Ian F. Hunt

Cinematographer and Filmmaker

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Performance Video – Wiimote MAC

Wiimote Mac

A recently acquired Wii Games Console offered the opportunity to investigate interfacing the Wii Remote to my Macbook Pro and in turn to Quartz Composer.

The Wiimote is a Bluetooth device and the obvious thing to do was to connect it directly to the Mac using the built-in Bluetooth stack but although this connection works the Wiimote will be unresponsive as there is no native application on the Mac that supports the Wiimote.

Researching on the Internet I came across a number of Apps that do support interfacing the Wiimote to the Mac these are:-

  • OSCulator
  • DarwiinRemote
  • Wiinstrument
Fig 1.0 Connecting the Wiimote to OSCulator

Fig 1.0 Connecting the Wiimote to OSCulator

OSCulator

Of these OSCulator provides the most control and customisation allowing you to dedicate MIDI notes and controls to individual keys on the Wiimote and most importantly choice of Port Address for connecting to the MAC.

OSCulator is a free download from http://www.osculator.net/ this is a demo version and although fully functional you do get reminder screens with a delay built in during which time functionality is lost.

Wiimote MAC

The first task is to connect the Wiimote to OSCulator using Bluetooth. Press buttons 1 and 2 on the Wiimote simultaneously, all 4 blue lights on the Wiimote should be flashing, then click Start Discovery on the OSCulator App and the App should identify and link to the Wiimote, note the green tick and MAC device address in the window.

Fig 2.0 Settings for the Wiimote and OSCulator

Fig 2.0 Settings for the Wiimote and OSCulator

The next image Fig 2.0 is of the Wiimote buttons and XY mapping options, for example each of the buttons can be assigned to a MIDI Note and the XY to control Pitch, Volume etc.

Note the box at the top left of the window which shows the Port number, matching this setting to the input port of your Quartz Composer composition links the Wiimote to the input of patch.

As a reminder OSC stands for Open Sound Control

Open Sound Control (OSC) is a protocol for communication among computers, sound synthesizers, and other multimedia devices that is optimized for modern networking technology. Bringing the benefits of modern networking technology to the world of electronic musical instruments, OSC’s advantages include interoperability, accuracy, flexibility, and enhanced organization and documentation.
Introduction to OSC http://opensoundcontrol.org/introduction-osc Site Accessed 02/01/2012

Wiinstrument

Fig 3.0 Wiinstrument Configuration Screen

Fig 3.0 Wiinstrument Configuration Screen

This free application supports the Wiimote and the Nunchuck accelerometers download from here http://screenfashion.org/releases/the_wiinstrument/. Although not as configurable as OSCulator it does provide a useful MIDI connection. It has 2 modes Keyboard and Drumsticks.

The first thing to do is to connect the Wiimote in the usual way by pressing keys 1 and 2 simultaneously when successfully connected you’ll notice the graphical displays for the accelerometers will respond to the movements of the Wiimote.

Fig 4.0 Wiinstrument Drumsticks Screen

Fig 4.0 Wiinstrument Drumsticks Screen

There’s few options but you can change the keyboard scale and select which mode to use using the Home key.

In keyboard mode the Wiimote keys are assigned to MIDI notes which should be compatible with all MIDI applications although I’ve only tested it with GarageBand which seemed to work well.

In Drumsticks you can use the movement of the Wiimote and Nunchuck to simulate the hitting of a virtual Drum, again I’ve only tested this using GarageBand but it works well.

DarwiinRemote

Fig 5.0 DarwiinRemote Configuration Screen

Fig 5.0 DarwiinRemote Configuration Screen

DarwiinRemote also connects to the Wiimote and simulates Mouse movements or Apple Remote functions rather than MIDI. You can download this free program from the usual download site or from the authors site here http://blog.hiroaki.jp/2006/12/000433.html

Fig 6.0 DarwiinRemote Nunchuck Configuration Screen

Fig 6.0 DarwiinRemote Nunchuck Configuration Screen

This is more of a general purpose input interface but will find many uses where Mouse is the input device. For example the control of a PowerPoint presentation or by using a Processing application could control Video or Video Effects just by the movement of the Wiimote.

Personally I found DarwiinRemote perfect for controlling Front Row (Apple’s Media Application) using the Wiimote keys to move through the Menus playing Music and Video content.

Project Blog Entry Links

  1. Performance Video – Conclusion
  2. Performance Video – Wiimote MAC
  3. Performance Video – VJ’ing using Quartz Composer
  4. Performance Video – Kinnect on MAC and PC
  5. Performance Video – MAX MSP Jitter
  6. Performance Video – Modul8
  7. Performance Video – The Human Orchestra

 

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