Welcome to VJ'ing the year 2011. Composite outputs are disappearing, computers are becoming faster and faster, HD projectors are becoming more common. Some of these developments can be considered good, others less so, but whatever your thoughts are on it, your trusty old V4 is just not cutting it anymore.
These days everyone is looking for that holy grail: affordable HD mixing. The V8, boasting two VGA inputs, but no mixing between them, and no VGA out, is not really a contender. Sure, if you got the €9200 to dish out on an Edirol 440HD
-interestingly advertised as 'affordable HD mixing'- that's just peachy for you.
The rest of us would like something cheaper. Luckily the worldwide VJ community is not afraid of a little DIY, and it has come up with a few alternatives.
It's all about this little gizmo, the TV One 1T-C2-750 Dual DVI mixer
. It's quite a handy little device, that straight out of the box allows you to switch or fade between two DVI sources, and can output up to 2048x2048 in resolution. With some tweaking/tinkering it can also be pushed to TripleHead2Go rez. Aside from that, it also supports luma/chroma keying, and picture in picture. And all this for a list price of around $900.
Now of course we don't want to just cut or autofade between our sources, we want full crossfader control like on our V4s. Enter VJ community!
First off the bat was Toby Harris, who first started mentioning an out of the box, all hardware mixing solution based on the device. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this, the product is still in the prototype stage. The glimpse some of us were fortunate enough to catch at the Visual Berlin Festival in 2010 was great, and we can only hope it goes into production soon.
Image by Andreas Apelqvist
So then, just when you thought it was time to drag out your Korg KrossFour again, VJ Leo and VJ Fader appear on the horizon. Running a simple but effective Midi to RS232 conversion with the help of a Processing sketch, all you need for full on crossfading mayhem is a simple USB-RS232 cable and your midi controller of choice. More info at neuromixer.com/imixhd/
and direct download here
. The code is left open source, so other artists can add their own functionality if desired.
Although an all hardware solution has plenty of appeal, a lot can be said for running the conversion in software as well. Since the overhead of the conversion is pretty low, and a computer very likely to be present anyway, a few other people have gone in this direction as well.
Tom Bassford, aka SleepyTom has made working versions of the conversion for Quartz Composer
and VVVV. Also Anton Marini, aka Vade has gone the QC route
, with source code available here
With all the accessible coding platforms covered, there's no reason we shouldn't see the venue screens covered in glorious HD pixels this year! If you have any experience with the device and/or the software to control it, please feel free to share via the comments!