Gavin Morris has been working on an audiovisual setup with Ableton Live and Isadora, a tasty combination for any Windows or Mac user. Isadora, for those of you who don’t know, is a visually-focused modular patching tool. It’s similar to tools like Max/MSP/Jitter, but by emphasizing the practical needs of visual performance, it’s unusually usable when putting together real-world gigs. Its use by A/V dance troupe Troika Ranch (co-founder Mark Coniglio is also the tool’s creator) has also popularized it in modern dance circles.

Gavin has two tutorials for us to start. The first syncs up Live and Isadora, along the lines we ran here using Live by momo the monster:

AV Cutup Secrets: Using Lucifer & Live

Gavin writes:

It’s similar to Momo’s recent Tutorial but uses a free tool for the VST (Pluggo) and allows control from the Live interface (as opposed to within the VST) This allows you a lot more flexibility and means you can use Follow Actions, adjust loop lengths/positions in realtime and even create a slicer. It is Live>Isadora via OSC but could equally be to many other softwares and could equally use MIDI.

I’ve written a VST to go in slicer channels tool.

Sync Ableton Live to Isadora using a Pluggo VST from digital funfair on Vimeo.

Gavin warns us that the video may "put us off." At first I thought that meant it was NSFW or something, but … well, that’s not the problem. You’ll see. I leave it up to you to decide how you feel about it.

The second tutorial gives you the power of Emergency Broadcast Network-style A/V slicing:

I’ve done a tutorial for a Video Slicer – synching up Live’s slicer to Isadora – same technique but a bit of maths to convert the midi notes Live creates to video position. You can make some quite glitchy s***!

AV Slicer Tutorial – Ableton 7 Slicer with Isadora from digital funfair on Vimeo.

Lots more information at Gavin’s site, Boredbrands Digital Funfair.

He needs someone to build the Mac plug-in, so Max users, if you’re game, go for it!

AV Sync Tutorial

AV Slicer Tutorial

Good as this is, I hope we see some audiovisual setups that work with more asynchronous relationships between music and motion — I know my own tastes for my personal work tend in the abstract. Maybe I’ll have to put my money where my mouth is and write it up myself.

  • gavspav

    A few words about this as people seem to be having
    trouble getting it to work with different visual apps.

    - I don't know anything about Max. I put the vst's together on a trial because Pluggo is free. (I've been using the excellent Plogue Bidule). Someone could easily knock up a far more sophisticated version.

    - Windows users could I think use OSCGlue and avoid using Pluggo. This also gives you the option to change port and channel. However it doesn't pass audio through so you need to use a second audio track and pass audio from one to another.

    - This technique doesn't have to use OSC – it could just as easily use midi if you have a visual app capable of a bit of mathematics. I have the system working with Midi using Plogue but couldn't do it using Max. Maybe Pluggo doesn't support midi out without routing through the host – or maybe I'm just thick.

    - You could do a video slicer by just passing the midi notes to your VJ App (using Midi Note Feedback)and doing a few calculations if you know your start,end points & tempo. You don't really need all the plug in stuff.

    Lastly – I put these tutorials together cos I've been discovering these techniques over the past few months and I've never actually created anything particularly wonderful with them! So I
    thought maybe someone else would be able to. Its defintely a usable system when you've got it all set up but its easy to geek out and never make anything! Good Luck.

  • wes

    really wanna try this with quartz composer. too ba im so clueless at it lol. need a tutorial for that. thanks a lot for these anyway!!

  • ian

    if anyone's interested, i have a real simple Pd patch using GEM that can rearrange a beat and video in sync similar to that old freeware app Amen (it defaults to 8 slices but you can tweak it to add more)… unfortunately it doesn't have any beat detection so it makes equal divisions in the video and beat, which works for most quantized breakbeats. after doing this i went one step further and added the same GEM patching to my granulizer – needs some work (doesn't really change the video when you pitch shift it with really short triggers) but i blew my own mind how easy it was to set up in Pd! now i just need to do the same for gridflow (since GEM is a bit outdated and for straight video it's not the best, considering it's a 3d engine) – but again, if anyone's interested i'll hook it up, it'd be a good motivator to get me back into my projects

  • chris

    Thanks for this Gavin, love to try it out. And Ian, would be wonderful to try it out in PD which I haven't touched for ages if you get a chance to dig up your patch.

  • josh

    I built a similar monome-interface video sampler for isadora using midi, you can check it out at…

    I haven't found QC to be good with video. or OSC.

    could/should be re-written in Pd for open source goodiness

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  • LutherB

    Just wondering if any Windows user has got this running. Everything seems fine in Ableton but the OSCListener in Isadora doesn't seem to be getting a signal. I've set the Port to 2000 and reset Isadora and… nothing.
    I've also tried OSCGlue with similar lack of results.
    Do I need a full version of Isadora to get it working?

  • Graham T


    You shouldn't need the full version of isadora, Mark Conigllio states it it as being 'fully functonal' but without 'save' and 'video export'.

    Isadora defaults to OSC 1234 so check that in the pref's

    Make sure machine ID is still 1 and that the channel is the same.

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  • Jaime Munarriz

    It works fine with Live + PureData via MidiYoke.

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