Add VJ Software FX to Realtime Analog Video Synthesis

One of the things I love about analog video synthesis is it’s so experimental and chaotic that it gives you a lot of great original source material for your creative projects. I have a small setup of three Critter and Guitari video synths being run into an Edirol v4 mixer, and the mixer running out to an old Sony television. This setup allows for a lot of fun, but I thought to myself the other day wouldn’t it be great if I could run this analog setup through some of the digital effects I have on my laptop.

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So after doing a little research I started working on a solution. I found the Elgato Video Capture adapter/software first and was able to record my analog video experiments into the computer, but I still wanted realtime. So I looked into whether you could syphon video from the Elgato software into any vj software. You can, there’s a program called OBS that people use for game streaming.

OBS allowed for me to syphon inject my video stream into CoGeVJ. Now that I had the video stream in CoGeVJ I was able to apply whatever effects I wanted to my hearts content. Then I just used CoGeVJ’s fullscreen mode and output to my television through HDMI as a second monitor.

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Here’s a breakdown of what I had to do for the technical setup:

Elgato

  • Hook up the adapter and open the software for Elgato Video Capture
  • Confirm that video is showing up within the Elgato video software

OBS

  • Open up OBS, and look in the bottom left for sources, if there are none listed add one by clicking on the little plus button and selecting Game Capture (Syphon)
  • Right click on the Game Capture (Syphon) source and go to Properties
  • From the properties menu select Elgato Video Capture from the source dropdown
  • Make sure the checkbox beside “inject” is checked and then click launch syphon inject
  • Then “OK” out of or close any dialog boxes open in OBS
  • You should be able to see your video in OBS, if it’s really tiny right click the Game Capture (Syphon) and go to “transform/fit to screen”

CoGe VJ

  • Now open up CoGeVJ and go to interfaces and create a syphon source
  • On the syphon server select your source and turn on the fx chain
  • Right click in the diagonally lined area of the fx chain and add any effect
  • You should now see you analog video with effects applied

From here its pretty open as to what you can do next. You can record videos with your smartphone, webcam or even syphon recorder as I’ve detailed in a previous tutorial. For more articles on video synthesis check out Using CoGe VJ for Video Synthesis, Create a Video Synthesizer with Vizzie & Max MSP or Create a Video Synthesizer with VSynth & Max MSP.

6 thoughts on “Add VJ Software FX to Realtime Analog Video Synthesis”

  1. This post was such a huge help, thanks. I have a question that maybe you can answer. When I run my Video Scope into Elgato–>OBS–>CoGe, the feed gets TV snow-like effect in lots of plays and the colors of the Video Scope are grayed out. Is there any way around this analog–>digital feedback without using a mixer of some kind? Would the Scope into a signal converter and then into a HDMI capture card work?

    1. Hi Andrew, glad I could be of some help. When I first tried this experiment I was using a Black Magic Intensity Shuttle with my Critter & Guitari video synths. This actually didn’t work at all because the Black Magic Intensity Shuttle is expecting time-based video and will simply show a black screen if you try to record one of these analog video boxes. My next attempt was to try something basic like the Elgato Video Capture. This worked however I did notice some artifacts as you have mentioned. I haven’t found a work around for this yet, but would also be curious as to whether some sort of time-based correction or signal conversion would help.

  2. Hey man, this post is exactly what I’ve been needing. I’m looking into introducing a rhythm scope to a resolume project and was wondering if it’s possible before buying one.

    1. Hey Josh, if you’re thinking of incorporating a rhythm scope into your Resolume projects it is totally possible, but you will need a piece of hardware to convert the analog video signal into a digital one, from there you should be able to pipe the the video signal into Resolume with Syphon.

      I would suggest experimenting with different video converters if you can. Myself and a few other people have noted artifacts that occur in converting the video signal from a Critter Guitari box through the Elgato Video. It’s not perfect but it works pretty well.

      I’ve also tried a black magic intensity shuttle, but that does not work with the Critter Guitari boxes because from what I understand they don’t have a time synced frame-rate so the shuttle simply doesn’t pick up the signal and you get a black screen. So do some research on video converters maybe look up what other people might be using before you splash any cash on expensive converters. That being said the intensity shuttle is a pretty amazing video converter in it’s own right, it just didn’t work for what I was doing at the time.

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