- Drag and Drop the Live Video Tools.amxd file onto an Audio, Midi, or Return Track. The audio which is active on that Track can be used to affect parameters in the device. You'll be able to save the device to your "Max For Live" folder in Ableton by clicking the tiny floppy disk icon in the upper right hand corner of the device. You should do this to access the device more easily in the future.
- You'll only need to do this once... Create a folder on your hard-drive where you will keep all of your video clips to use in Live Video Tools. Add that folder to your Ableton Live "Places" by clicking "Add Folder..." and locating the path.
- Drag a video file from that media folder onto one of the two "Video Decks". They are labeled "Drag Images or Video Here". You'll see the video start playing. Drag another video into the second deck and use the "Mix" slider to crossfade between the two clips. Change the "Mix Type" for different compositing methods.
- To Save the state of the effects, click on an empty preset slot while holding down the SHIFT key. Recall Effect presets by clicking on the desired slot.
- Activate the Video Files preset panel by clicking the "V" Icon next to the Effects Preset Panel. In this panel you may click on a preset while holding down the SHIFT key to store the currently playing video files. Recall the videos by choosing the appropriate preset.
- Hit the "ESCAPE" Key in order to make the playback window go FULLSCREEN. If you have a projector plugged in, and are not "mirroring" your displays, you can drag the window to the secondary display while still seeing your live set.
See the animations below to get a visual feel for what the knobs do and experiment freely! Combine knobs for more twisted and insane visuals. :)
Syncing with Sound
Live Video Tools offers several ways of syncing visual parameters with audio or LFOs. Each knob and slider has a "sync menu" located above it which allows you to assign the effect to audio levels or LFOs in the "LFO/Beat Sync" and "Sound Control" panel.
In the "Sound Control" panel, audio is broken up into High, Mid, and Low Frequency ranges. Using the "sync menu", you can modulate an effect with sound by specifying the desired frequency range. Use the "Boost" knobs to give quiet audio more effect power.
By clicking on the green "Hz" icon in the "LFO/Beat Sync" panel you can switch between an LFO and time signature (or Beat Sync) control. When in "Hz" mode, the dial will send a signal to any assigned effects between .2 and 17Hz. In "Beat Sync" mode you can modulate parameters in 1/6th note, 1/8th note, 1/4 note, half bar, and full bar intervals.
Live Video Tools is designed to run parallel with your Ableton DJ set. Here are a few useful tips to optimize your video and images for playback with the device.
- Encode all media into mov or mp4 files with the "Photo JPEG Codec". If your videos were not exported in the Photo JPEG Codec, you can convert them with a software like MPEG Streamclip. Most videos and images will play fine - but to ensure best frame rates and efficiency across all settings, use the Photo JPEG codec.
- Keep files small - larger files are harder to process. You'll get a feel for what files your computer can handle through experimentation.
- Keep media in the media folder you created in the "Initial Setup". This will help you by keeping media organized and at your fingertips.