Vixid VJX16-4 Video Mixer

Vixid’s revolutionary video mixer for VJs, Video Producers, Live Performance and other Video-centric Artists

Recently I had two matched projectors for a couple of hours, so I decided to try and achieve a seamless scrolling effect with live camera sources.

vixid-multiprojector-3825

Through luck rather than planning, all of my video cameras are from Sony, and they all have the same type of cable for composite analog-out. Looking for better quality, I picked up half a dozen of these replacement cables, which have both S-Video and Composite jacks. This allows me to send a single camera output to 2 separate layers, setting the stage for some multi-screen spanning.

The Setup

Put the VJX into Battle Mode (Menu > Video > Mixmode > Battle 2*2)
Set Outputs for separate projectors (Menu > Video > Outputs > Choose “Master 1″ for first projector, “Master 2″ for second)

Plug one output from each camera into each side of the mixer:
Camera 1:
Composite Output – Track 1, Input 1
S-Video Output – Track 3, Input 3
Camera 2:
Composite Output – Track 2, Input 1
S-Video Output – Track 4, Input 3
… and then hold down the “Input” button and select these inputs.
For each track in turn:
Enable Background Alpha
Enable Scroll FX

Midi Control

The VJX has a complete midi map, covering almost every function available (apart from saving and loading of presets). The VJX has a pretty intuitive control setup for the huge amount of options available, but it would be physically impossible to control independent parameters for 4 tracks concurrently, which is where external midi enters the picture.

This particular setup used Ableton Live to take care of the midi messages, but you could use anything which is capable of sending midi CCs on specific channels.

Ableton Live controlling scrolling on the Vixid

(Download the Live project here -  Vixid Projector Spanning.zip - very simple, but it does the job)

This is setup for vertical scrolling, so each channel is sending CC5, which controls the “Scroll Y” parameter on the VJX. When “Scroll Y” is at 0, the layer is scrolled off the top of the canvas and not visible, when it’s at 63 it’s centered, and 127 is scrolled off the bottom of the canvas. To create the seamless scrolling effect we simply offset the inputs for each camera, so Camera 1′s Composite output scrolls down across Projector 1, then as it disappears off Projector 1, the S-Video output starts to appear on Projector 2, giving the appearance of a single, smoothly-scrolling image.

Bugs and Limitations

You’ll notice that slow scrolling in the video is a little jerky. This is because I was only using course midi control – cutting the scroll range (around 1152 pixels) into 128 chunks gives us 9 pixels per single CC value. The VJX understands 14-bit, high resolution midi, and so is capable of perfectly smooth scrolling if you send it high resolution messages.

Also, because of the “Battle Mode” setup, this technique is also limited to “just” 2 projectors. The VJX does have 3 separate outputs, but this technique requires all 3 outputs to have 2 layers active at once. However, there’s nothing stopping you from adding extra cameras or video sources to the mix, as long as it can output S-Video and Composite concurrently, it will work.

You’re looking at that Macbook video adapter a little differently now, aren’t you?

57 Responses

  1. [...] Vixid 101 – The Basics: Inputs, Outputs, Routing, Blend Modes, Compositing Multi-projector Spanning: Cameras, Cables, Midi and Ableton Live [...]

  2. FANF

    I’ve been trying to figure out how to get that 14bit midi working…
    But without success…

    If anyone has any guidelines, that’d be nice !

    My midi controller, a novation remote zero SL is supposed to support it, but i can’t get it to work.
    Maybe with PureData, that I know a bit, but i just can’t figure it out.

    Anyone ?

  3. Vince

    @FANF

    If you have a device that handles 14 bits MIDI, you should not have to take care of all the technical details of the 14 bits MIDI: your device will send 14 bits MIDI messages that will be interpreted by the mixer.

    The 14 bits MIDI implementation of the VJX16-4 allows you to use either a 7 bits MIDI resolution or a 14 bits MIDI resolution. In any case, the whole range of the parameter will be covered, with a fine resolution (14 bits MIDI) or with a coarse resolution (7 bits MIDI).

    In case you want to know more about this, here are some explanation about the 14 bits MIDI implementation, which comes from the MIDI specifications.

    MIDI standard specifies that the MIDI controllers numbers 32 to 63 are used to define an LSB byte for the corresponding controllers 0 through 31.
    Each controllers corresponds to one byte of data, each MIDI data “byte” having a range from 0 to 127 (MIDI data byte are actually 7bits, the first bit being reserved to identify the byte as “data”).
    When a resolution greater than 128 steps is required for the controller 0 to 31, the controllers 32 to 63 can be used as an LSB (Least Significant Byte), increasing the resolution to 16384 steps (0 to 16384): that’s 14bits MIDI, are two “bytes” are used for to define the value of one controller.

    Here are the main rules of 14 bits MIDI:
    If a 128 steps of resolution is enough, the second byte (LSB) can be omitted.
    If the MSB has been transmitted, subsequent fine adjustments only requires the sending of the LSB.
    If a major adjustment has to be made, the MSB must be transmitted, and the receiver will set the LSB to zero.

    This is a rather technical approach to the 14 bits MIDI implementation. I can send a very basic PD patch that implements 14bits resolution if someone is interested.

    Hope it helps.

  4. [...] gives great mix of capabilities for just about any kind of performance, and we’ve already know the possibilities when given a VJX, multiple screens, and inputs duplicated across multiple tracks. There is a [...]

  5. [...] Velcro cable ties: $2.50 Composite and S-Video AV cable for Sony DV and HDV cameras (useful for multi-screen projection spanning): $4 DIY RCA cable plug: $1.40 1000 cable ties: $11 USB cable A-B: [...]

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