VJ gear guru Jay Smith, from Livid Instruments, came down to Scribemedia to show us his babies, Livid Instruments vj controller “Ohm” with “Union” VJ software.

The “Livid” story follows the archetypal narrative of the “American Inventor/Entrepreneur”

  • VJ/ video artist creates hardware and software solutions for their art-making because they don’t yet exist
  • Less inventive art-makers also need these solutions and hire their services
  • like-minded developers realize they’re on to something, join forces and bring their ideas to the world

…and so children, Livid Instruments is formed and now we get to check out this Bad-Assed VJ specific, midi controller (Ohm) shipping with excellent VJ software (Union).

Jay gives a pretty detailed overview of the unit and where he was coming from in creating it.

As a working VJ, my take on it is that this thing is great. Anyone who has delved into performing electronic arts (VJs, DJs, instrumentalists, video artists, corporate AV events, etc) already knows about the wealth of software tools available to create, record, tweak and perform audio and visuals. We also know how real-time control and the controllers we use determine how deftly we can play our instruments in many ways.

There are some VJ specific controllers out there (at about half the price), but in many ways they don’t seem to address issues a working VJ encounters. The “Ohm” is a big, solid, wood/metal, back lit instrument ready for regular pro use in dark, dirty, loud, drunken, dancing, screaming, boozed soaked working environments. (LOVE back lit buttons!) $790 is a chunk of change but I think the quality of construction has a lot to do with it. The price tag might turn off the curious, but I don’t really see anything out there with all of the “Ohm’s” features to compare it to.

(I will try to present Edirol and Numark VJ controllers, but a comparison to the “ohm” is a bit of an “oranges to tangerines” situation.)

The software bundle with “Ohm” is serious, in depth and tweakable VJ software. To think of the “Union” VJ software as an added freebie bonus isn’t quite getting it right. I tried to work with the software without the “Ohm” controller and found it a bit frustrating not being able to manipulate all of the extensive features and filters like I would otherwise be able to with the “Ohm” controller. Due to it’s depth, the software took a bit of time to get my head around and although it can do more it’s trickier than “Cell”, “Arkaos or “Grid” to operate.

Both “Ohm” and “Union” are unique and flexible enough to “think outside the box” with regard to how you might put them to use. I’ve already used “Union” software to add visual effects to videos I’ve edited. I was able to create real-time effects/motion/filters/mattes/keys to video footage, record the mix and then import it into Final Cut Pro with the rest of my edit.

Compared to the render/tweak time using plug ins in video editing software (final cut pro), “union” smokes (albeit lower rez). “Ohm” is also a good multi-tasker. A midi controller by nature should work to control any software that receives midi and Ohm’s knob/pad/and slider layout will work well for live music, DJing, AV presentation as well as live line mixing for starters. (a stack of knobs arranged like a three band EQ for DJ types would be nice though….)

Union VJ software deserves it’s own video and rest assured its coming down the Scribemedia pipes. Stay Tuned…

SIDE BAR
Kick drum pedal invented in the 1920’s. The musical time keeper now becomes the Hi Hat cymbal.

  • Pre-kick 1920’s drum groove holder think, “BOOM, BOOM, BOOM” like a marching band.
  • Post-kick drum groove holder, think “Tik, tik, tik” like just about any pop song since the 1920’s.

One drummer with a kick drum can now perform complex syncopated rythms.

Moral of the Story
One guy with one bright idea + one footpedal = Popular Music Changed Forever.

Don’t get me started on Les Paul………