Resolume Avenue 4 has been announced today, with a beta version for Resolume owners due September 19. And it’s looking like a very nice upgrade, indeed. Having vastly improved stability, now functionality in Avenue is looking really mature, building on the almost Ableton-style audiovisual clip metaphor introduced in Avenue. I just played a short gig with version 3 and had a blast, and 4 could make this the tool to beat. Here’s what’s new:

Clip Transitions and Effect Clips are especially big news. You can trigger effects as if they’re clips, and clip transitions allows you to automatically fade between clips when you trigger them rather than have to manually blend/fade them with layers. That alone could be a revelation.

Improved MIDI Support and Mapping. MIDI output means you can light up devices like the APC40 or Launchpad or motorize gear like the BCF2000. An eight-dial dashboard maps better to … well, just about everything, since there’s loads of MIDI gear with knobs and faders in sets of eight. MIDI controller range lets you set range for MIDI inputs, also essential.

Compositing Order: They say this better than I could: “You can now change the order in which the effects, masks and transformations are rendered. This means that you can now for instance scale a clip without scalings the mask. Or apply an effect on a clip but not on the mask.”

Other standard features:

  • Auto Pilot for playing clips in sequence or randomly – for unattended operation, or more sophisticated clip sequencing that frees you up to do other things.
  • Global speed and direction to manipulate all layers at once (nice).
  • Arrow key shortcuts – up/down for layers, left/right for clips.
  • Random beat playback for slicing up audio and video clips.
  • Play once then pause, stopping on the last frame.
  • OSC and MIDI output, not just OSC input, for rigging together multiple machines on Resolume or any other OSC-compatible software you desire – or sending feedback to an OSC controller on a tablet or phone, etc. (Should also open up some interesting monome possibilities.)
  • Clips reconnect if you lose the media.
  • Faster desk switching.

Plenty of reasons to drool right there for day-to-day VJing. On the more advanced side…

Screen Warping, Video Mapping, Soft Edge. Via an Advanced Output window, you get new abilities to slice up compositions with transforms, which can be used for complex output textures or projection mapping against surfaces, even with advanced bezier transforms on curved screens. Soft Edge is intended largely for working with additional projectors seamlessly, up to 360-degree wraparound, though I could also see it being used to soften the effect of projecting with just one projector. The bad news: while I’d like this in the standard edition, you have to upgrade to the Media Server version to get these features. Since some of Resolume’s competitors (Modul8, for one) incorporate similar features in their standard version, that could put a little pressure on Avenue, even if the implementation is more sophisticated. (I have to test it to say that for sure.)

More Advanced Media Server features. If you do pony up for the advanced edition, you get those screen warping / video mapping / soft edge features, plus SMPTE timecode input and DMX input for control.

Note that if you don’t get the high-end version, you can still do projection mapping with their standard version 3 features like keystoning and masking. (CDM confirmed this with Resolume.)

The Media Server version is EUR699; Avenue 4 itself remains EUR299. That pricing seems largely reasonable to me; they mostly lose out in the US Dollar to Euro conversion, but I can’t really blame Resolume for that.

I really love the feature direction; the absence of these cool new mapping tools in the standard version is my only real gripe, though I understand it may make sense from a business perspective – and you still have options, via Syphon, to combine Resolume with a tool like MadMapper if you prefer that to their own Media Server. We’ve got plenty to evaluate here, so stay tuned.