The Music and Sound Design Platform has always been first and foremost about generating and performing exciting music and sound with an intuitive interface and a free and open source distribution and development model. This vision has been the primary goal for the program from the start, has been my personal artistic driving force for years now, and has brought passionate contributors and users who have helped grow and shape the program over the years.
But, for a while now, the team has been thinking about how we can grow the project beyond this initial vision. For the better part of 2018, one thing that’s come up again and again in discussions has been the implementation of video modules, and how the addition of video, and specifically audio-reactive video, could drastically change the size and scope of the project.
After the 1.4 update, it began to feel like the right time to try out video in the system, and to start to figure out how to implement a whole new type of module into the program, so I took it upon myself to start exploring. I began to try things out, first with small tests, then larger tests, then I began to work through the steps of connecting video processes into the other system processes. Once those tests were done, I’d effectively figured out video implementation, so I got to work building modules! And, much to the excitement of the team, it worked!
So, it’s official: The next update to Music_SDP will introduce the first set of video modules to the program!
There is a lot that is not ready to show just yet, there’s been enough progress that I am excited to share the first bits of information today. Of course, video makes the most sense when seen in motion, so the first thing I did was put together a small preview, which you can check out now:
Our first batch of video modules will include everything you need to get started. You’ll be able to load video files (through our new, streamlined media manager), capture footage from web cams, synthesize, filter, and mix video together in exiciting ways.
As with our audio modules, video modules can be chained together easily. Some will sync with the metronome, and some will accept audio signals directly. Any parameter can be controlled via our normal control mechanisms, including the LFO Automator, and the upcoming Signal Automator, meaning you can use any audio signal to control any video parameter!
To ensure feature parity between our audio and video modules, we’ve expanded the project recorder to allow for video and video-with-audio recording!
Video modules will connect using a system similar to the one used for matching audio between modules, but streamlined. For video modules, you’ll simply assign a channel number for your I/O address, and you can set any value between 1 and 9999. As with our audio modules, video modules will have one or more inputs and two outputs, making it possible to process video in parallel or sequence.
Our video players will feature drag-and-drop functionality (as will our other media modules in the next update), we’ll be able to capture any video capture signal - like webcams or input from capture cards - and you’ll even be able to synthesize video in realtime.
To assist us with the synthesis side of things, we are integrating elements from a powerful toolbox called VSynth. VSynth is an awesome package that makes it easy to generate and manipulate wild psychadelic visuals. Native integration of several VSynth tools will be available immediately on launch, with more being added in over time.
VSynth interfaces are a little different from the default MSDP controls, but they’re easy to pick up, and a ton of fun to master. These tools will run seemlessly with our other video modules, and connecting them will not require any additional setup.
If you haven’t heard of VSynth before, we strongly recommend you check it out: https://www.patreon.com/vsynth
Several effects, like the Scanner and GlitchBox, will syncronize to both audio signals and metronomes, making it a breeze to make video projects that integrate seemlessly with your music.
Parameters for video modules have the same flexibility of control as all other parameters in the program. This means that the LFO Automator can be used to sync manipulation of any parameter in any module, further enancing the connection between your globally-synced audio and video effects.
To make sure that any desired parameter is audio-reactive, we’ll also be introducing a new control module: the Signal Automator. This new module will convert signal data to control data for any parameter in any module. This means that any signal can control any parameter across the system - video, data, and signal alike. This one new module opens up a world of new possibilities across the platform, and makes audio-reactive video a breeze to set up!
The next update to Music_SDP will also remove the System Board and replace it with the System Console - a streamlined tool that docks to the top of the screen and offers better, easier-to-understand options.
One of the most important features of the new Console is a media settings section, where video dimensions can be set, and recording options can be explored.
Recording will be expanded to offer four options - the original audio recording, which still makes a .wav file, is the default setting. But, new options include the ability to record a silent .mov video, a .mov video with audio from the Master Mixer, or a .wav file for audio and a seperate .mov file for video.
Simply choose the recording option that’s right for you, select a video address to capture, name the file, and hit record. Video files will be recorded to the new “Saved Video” folder in your MSDP project folder.
There’s plenty more to come for video in Music_SDP. I mean this both in the sense that there will be plenty more information to share in the future, and in the sense of more development of video modules with future updates.
This is just the first step for multimedia integration, and the team is already brainstorming what we can add to the program as we continue to evolve it. I can’t wait to see what our community will do with these new tools, and all of the unique and innovative ways our users will come up with to play with these new features.
There are a lot of new things coming with the next update, some of which were just barely touched on in this announcement. There is not yet a release date for the next update, but the current plan is to launch the update this winter. We’ll have more feature announcements soon, and more information on an exact release date as the time approaches!
If you enjoy the software, join us on social media and share your thoughts. We’ve got a facebook page, a twitter account, a subreddit, and a YouTube channel, and we love engagement on all fronts! If you really love what we’re doing, please consider becoming a donor on Patreon, where you can download custom-built presets, boards, and projects, and where you can get early-access to new modules before they make it into the next release. If you prefer to give a one-time gift, you can use the 'Donate' button to send us a donation of any size via PayPal.
To sign off, I’d like to say thank you to our users for your belief in our project, and for all of the contributions to the Music_SDP community. Your engagement gives this program purpose, and inspires us to continue working.
-Hugh Lobel, and the Music_SDP team.Download MSDP 2.0.7 now!