Digital Media Design


Performance Video – Modul8


The Plan – using Modul8

The more I think about the Performance Video project the more I think we should be concentrating on the Performance aspect rather than the technology used to produce our concept. With this in mind I began looking more closely at the Technology already available to us. I came to the conclusion that by basing the entire project around some VJing software (Modul8) that can interface with a midi musical instrument and apart from some programming, essentially the technical part of the project is complete.

The idea to this approach is based upon the Ophelia summer project I worked on with Samantha Else and Michael Moore see the Ophelia Blog entries for details and video below.



This would allow us to concentrate on producing the videos, the sound quality and possibly identifying a suitable location to project our videos, as we all feel this project would work well projected externally on a building.

How will it work?

I’ve sketched out my idea below, essentially all we need is a Macbook Pro with Modul8 installed, a midi keyboard and a VGA projector – simple!

Performance Video - The Plan Modul8

Fig 1.0 Performance Video - The Plan Modul8

The idea is that by using Modul8, which of course will be able to interface to a projector and handle all the video output and hopefully will also be able to interpret the input signals from the midi keyboard, which will in turn be mapped to the individual videos. This is all theory at this stage as I understand from my research that Modul8 does an initial scan of midi inputs at start up and that there is no subsequent midi mapping functionality.

My previous experience of using Modul8 also makes me believe that this simple plan will be anything but simple. I fully expect there to be issues with mapping the keyboard notes to the corresponding videos. I’ve had problems with video files working one day but not the next due to CODEC choices and I suspect that the performance of the overall concept maybe limited by the performance of the technology. By this I mean will the Macbook/Modul8 be able to handle all the multiple videos running simultaneously, especially when a chord is played.

The only solution is to carry out some testing as soon as possible to see if this works, if not then another plan will be needed, one most probably using Max/Msp and Jitter.


Research Links

Modul8 is a revolutionary MacOS X application designed for real time video mixing and compositing. It has been designed for VJs and live performers. Modul8. Site Accessed 20/11/2011


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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Video – Ophelia Project, Studio Lighting Setup

Studio Lighting Setup

Assisting MA Student – Samantha Else on her project producing a Gallery Exhibit for the AUCB along with fellow DMP 1st year student Michael Moore. The exhibit will essentially follow on from the live performance detailed in the Blog posting Green Screen – A Midsummer Nights Dream

This part of the project endeavors to immerse the audience in the mind state of Ophelia as she progresses through her madness. Samantha engaged actress Robynne Batley to play the part of Ophelia from Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

Filming in the Studio – Studio Lighting Setup

Following Samantha’s directions Michael and myself setup the Studio Lighting Setup and positioned the cameras to video the acting sequences from 2 angles, from directly in front and to one side. We used Digital SLR’s for the video recording, my personal Canon EOS 60D and one of the Universities Canon EOS 5D MKII’s.

I was slightly disappointing by the performance of the lighting equipment we used, the studio itself is an amazing space for this type of video work but the relatively low power of the lighting appeared to be absorbed by the white walls of the space. Studio Lighting Setup had to be revised to make the most of the low power lighting. This was resolved in the end by re-positioning the lights closer to the subject but even then I did notice a distinct colour change depending on the distance of the subject from the cameras lens and lighting source. I’m certain this effect could have been reduced by using say a Blond Lighting setup of at least 2KW.

White balance also became problematic in the space with lighting a mix of natural light, fluorescent and incandescent, in the end I went for fluorescent setting which was in retrospect the wrong choice but this can be corrected in post.

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(Pictures corrected for white balance)

Michael plans to combine the video footage taken from the 2 camera viewpoints in post production in order to endeavor to create a 3D image which he plans to project onto a number of blocks using video mapping and Modul8 application.

Filming on the Beach

The 2nd part to the days video filming took place on location at Bournemouth seafront where we filmed Ophelia looking out to sea and running madly between the Pier supports.

The Video sequence above was taken by Samantha using my Flip Ultra HD camera hand held, which I then imported and edited in Adobe Premiere. In keeping with the projects theme of Ophelia’s madness I decided to reverse the video clips so that the waves appear to roll away from Ophelia. I then added a musical soundtrack mixed with the sound of the waves and the voices of people on the beach. (this is for my Blog entry only and will not form part of the exhibit)

The next step in the project is to finalise the sound recording, film any additional footage that maybe required and then to actually experiment with the projection and setup of the exhibition space.

Ophelia – The SHIFT Exhibition


A short video of the projection used for the SHIFT Exhibition.




VJing – Modul8 Getting Started


I’ve downloaded the demo version of the VJing App Modul8 that we use at University, they have some MacBook Pro’s with this software installed for student use for live Video performance and so I’ve installed the demo on my Mac so that I can practice using the application before using it in any projects.

Modul8 - VJing App

Modul8 - VJing App

Initially I thought it was difficult to get started with Modul8 but after reading the manual – that’s right I actually read the manual I’ve since found it an easy App to use. It has drawbacks but these can be adapted to or worked around. But what it really needs is an input device which the App supports via a midi interface.

This device would make it easier to control the sequence of videos easier than using a computers keyboard or mouse. Alternatively I notice it is possible to design Modules and maybe I’ll look into putting one of these together or maybe modifying an existing one such as the slide-show module.

Interestingly I notice it also supports DMX which means it should be possible to integrate lighting control, making it easier to control the whole performance from one laptop.

I’ll update this article with some more posts once I’ve had time to really get to grips with the App and see what it can do as it is currently being used in a MA students live performance of Midsummers Night’s Dream that I’m assisting with so hopefully I can pass on some insights later.


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