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Controlling Resolume

In the previous sections, we looked at the ways in which Resolume can play and manipulate audio, video and audio-visual clips.

Now we will look at the different ways we can tell Resolume what to do.

Controlling the individual features of Resolume with the mouse pointer is okay a lot of the time but in a live performance situation, you really want to have instant access to the features that you need. This is why Resolume enables you to control it in a number of ways:

  • Let the autopilot sequence clips for you
  • Animate parameters automatically so they move without you needing to control them directly
  • Link parameters together to make them easy to control together
  • Drive parameters from audio, either from within Resolume or external to it
  • Map controls to keys on the computer keyboard for instant access
  • Use MIDI keyboards or controllers to access controls and parameter values
  • Use the Open Sound Control protocol to send instructions to Resolume from other applications or equipment

Auto pilot sequencing

This powerful feature allows you to sequence clips in a layer. When activated, Resolume will start playing the next clip in the layer when the current clip reaches its end. You can specify whether the sequence should play forwards, backwards or play a random clip. Empty slots are always skipped.

Auto pilot can be turned on for all clips in a layer in the layer properties panel, but individual clips can be set to have some additional options. By right clicking on the name handle you can set the auto pilot on a per clip basis. By using this setting on the last clip of a sequence, you can tell it to loop or simply stop the sequence.

Tip! This way you can keep switching automatically between two clips, keeping your hands free to improvise on the other layers, or wave to your parents.

Tip! You don't need to turn on the auto pilot for the entire layer. Using the right click drop down, each clip can have an individual auto pilot setting.

Also Sources can be used in auto pilot sequences. Although a Source doesn't have a set duration like a normal clip, you can change the duration in the clip tab.

This way you can use content that doesn't have a fixed duration like Flash files, Quartz Composer files or even live cameras in your sequence as well. By default sources are set to a duration of 5 seconds.

One thing to keep in mind when using the auto pilot is that beat snapping is still taken into account. This means that when the current clip is finished, it will try to trigger the next one, like expected. However, when beat snapping is turned on for that next clip, the current clip will actually loop until the master bpm gives the all clear, and the next clip is triggered in perfect sync to the beat. This is a feature not to be underestimated, and it allows you to create very complex loop structures, presentations and story lines.

When you've assigned a clip target other than the current layer for a clip in auto-pilot mode (see the triggering clips section for more info on how to go about this), auto-pilot will actually ignore this, since otherwise the chain would be broken.

Animating Parameters

You have seen how a wide variety of things can be controlled in Resolume by moving parameter sliders, from the volume of the composition to an individual setting on an effect.

There are several options for moving these parameters automatically. To access these options, click the little grey triangle next to the parameter name. A menu will appear.

The options in the menu will be slightly different depending on whether the parameter you are working with is for the Composition, a Layer or a Clip. However, they all work in much the same way.

The Timeline option presents you with an interface similar to the Timeline clip transport mode. You can have the parameter loop, ping-pong or play once and you can set the speed that the parameter animates at. You can set in and out points for the parameter, just like with a clip.

We will look at the Dashboard option in the next section.

If you select Clip Position, the parameter will be animated along with the current clip position. You can use the range markers to select the values that the parameter should animate over.

BPM Sync is like the BPM Sync transport mode on the clips. You set the number of beats that the parameter should animate over, whether it should loop or ping-pong and the in and out points. The parameter will then be animated in time with the global BPM.

The Clip Beats or Composition Beats enables us to animate the parameter in time with either the global BPM or the beats of a clip. It works slightly differently to the BPM Sync mode. Rather than presenting us with a timeline interface, it works by setting the parameter to its maximum value (set by the in and out points) when a beat occurs and then sliding it down to the minimum value.

You can use the invert toggle to have the parameter slide upwards after each beat instead of downwards.

Tip! A great way to use this mode is to use it to control the Scale parameter of a clip. If the minimum and maximum values of the parameter are set right, this will make the clip appear to jump forwards on each beat before receding away again. This trick also works well with the opacity parameter for a BPM-matched strobe effect.

We will look at the Audio FFT options later, in the section about Audio Analysis.

Easing can be applied on every type of animation, which will allow you to control how smooth the value should start and stop.

Linking Parameters with The Dashboard

Sometimes you want to control more than one parameter at the same time. The is often the case when dealing with both audio and video effects. We can get some really nice results by moving the parameters of an audio effect at the same time as a video effect to make a unified result.

The secret to doing this is the Dashboard. There is a Dashboard for the Composition, and one for each Layer and Clip. Each dashboard is separate and deals with parameters at its own level.

Each dashboard provides 8 controls. Any parameters that you choose can be linked to these controls. Any number of parameters can be linked to each control.

To link a parameter, simply drag the parameter's name up to one of the Dashboard dials. You can also select the Dashboard option in the parameter control drop-down menu. You will then be able to select which of the dashboard dials the parameter should be linked to.

Once a parameter is linked to a dashboard, the parameter display will change so that you can select the range of values the parameter should take and whether the dashboard controller should be inverted when applying it to this parameter.

You can then move on to other parameters, linking them to the same or different controls on the Dashboard.

Tip! Of course the obvious use of the dashboard is linking audio and video effects. But also by linking multiple effect parameters that look good together, you can drastically change the look of the output with only one mouse movement.

Once a dashboard dial has at least one parameter assigned to it, you can change its name by clicking it in the Dashboard section.

To control the parameter values that are linked to the Dashboard, click and drag the dial up and down. You will see the parameter moving with the value of the Dashboard dial.

Audio Analysis

Audio analysis enables you to drive parameters directly from the music to make your visuals dance (if you are really brave you could also use Audio Analysis to drive audio parameters - who knows what would happen?)

To activate audio analysis, select one of the Audio FFT options in the control drop-down menu for a parameter:

External - Use the audio device specified in the audio preferences to drive the parameter. This is the one to use if you want to use a feed from a DJ or band or if you have an external microphone. You can also use it to play along with a CD or audio file.

Composition - Use the main audio output of the composition to drive the parameter.

Clip - Use the audio output of the individual clip to drive the parameter. (Only available on clip parameters).

The parameter display will now change to display the Audio Analysis options. The first thing you should do is click the small grey arrow to display the full options. You can now use the L, M and H buttons to select the Low, Middle or High end frequencies to use to drive the parameter. You can take even finer control of the frequencies used by adjusting the in and out points below the audio spectrum display.

Use the Gain control to boost the signal until it is having the right amount of effect on the parameter. The Fall control sets how quickly the value falls back from a peak.

The buttons on the left enable us to drive the parameter directly from low to high (>), high to low (<) or to have the audio signal drive the speed the parameter moves at in either direction (- and +)

Note that you have to select a source if you want to use the external option. This can be done via the audio tab of the preferences. Under ‘External Audio FFT Input’ you will see the list of available inputs on your computer, and you can choose which one to use.

Keyboard Control

The computer keyboard provides you with a really convenient way to access particular features of Resolume instantly.

You set which key should do what by setting the Key Maps.

There are two Key Maps in Resolume:

The Application Map is used by all compositions. In Application Mapping, you can choose between Deck and Layer Focus.

Keys set up in Layer Focus will change what they control depending on what is selected. For example, if you set a key to clear a layer while in Layer Focus, the currently active layer will be cleared when you hit that key. You can then change the active layer and clear it with the same key.

Deck focus is different in that you can assign a different key for clearing each layer. This way every layer can be cleared with its own key.

An exception is made for mappings applied to the Clip tab. These are always context dependent. This means that the same keys will control the same functions on all clips, regardless of whether they were mapped in Deck or Layer focus.

Tip! This way you can for instance set and trigger the cue points of all clips in your deck with the same keyboard shortcuts, without having to map each one individually. By default, the QWERTY keys will trigger cue points, pressing these keys while holding down SHIFT will set them.

The Composition Map is saved along with the composition. It works for that composition only. Keys set up in this map affect particular things. For example, you can set separate keys to clear each of the layers - each key will only clear the layer it is assigned to.

The secret to good keyboard control is to combine the Application and Composition maps together so you get control over the specific things that you need through the Composition Map while also maintaining some flexibility with the Application Map.

To start assigning keys, select the Mapping > Edit Application Key Map menu option. You will see that some of the Resolume interface is overlaid with blue boxes. Each box represents an item that you can bind to a key. You will notice that some items already have keys assigned and have the relevant key on them in white.

You can now use the Key Map box in the bottom left of the screen to select whether to focus on the currently selected layer or the deck. While Layer is selected, the keys you bind will control things based on the currently selected layer. If you select Deck, you can control every item in the deck individually.

To bind a control to a key, click the blue box over it and then press the key that you want to control it with. The Key Map box will then show options depending on the kind of control you clicked.   Single click button (e.g. a clip slot): No controls - hitting the key works just like clicking the button.

Toggle button (e.g. a layer bypass toggle): Select either toggle (control toggles each time you hit the key) or mouse control (control value is based on the mouse position when you hit the key)

On toggle buttons you can also select piano mode. This means a control will be active as long as you hold the key. The Piano option is available for numerical parameters and buttons only. If you want to use Piano mode on clip triggers, use the Clip Trigger option instead: Clips > Trigger Style

Tip! Apply an Invert RGB effect to the entire composition, and set the effect in bypass mode by pressing the 'B' button. Now enter Application Mapping, map the space bar to the bypass button and set it to piano mode. Now every time you hit and release the space bar, your output will flash inverted. Great for that sweeping climax!

A numerical value control (e.g. an Opacity slider): Select maximum and minimum values for the control using the sliders. Toggle mode will switch between the maximum and minimum values each time you press the key (or when you release it as well if you select the Piano option). Mouse mode will use the current mouse position to set the parameter value when you press the key.

Editing the Composition map is very similar - the only difference is the controls that are available for mapping.

You can press 'stop' or hit escape to exit the Keyboard Mapping mode. Also you can remove all the Key mappings for the Application or Composition by pressing 'Remove All'.


MIDI mapping enables you to use a wide range of MIDI compatible hardware and software to control Resolume.

MIDI mapping works very similarly to Key mapping (above), so it’s a good idea to read that part as well if you haven’t already. It explains the difference between Application and Composition mapping, and the ‘layer’ and ‘deck’ focus.

Tip! Read the Key mapping paragraph. Even if you just want to map your shiny new midi controller, it has essential info for all mapping modes. You don’t want to come across like a noob because you don’t know how to map all the layers, now do you?

MIDI does give you a few more options as many MIDI keyboards send velocity (how hard the key is hit) along with which key was hit. MIDI also supports sliders and dials (called Continuous Controllers) which give you more control over numerical values.

Before you can start mapping MIDI notes and controllers to Resolume features, you will need to activate the MIDI inputs that you want to use in the MIDI Preferences.

If you want to send back MIDI feedback to the device, you can now enable MIDI output for that device as well. To send MIDI feedback to a device, simple enable in it the preferences, and map your controller as your normally would. Feedback will be sent automatically, so changes in the interface will be reflected on your controller.


As with key mapping, we can map midi notes and controllers at either Application level or Composition level.

To start MIDI mapping, select the Mapping > Edit Application Midi Map or the  Mapping > Edit Composition Midi Map menu option.

You can now click the illuminated interface elements to select them and then hit the MIDI key or move the MIDI controller that you want to use with each feature.

If you use a controller, the Mapping options panel in the bottom left of the screen will contain options for Absolute and Relative modes (Relative modes are good for 'endless' controllers). You can also invert the controller value.

If you assign a MIDI note to a numerical parameter then you will see options for how this should be handled. By default, the value will toggle between the maximum and minimum values set in the mapping options panel each time you hit the note. 

If you select the Velocity option, the strength with which you hit the key or pad will be used to set the new value for the parameter.

If you select the Piano option, the parameter will jump to the maximum value when the key is pressed and then return to the minimum value as soon as it is released.

Tip! The Piano option is available for numerical parameters only. If you want to use Piano mode on clip triggers, use the Clip Trigger option instead: Clips > Trigger Style

You can also set a specific range for incoming MIDI values. This way, you can for instance let a rotary which is turned all the way open, correspond to a parameter which only goes 3/4 open.

Tip! Most blend modes work best at 50% opacity. Turning the layer opacity all the way up will make all the layers underneath invisible. So when you slide a fader on your MIDI controller all the way up, you'll hide the other layers. By limiting the MIDI range of the fader to 0.5, you can fully flick open a fader, and still have all the layers visible.

You can press 'stop' or hit escape to exit the Midi Mapping mode. Also you can remove all the Midi mappings for the Application or Composition by pressing 'Remove All'.

Manual Mapping

While in one of the MIDI mapping modes, you can right-click an illuminated interface element and select Create Controller Shortcut to manually set the element to be controlled by a MIDI controller. You can select the controller to be used in the mapping options panel.

Midi Clock

As well as using MIDI to control Resolume features directly, we can also use the MIDI clock signals sent out by software and equipment that support it to synchronise the tempo of Resolume to the external source. This means that you can then use all of the BPM features of Resolume safe in the knowledge that your video and audio will be in sync with whatever you are playing along with.

Resolume cannot send MIDI clock signals - it can only receive them.

To use MIDI clock, you must enable the MIDI device that will be receiving the clock signals in the MIDI tab of the Preferences window.

Then, you can use the Midi clock menu in the MIDI preferences to select how MIDI clock should be treated:

Disabled - MIDI clock will be ignored.

Start / Stop - MIDI clock will start and stop the Resolume BPM counter

Switch to manual on stop - MIDI clock will start the Resolume BPM counter but will not stop it. When the MIDI clock stop signal is received, Resolume will switch to manual BPM control.

DMX (Arena only!)

DMX is similar to MIDI, it's a signaling protocol that makes hardware talk to software and vice versa. Where MIDI is the standard protocol for electronic music instruments, DMX is the standard for lighting equipment like moving heads, stroboscopes, LED strips and our all-time favourite; the disco ball (actually, only very advanced disco-balls are DMX controllable).

Resolume is capable of receiving DMX signals so it can be controlled via a lighting desk.

DMX Input

DMX input works via Enttec dongles or via a computer network (including WiFi) using ArtNet.

To enable DMX input in Resolume, open the DMX Preferences and enable the device you want to use or enable a new ArtNet input.

Enttec DMX USB Pro and DMX USB Pro Mk2

The Enttec USB Pro dongles have 5 pin female XLR DMX inputs and outputs and connects to your computer via USB. Before you can use it you need to install the drivers on your Mac or PC.

You need the D2XX Direct drivers, which are the same drivers that Enttec uses.

On a PC, it's best to install Enttec's own PRO-Manager app. This installs all the necessary drivers for your Enttec boxes.

On a Mac, Enttec is having a bit of trouble with recent OSX updates. It's best to follow their instructions on their website until they come up with a more permanent solution:

If a connected device is already in use it will show in red and have (Unavailable) appended at the end. This means that another application (such as the DMX Pro Manager app) is accessing the Enttec box and you'll need to quit that app first.


If your computer is connected to a network you can receive DMX via ArtNet. This includes a wireless WiFi network. To use ArtNet you do not have to install any additional drivers or anything. All you have to do is configure your network properly, enable the DMX Input in Resolume and you're ready to receive DMX.

Network Settings

Before you can use ArtNet in Resolume you first need to make sure your network is configured correctly in Windows or Mac OX. You need to make sure the device (or software) sending the DMX to Resolume is in the same IP range as the computer running Resolume.

Your IP address can be configured in

  • OSX: System Preferences > Network. Choose the connection you want to use and set Configure IPv4 > Manually
  • PC: Control Panel > Network and Internet > Network and Sharing Center > Change Adapter Settings. Double click the connection you want to use and scroll down to Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4) and set Use the Following IP Address.

For instance 10.0.0.X and 2.0.0.X are often used IP ranges. The subnet mask should also match and usually is set to or

Node Name

The node name helps you identify each Resolume instance in the ArtNet network. By default this name is set to Resolume, you may change it to Donkey or Monkey.


This is not the same as the Subnet Mask that you need to configure in the network settings of your PC or Mac! ArtNet can have up to 16 different sub networks and this number tells which sub network Resolume should listen to. Make sure the device or software that is sending ArtNet is on the same Subnet.

Input Port

ArtNet can have up to 16 ports and this number tells which port Resolume should listen to. Make sure the device or software that is sending ArtNet has its output port set to the same number as this input port.

The Subnet and Input Port together form the ArtNet universe you are listening to. The 16 Subnets each have 16 Input Ports, which together form the 256 possible universes in ArtNet.

So for instance, the first 16 universes can be found on Subnet 0, where Input Port 0 is Universe 0, Input Port 1 is Universe 1 etc,

Universe 16 through 31 can then be found on Subnet 1, where Input Port 0 is Universe 16, Input Port 1 is Universe 17 and so on.


Art-Net™ is designed by and Copyright Artistic Licence Holdings Ltd

DMX Auto Map

Resolume does not have an Application DMX Map like the Application MIDI map that you need to create yourself but it has a smart DMX Auto Map that is always the same for the whole application and automatically maps the layers and the most common controls.

This way you can create profiles for your lighting desks and be assured that the DMX Map is always the same.

All DMX channels are described in a separate PDF document. The most recent version of this document can always be found in the application folder next to the PDF version of this manual.

Composition DMX Map

If you would like to create your own DMX map for Resolume then you should disable this Auto Map and use the Composition DMX Map that is accessible through the Mapping menu. This works the same as the MIDI and Keyboard mapping. Select the interface element you want to map, then touch the DMX fader and Resolume will learn it. Alternatively you can double click the interface element, or right-click it to assign a DMX channel manually. 

You can press 'stop' or hit escape to exit the DMX Mapping mode. Also you can remove all the DMX mappings for the Composition by pressing 'Remove All'.

DMX Channel Offset

With the DMX channel offset number you can shift all the mapped DMX channels up or down. This is useful if there are other DMX devices preceding the channels that Resolume wants to use. This works for both the DMX Auto Map and the Composition DMX Map.

SMPTE Input (Arena only!)

SMPTE Input is available on Resolume Arena only!

Resolume Arena can sync the playhead of a video to external SMPTE timecode. This is an often used technique to synchronize audio, video, lights, pyro and lasers during show moments or DJ intros. Also it's used a lot by VJs touring with a DJ to sync pre-made visuals to a specific track. Resolume Arena can listen to two SMPTE inputs simultaneously, so you can sync both tracks in the mix.

SMPTE is just an audio signal that sounds like 400 pigs screaming. Resolume can interpret this sound and use it as a clock. Every part of it sounds slightly different. Our ears can't hear this, but Resolume can. So when you skip ahead in the SMPTE signal, or play it faster or slower, Resolume knows to update the playhead accordingly.

To connect a SMPTE signal to your computer, all you need is a source of SMPTE and a way to let your computer hear it. Playing an mp3 file with SMPTE on your iPod, connected via mini-jack to the line-in of your computer already is good enough.

Playing it over speakers and using the laptops onboard mic won't work. Don't try it unless you are very stubborn and enjoy failure.

When your computer is connected to a valid SMPTE input, you can let clips run in time with it. Select the incoming SMPTE signal and required framerate for each input via the Audio tab of the Preferences. The Composition tab will now show the current SMPTE timecode for that input.

Which SMPTE framerate is correct depends on the source where you are getting the timecode from. Most of the time this will be 25 or 29.97, but it can vary. If you see a jump in the playhead at a regular interval of 1 second, you most likely have the wrong framerate selected. Note that the framerate you have to match is the framerate of the incoming SMPTE signal, not the clip you are trying to sync to it. Of course, you get the smoothest result if all the framerates are matched.

You can select your clips to run on SMPTE 1 or SMPTE 2 via the Timeline dropdown. A special icon will appear in the layer strip to indicate that this clip is now listening for timecode. You can quickly switch inputs with the buttons in the bottom right. You can select a starting timecode for a clip via the offset parameter.

Note that the clip has to be active in a layer for it show in the output, the clip trigger itself is not sent via SMPTE. Also note that SMPTE is not available on clips with an audio track.

Optionally you can add an Input Delay compensation in milliseconds to account for any lag that may occur in the signal flow.

For testing, you can download a .wav file with 74 minutes of the soothing sounds of SMPTE at 25fps.

Open Sound Control (OSC)

If you want the ultimate in external control of Resolume, the Open Sound Control (OSC) protocol is the answer. OSC is becoming increasingly popular and is used by programs like MAX/MSP, VVVV and Reaktor (Native Instruments).

OSC can be seen as a successor of MIDI and offers a much higher accuracy and is more flexible because it can be sent over a network including wifi.

You can find out more about the OSC protocol and implementations at the OSC website.

In order to use OSC, you will need to enable OSC input and/or output in the OSC tab of the Preferences and set the port on which Resolume should listen for OSC messages.


Resolume exposes a number of objects to OSC, each of which has several properties. These properties may be values or may be objects in their own right, with properties of their own.

The objects that Resolume exposes contain four kinds of properties:  

String -Used to pass in text, can be used to set the name of a clip or set a text parameter of an effect.

Event - Used for functions such as Clear layer that are represented in the interface by a one-click button.

Toggle - Used for functions such as Bypass layer that are represented by a button that is clicked to toggle it from one value to another and back again.

Parameter - Used for functions such as Layer Opacity that are represented by a slider with options to animate and control it in various ways


OSC properties that are of the Parameter type are themselves objects. This is so that we can use OSC to set the various animation options that we can set for parameters through the Resolume interface.

Each Parameter property includes the following properties:  

values - 1 floating point number (to set the current value) or 3 floating point values (to set the in point, current value and out point). 0.0 is the start of the clip. 1.0 is the end.

textvalue - A String. Use this value when the parameter is represented by a text field.

direction - An integer. 0 for backwards, 1 for forwards, 2 for pause, 3 for random

speed - A floating point value between 0.0 and 1.0

playmode - An integer. 0 for play once, 1 for loop, 2 for bounce (ping pong)

playmodeaway - An integer. 0 for rewind, 1 for continue


All of Resolume's features are accessed through OSC with an address pattern that includes the names of objects. For ease of use, the properties on each object are divided into common properties that sit directly under the object itself and two groups of properties - audio and video that collect together the properties related to the audio and video parts of the object.

To quickly find the address for an object, simply enter the Application OSC Mapping mode, and click on the object. You'll see the address appear in the bottom left, ready to copy paste.

Remember that deck and layer focus apply for OSC as well. For instance you can address the opacity of layer one in two ways: /layer1/video/opacity/values (deck focus) and /activelayer/video/opacity/values (layer focus). You can find both addresses by switching the focus.


To output OSC to other devices, you should first enable it in the OSC preferences. Specify the output port and IP address of where you want to send it.

Then enter Application Mapping mode, and click a feature.

In the bottom left you'll see the current input and output address for that feature. By default the output address will be the same as the input address.

You can change the output address to whatever is needed to communicate with your device. Also you can turn output for that particular control off. The input address can not be changed.

You can hit escape or press 'Stop' to exit the OSC Mapping mode. 'Remove All' resets all the output addresses and toggles them back on.


To demonstrate how OSC can be used we have cooked up some Processing sketches for you. To try the sketches yourself you need to download Processing and install an additional library called oscP5. This library enables you to send OSC messages from Processing.

Download the examples here.

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