Trigger, mix, effects… there are certain things you need to do as a visualist, and the combination of buttons with faders and encoders on the Ohm64 controller from Livid was clearly designed by visualists. The monome-style grid does indeed lend itself well to triggering, but you also need parameter control for mixing different channels and controlling parameters like effects. That means that its split-layout design is quite ideal for visual performance.

Here, we see German YouTube user Tschoepler put those controls to good use, combining the Ohm with the Mac/Windows Resolume Avenue VJ software (seen here on Windows). In a way, it’s a wordless tutorial for how to use the combination. See part 1 and 2 after the jump, to see its evolution.

Livid’s gear is not open source hardware. Instead, they provide complete specifications and free, open-source control software; the creators call it “open-minded.” I’d love to see more of the gear open up, but even that step has made a big difference, with greater customization and a shared community of people tweaking the interaction of the hardware with software.

In this case, this is more than just a simple control layout. A Max patch actually parses the Avenue setup file, and provides interactive feedback on details like clip position on each deck. (See the full details below.)

Found via Barcelona-based Paula Volàtil on Twitter, of volatilvisuals.

As for matters like choosing an Ohm or a monome, I guess the final question is whether you prefer to keep your grid separate from other controls, in which case the original monome remains a strong option. There’s something about its tasteful design and refinement that nothing else has been able to match – though it’s a shame there isn’t a knobnome or fadernome to go with it; you’ll have to provide your own.

But the important message here, to me, is what you can do with smart controller mapping. And if that helps you express what you want in a visual performance, that’s the real bottom line. I’d love to see some unorthodox ideas, too, aside from the traditional setup seen here. So if you’ve got some unique hardware/software rigs, let us know.

Evolution of the patch features

Parts 1 and 2 show the process of debugging and making the control layout more intelligent.

Version 1 added the basic functionality (with some glitches):

It parses the comp file of Avenue (.avc) and parses the clips’ position in deck 1 thus lighting the buttons on the OHM’s grid. Also recognizes the actual clips playing and lets the corresponding buttons blink. It also features column selection and layer selection.

Version 2 added “deck parsing on the fly” to make it easier to switch decks.

And finally, in version 3:

– shift button
– preview clips
– assign channel A or B to clip
– choosing blend modes
– layer bypass & solo
– access clips in column 9-16
– “clip buffer” remembers on which slot, layer and deck clips are playing (blinking only when visible on the OHM64)
– blinking can be synced to BPM