Scratch Yourself Stupid from digital funfair on Vimeo.

Can you do exciting things with video inside Ableton Live using Max for Live? Yes, you can.

It’s just a proof of concept/demo, not really a polished performance, but Digital Funfair has revealed with his Max for Live work how you might scratch incoming video and not just audio. Using a webcam input, he’s able to keep a buffer of incoming video and scratch that with the vinyl. He promises to share this lovely work with fellow Max for Live owners.

There’s more: at bottom, he takes the Buffer Shuffler concept from one of the included Max for Live devices and re-imagines it with video in place of audio.

For people doing this sort of audiovisual work, naturally, this is all pretty big news. It does the sort of things we had previously seen with the VIDEO-SL plug-in and Serato. You could do all of this in Max (or a similar environment) and dump Ableton Live entirely, but because in this case having beat-synced samples is important, Live is indeed quite useful.

Requirements: you need a full copy of Ableton Live (not LE), an add-on of Max for Live, and the Ms. Pinky vinyl and software. Ms. Pinky is really the cheap part: $80 buys you two records and the software, including the necessary Max external. You do not need a copy of Max/MSP and Jitter (normally $595), but if you have a Max 5 + Jitter license already, you have a major added advantage. With just Max for Live, the output of the Jitter window is disabled while editing, which means you have to patch, lock the patch, try it out, unlock the patch, edit the patch… you get the idea. It’s quite annoying, but it seems to be a matter of Cycling ’74 making sure sales of Max for Live don’t entirely cannibalize sales of Max. If you do have that Max 5 and Jitter license, the limitation is removed.

I did a Q&A with Ableton pushing a little further about what Max for Live is, what their intentions were, and what to expect; I’ll run that on cdmusic next week.

Now, let’s buffer shuffle – again, just a demo, but quite promising:

Quick Demo of Video Shuffler – my MaxforLive Device from digital funfair on Vimeo.

The competition – and it is competition for your Ableton Live integration time, because now Serato and Live, including VIDEO-SL, can work together:
Vinyl Scratch Animation: Turntable-Controlled, Interactive Cel Animation with Ms. Pinky

Visual Turntablism: Jaymis Live with Sampology on Serato Video-SL

Hands-on Review: Serato’s VIDEO-SL for Visual Vinyl Turntablism

Or you can run Max for Live and Live and Serato at the same time, too, but then you may in fact be a bit mad.

Thanks for the tip, Mudo!

More on Gavin Morris, the artist:
VJing, The Game: The AV Arcade Table, Powered by VJAMM
Ableton Live + Isadora: Slicing, Syncing Audiovisual Tutorials

And his official site, with lots more projects:

  • Mudo

    Thanks to you Peter for share in this kind of cool articles!



  • Graham T

    Woohoo go Gavin! You have been working hard on this for ages mate – its about time you got some recognition for it.



  • Mudo




  • mun

    Yessss. I still dont have Max for Live; its great that the Max addition can also affect the video.

    I'm only using the Live8 demo (stolen laptop replacement is where my money goes) so saving is not an option and I'm using Snapz to capture. I'd love to have a tactile interface to be less glued to the timeline and pay more attention to what I'm trying to make:


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  • gavspav

    Couple of things:

    The Pinky scratch thingy is  a maxforlive device but for no good reason really in its current state. It could just as easily be a Max runtime thus cutting out the need for spending more ££££££ (or $$$$)

    I did release the video shuffler device. Instructions and link here:


  • jean poole

    Don't forget the NZ based 'Mix Emergency',

    reviewed here:

    It's actually pretty versatile and reliable, have done a few shows with Melbourne Dj bandit Lewis Cancut with it.