The video we made for Ephemeris Time

Here’s the 20′ video we created for Ephemeris Time, an end-of-the-year collective audio visual show organized at scanlines.xyz.

Non commercial video platforms hosting recordings of our live visuals

We’ve established our main online presence on this blog, powered by autistici.org, because we’d rather use self-managed tools and stay away from commercial start-ups or corporations whenever possible. Using online services comes with a number of systemic issues. For the same reasons we’re currently not on Youtube, or any commercial video platform, and stream on live.autistici.org.

Since we started playing with visuals, we’ve been uploading all our recordings to the Internet Archive, a free, non-commercial, library-style platform. We’ve just uploaded there our 100th video recording!

Also, during 2020 we joined and started participating in Scanlines.xyz, a self-managed online community for DIY audio/video projects. Among other things, Scanlines.xyz hosts an instance of PeerTube, a free and decentralized alternative to video platforms. We’ve been uploading there short clips created with an analog video synthesizer. Here’s an example:

Ephemeris Time

On December 30, we’ll be part of Ephemeris Time, a collective audio/video show that will be streamed at scanlines.xyz.

scanlines.xyz is a friendly community / forum to discuss DIY video and audio projects, electronic-based art, and related interests. It’s relatively young; we joined them in June 2020. We like it because of its hands-on attitude, knowledge sharing and mutual encouragement.

For Ephemeris Time we recorded and submitted a 20′ video. We feel it’s representative of our current style, and it also reflects some things that have been going on around us. We dedicate it to all the people who fought for their rights and for social justice in 2020.

For this set, we created an audio mix with music we like, using tracks by Sinister Sveta, Stephanie Merchak, Y/6543/, Madman’s Pannychis, Abul Mogard, Acid Kunt and Speak Onion. We recorded our visuals live with no post-processing, except the upscaling from the native 576p to 720p.

Our video and the videos made by the other 13 participants will be screened for the first time during the show.

Watch our video and join Ephemeris Time
on 30 December 2020, 7pm EST
(31 December 2020, 1am CET / Berlin time)
at scanlines.xyz

Here’s a trippy trailer created by Andrei Jay, who’s been organizing the show:

Playing with chroma keying and green screens

In the usual Interzone and Daddies On Acid weekly shows, our live visuals take the whole screen; on November 27, together with djs Bergen and Hansi, we did something a bit different. While recording their set, Bergen and Hansi also recorded themselves on video in front of a green background. Then they shared the video with us, and we used the traditional chroma key technique to replace the background with our visuals, while keeping the DJs visible. This is a well known technique, but it was a first for us, so it was a chance for us to learn more about video workflows and about the tools we use.

Some notes:

  • our video output is PAL and has a 5:4 ratio. Video recordings made with modern equipment are likely to be 16:9. In our case, given the composition/layout of our scene, this turned out to be a non-issue, or even an advantage. The console and the DJ only took the lower part of the screen, which left a lot of space for the visuals in the background
  • we wanted to replace the audio track from the camera with a separate audio recording, that was coming directly from the DJ mixer and had better quality. This was easy to do, but only thanks to Bergen and Hansi: before their set, they connected a microphone to their mixer and clapped their hands once. Like with a clapperboard, this was recorded by both the camera and the audio recorder, and allowed us to sync the two audio tracks and produce the final media file to play during the livestreaming
  • our streaming software, OBS Studio, offers multiple ways to include videos in the stream. The first approach we tried (Media Source) turned out to be unreliable (audio potentially getting out-of-sync with video; some issues when pausing/restarting the source). We opted for a Window Capture Source instead, so we were playing the video recording in VLC, capturing the content of the VLC window into OBS, and applying a chroma key filter. Since minimized windows can’t get captured, we avoided risks and forced VLC window not to ever be minimized, by using KDE‘s advanced window management system
    (note to myself: title > substring > window name > minimize > force > no)
  • we wanted to separately feed the video with the DJs to the other computer where Resolume runs. To do this, we created an OBS Projector for the Window Capture Source, assigned it to a secondary HDMI output and then (for lack of better solutions) used an HDMI-composite adapter + a composite-to-USB adapter

As a reference, this is our current usual setup.

Our VJing equipment and setup – 15 November 2020

Some of the fun we have making live visuals comes from experimenting with always new ways of moving pixels and colors around our machines, eyes and screens. We often change how our equipment is connected and try different signal paths. Here’s an update compared to last week, in which we try to overcome some limitations. We’ll likely try this new setup next Wednesday. Continue reading “Our VJing equipment and setup – 15 November 2020”

Our VJing equipment and setup

This is the gear we’re currently using to make live visuals:

LZX Vidiot (analog video synthesizer); Roland Edirol V-8 (digital video mixer); Panasonic WJ-AVE5 (digital video mixer); Syntonie AVE MOD V2; BPMC Premium Cable; VideoMaster2000 (switcher with color/contrast controls); laptop running Resolume Arena; Korg Nanokontrol2; Easycap USB2AV capture card; salvaged webcam, TVCC, composite video splitter, video switcher, audio mixer, LCD display, CRT TV 15″

As a setup example, here’s how we connected the equipment and routed our video signal on Wednesday 11 November 2020:

(“output” and “input” are omitted; “#1” means “channel 1”)

  • Vidiot Color Video > V8 #1
  • V8 #1 monitor > VideoMaster2000 #1
  • Vidiot Luma Video > V8 #2
  • V8 #2 monitor > WJ-AVE5 ext. camera (superimpose effect)
  • WJ-AVE5 main > V8 #5
  • WJ-AVE5 rec > V8 #6
  • projector < TVCC > V8 #7
  • Resolume > V8 PC/8
  • V8 PC/8 monitor > video splitter
  • video splitter > 1: LCD display, 2: Vidiot Luma, 3: VideoMaster2000 #2
  • LCD display < webcam > Resolume
  • VideoMaster2000 > BPMC
  • BPMC > WJ-AVE5 #1
  • V8 preview > AVE MOD V2
  • AVE MOD V2 > WJ-AVE 5 #2
  • WJ-AVE 5 #2 monitor > TV 15″
  • 3 smartphones/tablets > audio mixer (they run a free app that works like an audio oscillator, generating sine frequencies of usually 0.5-2.5Hz / 49-51Hz / 99-101Hz respectively, which interfere beautifully with video frequencies)
  • Vidiot Luma > audio mixer
  • audio mixer > Vidiot (various inputs)
  • V8 main > AV2USB > Linux computer running OBS > you 😉

cons/todos:

  • the TV 15″ is useful as a preview monitor, but it’s currently affected by the AVE MOD V2. We need an additional splitter after the V8 preview output
  • we mainly use the VideoMaster2000 as a switcher, to route either the Vidiot or the Resolume outputs to BPMC, but maybe its color/contrast controls could be more useful at the end of the FX chain. To try:
    • (Resolume>) video splitter > 1: LCD display, 2: Vidiot Luma, 3: BPMC
    • V8 #5 monitor (WJ-AVE5 main) > VideoMaster2000 #1
    • V8 #6 monitor (WJ-AVE5 rec) > VideoMaster2000 #2
    • VideoMaster2000 > V8 #4
      • V8 #4 as both switcher and FX, and tentative new end of the FX chain in replacement of V8 #5 + V8 #6 (let’s keep them enabled as a backup)
    • alternatively,
    • V8 #5 monitor (WJ-AVE5 main) > VideoMaster2000 #1
    • nothing > VideoMaster2000 #2
      • VideoMaster2000 > V8 #5
  • Option: the TVCC is currently pointing to a projection of our main output for video feedback. We have another TV 15″ we’re not using and we could play with it instead

An incomplete list of sources for our clips

Archive Videos

Continue reading “An incomplete list of sources for our clips”

eon.20 Stonewall Edition and more streaming in June

eon.20 is a project to gather a community of artists, “a hybrid space” where “a wide range of disciplines meet and dialogue in a safe space, without limits or censorship, giving voice and visibility to a wide diversity of artists and creators from the internet to the world”. We were invited by eon.20 to VJ on Anna Bolena‘s and Daddies on Acid‘s sets during the series of streams they organized to celebrate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, on the 28 June. If you missed them, you can still celebrate the Stonewall riots with us – here are the recordings.

In June, we also continued VJing for Daddies on Acid and Interzone. If you missed our sets, here they are 🙂

24 June 2020, DJ set by HC Cavallo and Simona Beat for Daddies on Acid

24 June 2020, ambient selection by Pixi for Daddies on Acid

17 June 2020, DJ set by Tempus Fugit for Interzone

12 June 2020 – Interzone – listen to the DJ set by 01100110 while you watch

12 June 2020, ambient selection by Pixi for Interzone

Daddies on Acid streaming – Black Lives Matter

This week, with Black Lives Matter protests shaking the U.S. and the rest of the world, we streamed our visuals for Daddies on Acid, adding some clips from BLM protests in the States and elsewhere, as well as from the protests that erupted in Chile some months ago, and from the great Fuck the Fascism project. We would normally not use riot scenes for our VJing at parties, to avoid inducing disturbing altered states of consciousness in dancers, but given this new normal home setting, our visuals are turning more and more into a video-zine, and we are having a great time preparing our sets.

Enjoy the videos, with DJ sets by Homecompiuter and MICHEL IPOGONDRY 🙂

And if you like these, stay tuned and don’t miss the future events!

With these sets, a new toy has been added to our setup – it’s the AVE MOD V2 by Syntonie, which distorts in even more interesting ways our video signals.

Streaming from lockdown

It is known that sometimes misery and distress bring a lot of creativity and inspiration, and this hasn’t been different for us: in the past few weeks we have been collaborating with several projects, doing visuals for our beloved Interzone, Daddies on Acid, and Dis/Tanz.

The Dis/Tanz video, with Ludi Oktokreuz & Schatten Voraus behind the console, will be streamed on Friday 29 May on several platforms by the Gothic Pogo Festival – check the Facebook event to find the links.

And here’s a taste of our recent VJing for Daddies on Acid and Interzone, with DJ sets by Hugo Sanchez (FRONT DE CADEAUX), MICHEL IPOGONDRY and Pixi.

For these sets, we added to our usual setup – Resolume Avenue + Vidiot + AVE5 mixer + BPMC Premium Cable – looping effects with a webcam pointed at a Sony Trinitron CRT TV, and used OBS Studio for streaming, recording, and scene switching. And as it happens, we found a way of recording our sets with OBS Studio and can say that these are our first fully recorded sets. Enjoy!