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What's VDMX5/What's b8?

VDMX5 is a modular realtime video performance application which has been evolving and undergoing continuous development for a number of years (technically, it's classified as a beta). "b8" refers to the 8th major series of builds (beta 8.x.x.x), and has its own FAQ because it's a complete redesign and rewrite of the whole application in response to user feedback.

I've used earlier versions of VDMX5- what's the best way to get started with b8?

We started making tutorial videos to help people get started with b8- you should check out our vimeo album- and check back often, we'll be making a lot of these:


I've used the b7 series of VDMX5 builds. What are some of the changes I should be aware of in b8?

- b7 had a stack of windows that you had to organize- as you made new layers/plugins, your screen would slowly fill up with windows. b8's workflow is fundamentally different, and is built around inspectors that constantly update themselves as you click on things in the interface so you don't need to have a bunch of windows open (we call them contextual inspectors). There are two different inspector windows, and they're both available in the "Windows" menu: the UI inspector is used for inspecting UI items (like sliders/buttons/data receivers/data senders/etc), and the Workspace Inspector is used for inspecting things in your workspace (like layer fx chains, plugins, video inputs, etc). Many items in the Workspace Inspector can be opened in their own windows (or placed in tabbed windows with other things), which allows you to assemble different interfaces.

- window management has change significantly- b7 had collapsible windows that "snapped" next to each other, which resulted in tall stacks of windows that you would have to search through and expand/collapse. b8's windows are tabbed- they can't collapse, but anything that appears in a window can share a window with other things, and the tabs can be controlled by MIDI, OSC, other data sources within VDMX, etc.

- A lot of people would create a top-level group so they could apply FX to their output. This is no longer necessary for most people- b8 has a built-in top level group (the Canvas/Main Output). Among other things, this mean that you can easily do feedback, preview and apply fx to your main output, and send your main output to other apps via Syphon.

- Many of you used the MIDISender and OSCSender plugins to send and receive MIDI and OSC data. These plugins no longer exist- every slider, button, and pop-up button is capable of sending their value via MIDI and OSC data to multiple sources.

- The Multiplexer plugin doesn't exist any more- every slider, button, and pop-up button has "local presets" which function as built-in multiplexers (http://vimeo.com/18249653). Local presets are amazingly powerful.

- the "Color Swatch", "Buttons", and "Sliders" plugins no longer exist- they've been replaced by the "Control Surface" plugin, which allows you to create sliders, buttons, HSV color pickers, and pop-up buttons which can be made available as data sources in VDMX.

- The "Layer Controls" plugin doesn't exist any more- when you inspect a layer in the workspace inspector, the layer's source controls, fx chain, and composition controls are all inspected (and can each be opened in a new window)

- The "Notes to Value" plugin doesn't exist any more. Sliders in b8 can have "Marks", which are specific values that appear in sliders as a vertical line which the mouse snaps to. Marks have data receivers- that is, they can receive data from MIDI, OSC, or any data source within VDMX- and they can be triggered.

- The "OSCDisplay", "MIDIDisplay" plugins are now the "Comm Display" plugin.

- The "Oscillator" and "Waveform" plugins have been combined into the "LFO" plugin (please note that each LFO plugin can have multiple waveforms/data sources).

- Multi-GPU output works, and FF/FFGL support has been added.

Will b8 open project files made with earlier versions of VDMX5?

Update: b8 will automatically "convert" b7 project files, preserving as much functionality as possible. We don't recommend converting project files- there's nothing wrong with it, but you are definitely far better off using b8's workflow where it differs from b7- but enough people asked for this that we added the functionality. Below is discussion of this, which explains why some things aren't preserved.

We're not sure about this. b8 is a huge change on many levels- a lot of things that you did in earlier version of VDMX are either no longer necessary or pointless and inappropriate in b8. Take a look at some of the changes listed in the question above this- many of these are things which we simply wouldn't be able to "convert" from an older project file to a newer. Other changes could be converted- but you wouldn't want to because there's a faster or better way to accomplish the same goal in b8 as a result of workflow changes. Even things as seemingly simple as window arrangement would be pointless to convert to b8: the inspectors mean you don't need to have as many windows open, tabbed windows mean you can have multiple interfaces sharing the same window to use your existing screen real estate more efficiently, the minimum size of many windows have changed, and some UI elements which previously occupied a single window can now be broken out into multiple windows (and vice versa).

b8 is a redesign and a complete rewrite- the whole point was to change the nature of the app and its workflow in response to feedback from users. We specifically tried to identify patterns that were awkward or complicated in b7, and then redesigned the app from the ground up so these patterns were no longer necessary. In other words, we went out of our way to make everyone's projects simpler and more flexible- which, by definition, fundamentally altered the basic structure of everyone's projects. you can either have improvement, or you can have the status quo- but you can't have both!

What do you think? If you have a strong opinion one way or the other, let us know!