global BPM.
PC – ATI Radeon 9600 or better. NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 or better. 1GB ram.
OS X – 1.25Ghz or faster Power PC G4 or G5, Intel C oreDuo, or Intel Xeon processor. Quartz Extreme graphics card. 1Gb ram.
300 Euros for 1 computer, 500 Euros for 2 computers, 650 Euros for 3 computers. 50% educational discount available for students, teachers and educational institutions.
Resolume Avenue balances quick access performance needs with depth of control, and marks a huge leap forward from earlier versions of Resolume. The audio features really set it apart, make it fun, and give it promise. Still feels a little fiddly in places, but that’s potentially something that’ll disappear after further use, and getting a good workflow process going with it. Double thumbs up!
(Late End of Year Bonus )
Free Particle System effect for download and operation within Resolume.
Drop a line if you’ve had any experiences developing audiovisual material with it, love to hear how people are finding it.