VDMX, the “realtime video studio” from the makers of Grid, semi-modular live visualist tool for Mac, and very possibly the “world’s most mature beta software”, continues to pack goodness into each new beta release. But the most recent addition, just now available as part of the primary public beta release, warms my heart. The latest beta adds support for OpenSoundControl or OSC, a protocol for communicating between computers, hardware, and software. With high-resolution data, an open-ended naming scheme, and network savvy, OSC is just plain better than MIDI at at least some tasks. But it’s suffered from a lack of documentation, a vague specification that’s a bit too open-ended and daunting to developers, and most of all, a lack of critical mass as far as tools. One small step at a time, that’s changing.

So far, the VDMX developers have tested their implementation with the multi-touch Lemur controller and inter-app data with Apple’s free Quartz Composer. But OSC is also supported in Processing, Max/MSP/Jitter, Pure Data, and free controller implementations for the Wii remote and Wacom tablet, among many other things. It’s also supported natively by the Monome controller, which is quite a lot cheaper than a Lemur. Want to pipe data from a Wacom into Quartz Composer? Sync data between a Mac running VDMX and a PC running vvvv? Something … uh … else that I haven’t thought of? Quite a lot is possible.

And an iPhone implementation could come next. (Or you can send OSC from iPhone right now, with MrMr.)

You can try this out in the beta that’s available now, though David Lublin from Vidvox warns us:

…there’s still more to do with OSC, currently no way to trigger files, it’s just control data, but the core functionality for sending and receiving is there, so we really just need to start building on top of that for whatever protocols there are to support

…the OSC support is still very much in it’s early stages.. it is there and stable, but we are barely scratching the surface of what we can do with it

Of course, that description could apply to OSC in general, which is why the two CDM’s (createdigitalmusic and createdigitalmotion) will be working over the course of 2008 to work with users and developers to share knowledge and get better implementations in everyone’s hands sooner. It’s something I hope to check in on while I’m at NAMM next week. Stay tuned.

Vidvox + VDMX5

VDMX5 public beta direct download link (Mac only)

Introduction to OpenSoundControl [opensoundcontrol.org]

Speaking of multi-touch OSC implementations, we hope to catch up with CyberPatrolUnit, who’s working on a VJ interface on Lemur, as pictured below. He’ll be bringing it to the CDM NAMM party, so if you’re in LA, come see us next Friday!


  • http://abstrakt.vade.info vade

    Mrmr is a native OSC controller. Its 100% a native iPhone app, and sends OSC udp packets from the wireless interface on the iPhone/iPod touch.

    Its native :)

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Ah, but is it indigenous?

    Okay, think I was misinformed, but won't spread any more misinformation.

  • Ryan

    Freaking sweet!

  • nobbystylus

    i've just moved from Modul8 over to VDMX and i couldn't be happier. The Quartz Composer integration is the most important aspect, but the modularity, the fact you can build your own interface for what you specifically need, and the fantastic midi/OSC/Wii implimentation makes the the killer Live Visuals app (with Quartz Composer as its very important side kick).

  • nobbystylus

    Any chance of 'an idiots guide' to OSC for those of us still at the early stages of using it?

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @nobby: that's a fantastic idea. I'll see if we can't get on it. Of course, I could use an idiots' guide myself, but once we got one done, then I'd have it in my brain, too. :)

  • http://www.cappel-nord.de Patrick

    OSC is the way to go for any music/multimedia controlling purpouse! I hope MIDI's gonna die out quick.

    For the iPhone/iPod touch there is also aka.iPhone from Masayuki Akamatsu which also can be used as a native OSC Controller (not only for Max)

    But Mrmr does indeed look more yummy!

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  • nobbystylus

    i think another great idea would be a Quartz Composer 'dummies' guide, but this might need to be a book!

  • Douglas Rouxel

    There is also a module to use OSC in modul8 I believe – but you have to ask the developers nicely to get it.

  • http://terragizmo.net John Phillips

    BTW, Isadora does OSC too…


  • http://future-tense-cpu.com cyberpatrolunit

    Hey Douglas – FYI – the OSC module is free – you can grab it from the 'Online Library' in the menu of Modul8

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