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Playtime for Selkie and Momo

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Cut Up Video using Lucifer and Ableton Live

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Cut Up Video using Lucifer and Ableton Live

I was introduced to the Lucifer plugin courtesy of Stephan Vankov, who showed it to me when we started jamming on ideas for what eventually became our Karate Kid AV Remix.

If you’re not familiar with Lucifer, it’s a VST/AU plugin for realtime beat-based cutup/repeats of audio. If you’re not already a Lucifer user, this article may not interest you much – but I do suggest you check out the video to see what’s possible.

What you’re going to do is route the MIDI from Lucifer out to another program that will do Video cutups. This is useful for more than just video – with the MIDI signals coming out of Lucifer, you can control and trigger and MIDI-capable software and hardware. But if you’re still reading at this point, you probably already knew that.

lucitut_graph.png
The first thing you do is set up a new graph in Lucifer. Under the ‘Effects’ tab, select ‘MIDI CCs LAT’ and turn on the effect by clicking the little red button just to the left of the dropdown menu. Now for video use, we want a perfect rising graph in 64th-note intervals. Yes, you’ll have to draw this by hand – but it’s easier if you start with bigger chunks and work your way up to the finer control of the 64th notes. Update: Steve Duda tells me that you can use the ‘shape’ tool to draw the graph automatically. Thanks, Steve!

Then copy-and-paste this graph to all of the other graph sets for which you want MIDI out.

lucitout_midiout.png
The last step within Lucifer is to set the MIDI Control that will be sent out by doing a click-and-drag in the box just to the right of this MIDI symbol. In my example, I use CC#125.
The last bits you need to do are in Live. Set up a MIDI track, turn its monitor to IN, and set it to receive MIDI FROM whatever track Lucifer is on. If Lucifer is the only MIDI item in that track, it should come up in a little box below the Track Name you’ve selected. If not, the select it, silly.

Now you set the track’s MIDI TO port to send wherever we like. On a Mac, you can use the IAC bus. In this case, I used Isadora Virtual In, which is generated by Isadora whenever it’s running.

This tutorial has covered enough ground without going into a step-by-step Isadora tutorial. I’ll give you the general idea of what I did to get the video working. If you’ve used any node-based languages: Max/MSP, Quartz Composer, Reaktor, Cinema 4D Expresso – Isadora is quite similar, it just has different names for things.
In Isadora, I have a MIDI CC Watcher that routes the value information from Lucifer into a Movie Player, hooked up to a Projector for playback. I also use a Real-Time Watcher to observe the incoming MIDI Clock information from Ableton Live and calculate the Loop Length needed to play the video at 1x speed in time with my loops from Live.

If you want any more info, or some clarification – leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do to satisfy you.

Roadmap:

  • Only allow control via Lucifer while a modifier key is held down (otherwise the Audio in Isadora suffers)
  • Map Lucifer modifer and gridset keys to Monome.
  • Map ‘Reverse’ key in Lucifer to also reverse video in Isadora.
  • Your suggestion?

10 Responses to “Cut Up Video using Lucifer and Ableton Live”

  1. links for 2008-02-13 « things i am or once was Says:

    [...] VJ Kung Fu ยป Cut Up Video using Lucifer and Ableton Live Live video editing synched to audio with midi controls. (tags: midi ableton lucifer live) [...]

  2. zambari Says:

    nice one !

  3. licknowd3r Says:

    Hey Momo, when I switch the midi channel to receive from the master channel with lucifer on it, ableton crashes. I've tried using plogue bidule, and guru to make the envelope but can't figure out how exactly to get it to communicate with isadora, i've been able to get gavspav of boredbrands glove osc to communicate with isadora, but the lucifer method just seems to have more complexities. Is Osc or midi more effective for isadora? Also could you possibly post a screen shot of your isadora patch, i have the demo version so i have to rebuild patches every time i start it up. Also, ableton is able to communicate with isadora through midi yoke, just cannot get the slicing figured out, any info will be helpful.

  4. Randy Says:

    Is there a way to make play length automatically match the loop calculator's result? I'm wondering because it would be great to be able to change the tempo of the audio and have the loop automatically be set.

  5. Brennan Says:

    How can I MIDI learn Lucifer? I can't change the default mappings. Any suggestions? Thanks.

  6. tekesaurus.rex Says:

    Brennan

    if you are using ableton live 8 you can go to configure move whatever parameter you want and set the midi threw that.

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