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solutions for being hardware independant

Discussion in 'The Future' started by Anyone, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. Anyone

    Anyone New Member

    hi guys,

    ok so most of us know its been possible for a few years now already,
    with Edirol's PR80 for example,

    to actually just bring a harddrive to a gig,
    so no need for carrying any bulky hardware around,
    just a detailed rider ;)

    however, the PR80 is quite a hi-end solution
    and most promoters wont have this equipment to hand
    especially if you're on tour with several dates in several countries
    and are expecting a consistent delivery of your performance.

    Can anybody recommend alternatives to this, that are easier on promoters?

    if not, and this is the crux of the matter,
    what would we need to recommend to manufacturers
    to make this happen in the near future?
  2. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    kaptivator with an external HD would have done the trick..
    shame Korg didn't follow through.

    Pr 80 is great for installs but not easy to walk in and play.
    as I am sure you and vello found out.

    but as most hardware servers are just computers in a box anyway, wouldnt it make sense for someone like Modul8/garagecube to build an install version?
    or maybe some VJ boffin can start a line of custom VJ performance machines based on macbook pro?
  3. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    that's a better way of asking the question!

    The current problems are that hardware media servers such as the Hippotizer and PR80 are very expensive to buy and it is very hard (impossible) to practice and create a good show without having access to the hardware.

    Potentially the solution to this is for a manufacturer to offer a software only version of their media server to allow for at home setup (similar in concept to wysiwyg lighting control systems).

    I still feel that there is little to be gained from this approach for normal VJs (eg the hippotizer is very powerful and complex - thus to get the most out of it requires some complex configuration as well as dealing with the interfacing into a control system - this can be alleviated with desk profiles / sysex dumps etc but it is still a days work to assemble the different elements into a working system)

    This type of system can be well used within a touring setup though as tweaks to the show could be performed back at the studio with updates being sent out to the on the road operator. However i don't see the advantages of this approach ever really being affordable by individual club VJs.

    the existing systems were not designed for one day hires in foreign lands but more so that spares could be easily swapped out in the middle of a tour without having to reprogram the mediaservers. this does potentially allow for easy travel with just a harddrive but personally i would be very hesitant about doing this (it only takes one unit with different or corrupted software and the show will be f@#ked - also the potential time waste of reconfiguring the hardware makes the cost rise up again)
  4. Anyone

    Anyone New Member

    we didnt have any probs whatsoever...

    ok sleepy, having a home version so we can setup in the studio
    then update the hardware in the venue with new configs... not bad

    so not just having media on playback but also way to interface with it, cool
  5. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    haven't catalyst and hippo been working on software only versions??
  6. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    another problem with this concept is the media encoding requirements - hardware based video decoding is common in many media severs (both traditional tape replacement units like the doraime and in newer solutions such as the hippotizer) The solution would be to integrate media encoding into the home use software only solution, however there would be possible errors which you wouldn't see until you were at the gig. (eg i've seen footage which plays back fine on hippotizer v2 but appears to have reversed fields or something on v3) I suspect it would be fairly hard to make a completely reliable solution that allowed for decent compatibility testing without having access to the actual playback hardware.

    even with these issues the concept of a cheap (free?) software to build shows for playback from expensive hardware media servers would be a very good idea. if done correctly this would allow not only allow wider use of media servers but also would encourage much more creative show design as preparation time would not have to tie up the actual servers themselves.

    it gets really exciting if the concept is taken a little further.. if the design software included the ability to create a virtual stage with the ability to position virtual screens in a space you could design and program very complex multiscreen shows in the studio with a real concept of how they would look in production. When it comes to show day you could just plug you laptop into multiple mediaservers and control the multiscreen show that you'd prepared at home.
  7. Anyone

    Anyone New Member

    yay we are agreeing !!!

    ok so there would be technical setbacks from time to time of course...

    but having a soft available for a specific hardware
    would be something I'd like to see too
    any others?

  8. Scratchpole

    Scratchpole Hmm still thinking...

    Well I suppose if it's free and it does audio and lighting as well. I'll give it a go!
    It almost sounds viable.
  9. zygo

    zygo New Member

    A new hardware system(computer) built from the ground up to handle two pieces of software (available seperately for a reasonable price) which run side by side(multiple displays 2/3):

    1. Audio, video and dmx sequencer similar to Ableton Live does with audio/midi. With unlimited routing capacities(based on size of lighting/screens/surround sound).

    2. Virtual production building software with a fully customisable virtual space where you can build/save preset venue set-ups, test them virtually, and route signals in an intuitive way.

    The spec of the hardware I'm open to suggestions. But I believe the best option is an easily expandable system so someone could buy a basic unit with: midi in/out/through, stereo sound card 2in/2out, dmx in/out, ethernet(both networking and optional VGA-ethernet type outs), dual display graphics card, easy slot in hard drive bay(shell to house a standard drive available seperately), usb/FW400/FW800....

    but then a massive venue-theatre, stadium, big nightclubs, festivals-could buy a top spec (custom built ????) machine with ??? graphics cards, ??? audio ins/outs, ??? processor's, networking options etc.

    The software should be able to run on any reasonably spec'd PC/MAC.

    I can dream anyway...

    Edit: add video inputs to hardware.
  10. zygo

    zygo New Member

    With future improvements to internet speeds (I don't know if it would work currently... maybe??) the software could expand to have an online networking service where people can create and share preset venues, to interact creatively online around the world.

    Ideal for aspiring artists to network and practice with content while they aren't being paid to do it live.

    Or think about BIG shows where they maybe want x number of VJs/bands doing a collaborative work, with no practice time... oh and they all live in different countries.

    Would also open up options for new venues/club nights/exhibition spaces where the event could be open and completely controlled remotely by certain categories of users: specific list, certain experience-graded system (somehow), age groups etc.
  11. many2

    many2 Active Member

    You are reading my mind :)
  12. evomedia

    evomedia Control Freaks

    The edirol DV7 was designed for this stuff, it basically just takes HD caddies for content, but never liked the interface and VJ's just dont ever get the chance to play with them. They are well suited to installation setups though in clubs if only VJ's knew how to control the things...

    Ideally though by far the easiest way for VJ's to be hardware independent is for clubs to purely follow the DJ route of installing decks and mixers. DVJ's hardwired into the club with a DJM800 audio mixer for AV and a v4 wth spare input for VJ's to plug in own setups if required.

    Your then in a situation where the VJ can just travel with DVD's for ultimate independance or a laptop to plug in. This route is highly desirable for clubs because its essentially still a second DJ booth if there is no VJ in, and AV Dj's like yoda have a setup ready for them.

    Its the only real option that makes sense to clubs, simple, effective and versitile. A DJ booth if needed and a VJ booth too. Would also open the gates for great AV acts and would push the club scene forward. Its all simple to instal, works well even in small clubs plus most places can afford it.

    However, I can easily see club owners. tight as they are just putting in 1 set of DVJ's in the main DJ booth with a video mixer, if that happened then we'll be left in a situation that the video gets forced onto the DJ. Sounds stupid but the DJ Yoda type shows will only increase, and although most DVJ DJ shows are simplistic video wise, they are synced and work well for scratch DJ's. I can see a youtube type approach to video explode where every DJ just finds any old bit of video just to fill the discs, it may create a real visuals mess of video for the sake of it, but some will shine.

    If that happened then VJ's may very quickly have to adapt, it may turn into a situation where VJ's either adopt doing the audio as well, become AV acts and follow the hexstatic, coldcut, DJ Yoda route, or end up designing content for DJ's. As the video setups become too heavily based around the DJ.

    Sure there will always be work for video only VJ's but I reckon that market will be most profitable for those who adopt either the professional staging aspects to setup, large complex AV for stage shows and setup for festivals and big budget production, or very budget setups for promoters with no cash like free parties... (no change there) but really audio is looking like more and more of a opening to better paid gigs for shorter hours, and clubs will want decent shows for their DVJ setups. Whatever happens the VJ role will need to grow, content will have to be well designed and entertaining to compete if the DJ's just start playing out anything they can find video wise to stay ahead of other Dj's.

    But like anyone starting to understand Video, DJ's will soon get a passion for what synced video can add to their show, they have a powerful tool in the DVJ's and Vj's should be cashing in on DJ's video needs, rather than see them all flood the market with every bit of badly captured low quality internet sampled clips they find.
  13. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    this is a great argument except for the price tag.

    clubs aren't going to blow 5K on a DVJ set up they will use 5 times a year.
    neither will hire shops or events companies.
    especially when you can get a dvd player from tescos for ?20.
  14. evomedia

    evomedia Control Freaks

    Yes they will, they are essentially the same as CDJ's audio wise, a dj can use a DVJ without any issues, the price difference between buying new cdjs or dvjs make the price point difference minor. The difference with a dvd player is that the DJ's wont use them but DJ's will use DVJ's, even as just a CD deck.

    Most clubs do not spend ?20 on dvd players from tescos, most hire AV companies to put in probably distributed video systems. Baby Cream spent over ?300k on video setups, and most bars are installing plasmas all over the place, signage systems to sell advertising, and not one installation company would spec a crappy tescos dvd player. The laser systems, decor and fit out bill for any modern club or bar is vast. revolution bars spend over 80k on AV, and all you can see is 2 beamers generally, But have a video rack in the basement. Just one 8x8 matrix is ?2.5k and most bars and clubs need 3 or 4 of them.

    I spent 5 years working for AV companies fitting out clubs and bars. Bar and club owners dont come to VJ's for fitting AV in bars deep, they go to AV installation companies, and no AV company will put in a bill less than 70k. I dont think you have much experience in big budget projects Deep, and wouldn't believe the money that Bars and club are spending.

    In terms of installation dvj's are cheap, hardly any more than DJM800 mixer per piece, and only what ?800 more per price than a CDJ deck, when you look at actual installation for any club or bar, with sound systems, lighting and laser rigs, plasma screens and projectors, this setup is nothing money wise. Even a decent beamer costs more than 2 DVJ's and a V4.

    In terms of installtion budgets any club or bar thats being fitted out is pocket change these days. Take the new j12 club opening in Reading, they are spending ?2 million on reburbishment, and thats in a trading estate in Reading. it should give an indication of the money in design and kit for most clubs and bars these days. 5k really is peanuts for any bit of install kit for clubs
  15. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    well for new installs you may be right.
    but a club with a full DJ set up isn't going to replace it with DVJs it unless it really has to.
  16. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    But without the ability to design / program at home you'll never do a very good show on one of these systems.
    I really disagree with this statement - clubs don't see the point in installing ?5Ks worth of VJ gear which doesn't really do anything except let their DJ play music videos. Clubs would prefer to spend their money on a media server system which has built in content and will do some automated visuals on the nights when they don't employ a VJ (ie most of the time)

    If a media server system like we were discussing above was installed then VJs could easily use it and would add significant extra value to the club. If the club was the mainstream r+b music videos type venue then they would be able to plug in the DJ's DVJ setup.
  17. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged


    since olli split the thread we are saying the same thing in stereo.

    is it me or aren't dvds going to be obsolete soon??
  18. evomedia

    evomedia Control Freaks

    Totally agree, just said thats what they were designed for, not that I'd ever spec one. i think Edirol missed the point when they built the DV7 is was haftway between a VJ bit of kit and a media server, but didn't hit either market. And no one ever gets the chance to learn them so they never get used.

    Yep not saying media servers will be pased over for a DVJ decks alone, clubs will continue to use media servers they are almost viewed as essentail in most clubs, I'm talking about the DJ booths when it comes to upgrades will start adopting DVJ's if more DJ's start along the DJ Yoda route. It only takes a few DJ's to produce DVJ content and clubs will not even blink about putting DVJ's in, it will almost have to happen if DJ's have their collection on CD and DVD, they work fine as a CDJ replacement because the are basically the same size and work the same way, and the DJ's without DVD's can still just DJ on CD's.

    Thats why they will upgrade, it wont be considered VJ kit, they will view it as new kit for the DJ. And if replacing the CDJ's then a DVJ is a minimal cost increase.

    i didn't go into media servers etc here, because it was about hardware independant VJ's and DVJ's are the most likely opening in clubs to remove VJ kit as they will need a video mixer to get anything out of them. Media servers doesn't affect VJ Kit, but DVJ decks may.
  19. Anyone

    Anyone New Member

    that's up to us to decide, if we are able to present a united front.

    disagreeing with Sleepy about the DJ metaphore (feels good to be in familiar grounds ;) )
    DJ are again a good example for us, this time in presenting a united front

    they continued playing with vinyl for 10 years after it was obsolete
    just because that was the way they wanted it

    now it's opened up a lot more but this was the case for the longest time
    which goes to show the market need not always dictate
    what creators should use
  20. evomedia

    evomedia Control Freaks

    If more VJ's were creating video for DJ's then DVJ's will quickly become the main choice for decks in the DJ booth. And when DVJ's are the norm so will beamers and video mixers, then its simple to just plug in and play.
  21. Anyone

    Anyone New Member


    BTW here's a simple controller I was working on a while ago,
    I forgot the name of that modular expensive manufacturer...

    imagine having a controller with a built in external hard drive
    both powered via USB...
  22. Anyone

    Anyone New Member

    did you know MoS London doesn't even hold CDJs in its main room DJ booth?
    only DVJs, so if you wanna play CDs, no probs, play DVDs no probs...
  23. thomase

    thomase VJ Wunderkind

    oli, I guess you mean the mawzer
  24. zygo

    zygo New Member

    DVJ to replace VJ/DJ tags?!

    From the direction you seem to be taking this.. are you suggesting in the long term VJs or DJs who make visual content will replace the vinyl DJ? If you would be happy with clubs having DVJ booths, that would mean you could only get at it if there was no DJ using them.

    Personally in the generic club world I could see this happening. a/v DJs being the norm.

    One thing holding this back from being as standard as a set of 1210s is the lack of a decent a/v DJ mixer.

    Why isn't there one? Why wasn't the DJM-800 designed to handle this?

    Is it because pioneer don't see a future for DVD's, so are waiting for a next gen complete solution?

    Or is it because they realise the future of audio and video is computer based (DJs using ableton, VJs using midi controlled video software) so are investing in MIDI as we can see in the DJM-800?
  25. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    coming soon and it ain't cheap.
  26. zygo

    zygo New Member

    Coming soon... from?? does cost (is it THAT expensive?) matter for a future proof install?

    Also do you have details: no ins/outs, effects, routing, monitoring outs, midi?
  27. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    can't really say much at this point.
    there is one coming out soon and it is aimed at the install market.
    ie heavy and out of the price range of most VJs
  28. zygo

    zygo New Member

    so still the problem of not being able to have the same setup at home to practice and setup presets?

    Could be worth telling the people you can't say much about to build in an SD card preset system, along side a software based version of the interface for setting up presets and testing them on a pc.

    Is it designed specifically for DVJ setups? or a more complete a/v mixer/controller?

    Also critical to me.... will it support surround sound output?
  29. deepvisual

    deepvisual visually challenged

    just dvjs really.
    but its a start.

    nothing you couldn't make by connecting up existing equipment, just a stand alone turnkey version.
  30. zygo

    zygo New Member

    Maybe the VJ community could come together and design a system-there must be some(lots of) engineers and programers that could figure it out between them? IF they could agree on specs. Do a deal with a big company to manufacture it.

    I think that until the "standardised hardware" can compete with the flexibility of software-presets, effects, routing, networking, midi-then people will still rely on their computers.

    If a mixer could accomodate these and be designed from the ground up with analogue/digital signals, hardware/software and routing systems in mind it would be the foundations for any setup.

    Also it would win over some anti-DVJ VJs as they could now use x number of DVJs as a video channels into the mixer which effectively would then replicate their software. People who preproduce content would only carry DVDs and people who want a live setup would plug in their laptops and midi controllers.

    Perfect solution? Expensive-yes, but totally possible.

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