The always-evolving setup we use to make live visuals

Some of the fun we have making live visuals comes from experimenting with always new ways of moving pixels and colors around our machines, eyes and screens. In other words, we often change how our equipment is connected and try different signal paths, like many others probably do. As we play with new setups, we Pixelflowers will share in this thread details about them and their pros and cons.

Equipment:
LZX Vidiot (analog video synthesizer); Roland Edirol V-8 (digital video mixer); Panasonic WJ-AVE5 (digital video mixer); Syntonie AVE MOD V2; BPMC Premium Cable; VideoMaster2000 (switcher with color/contrast controls); laptop running Resolume Arena; Korg Nanokontrol2; Easycap USB2AV capture card; salvaged webcam, TVCC, composite video splitter, video switcher, audio mixer, LCD display, CRT TV 15″

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We started making visuals with a Panasonic WJ-AVE5 mixer, which only has two channels. We like to have the Resolume output on a dedicated, unprocessed channel, so our setups were relatively simple:

  • Vidiot Color Video > AVE MOD V2
  • AVE MOD V2 > BPMC Premium Cable
  • BPMC Premium Cable > WJ-AVE 5 #1
  • Resolume > WJ-AVE5 #2
  • WJ-AVE5 rec > Vidiot Luma In
  • Vidiot Luma Video > WJ-AVE5 ext. camera (superimpose effect)
  • 3 smartphones/tablets > audio mixer (they run a free app that works like an audio oscillator, generating sine frequencies of usually 0.5-2.5Hz / 49-51Hz / 99-101Hz respectively, which interfere beautifully with video frequencies)
  • Vidiot Luma > audio mixer
  • audio mixer > Vidiot (various inputs)
  • WJ-AVE5 > AV2USB > Linux computer running OBS > streaming
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During 2020 we acquired an Edirol V-8 video mixer (which has 8 channels, each with a monitor output), a cheap projector, screens and a splitter. This allowed us to get more creative with the routing. Here’s how we connected our equipment last Wednesday, 11 November 2020:

(“output” and “input” are omitted; “#1” means “channel 1”)

  • Vidiot Color Video > V8 #1
  • V8 #1 monitor > VideoMaster2000 #1
  • Vidiot Luma Video > V8 #2
  • V8 #2 monitor > WJ-AVE5 ext. camera (superimpose effect)
  • WJ-AVE5 main > V8 #5
  • WJ-AVE5 rec > V8 #6
  • projector < TVCC > V8 #7
  • Resolume > V8 PC/8
  • V8 PC/8 monitor > video splitter
  • video splitter > 1: LCD display, 2: Vidiot Luma, 3: VideoMaster2000 #2
  • LCD display < webcam > Resolume
  • VideoMaster2000 > BPMC
  • BPMC > WJ-AVE5 #1
  • V8 preview > AVE MOD V2
  • AVE MOD V2 > WJ-AVE 5 #2
  • WJ-AVE 5 #2 monitor > TV 15″
  • 3 smartphones/tablets > audio mixer (they run a free app that works like an audio oscillator, generating sine frequencies of usually 0.5-2.5Hz / 49-51Hz / 99-101Hz respectively, which interfere beautifully with video frequencies)
  • Vidiot Luma > audio mixer
  • audio mixer > Vidiot (various inputs)
  • V8 main > AV2USB > Linux computer running OBS > streaming

Notes:

  • the TV 15″ acts as a preview monitor, but it’s affected by the AVE MOD V2. We may need another splitter
  • VideoMaster2000 color/contrast controls would be more useful at the end of the FX chain
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thanks for sharing @pixelflowers - am enjoying the documentation of this setup !

if you were interested in ‘drawing’ some more the setup flows, there is an old thread talking about some tools here

we even have a plugin on scanlines that lets you do it - kind of forgot about this , might start a new topic on it, but in short can wrtie something like this:

[graphviz engine=circo]
graph {
    vidiot -> v4;
    resolume -> splitter -- v4;
    v4 -- avemod -- ave5 -- v4;
}
[/graphviz]

to produce this:

graph { vidiot -- v4; resolume -- splitter -- v4; v4 -- avemod -- ave5 -- v4; }
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omg i love this THANK YOUUUUU
:crazy_face:

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testing / WIP…

same setup, simpler diagram:

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maybe break them up into a couple different instances within the same post for smaller sections

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Yeah. I think I need to reorganize a bit the logic structure, as I didn’t have any “video mixer” item…rather an item for each video mixer channel, which isn’t working well here (but I still want to track the channels we use)

so rather than

vidiot > V8 channel 1

I’m trying with

vidiot > channel 1 > V8

you could label the connections (the “patch cables”) for channel numbers potentially too with something like

mixer -> monitor [label="#2"];

oh yeah! the changes you made above are making things much more readable

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An update about our live setup.

Our visuals are sound-reactive and we usually play at dance parties over DJ sets. We run a 1/4" jack, XLR or RCA mono cable from the MIX2, BOOTH or REC outputs of the DJ mixer into a soundcard. We set appropriately Resolume and we connect the soundcard main and headphone outputs to the LZX Vidiot and the syntonie AVE MOD 2.

One of the Edirol V8 main outputs goes via BNC cable + BNC-RCA adapter into the main projector. When possible/available, a secondary projector and additional CRT TVs are connected to another output through a second splitter. We use one of the outputs for feedback.
When we are more involved in the design/decorations of the event, we may project through veils or nets.
We get in touch in advance with the technicians for the event, among other things to set lights that won’t fight our visuals, and to move fog machines away from the projectors (fog would hide the picture, but even worst, it would lighten the whole room). Also this.

The laptop running Resolume currently gets through an HDMI2AV adapter and then in a normal channel of Edirol V8, rather than into its VGA input, and its monitor output goes into a splitter. The laptop also uses either a webcam (pointed to the environment, or for video feedback with a digital monitor connected to the splitter), or the usual cheap AV2USB capture card connected somewhere.

Whenever possible we carry a CRT TV and the Canon camcorder for video feedback and rescanning. The TV is connected to the Panasonic AVE5 (through its monitor output on the V8) where we mix the camcorder with another input, typically the Edirol V8 Preview Out. In between we may put respectively the BPMC Premium Cable and the AVE MOD2 (like in the 2021 picture above).
A second camcorder may also be somewhere, maybe in the DJ booth. Compared to the Canon XM2 is newer, better (first HD generation) and more compact…so we don’t play much with it because all controls are hidden behind menus.

We have been keeping very little documentation of our performances. We rarely take any videos…it’s tricky, as most people at these parties refrain to take selfies or even use the phone (it’s frown upon, and for good reasons we think; we have learnt ourselves how valuable this is, how it contributes to the atmosphere and freedom). We could record directly from the mixer outputs, like we have been doing with our weekly livestreamings, but that wouldn’t represent the way projections and CRT TVs look in the physical space and how they become part of the dancefloor experience. They say enjoy the moment here, and we embrace it :ghost:


27 March 2022, Loophole (Berlin, DE)


19 March 2022, About Blank (Berlin)

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Yesterday we had our usual weekly livestreaming and we set up the equipment in new ways but also in a rush. We ended up starting the live session with no clear ideas about each connection…

(The result was better than usual! It’s becoming clear to us that the machines know what to do. We are just there to em/power them, and to facilitate their interactions and conversations. Then we should likely disappear behind the power strips.)

An attempt to graphviz what was going on follows below. It’s limited to what changed since the last post.

Most of the time Camera1 was pointed to TV1 for videofeedback, Camera2 to TV2 to rescan glitches.

Upsides:

  • any video source can be mixed with video feedback
  • with rescanning, the potential of the glitch boxes gets fully leveraged (compared to going through the WJ-AVE5)

Downsides:

  • no independent preview monitor
  • …?

…while that is really interesting for the one half of the brain, in addition a little food for the other senses - for example in the form of a few photographs of the setup - would actually be nice too…

…that is a lot of machines you‘re moving there…

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you’re totally right! here are some recent photos:



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:joy: cunTV
really great walkthrough here I love graphviz visualizations

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A post was split to a new topic: Fairplay’s setup