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VVVV versus Catalyst, M-box, grandMA Video and Hippotizer

Hi,

I am a regular user of mainstream off the shelf products for live shows such as Catalyst and the like mentioned above for both full screen video output and pixelmapping to LED products for a wide range of shows.

I have had a look at VVVV as it has been mentioned to me as a possibility for future projects. Is this system an equivalent as a playback of video with real time manipulation of multiple video layers or more of a content generation device.

I use a lighting desk to run the normal systems and need quick and easy access to all parameters… from what i can see there is an awful lot of plugins and patches to make this work…

Your thoughts please…

Cheers

Is this system an equivalent as a playback of video with real time manipulation of multiple video layers or more of a content generation device.

yes of course, its very easy for a simple player you have to create some nodes:
filestream -> videotexture -> quad ->renderer dx9

I use a lighting desk to run the normal systems and need quick and easy access to all parameters… from what i can see there is an awful lot of plugins and patches to make this work…

what you have especially to consider is that you can do with vvvv things you could n t do with other softwares. after its more a question of time, and to have created your own collection of subpatches, fitting your needs and habits of work.
vvvv approach is very different than using a software and learning how to use it. your create your own tools, that it !

Your thoughts please…

there is nothing as strong as vvvv, and no community so much activ to help when encountering troubles in programming

;-)

Your thoughts please…

Cheers

from what i can see there is an awful lot of plugins and patches to make this work…

you will not need all of this to make your setup work. while vvvv does contain a lot of possibilities to communicate with a vast amount of different hardware, you will most probably use only a fraction of them. also, unlike in other software, all the nodes in vvvv behave in the same way and are rather easy to figure out once you’ve gotten the hang of it.

Is this system an equivalent as a playback of video with real time manipulation of multiple video layers or more of a content generation device.

like karistouf said, vvvv is a toolkit that enables you to do both. frankly, if you’re already familiar with a certain set of vj/video playback software and happy with their functionality, it would appear redundant to rebuild those tools in vvvv - unless you crave for different effects (e.g. want to implement your own pixelshaders), different functions and interface paradigms etc. which you could then create yourself. it is also a great tool (and one of the few that can actually do that) to connect completely different devices to a new whole, which sounds like your thing.

vvvv can also be used for content creation, and is also especially suited for that, because of the speed and flexibility with which you can prototype (and afterwards finalize) your ideas. it is almost immediately graphic and, due to its realtime nature, has the closest creative feedback-loop i have ever encountered in any software.

Your thoughts please…

if you’re looking to substitute (or extend in functionality) parts of your impressive existing hardware rack, vvvv is a valuable option. i think that it would take some time, though, before you can do so productively. vvvv is easy to learn and very fast, but a smart solution to the challenge of unifying this amount of gear (in a way that suits you and your needs) takes some though and experience. if you were trying to tackle this straight away, i’d be afraid that you’d miss many of the basic and very productive features of vvvv and become frustrated when small things turn into big problems simply because of the scale of that project.

so yeah, i’d give it a try :) and if you’ve can spare some time to crawl before you walk, it’s well worth the effort.

I’ve built DMX media servers with vvvv and pixel mapping solutions, and there are some things that are better some that are worse, in general I would use vvvv as a layer within another server, as the video playback isnt the most powerful aspect, eg I rarely try and use more than 3 layers of SD video, but I’ve done multiple outs of high res realtime gererative content that isnt possible in the same way with any off the shelf system.
The main thing to bear in mind is that off the self systems will do what they say in the tin and do it very well, with vvvv you can do things that are impossible with another tool, its best suited to custom building applications, mapping video to objects, tracking performers, generative works. I use it as a content creation tool quite often on shows and renderer it off to video for playback on catalysts/hippos, as Diki says you can prototype quickly, get it ok’d by directors then renderer it far faster than making things in after fx quite often.

Just to put my 2cents in…
From a recent project Ive been using vvvv to prototype some pixelmapping solution, this enabled us to test the hardware and take controll of values quicly which would be very tricky to do with off the shelf hardware/software. On the flip side when you buy a Hippo or Use a GrandMa you are getting a tried and tested product that if it f*cks up is generally well supported and help is only a phonecall away. At the end of the day Id say use whatever product suits your application.