Ableton, QC, playback/recording midi clips for Quartz Crystal

itsthejayj's picture

Ok this seems to be the clink in my setup and i'm sure other audio visual qc'ers must have the same problem.

I use Ableton Live to make midi notes/cc to send signals to QC. For example i get a video clip and line up a midi clip with notes and velocity information which triggers transition and effects within QC live.

Now my problem lies in rendering. I would like to either record the midi information coming from Ableton first using the Historian (but sadly the beta doesn't seem to be reliable yet) and then play back when rendering. Or is there some way i could export the midi clip from Ableton and then playback the MIDI file within QC for Quartz Crystal rendering magic.

Any general ideas, would it be possible to create a MIDI file player ? am i missing some thing in QCrystal? or is the historian going to save me from this hell and i'm just being dame impatient !?

Thanks

J

www.youtube.com/itsthejayj

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jersmi's picture
Plogue Bidule

I use Plogue Bidule as a plugin in Live. This software covers a lot of territory for such tasks.

franz's picture
Re: Plogue Bidule

me too . Bidule just rocks. it will record you midi data nicely. However, you'll still have some problems for QCrystal rendering. i guess Value Historian is the only option you've got.

cybero's picture
Playback/Recording Midi Clips for Quartz Crystal

Your post raises some interesting issues and I'm still not sure that I'm understanding exactly what you want to achieve, or perhaps how you intend to achieve it :-)

You seem perfectly clear that you can interact with Quartz Compositions via a MIDI input.

This is what I would call a live interactive rendering.

I've often thought that having some audio going directly into a Quartz Composition as it renders in export would be great.

However the export facility is simply wrapping the .qtz in a .mov wrapper and placing the .qtz as the key resource within the .mov movie, thereafter, as QuickTime is not protocolised as some other applications are, the QC file does not evidence any of the audio interactivity when played back in the QT Player at all.

Quartz Crystal does not currently take actual audio input. It's an offline renderer. In fact you could render for as long as Quartz Crystal renders and do so with your favourite track on endless loop and still get not one jot of audio interaction within Quartz Crystal at all.

However , if you want a solution that requires no purchase you could try ChucK .

Currently ** VIDVOX ** is one of several such applications, so too is** CoGe**.

CoGe and ChucK are both Open Source. VIDVOX Is free as a beta but carries a licence fee as does** Plogue Bidue** .

Quartz Composer does not actually support the playing of MIDI files. Pity, especially seeing as how they are supported within QuickTime Player.

Rendering video as it interacts with the audio is something of a 'Holy Grail' for a lot of generative artists and VJs. The applications above all help to bridge between audio and video and can be used to good effect. I don't think they'll do exactly what you are seeming to be asking after, but they'll go a long way towards achieveing it, even if by a route different from the one you first posted about, which is effectively a bit of a dead end / cul de sac.

Real Time audio interactive rendered video has as yet to be fully and completely realised and requires some real scaling up to ensure that the audio and video and interaction are all given sufficient time, for instance, QC does lazy evaluation and what that tends to mean if it didn't get done in time for the last frame and it isn't programmed or staged to be done the next frame it won't get done.

franz's picture
Re: Ableton, QC, playback/recording midi clips for Quartz ...

another option you have, is to use a "Render in image" patch within your comp, and plug its output to the movie exporter patch. Hence you don't use QCrystal.

I assume that your comp runs realtime, since you're using Live to drive it. Record on a fast disk and you're good to go.

One final option is to use a 2nd computer and a frame grabber to record the whole output (or even a firewire Cam. )

cybero's picture
Re: Ableton, QC, playback/recording midi clips for Quartz ...

That's a really great tip - you get a vote from me for that one franz and you can also get some extraordinary regressive / infinite effects doing that - but unfortunately it is a a trial and error process even so, franz, as I have found that obtaining reliable output from a live render works best when their is a lack of stuff like nested macro patches or overly complex scripting.

All stands to reason in terms of Quartz Composer's lazy evaluation , like if it's too much trouble it just doesn't get done and a pretty complex composition that works standalone will break down on that Render in Image to Movie Exporter patch route.

You've definitely touched upon something that I'll be re-exploring later :-)

Still seeking perfect audio interactivity, but no doubt about it, there are a growing number of useful solutions out there.

cwright's picture
Re: Ableton, QC, playback/recording midi clips for Quartz ...

cybero wrote:
All stands to reason in terms of Quartz Composer's lazy evaluation , like if it's too much trouble it just doesn't get done and a pretty complex composition that works standalone will break down on that Render in Image to Movie Exporter patch route.

This isn't quite accurate -- lazy evaluation refers to how QC will not evaluate stuff that doesn't produce output (i.e. a video input patch with no output used). It also doesn't re-evaluate stuff that hasn't changed (i.e. a static image through a big huge CoreImage filter chain will only get eval'd once, unless the image or a filter parameter changes).

QC doesn't care how complex or how long something takes to render, it'll just destroy your framerate.

Stuff not working in Render In Image is usually a by-product of OpenGL mis-use (happens in Particle Tools sometimes, and old versions of GLTools, and perhaps some official-api plugins), or a bug. Movie Exporter isn't a particularly reliable patch, and it seems to misbehave pretty frequently for most of my compositions (hence why I made QuartzCrystal)...

dust's picture
Re: Plogue Bidule

plogue is pretty cool, still tinkering with it, i like the stochastic music patch, i built one in max with markov chains.

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Ableton, QC, playback/recording midi clips for Quartz ...

The crux of the Movie Exporter is that you MUST toggle off and on the enable or whatever it is called. If you just stop render, it will always make an unopenable file. The other thing is, that you have to use something like one of the DV settings, and use minimal quality and small area, or it will grind to a stuttering halt. I use it once every great great once in awhile, but it is a pain in the butt to toy with it to get anything bordering on "professional" looking.

gtoledo3's picture
Re: Ableton, QC, playback/recording midi clips for Quartz ...

The other thing... the first time you use it, it just "hangs" for awhile, I guess while it's writing the file path? If you stop it, then put in something going to the same directory, change the name, it goes "ok" after that.

This is all just behavior that applies to my system, no idea if it works that way on every model, etc., etc.,...

jersmi's picture
maybe...

With Kineme Midi Tools, you can publish midi inputs then change values in QuartzCrystal. I did a little test but haven't pushed fps yet-- could this be useful?

usefuldesign.au's picture
Screen Capture

And another option is to use screen capture software. RINBOKU has audio reactive compostions on vimeo which he says he used 'ordinary' screen capture software.

As much as I like QuartzCrystal, i also have tried using Jing which is free without the extras which aren't required like YouTube export.