Tag Archives: vjing

Artist Interview: Chris Speed Visuals

Chris Speed is an audio-visual artist from London who creates visual abstractions across moving images. His work is a cross-section of 3d, audio-visual design and synthesis – resulting in some pretty mind-bending art! Chris has worked on a variety of projects from music videos and promos to live projections for art and music events.

Recently I spoke with Chris about his project Error 404 and he was kind enough to share a bit about himself and also what went into the making of his Error 404 video project.

Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Chris Speed I go by Chris Speed Visuals and I am audio-visual artist.

Why do you do what you do?
I got into video art through college and have always been a fan of abstract filmmaking. While at university I learnt more about the history of Vjing and visual music. Then I realized this is what I wanted to do, since many of my friends are DJ’s so adding a visual element to their performances seemed like a natural progression. However I have always kept an interest in making my own audio-visual art projects as my career has progressed.

What art do you most identify with?
When I first started I identified with artists such as Nam June Paik, Norman McLaren and Andy Warhol. But as time has passed I look to modern motion graphical artists such as Max Hattler and Jesse Kanda.

What are some things that you find inspiring?
I look to many different places for inspiration such as Brutalist architecture, light, colour, technology and nature itself.

Are there themes you pursue in your work?
Reflecting on my work it seems that certain themes emerge such as monochrome vs colour, nature vs technology and reality vs simulation possibly? I like to leave it open to interpretation as I think that is what makes art so powerful.

Chris shares some of the process behind creating Error 404 in greater detail:

My process for this project was based around a brief for an art exhibition in which glitch was the thematic structuring point.

So basically, after mentally storyboarding the project, I started by creating monochrome scenes, characters and animations within Cinema 4D then rendered them as PNG sequences with Alpha Channels. I then imported everything into After Effects then composited/rendered them as video files along with the opening scrolling code which I learnt how to do using a basic online tutorial.

Then I brought these mov files into VDMX where the real fun begins! Basically I set up a patch in VDMX with four layers, one for the characters, one for backgrounds, one for a syphon input and one as a main pass to control the video feedback. So with the pre-rendered videos set to their respective layers, I then created a custom patch in the video synthesis software Lumen and output it to VDMX and vice versa via the Syphon protocol.

I experimented with the blend modes for each layer till I got a colourful result I was happy with. Then with VDMX & Lumen already creating a feedback loop with each other; I wanted to add some more analogue texture and chaos to the distorted images.

I then sent the VDMX output to my Edirol V4 video mixer using the Intensity Shuttle capture card by Blackmagic Design. I also placed a BPMC Basic Cable within the signal chain for extra video processing. From here I spent hours using the effects on the mixer with the basic cable until I got a collection of results I was happy with. I edited together all the captured footage using Premiere Pro.

Finally, I wanted to make the experience audio-visual so I spent some time developing complementary sound for the project. For the majority of the opening segment I used a online Microsoft Sam speech emulator which I then warped and stretched with Ableton Live.

To match the analogue feedback of the images I wanted to do something similar with the audio so I used a contact microphone to pick up the electromagnetic waves from my speakers then fed that into a Korg Monotron Delay. I recorded the jam into Ableton and to conclude I synced the sound to the video back in Premiere Pro. The final result is Error 404!

For upcoming projects you can follow Chris on Vimeo, or check out his next project Pas De Trois below.

HX-01: An Animated Short Film

When I have some downtime I like to explore sites like Instagram and Tumblr because I come across a lot of art that is really inspiring. I also find out about new artists I may not have heard of before. Looking through the thumbnails on my Tumblr feed today I saw a slick colourful visual of bars spinning around a spiral and just had to click it. I was pleasantly surprised when I came to the page of Hexeosis, an art director/designer from Santa Monica California.

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I looked at some of the other work by Hexeosis and got lost staring into the colourful infinite. When I catch myself staring like that it means I really like something. So I was pleased to see that Hexeosis actually has a kickstarter campaign running to make a full length, full colour, full HD sized animated short film.

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If you support the Hexeosis kickstarter campaign, you stand to get a lot of cool stuff. Varying on the amount you pledge of course, you are eligible to receive a wallpaper pack, digital HD download, regular or deluxe edition blue-ray disc, postcards, stickers, a signed copy, even producer or executive producer credits.

Hexeosis describes their short film as:

This full length video will be a journey in and out of forms and patterns, mandalas and psychedelic landscapes. Colorful calm moments, energetic dynamic sequences and thought-provoking, mind bending constructions woven together into an overall seamless rhythm and flow.

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If that sounds right up your alley and you enjoy the work of Hexeosis I encourage you to check out their personal site for more gifs, images and videos. As well as take a look at their kickstarter campaign.

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.

Using CoGe VJ for Video Synthesis

I downloaded the trial of CoGe VJ a couple weeks ago and have been majorly impressed. It’s a smart software purchase when it comes to creating and manipulating visuals. The trial is really accessible, I believe the only limitation is saving your own presets, but you’re going to want to save your own presets once you start playing with the software.

The great thing about CoGe VJ is it’s only as much UI as you need when you need it, and you can create visuals from nothing through use of their different players and generators, which is what we’re going to do in this article so we can create our cool video synthesis example.

In CoGe VJ any UI that you are going to interact with is an interface that you will create from the interfaces menu. For the sake of this tutorial we’re going to need a clipsynth and an effectchain, so go ahead and create those from the interface menu.

Clip Synth

effectschain

At the top of your clipsynth there is a button that says “fxchain on”, click it to enable our fxchain on this clipsynth. Inside your clipsynth you will see a diagonally striped area that says “right-click on the striped area to add PLAYER”. Do that and add a checkerboard. Click the name of the checkerboard to turn it on and you should see something come up on your main and preview output.

Now in your effectchain you are going to see a similar striped area that says “right-click on the striped area to add FX”. Do that and add a sine warp tile from the tile effect menu. Click the name of the sine warp tile and you should see it take effect in your main and preview outputs.

optical_example

This is great and all but it’s not moving so to remedy this we’re going to right click on the rotation slider of the sine warp tile and from the LFO menu we’ll select sin32. Then do the same thing for the angle slider. After you’ve done that click the button to the right of each slider. You should now see movement in your main and preview output.

Here’s where you can start experimenting. The clipsynth has many different generators, star shine and sunbeams to name a couple, create some new generators inside your clipsynth like we did earlier, toggle your different generators on/off by clicking on their name. Look for something you like and play with the parameters to taste.

generators

Do the same with the effectchain, add in some new effects, toggle them on/off by clicking their names. Even control their order in the chain by clicking the left/right arrows to the left of their name. Once you’re happy with what you’ve created you’re ready to do something with your video.

What to do though? Well one thing we can do is record it with Syphon Recorder, which I detail how to do in an earlier tutorial, but another thing you can do if you are a Lumen user is have your CoGe VJ video act as an oscillator source.

With your CoGe VJ running in the background, open your Lumen software to a new patch. Go to the patch panel and under external connections select “CoGe – Master Mixer” from the dropdown menu next to “Aux in A”. Click and drag the “Aux in A” to the “Camera In” of oscillator A. Now go to the knobs panel and click the left most button under the frequency knob of oscillator A until it says Cam and there you go.

In future tutorials I plan on covering other interfaces available within CoGe VJ, but now you should be able to create your own video synthesis clips in CoGe VJ and integrate them into your Lumen projects.

Create a Video Synthesizer with VSynth & Max MSP

VSynth is described as a series of modules built around Gen that together make a modular video synthesizer. With a Beap/Vizzie feel, Vsynth introduces video synthesis and image processing with the efficiency of hardware-accelerated processes.

In order to get started using these exciting new features, we need to install the VSynth package from the package manager in Max MSP. You’ll also need the Syphon package from the package manager. The package manager can be found at File/Show Package Manager within Max MSP.

When you’re done with installing you’re ready to start exploring VSynth:

  • Create a new patcher file
  • Right-click and select Paste From/Vsynth/vsynth_menu.maxpat

This new menu will allow us to create the other modules needed. Anytime you need to create a new vsynth object you just go into locked mode, CMD+E, and select the new modules you need from the VS Modules drop downs.

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So in locked mode from the VS Modules create:

  • Global/render
  • Global/sync
  • Generators/wfg_shapes
  • Generators/radial_wfg
  • Processors/clrizer
  • I/O/output

Now unlock your patcher and position your modules so they aren’t stacked on top of each other, then wire them in the following order.

  • Output of your sync generator to the input of your radial_wfg
  • Output of your wfg_shapes to the 2nd input of your radial_wfg
  • Output of your radial_wfg to the input of your clrizer
  • Output of your clrizer to the input of your output

Now lock your patcher and click the X on render. Turn your horizontal master fader all the way up and you should see something like this.

vsynth_example_01

To make this more interesting what we can do is:

  • Lock your patch then create a Processor/mixer_feedback
  • Unlock your patch, select everything connected from the sync generator to the clrizer and duplicate it twice
  • Plug all three clrizer outputs into the inputs of the new mixer, and the output of the mixer into the output
  • Now lock your patch, adjust the mixer levels and feedback to your liking and play with the sync modes on the sync generators

You should get some pretty interesting results. Here’s what I came up with below.

vsynth_example_02

From here you can get even more experimental and add effects to your video synthesizer. For instance I added a couple of rota, a rgb offset and a frame delay to come up with this.

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You’ll likely want to create a video of what you have done so far. To do that:

  • Lock your patcher and create a I/O/syphon from the VS modules
  • Unlock and connect your video output to the syphon input, similar to how you have it hooked to the output

This next part requires a bit of extra software, if you’re on a mac it’s called syphon video recorder (I think windows uses spout). With syphon video recorder it is easy. Make sure you have your syphon set up in Max MSP like so with something playing.

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Then switch over to syphon and select your video source in the left most drop down. In our case it’s the Vsynth or Max.

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Then click record and go mess around with your video. Now you can capture your own super cool effects, have fun!

Iron Machines VJ 6 LOOP PACK by Hotaru Visual Guerrilla

Hotaru Visual Geurilla is a group of new media artists and specialists that develop new visual experiences by pushing the boundaries of art and technology. They have recently released a new HD 6 video VJ pack of seamless loops called Iron Machines. The loops look great, featuring primary colored metallic 3d geometry with cool lighting and movement. They can be purchased here. Check out some of the other cool stuff from Hotaru Visual Geurrilla on vimeo.