All posts in: Tips and tutorials

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Quick tip: Shaders in Sublime Text

Sublime Text is my favorite text editor and here’s a quick tip if you’re working with shaders in three.js. I prefer to store my shaders as a separate file. And to do this in the same way as three.js all shader code must be enclosed in quotes and comma-separated. Enter this in the search and replace boxes in Sublime Text and you have a quick way to prepare your shaders for three.js: Note the ‘regular expression’ button must be active.

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Getting started with WebGL

Here’s the thing that takes up my spare time right now: WebGL. For me with my web developer background (PHP, javascript, .NET) and my growing interest in realtime 3D graphics it’s so obvious that I can’t believe I haven’t played around with it before. The good thing is that at this point there are plenty of resources for those who want to learn and that it has been implemented in a stable way in some major browsers. The downside is that it’s not an obvious choice for VJs as it does not integrate with VJ apps. But I’m sure tools will appear over time to overcome this. Just have a look at some of the mind-blowing visual possibilities WebGL brings for visualists: Lights Ro.me Blast Often when delving into a new programming environment the hard part comes right at the beginning when you try to get a grasp of the […]

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Finding the right beat

At those (admittedly few) occassions when I VJ alongside DJ I have often wished for a tool that would detect the tempo of the music for me. The more I searched for a Mac based solution the more I realized there is some pretty complex music analysis behind beat detection and that few or no freeware tools existed. Vj apps seem to have settled on a tap-the-beat solution and most of the existing BPM detectors are not real time as they only operate on prerecorded audio files. Then someone posted a link to this ingenious little app in the Modul8 forums and I have been using it ever since. It picks up the beat after a few seconds and it’s pretty accurate – as long as there is a steady discernible beat to the music of course. Waveclock You try it out in demo mode (and click away a dialog […]

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Using cues, timelines and VJ software for performances

These days as a part of the Obscura crew I am ofting doing visual shows that have more in common with theatre productions than traditional VJing. Often there is some sort of script for a show or a piece of music that is rehearsed. For these types of jobs I have found good use for the application called QLab which is great for triggering a pre planned sequence of events. Actually the whole point of QLab is to line up a sequence of audio, video files or other types of events and being able to trigger them with a simple ‘Go’ button at the exact right time during the show. QLab was originally developed with audio in mind and has later been extended with video features so it does not have many features as VJ applications when it comes to live manipulations of images and video. But for those of […]

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Modul8 quick tip: Keep track of your files with links

All users of Modul8 encounter the problem of keeping track of files in their projects I suppose. Sometimes you want to reuse media in new projects without creating extra copies of them and thereby cluttering your hard drive. Still you want the media collected in the same folder as the project in order to not break anything if you rename or move the original. You might think that creating an alias of the media would work, but Modul8 doesn’t import aliases. I found another solution in the Terminal command for creating ‘hard links’. A hard link works a bit like an alias except it appears to be an actual file and it works in Modul8. In reality there is only one copy of the movie taking up space. And even if you rename, move or delete the original file the new file will continue to work. EDIT: One caveat I […]

Working with Quartz compositions in Modul8

In Modul8 you’re able to play Quartz compositions (.qtz files) just by dragging them into your media bank like any other movie. However there are a number of problems with this approach: No 1. Performance. I have done tests and often there is a severe drop in framerate for qtz files in Modul8 compared to the framerate in the Quartz Composer editor. No 2. You cannot decide the rendering size of .qtz files in Modul8 (in version 2.5). They are always rendered as 640×480. In Modul8 v2.6 you can set the size in Preferences but there may be many situations where you’d like to set the size for the individual files. No 3. You cannot set the duration of .qtz files in Modul8. Duration will always be 30 sec. I find that these problems can be solved by following the steps below and converting the .qtz file to a .mov […]

Quartz Composer performance in Modul8

I’ve been doing some testing and it’s my impression that you get a much better performance in Modul8 if you convert your .qtz files to .mov before importing them to Modul8. This can be done by following the steps described in this article: Working with Quartz Compositions in Modul8 I don’t know the reason for this so I don’t know if it’s a general problem or something that is limited to my OS/hardware combination. I’m running Snow Leopard on a 2.4 GHz duo core Macbook Pro. So if you’re curious here are the files that I’ve tested with. I get approx. 14 fps with the .qtz but 57 fps with the .mov in Modul8. In Quartz Composer editor I also get around 57 fps. particleleaves 6 (mov) particleleaves 6 (qtz)

Organizing your images and movies with Adobe Bridge

This is a short demonstration of how to use Adobe Bridge for quickly browsing through all your images and movies and adding selected items to Modul8 or another VJ application. Now I know that everybody has their own workflow and preferences when organizing their files but you might find this tip useful if you ever find yourself in situations (like I often do) where you want to create a VJ set from items in your library and you lose track of what you have inside your hierarchy of folders and need a visual way to quickly browse through the whole collection. This tip is a demonstration of one way to use the software – Adobe Bridge has other features like filters, search and options for rating and labeling your media (or files of any other type). Now when using Modul8 I realize it’s better to always keep your media in […]

The 5$ video mixer – how to do a DV screen cast through Firewire

I have found a way to transfer a live video screen capture from one Mac to another Mac using DV over Firewire. This might be useful for VJs who want to mix video from two computers without using a capture card – the 5$ in the title of this post is for buying a Firewire cable. Have a look at this video tutorial or read on for a text version – sorry about the less than optimal video and audio quality – this is my first attempt at doing a tutorial: First of all you need to download a couple of components which I have collected in a handy zip file: DV screen capture components Here are the links for the original sources of the components in the zip file: VirtualDV (in FireWire SDK 26) Quartz Composer Live DV v002 Screen Capture Please be aware that as I have not […]