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don't rely too much on software

Discussion in 'Just Starting' started by sketchyj, May 8, 2005.

  1. sketchyj

    sketchyj New Member

    since i'm one of those "just starting out" (green, novice, etc) ...here's something i learned from my 2nd gig last night....
    if you want to do precise beatmatching, forget about using only arkaos...sometimes it works great, sometimes it lags and is fussy...it started fucking up, being really slow at the show, so instead of sweating i turned on a DVD of prerecorded content that i had made and used my V4 to switch between arkaos and the dvd and i discovered that my show improved dramatically over using arkaos alone....using the cut in buttons allowed me to get results that arkaos is wayyyy to slow to handle....
    that is why i would really welcome a dedicated hardware synth to the market...expensive machines that are built for one purpose only are expensive for a reason...because they work.
    try playing a Korg Triton synth at the store then go home and play a soft synth on your computer and you realize why a Triton costs $2000 and a soft synth is only $300. you would have to be crazy to try and play a soft synth live because it lags and if you play it too fast it becomes a clusterfuck....
    everyone else probably already knows this, but from now on i'm making my V4 central to my performance, and use arkaos to compliment that, rather than the other way around
  2. thomase

    thomase VJ Wunderkind

    err, yes and what do you think is in the core of that triton? you guessed it: an OS... which can fuck up.
    It is true, computers tend to crash more often, but hardware that relies on electronics (with software that is) can also crash.
    BTW: there ARE pro-musicians using softsynths on stage...
  3. sketchyj

    sketchyj New Member

    i wasn't trying to bash arkaos...but from my experience, i'd always choose a dedicated hardware machine over using software, if only for the fact that i've never experienced latency using a hardware synth, and with soft synths there is almost always some degree of latency. i would definately be interested in a hardware version of Arkaos if it were available, and i think that in the future synths like that will happen. But the point i was trying to make is that one hand controlling arkaos and another hand on the V4 works great for me.
  4. holly

    holly WetCircuit.com

    ...but dedicated hardware, even if it is running an application, isn't ALSO running a bloated os and dozens of add-on patches and extensions -- not to mention translating various i/o protocals, etc.

    Congrats Sketchy! This is lesson #1 that cannot be taught; it has to be experienced to be accepted. Humans can hear purpose in the music, and easily identify the patterns and rhythms and anticipate builds and breaks, while audio-reactives (even when broken down into EQ spectrums) can only hear volumes. YOU are the VJ, not some stupid brainless machine.... Hasn't everyone learned the moral of those StarBores, StarDreck, and Mormonstar Gallactica???

    Bots never win!
    :robot: = :nono:
  5. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    umm i disagree here

    software playback is the only way to actually sync video to music

    i'm not talking about cutting to the beat which is so basic as to be unworthy of disscussion here, but actuall syncing where the duration of clips (and hence movement) is adjusted to fit the tempo of the music.

    lets take the example of a dancing clip - by playing it back from a dvd the best you can do is cut it in on the downbeat andf hope that it looks ok. - this basically only works if you don't mind the dancer in the clip dancing out of time with the music that is playing

    by using decent software and carefull editing you can create loops that are composed of bar long sections - when playing back these clips in a good VJ software they can be speed adjusted in realtime to match the music - this enables you to have the dancer in the clip dancing in time with whatever music is playing.

    this is really quite fundamental to creating a good VJ set - i'm shocked at how few people seem to use this aproach and even more shocked that so few VJ softwares allow the precise speed control required.

    BTW on the hardware vs software debate i think we get bogged down in stupid discussion of how hardware is inherently better - this simply isn't the case as all (digital) hardware is running some code (software) - i have seen video mixers crash on more than one occasion.

    tools are tools are tools - well maintained computers with decent code can be as reliable as most "real" hardware
  6. hamageddon

    hamageddon Motion Mapping Looper

    ohmygawd.. a triton? :scared: u're doing top40 or what?

    but talking bout music software live, i've seen lots of ableton
    around avit but no fuck up's.

    it's up to you to build an audio (or video) system suitable for live purposes and that's ususally not just a system from the cornershop. so do your homework first here.

    and btw: i'm still grinning big time at a CG-8 crashing, so what.



    :D
  7. hamageddon

    hamageddon Motion Mapping Looper

    i still remember the legendary Casio VZ-1, thats was still busy playing when u ran one finger down the keyboard and already left the lower end. and one of the yamaha samplers that totally lost it when it had to play more than 8 notes at a time. need more examples? :p
  8. DrEskaton

    DrEskaton Triple Hexagon, Osaka

    thanks for that sleepy that was interesting and definately food for thought.

    you've got a very good point, unlike Resolume, Grid Pro seems to be designed with this kind of manipulation in mind so maybe you'll see more of this now.
  9. alangeering

    alangeering Theatre Tech (AV)

    Tom has it so right, even your pioneer DVD players have a form of software, (called firmware), which runs on a processor (nowadays its often a 32 bit arm processor using the 16 bit thumb instruction set).

    My kiss DVD player is actually running linux, albeit a small, optimised version for the microcontroller inside.

    The more functions you ask of a device the more and more complex the programming becomes and the more likly the chance of an error.

    PC's are so complex that it must be assumed that from time to time there will be unexpected behaviour (so we have a back up system/precedure).

    DVD players used to be so simple, a few hundred lines of 8/16 bit asm - small enough that it could be all checked and garuenteed to be stable.

    Now, dvd players are so complex, there are very few that work fully with their original firmware, so updates are now the norm. (like windows update for your pc).

    This is why we test everything for long periods before we put them on stage.



    Note: the consumer market requires a very fast "time to market" and faults are tollerated (we can always fix with an update later).

    BUT there are markets where you have to get it right first time: medical electronics, automobile electronics, industrial control, avionics, fire control systems, etc.
    In these cases, code is varified and simulated many times over, then the final product is tested many, many times over.
    Yes there are still mistakes, but far fewer. Imagine if your heart monitor was as termperamental as your PC?

    Where would a mixer fall?
    Costs must be kept down, so I don't expect all its code to be fully checked (with every enentuality in mind). Generally hardware should be more reliable than a thrown together PC, but if time was spent on the PC, it could be tested and certified just as far.

    Alan
  10. sketchyj

    sketchyj New Member

    i agree with sleepytom somewhat, i use that method a lot, most of my clips (400 for this gig) that are programmed into arkaos are of people, animals, cartoons that appear to be jamming or dancing to the music....but after 3 hours, even 400 clips started to feel stale, having the dvd (my own original content, not a movie) helped keep it fresh and flashing between arkaos and the dvd using the V4 allows faster control than i have been able to achieve with arkaos alone.....
    when i latch a clip key in arkaos and apply another key which has only an effect on it, arkaos works beautifully....same thing if im using a clip combined with a flash animation.....it's when i start trying to toggle between 2 clips that i start to run into problems sometimes
    i've had my ipod for over a year and it has never crashed once, can't say that for my laptop running itunes....
    i love my lappy, it's just that i recognize its quirks and limitations, and i cant let my whole show hinge upon the assumption that the software or my machine isnt going to have a bad day....
    plus it was actually really fun using the V4....the audience can really see what you are doing more clearly....people want to see your hands going crazy, it helps them connect the performer to the performance
  11. thomase

    thomase VJ Wunderkind

    but that's what I said in my first post: even a v4 can crash on you...
    as soon as there's electronics, there's a chance for crash, period.
    and if you look @ the vidvox forums there are reports of crashing dvd players while grid did not crash...
    i think the thread should be renamed to "never rely on a single piece of kit"
  12. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    Yeah embedded linux is a very popular way to produce things cheaply - often using large amounts of opensource code.

    interestingly a lot of the new edirol products (RG100 DV7 CG8 etc) are linux based - even more interestingly they are built from GPL code and thus they have to release the source code.

    you can download the code from http://www.roland.com/support/gpl/
  13. sketchyj

    sketchyj New Member

    yea i think that is what i really meant .."don't rely on a single piece of kit"
    also, at my last show, i was using the V4 as primarily a switching device....shit, if all i needed was a switcher i could have saved $900 and gotten one at radio shack for $40 bucks....the V4 is a powerful machine in it's own right...i guess i was mainly trying to say that it's a machine built for us VJs, and, like all roland products, it is solid and you can probably count on it working. I havent even started using the effects yet on the V4, before the next gig i'm going to definately practice more incorporating the V4 into my set. I have a roland DJ-2000 mixer, and i really love it. However, it takes time to learn the machine, but i've gotten some really great results with it, it has onboard effects. Seems like all i have time for between gigs is programming content for arkaos, but i really want to spend more time programming memory sets for the V4 and practising it at home
  14. sketchyj

    sketchyj New Member

    oh i forgot the other part of the story last night...i had programmed this .kos file for arkaos, but i never tested it first running a 2nd monitor in full mode, so when i set up at the club, everytime i would open that synth file and try to get into full screen mode , arkaos would crash. The way i worked around this potentially gig ruining nightmare was to use horizontal span as my display mode in windows rather than dual view, then i enlarged the preview window and moved it across, which meant that i had to use my external monitor as my preview window, rather than keeping one open on my laptop.....i was almost ready to start shitting my pants at the gig when arkaos crashed 5 times in a row trying to make work
  15. asterix

    asterix IMAGINEER

    Its impossible to get 100% accuracy with beatmatching eitherway.

    If you are trying to beatmatch to the bass line - try getting yourself a cheapy audio mixer. Drop the highs right down and mid about 3/4 down. Your bass signal is alot clearer and is the only 'level' detectable by your beatmatching software :)

    Because I usually vj to psytrance etc - and don't like hard cuts - I like to use flowmotions 8 band EQ to assign variables to. There are may rythms contained within a bar and sometimes you get a high that behaves like a beat. I use that quite often:)
  16. inopiaCGA

    inopiaCGA New Member

    You guys seem to forget a couple of things. First of all, most VJ software I've seen is rather poorly programmed. Take resolume for example. I have an athlon 1400 as my main machine, and when I run resolume on it it eats up 80% of CPU to do nothing at all (no clips running, just right after I started the program). Also, I've seen it crash on more than one occasion, once even during a gig because the machine it was running on didn't have flash installed (now there's crappy coding for ya, probably too lazy to build in a fucking check).

    VJ software is usually created by amateur programmers. And what is worse, everybody is trying to make a buck off these crappy programs, so there's no code sharing and nobody is fixing the bugs because they're all out hunting for new features (it's more fun to code new features than to fix old bugs, memory leaks or bloat ... one of the reasons gnome/gtk/firefox are so bloated:)

    If you run a company that builds $2000 dollar embedded systems (nobody in their right minds builds pure electronic synths, everything is just CPU's and DSP's nowadays, running proprietary software) you can afford to hire decent programmers and force them to write stable code. Also embedded systems don't run an OS, because the OS's main task is to interface with the hardware (all the hardware AND code is proprietary, so no reason to have an os there) and provide multitasking (only one programs runs at a time, so no need for that either. Multithreading can be done with standard libs like pthreads).

    A well tuned PC with a stable OS (windows is completely stable, if well configured) is just as good as an embedded system.

    I guess the core message of my rant is that a chain is only as strong as the weakest link, and in the case of VJ-ing the software is clearly that weak link. So instead of claiming 'hardware' is better, you should rant about how coders are spending your $100 or so on shooting up and whores instead of fixing bugs :)

    (ps: read smilies wherever neccesairy to not get pissed at me for speaking my mind)
  17. signal55

    signal55 robotfridge

    yeah i have a similar prob with arkaos after about an 2 hours of continuos use the whole thing starts to stutter and play movies at a really slow rate, is it somthing to do with the memory getting clogged up, (like a over used hoover, yeah i know that sounds stupid)

    xdave
  18. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    It doesn;t sound stupid its called a memory leak, its due to crap coding.
  19. signal55

    signal55 robotfridge

    thanks morph:) i guessed so, i don't suppose someone could explain why crap coding cause's this, please, so i can stop using my hoover analogy when someone ask why the video looks stuttered. (so i can at least look half clever)

    xdave
  20. MoRpH

    MoRpH Moderator

    I believe it can be to do with bad garbage collection functions in code (eg. cleaning up after each frame generated, etc.)
  21. holly

    holly WetCircuit.com

    I have never heard of a V4 crashing. I've never seen it happen. My V4s are very reliable. If you're saying in theory then say so and I might believe it is within the realm of possibility, but has anyone actually had a V4 crash? What happens?
  22. thomase

    thomase VJ Wunderkind

    i was talking about a possibility. I don't own one myself but my partner does. So no, I haven't seen one crash YET but every piece of kit that relies on menues and things just makes me think that the possibility is there... I even had problems with a much simpler ave7 once, it didn't crash but refused to accept one source...
    I took the V4 as an exmple cause I think it is one of the oieces of kit most UNlikely to crash but I just wouldn't rule that possibility out completely. On the other hand: my ibook only crashed on me once during a gig, my tower way too often. In that sense computers are MORE likely to crash, hardware LESS. But no piece of kit is infalible
  23. DrEskaton

    DrEskaton Triple Hexagon, Osaka

    the v4 is buggy. mine has never "crashed" but it will sometimes get "stuck" after being on BPM sync for too long where the cross fader stops working. you have to turn on and then off bpm sync quickly and it starts working again.

    I have one of the earlier ones, maybe they have done a firmware update since then?
  24. DFUNC

    DFUNC New Member

    My Powerbook never crashed. :p
  25. PilotX

    PilotX Tom syzygy, not Dan ;)

    I've been able to produce a lag on the V4 by butting bpm sync on, and tapping as fast as possible between the 3 mixes, whilst moving the preset selection knob. after a while the V4 gets behind and won't change for a second :) but it doesn't really crash - it catches up and continues.
  26. Rovastar

    Rovastar /..\

    I, for one, welcome our new robotic overloards.
  27. Rovastar

    Rovastar /..\

    True you need to have otehr backup options in an emerency but if you have a reliable PC with reliable software tehn I don't see to much of a problem. FOr a installation for a small cable TV station I had some of my software running for 3 months plus and running 24 hours a day and no problems.
  28. sketchyj

    sketchyj New Member

    As part of the robot commutity, i thank you for your generous welcome and submissive demeanor. However, please brush up on your spelling before you embarrass your new masters. We wish to dominate highly intelligent beings; it strokes our ego chips.
  29. WordVirus23

    WordVirus23 NoInput is Detected

    sorry to preach here...

    but I have to say, that TZT (40268... er whatever the last triplet release was) is by *far* the most stable vj soft I've seen... granted I run 320x240, but I can easily stack 3 clips, each w/ at least 1 effect and an esotic mask and still hit 25+ fps... with a P3-750 w/ 256 megs ram, zoomed scan converted.... and feel comfortable throwing whatever I like @ it... oTzt has yet to prove itself, however I see the same performance levels. I must say open source is the way to go, if any project proves that a few dedicated individuals can produce amazing results its this oTzt.
    <curtsey>
    ..j...
  30. sketchyj

    sketchyj New Member

    Also, i wanted to add that i think the VJ sets that will really stand out as performances in their own right are the ones that use lots of different pieces of gear. Arkaos is important, yes, and VJing is expensive, which means that most cannot afford much more than the basic setup centered around a laptop. If money were no object, i would have a Pioneer DVJ machine, another V4, a Korg entrancer, and a larger 61 key midi controller. The software will no doubt keep getting better and better, and it will be a major tool in my arsenal of kit. I was just daydreaming about the day when i can ditch the whore of a laptop i own and all of its recurring viruses and STDs it catches from fucking around on the internet. PCs are built to be everything to everyone, and i am often amazed at just how much i can do with this one machine. But when i'm at a gig my laptop often becomes a fussy bitch and i don't like to feel my balls sweat bullets because the machine is getting tired. If a hardware unit were available chances are that it would take half a year or more to save up for it for me. But a reliable, feature rich synth that included things like a scratch pad, color monitor, keys that displayed clip thumnails, an effects bank, and proprietary software, chips, and circuitry mated together to create a machine that is optimized to perform one job and one job only is something that we need. Right now we are making do with what we have, performing within the limitations that we are given. I long for something i can push hard and fast, something that will handle tons of effects and layers without crapping out 2 hours into the gig. I don't want to be embarrassed. Sure, it COULD crash...but i'd rather have a machine that i know probably won't crash than a machine that i suspect probably will have problems and if i'm lucky will only stutter a few times on the whole. I love VJ software....it's new, it's amazing, it's fun...and it's what will shape the VJ machines of the future...right now it's all we have and we gotta deal with it. But c'mon!! How could anyone reading this not agree that we need the real deal. Hey Korg! Hey Edirol! Hey Pioneer! Don't stop!! We love hardware and we need more and soon! The machine i described will happen, i'm sure of it. I could see something like this in the realm of possibility within the next 5 or 10 years easy. Some company needs to take a chance and be the first to engineer such a product. By the time this happens, our little community of VJs will become crowded with interested newbies like never before. When machines like this are available to buy at Guitar Center, we will be the ones sitting pretty with extensive clip libraries accumulated through years of waiting and working. The mere fact that the DVJ exists, albeit at a high price, should be encouragement to all of us. Soon, we will all be able to afford one. If everyone had one, VJ performances would improve and VJs would garner more publicity. In a way, i love the fact that i'm a VJ now, because i get to watch the rise and be the first to acquire and implement these incredible toys to an unsuspecting public. Try breaking into the world of DJing right now in 2005. HAHA good luck!! Every 13 year old on the block thinks he's a DJ now. But the ones that made it were the ones doing it back when being a DJ meant announcing top 40 songs to drivetime traffic. Likewise, it is up to us to broaden the term VJ beyond the perception of the generic spokesperson on TRL hired to read cue cards between music videos. Our job is more difficult than what club DJs do, yet they get the fame because they have paid their dues and now is their time to reap the rewards. We need technology that is next level available to us, we need more effects, and technology that makes our job easier and lets us concentrate on creative things. Just putting my whole rig together and making it work (laptop, hard drive, scan converter, midi controller) is a considerable part of my gig. I want it all in one piece of kit that does more and does it more reliably. A machine that can handle hours and hours of hard use and not skip a beat. I'd say that my dream VideoSynth would be made by Korg and cost around $5000. And it should hit stores by 2007. By then, DVJs will have dropped to $700, everyone will already own one and be coveting the VideoSynth, cursing the high price, and waiting for the day when the price will drop, as it inevitably always does.

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