Many pieces of the live video puzzle seem to be snapping into place lately. A few of my favourite things:
Real-Time Vidi-Yo Puppetry!
Bored with mere live triggering of video clips or visual effects? Using the real-time animation software Animata ( free, open-source ), it’s now possible to control the limbs of virtual puppets in real-time, either with simple computer keyboard or midi controls, or a variety of physical sensors, cameras, audio levels etc. Designed for stage use, the software allows simple creation of scenes ( characters and backgrounds ), that can be controlled easily in real-time. Say the Hungarian creators:
“Creating and moving characters is as simple as loading an image and attaching a skeleton to it. ( On the basis of the still images, which serve as the skeleton of the puppets, we produce a network of triangles, some parts of which we link with a bony structure. The bones’ movement is based on a physical model, which allows the characters to be easily moved. )”
Once various characters and scenes are set-up, the various limbs and joints can be animated in real-time by external applications, such as hardware midi controllers or software like Max MSP or Quartz Composer ( A quartz patch has been made, which allows Animata to be controlled directly from within popular mac VJ software, VDMX ). In other words, instead of rendering out a variety of animated loops for triggering over time, animations can be made fresh on the spot. This offers all sorts of live performance and installation possibilities, limited only by the imagination and preparation time.
Elsewhere on Planet Quartz
Also running wild, Open Emu is an open source project that brings game emulation to OS X ( Sega Master System, Game Gear, SG – 1000, Game Boy, Game Boy Color, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Sega 32x, NES/Famicom, SNES, Super Famicom, Game Boy Advance etc ). Which is all fine, but it’s recent porting to Quartz Composer means that old ROM computer games from the above consoles, can be used within quartz compatible video software and controlled live. Says Team EMU:
Use audio or MIDI input to drive game characters and input
Use the same input signals to control multiple ROMs at once from the same joystick/gamepad
Add 3D effects or image processing to the game image for interactive 8bit visuals
VJ with your favorite games, in realtime, with effect responding to game input
*Bonus Nerd Utopia Level : Open Emu QC includes a separate plugin just for the Nestopia engine, which supports extended features, such as ROM glitching, cheat codes and game rewinding. You can now software ‘bend’ a virtual NES, in realtime, with your favorite Quartz Composer-compatible VJ applications.
So that’s Space Covered. What About Time?
Abundant live manipulation of video is indeed already here. An embarrassment of pixel riches. On the other hand, while there are some sequencing solutions and workarounds ( eg using midi and Ableton’s time controls to trigger video clips ), many video artists are still waiting for better time-based control and sequencing of video clips. The release of Max for Live later in 2009, will undoubtedly explode live audiovisual possibilities and sophistication, when it brings together Ableton’s sophisticated and musically precise time controls, with the custom visual effects possible within Jitter, the visual component of Max. In the meantime, another sequencer contender has emerged, a step sequencer for Resolume, built as a Max patch, and using the OSC protocol to control the clip launches in Resolume. More.
Controlling It All?
“OSCulator is software that links your controllers to your music and video software. For example, with OSCulator, your Nintendo Wiimote or iPhone can talk to major MIDI sequencers or your favorite console emulator or even the Kyma sound design workstation.
OSCulator supports the OSC protocol which makes it able to be used with a wide variety of software and devices like SuperCollider, Processing, Max/MSP or the Lemur multitouch controller.”
And Outputting to the Projector?
Maybe you’ll be needing one of these : an as yet to be bulk manufactured, but awaiting your order, hardware dvi mixer. Which means being able to mix digital signals in high resolution between 2 laptops. The UK’s Toby *spark and D-Fuse are behind this effort, with further updates ( and requests for orders ) to come.