NAMM 2011 from a VJ perspective

NAMM 2011 is finished and regarding video and VJ it’s a big no show.

The music industry keep struggling to restore revenue but seems to keep ignoring that extending musician tools to allow them to create video is important.

The only company that keep saying this is Roland and they finally made MIDI Visual Control an open protocol.

Roland also introduced a new video switcher the VR-5, this is nice machine for those who want hardware solution and does not need HD.

I was amazed by this Video Guitar made by Visionary Instruments. Here is a quick video loop on how it looks like:

There was one very interesting event where I went to see that was the WHAM BAM 2011 (4th Annual) :: MUSIC CONVENTION INSPIRED FUTURE SOUND AND TECHNOLOGY SHOWCASE ::

VJ Culture is doing visuals for them and already last year he tried to get me there. Several performers were presenting there controller and explaining the technical details of their sets.

I enjoyed the presentation of Moldover, here are a few tracks I tapped with my camera:

On this you see that Moldover was using the video guitar:

It is not very often that you see clearly how a performer is using his controller. Moldover created the Mojo and asked Livid Instruments to build it form him.

This is a really cool new instrument Moldover is building, here you can see him jamming from some random peoples:

The other part I did enjoy was the Laura Escudé set, I was not expecting ambient music at this event and so it was a very nice surprise. I taped 2 tracks:

This one is 20 minutes long, YouTube now does allow me to post longer pieces and I expected to use that in the future. The start of the piece was slow and dark and so I added some light flares to the first minutes to have some slow moving visuals from the start:

I bough his CD Pororoca and look forward enjoying it.

For me NAMM 2011 was much more interesting for the meetings I had and what I forecast to do this year from there.

Yota Space digital arts festival in St Petersburg

I made a workshop speaking about ArKaos applications (GrandVJ and MediaMaster) at Yota Space digital arts festival in St Petersburg

The video installations were very impressive, here are some short loops I took quickly during my 2 days there.

It was inspiring to see all those audio visual installations and performances. Congratulation to CyberBrothers and Ben Sheppee from Light Rhythm Visuals

Because I was just 2 days on site and I had not a lot of time to explore the huge space. During my quick visit I took those video loops:

Here are the installations and performance in this video:

United Visual Artists – Volume:
http://www.uva.co.uk/archives/49

AntiVJ 3Destruct
http://blog.antivj.com/2008/3destruct/

John Y Moon – Augmented Shadow
http://www.creativeapplications.net/environment/augmented-shadow-openframeworks/

Quayola – Strata #1
http://www.quayola.com/index.php?/strata-1/

Shantell Martin – Performance
http://www.shantellmartin.com/

VideoFabrika – Video tunnel
http://www.youtube.com/videofabrika

MSA Visuals – Body Paint
http://www.msavisuals.com/body_paint

MSA Visuals – Webcam Piano 2.0
http://www.msavisuals.com/webcam_piano_2

Souvenir from the Workshop at the International Festival of Audiovisual Arts Yota Space

In December 2010 I was made some workshops at the International Festival of Audiovisual Arts Yota Space in St Petersburg (Russia).

Yota Space team

Yota Space team

Cool picture with Matt Black (Coldcut), Blanca Regina (www.whiteemotion.com), Pierre from ArKaos, Raquel Meyers (www.raquelmeyers.com), Ben Sheppee (www.lightrhythmvisuals.com), Shantell Martin (www.shantellmartin.com) and our friends organizers from CyberBrothers (cyberbrothers.tv)

Here is the full resolution picture for those that wants to keep that souvenir:
Yota Space team

Kling-Net Test, pushing 50 MB/sec of pixels over ethernet

Here we have 2 computers testing the capacity of Kling-Net.

Kling-Net can make use of gigabit ethernet and in this test we reach close to 50 MB/sec.

To do that we have one computer acting as a media server. For testing facility the software just grab the computer screen and then send it to the Kling-Net devices mapped.

The other computer is acting as 30 virtual LED panels, each panel has 128 by 128 pixels and receive pixels in 24 bits of resolution, 8 bits of each component red, green blue.

Kling-Net 2 MacBook test

Kling-Net 2 MacBook test

Here you see the screenshot of the MacBook acting as the server. The server application is called “Cocoa Server” you can see it just uses a few Mb of memory and 34% of cpu time. It feed the 30 LED tiles of 128 by 128 pixels at 30 FPS. The bandwidth is very stable at around 44.2 MB/sec.

Kling-Net at 44 MB/sec

Kling-Net at 44 MB/sec

The Kling-Net protocol has no restriction regarding output FPS or bandwidth other than the hardware limitation and so it has the capacity to saturate even gigabit ethernet.

Here is a quick video showing the desktop of the server being streamed to the 30 virtual tiles of 128 by 128 pixels:

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Video made with an Android phone, the focus is not good when you are too close of the subject.

Here is another test where we drive a lot of devices. In this case there are 1500 Kling-Net devices, the set-up is the same than in the first test: one laptop is the server and the other one is simulating 1500 devices. So in this test the server is opening and holding 1500 TCP streaming sockets. Faster server will hold much more connections. The devices are low resolution 8 by 8 pixels but we still need around 30 MB/sec on the gigabit link.

Here we see the activity monitor of Mac OS X showing the network bandwidth:

Kling-Net 1500 Devices 30 MB/sec

Kling-Net 1500 Devices 30 MB/sec

The high number of packets per seconds (~44.500) is due to the fact that we feed 1500 devices 30 times per seconds in this test.

Here our simulator shows the 1500 devices running without streaming errors:

Kling-Net 1500 Devices without errors

Kling-Net 1500 Devices without errors

Here you see the bandwidth on the simulator end, it’s a little bit lower because with 1500 connections opened there are some networking overheads:

Kling-Net 1500 Devices 26 MB/sec

Kling-Net 1500 Devices 26 MB/sec

Here is the video from where the pictures are extracted:

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MediaMaster from the ArKaos VJ DMX perspective…

Every company has its own culture and ArKaos defined itself during his evolution. We had the chance to start early doing real time video software and this gave us the opportunity to have many users. At this early time we also saw the new generation coming and the opportunity to help it by providing the needed tools. Basically computers were allowing to replace more expansive hardware video players and were doing it with so much more flexibility.

The pricing is an important thing. While ArKaos VJ integrate perfectly with DMX it was first created to be synchronized from MIDI and it’s original price of around 300$ was adapted to the music business. When we introduced ArKaos VJ DMX used the advantage of having a large installed user base and so we priced it at around 700$. At first the lighting market was very careful and indeed that price originally was more a problem than an advantage. But now after having sold many DMX licenses we know that we were right.

After 5 years of distributing ArKaos VJ DMX we now see that we enabled something for the lighting industry. If you are a light designer that need to remote control some video content and if you don’t need complex programming like changing simultaneously 10 parameters of a video loops you will feel just right with the Simple Mode interface that was created first by ArKaos. You don’t need an expansive server, bellow 1000 $ you can get a decent software that will replace it. We also wanted to make sure that a laptop can run our software and use the architecture at the full extend, this allowed us to fight against the idea that you need a big physical hardware player to display some video content. This is an important decision when you develop software because it’s always tempting to reduce your target to just one configuration, while most of our competitors decided to do that we always refused to go for this facility, this in the end defines our culture of designing video software.

After 10 years of developing ArKaos VJ (it started in 1996) we had to decide to make a big step forward and redesign the whole application. In 1996 there was no GPU, no multiple cores CPU, no open source toolkits to develop cross platform software faster and easier. And so we started from scratch the development of MediaMaster for Mac and Windows but with full multi core support and with a very flexible GPU interface that will run on laptops and fly on high end graphical cards. The first version 1.x was purely dedicated to fixture control for modern DMX controllers but we knew that in order to replace ArKaos VJ DMX we also needed a simple mode interface that is introduced now in MediaMaster 2.0.

We will now continue expanding MediaMaster by making sure it works the best way under Direct X 11 on Windows Seven and use the latest Quartz Composer effects of Mac OS X Snow Leopard. While doing that we want users that bought ArKaos VJ DMX to keep on track with the latest development we are doing, this is why we offer a way for them to get a MediaMaster Express license at a reduced price. Switching to MediaMaster offers support of multi cores CPU allowing to play more loops in the same time, a flexible library interface to manage your content, frame blending that will allow you to slow down your videos while avoiding a jerky appearance, a whole new range of modern effects and finally a redesigned interface allowing to preview all running layers in the same time.