The open source Syphon has liberated textures and video streams from individual apps. No longer is the app a silo. The next frontier: liberate video from the whole computer.

There’s a suggestive post from our friend Jason Scott Furr on his blog:
Telecommuting the mix: VDMX, Syphon, CamTwist, and Skype

The “telecommuting” bit? He was able to tap into a video performance remotely by sending a stream over Skype.

The ingredients are compelling:
CamTwist itself is worth some further inquiry. It’s a “broadcast switcher” inside your Mac, effectively. It works with built-in effects or custom Quartz Composer creations, switches between HD stream inputs, juggles capture cards, and streams to the Web.

Skype, of course, you know.

Syphon, in case you don’t ever read this site, allows video to be streamed effortlessly between Mac apps. (We’ve at least seen a proof of concept of something similar on Windows, though it requires DirectX.)

The trick here is that, because CamTwist supports Quartz Composer, it also supports Syphon – just drop in the Syphon QC plug-in.

But the broader implication here is grand: you could use networks to stream video between computers. And, locally, tools like CamTwist suggest that in the near future, you may wind up buying a little Mac rather than a video mixer – at a fraction of the cost, with an order of magnitude greater capabilities.

We’ll be watching this closely.

Be seeing you.

  • I am sorry to rebuke something about VDMX and CAMTWIST. 

    CAMTWIST was awesome program and I have used in life performances (capturing Skype and Alchemy windows) But VDMX has it’s own capturing system, that is faster and more reliable then CAMTWIST.

  • All I can say is: stay tuned for more on this front. 

  • Deb

    All I can say is: when vade speaks, I pay attention!

    • yes. I would imagine syphon becoming networked 

    • Kevin

      Agreed, since screen capture, I’m always staying tuned (sin-r8)

  • Kevin

    Doesn’t this mean we should be able to turn a Mac Mini into an HD video mixer with network inputs?

  • Thanks for the write up. So far we’ve used this setup about 3 or 4 time, both as a local bridge between machines and some much longer distance gigs. We’ll be attempting to use it again for three european shows coming up in Budapest, Vienna, and Berlin in August. If anyone has suggestions on how to make this work more efficiently please let me know!

    One other strategy we’ve thought of but haven’t tried yet… is streaming the control data via OSC over a VPN for remote secure performance….

    • Cool approach! For a local bridge between machines, I have used in Max/MSP/Jitter in the past successfully. I’m not sure how it compares to Skype’s performance but it might worth a test.

  • Moabyte

    It woks, not that hard to setup up, figured it all out in about 15 minutes. Syphon rules.

  • Moabyte

    Vade is killing hardware like a dragon slayer.   🙂