Free Tools for VJs??
Art of VJing is multi-faceted technological and artistic field. Most of us spend considerable time producing and developing content and establishing techniques for media manipulation. If you anything like me, then chances are that you’ll find yourself wondering about extending your favourite software as you grow through using it on a regular basis. Year after year you master some of the techniques, and yet you see great deal of limitations that are in front of you due to the closed development process of the software itself which in most cases you cannot interfere.
Let me modify!
If you have followed some of my recent posts on the subject of Pure Data VJ software, then you find that Pure Data has opened up numerous possibilities of developing your own software while utilising numerous Plug-ins, Libraries and Patches that worldwide community has released to date. These are very exciting times to be working in this field as knowledge and programs are at very healthy state. One of such AMAZING tools that I have only recently came about is : Qeve. It really encompasses large majority of your “wish lists” while maintaining its flexibility and cost. Free.
Without further a due, please explore this unique and promising piece of Pure Data software for Vjing: Queve!
“In art production the tool you use determine result of your work in many ways. Only by using free software you will not reproduce closed mind”
- Luca Carrubba aka Husk
Queve is a free tool for live performance and vjing developed by Estereotips collective with economic support by Catalan independent video maker association Telenoika and Center of visual arts productions Hangar from Barcelona. This software try to obtain the same usability of similar commercial applications (resolume, modul8, vdmx) while adding some unique features.
It was principally developed for Gnu/linux Ubuntu operative system (7.04, 7.10, 8.04), but it will also work on Mac os X (Tiger, Leopard), using Puredata programing language, some Bash script and some Python script. We choose this Operative System because it is very easy to set and to admin. It does not require high technical knowledge; at the same time it guarantee typical Unix system stability and security with the support of an international community.
GNU/Linux Ubuntu Operative System is an open source system which most part is released under GPL license; this license let users modify and redistribute software.
PureData (PD) Approach:
Puredata (aka PD) is a visual programming language that make easy to design interactive environments, to synchronize audio and video with real world events; it is also freesoftware, each program create by PD can be modify through his clonekind behavior license.
Combination of Gnu/Linux and Puredata is perfect to develop an application that want to improve through user’s use.
A vjing application let user manipulate video contents in real time. With Qeve is it possible to mix different videos at the same time, control them by external devices (like Midi, Wiimote, iPod touch/Iphone, Nintendo DS, others computers or sound machines) and synchronize them with an external audio stream.
Qeve is a puredata patch that need some more software in order to run.
You need Puredata, pdvjtools, freeframe and (optionally) devilspie
You can install all this software by hands or try the install script you find in the package.
Qeve is developed on a ubuntu machine so the installer will work only on this system (8.04, 8.10, 9,04)
Here you can download Qeve package.
Mirror 1: http://www.megaupload.com/?d=JW7YBTUY
(This Mirror has been added after official site was noted to be down by readers of Create Digital Motion and vdmoKstati blogs. Link is added to fill this current gap and while the official site is down. No support on Installation or Modifications for Qeve is given at this point. Please use at your own discression. )
If you like to do it manually this is what you need to do:
1- install Pd-Extended for your system (downloading it here)
2- install pdvjtools for your system (downloading it from here)
3- decompress archive FreeFrame.tar.gz (included in the Qeve package)
4- copy FreeFrame dir in /usr/lib and give it permissions (sudo chmod -R +x /usr/lib/FreeFrame/*)
5- Decompress archive Qeve.tar.gz and copy it in your $HOME
6- Copy qeve file in /usr/local/bin and give it permissions (sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/qeve)
7- optionaly install devilspie program from apt
Now you can lauch qeve from a terminal
N.B.In order to work install script needs universe and multiuniverse repository active.
So before run the script check it!
Listed below are the Qeve’s features:
- 3 independent layers
- 5 kind of players (video, 3d, photos, text, paint)
- Mix 3d and 2d graphix in real time
- A video stepsequencer
- Live streaming through giss.tv servers
- Text animation path and draw tool
- Audio analysis in real time
- Simple midi configuration
- Totally controllable by OpenSoundControl
- Wiimote support to control 3d movements
- Support for Nintendo DS as Wifi controller
- Save and load your preferred videodeck
- Mouse control position for each layer
- Different transitions
- It’s Free
With BPM (beats per minutes) control is very easy to synchronize video behaviour to music tempo. User can connect
to master clock tempo every player’s property. He/she can selects to leave it at the same velocity or reduce it for equal fractions.
Qeve has three different layers organized into a hierarchy relation from the first layer to the third. User can choose between five different players (called channel type) for each layer and switch them from one to another in real time:
1. Video player is for regular footage content. During playback user can scratch video frames, select loop point, add color from a color palette GUI, play it in slow mode or in invert color mode, and he/she can add digital effect from freeframe effect gallery.
2. 3d player is for openGL contents. User can create until 200 cubes or Spheres, choose size and color, add movement behaviour to them from three different kind: rotation, random walking and explode. The first one is a circular rotation movement on Y and Z axis; the second one is a random movement on X and Y axys with settable speed and object distance; the third is an explosion movement, like a bomb, from epicenter to outside. User can also choose to use some video as background texture of 3d object.
3. Text player is a concept shooter that let user put his/her own text in real time or read it from a file. In case of a textfile, Qeve will render one word for every BPM. User can choose font type, size, color, rotation angle and position in the screen. Besides, user can animate text choosing until 10 key animation points, from which one text will move depending on master clock velocity or audio analysis.
4. Image player is for control static images. User can choose size, rotation angle, color background and add digital effects from freeframe gallery.
5. Paint player is a free paint tool. User can choose size of pencil, colour and create layer mask to apply on the layer below it.
Qeve has a grid (resolume style) to visualise media contents. Media grid shows the first frame of video. It is possible to load until 25 videos or images, choose a single video or an entire directory. User can create and save his/her own desk with favourite videos/images and load it at anytime.
This is an 8 step sequencer with 8 different memories channels. User can put videos from mediagrid to one of the eight memories for reuse it later in sequencer mode. When sequencer is on it works like an audio stepsequencer
but video. At each step it sends to the output user’s selected memory, in one of four action’s mode: play, stop, random play, rewind. Sequencer also depend on Master clock tempo.
Qeve can analyze audio frequencies, dividing them in bass, middle and high. For each player user can connect one frequency to a property.
User can control all Qeve’s features by an external midi controller. By a specific window user can easily assign a rotary or button for every desired property.
Qeve support OSC  communication protocol. Through this it could be controlled or can control others multimedia applications and works synchronized with them.
This is a Qeve’s specific feature. It can stream over http his video sessions using free g.i.s.s. servers 
Qeve let user to control part of visual editing by tree different kind of external controllers: Nintendo Wiimote, Apple Ipod touch/Iphone and Nintendo DS. The first one is a remote control that works with bluetooth. It has three accelerometers.
Through Wiimote movement user can move 3d camera in a 3d player; turn on or off texture; control alpha level; change size.
The second one is a palm wireless computer with a *nix like operative system. Through Ipod touch/iPhone user can change videos, move position setting and work on alpha channels. The third one is a portable game console that through a home made software (that needs a special cartridge to run, not included in NDS), that let to create simple GUI element connected to a Pure Data program. These let the user the chance to control all player’s properties through a cheap wireless controller.
Qeve became a performance software that invite the user to not be linked to the machine. The vj can concentrate on the performance space.
Positions, Mouse Controls
Qeve has a set of transitions, connected to the master clock, that give more variety to video editing. It has also three position’s preset that position video layers in different way in the screen space. User can always control the position of a single layer by moving mouse cursor on the preview output.
Luca Carrubba: project maintainer, coder
Matteo Micalella: GUI designer, tester
Sergi Lario: media grid coder
Valentina Messeri: documentation
Gianluca Saporito: tester
Looking towards the future we would like to create a free/open software hardware solution for video and audio editing in real time.
We started with an experiment prototype that could be the starting point of the next step. The project’s name is MesaQ, a tangible user interface that let many users to control audio/video contents at same time. Qeve is the audio/video render engine of the table. It is all created with free software. The hardware project, based on Reactable project, will be open, cheap and documented. It is possible to see a demo by entering the address below:
OpenSoundControl (OSC) is a protocol for communication among computers, sound synthesisers, and other multimedia devices that are optimized for modern networking technology.
G.I.S.S – Global Independent Streaming Support is a free streaming services for free media http://www.giss.tv
Pure Data external, wiimote from Mike Woz, http://mikewoz.com/index.php?page=pdstuff
In order to use it you have to install MrMr application in your Ipod touch/iPhone. On other side Qeve use PdiPod patch to get OSC message from MrMr, http://pissypaws.tumblr.com/
KnobsAndSliderDS by Cris McCormik,