Quick intro to Waveclock automatic BPM detection in VDMX from VIDVOX on Vimeo.

Fingers getting repetitive stress injuries from manually tapping out tempos? Pay attention.

The popular Mac live visual tool VDMX has long been the deep powerhouse of the VJ app field, with extensive modularity and customizability. Its newest update adds some major progress in synchronization and control, plus a rich set of new effects (ones regular CDM readers will no doubt recognize).

The headline feature is BPM sync. The fruits of a collaboration with Wavesum, VDMX now integrates one-click automatic tempo detection inside the software. (See the video at top.)

Wavesum’s Waveclock app has already provided this standalone – meaning the feature is available to users of rival tools like Resolume and Modul8. But Vidvox is the first to build it directly into their app, rather than requiring you to run extra software. And they report that Waveclock already proved itself with “pretty tight clock sync” via MIDI. I’m excited to try this one out.

There’s an example template in VDMX so you can get going with it right away.

Using Echo mode in VDMX with the Livid Ohm RGB from VIDVOX on Vimeo.

More Bi-curious Control: VDMX also introduces a novel way of communicating with hardware controllers over MIDI and OSC. Dubbed Talkback or “Echo” mode, it sends messages back to your controller with the current value of whatever parameter you’re controlling. The upshot: it’s easier than ever to rig up visual feedback on your controller, like lighting LEDs or updating an iPad screen to show sync or current values. With so many controllers now covered in colored lights, that’s a sensible idea.

Again, VDMX have thoughtfully produced both templates and tutorials, and have examples for the likes of the Livid OhmRGB and Akai APC40 grid controllers, and TouchOSC for iPad.

Also in this update: v002 Quartz Composer plugins. 14 new effects from talented visual developer Anton Marini (vade) cover new ground, mimicking glitch and film effects, rendering high-performance blurs (in contrast to the machine-taxing ones from Apple), and emulating the Rutt Etra analog video synth (in collaboration with co-creator Bill Etra himself). More are available on v002’s GitHub.

More controller updates, too:

  • Sliders now have custom math expressions.
  • 14-bit MIDI is supported.
  • You can import your TouchOSC layouts and use new multi-button and multi-slider setups with Control Surface modes.

And there are other fixes and back-end optimizations (incuding speeding up preset switching).

Have a look, and performers, do let us know what you think and how you’re using this when you play.

Blog post on the update