Use a MIDI device to switch between shots with Wirecast (Our V++ Wirecast switcher.)

Dec 15
Posted by Randall Bennett

Good news kids, we’ve got a framework to roll out for Wirecast. If you’re not familiar, Wirecast our favorite choice for being able to broadcast and record from your computer. And, smartly, the company has put in a really capable AppleScript implementation.

There’s two main reasons to use this framework. One: You want to have a hardware controller to do the job for you. Two: you want to be able to programmatically select shots and have stuff happen without clicking around. This framework solves both problems.

A video to explain myself:

We’ve gone a bit above and beyond to create our ideal scenario. Here are the required pieces:

  1. Wirecast (either 3.5+ or 4.0 should work.)
  2. MidiPipe (free! Direct download link)
  3. The V++ framework (download!)
  4. A Mac. (Sorry Windows users. We hear there’s some sort of OLE-style scripting available for you, but we don’t use that system much.)

Optionally, you can rock some gear to make things go better. We’re using:

  1. A Korg nanoKONTROL. (If you buy one, use our Amazon affiliate link, so you can hook us up for showing you this rad tutorial.)
  2. Korg’s Kontrol Editor software (direct download link)
  3. An iPad with Midi software. (We like MXNM.)

Here’s the table o’ contents, so you know this isn’t a long tutorial.

  1. Configure your MIDI device
  2. Use our v++.mipi file with MidiPipe
  3. Use our v++.wcst file with Wirecast
  4. Rule the world.

When we’re done, we’ll show you how to customize the scripts so you can create even better actions.

Configure your MIDI device

So we’re going to pretend like everyone has a Korg nanoKontrol for a second. If you don’t, just skip down a bit to the MidiPipe section.

One of our favorite parts of the Korg nanoKontrol is the ability to flexibly update which MIDI messages are sent by the device. To edit the nanoKontrol (and anything in the nano series) we’ll use some software called Korg Kontrol Editor. (Download link!)

Inside of our zip file, we’ve provided a file called v++.nktrl_set and if you open this file with Kontrol Editor, you’ll see the standard configuration we use for the system. Note that if you’d like to change an individual scene to be non-Wirecast-ey, this is the tool with which to do it. We’re going to pretend like you’re just using our setup as-is, but if you modify anything, modify scenes 2, 3, or 4 by clicking on the “Wirecast” words at the top.

If you want to use some other sort of Midi device with our setup, you can either modify your device to send the control cues listed above, or you can edit the MidiPipe file to work with your controller. It’s up to you.

Configure MidiPipe

OK so you’ve got your Midi Device configured, now it’s time to play with MidiPipe.

The software works by “piping” MIDI data from transformer to transformer. On the left is a library of “patches” which you can use in your composition. On the right is the actual composition, showing the patches which are currently active.

First, open up our v++.mipi file in the software.

Click on the first item in the list, called “Midi In.” From the drop down menu, select your Midi device which you’ll be using. In our case, it’s the nanoKONTROL.

Next, to test if it’s working, select the “Alist” item. If you’d like to have Alist appear in a separate window (we do) double click on the word.

You’ll notice some important facts. As you use your Midi device, by using sliders or buttons, the “Data” column fills with information. These are the actual Midi messages, and they’ll trigger which shots are activated and the sort.

Configure Wirecast

OK, so now it’s Wirecast’s turn to get the V++ treatment. From our zip file, open v++.wcst by double clicking. The file will open with Wirecast, and should look like our screenshot below.

So each of these shots, which are currently blank, map to individual buttons on the keyboard.

By default, the bottom button of the channel maps directly to the shot named “camX” in Wirecast, where X is the channel number. It also blanks out the “background” layer by default.

The top button maps to “camX+cg”, again where X is the channel number. It also blanks out the “background” and “foreground” layers by default.

If you slide the slider up, that will load the “l3rd-X” shot from the “foreground” layer. If you slide any slider down, the “foreground” layer is set to blank.

If you twist the knob left, that will load “camX-lb” in the “background” layer. It won’t, by default, push the shot live yet. If you turn the knob right, it’ll load “camX-rb” in the “normal” layer, and will push any queued up shots live.

If you hit the “record” button, it’ll start recording. If you hit the “play” button, it’ll start broadcasting. Hit either button again, and it’ll stop the previous action.

Rule the world

OK so now that you’ve got everything set up, let me explain some reasoning behind the framework, and how you can use it to rule the world.

I built the framework with a specific usecase in mind: Live-style interview shows. I used it previously with a show called TechVi, which you can see below.

The framework should be pretty easy to use, especially given the video context above. The entire show was recorded live, and I made it so we had NO post production.

I firmly believe that anyone who’s ever thought it’d be fun to make video programs should have the ability to do so, and further, it shouldn’t take a massive knowledge and understanding of coding to do so. This framework is the first attempt at lowering the bar.

Over the coming years, I’m making it my personal mission to democratize video, Anyone with a computer and a desire to share something with the world should be able to do so, without having to ask for anyone’s permission.

Are you interested in this idea? Do you code Objective-C? Want to create great video shows? Sign up for our newsletter. We want to know who you are.

If you’re feeling particularly motivated, you can email me too: hello [at] vidplusplus.com and get in touch.

Customization

So inevitably, you’re going to want to customize the scripts. I’m going to write a full post about how to do that, but here’s the basics.

Edit the scripts by clicking on “AppleScript Trigger” in MidiPipe. The first block outlines a button’s behavior. You should be able to reverse engineer it, if you’re smart. For instance:

on top(channelnumber)
my switcher's setLayer("normal", "cam" & channelnumber & "+cg")
my switcher's setLayer("foreground", "Blank Shot")
my switcher's go()
end top

That sets two layers, then tells the switcher to “go live.”

The actual MIDI stuff is the next block, and it looks like this:

on runme(message)
-- transport controls
if (item 1 of message = 176) and (item 2 of message = 101) and (item 3 of message = 127) then
my button's play("down")
end if
end runme

I explain how most of this works in the video at the top of the post. So just watch that and this part should make sense.

Lastly, I have a block that is the actual switcher functions. Here’s the entire block. I’m not going to explain how the methods work in this post, but you should be able to figure it out, it’s pretty self explanatory.

script switcher
property myDoc : "1"
property normal_layer : "1"
property foreground_layer : "1"
property background_layer : "1"
property title_layer : "1"
property audio_layer : "1"
property wirecast : application "Wirecast"

on setup()
tell application "Wirecast"
set my myDoc to last document
set my normal_layer to the layer named "normal" of myDoc
set my foreground_layer to the layer named "foreground" of myDoc
set my background_layer to the layer named "background" of myDoc
set my title_layer to the layer named "text" of myDoc
set my audio_layer to the layer named "audio" of myDoc
set my myDoc's auto live to false
end tell
end setup

on setTransition(anumber, speed)
tell application "Wirecast"
set my myDoc's active transition popup to anumber
set my myDoc's transition speed to speed
end tell
end setTransition

on go()
setup()
tell application "Wirecast"
go my myDoc
end tell
end go

on startBroadcast()
setup()
tell application "Wirecast"
start broadcasting myDoc
end tell
end startBroadcast
on stopBroadcast()
setup()
tell application "Wirecast"
stop broadcasting myDoc
end tell
end stopBroadcast
on startRecord()
setup()
tell application "Wirecast"
start recording myDoc
end tell
end startRecord
on stopRecord()
setup()
tell application "Wirecast"
stop recording myDoc
end tell
end stopRecord

on setLayer(layername, shotname)
setup()
tell application "Wirecast"
set the active shot of the layer named layername of my myDoc to the shot named shotname of my myDoc
end tell
end setLayer
end script

Hopefully this all makes sense. If it doesn’t, feel free to comment on this post and I’ll try to clear things up as they come up.

If you start using this, I’d love to see it. Please leave a comment with a link to your site, and I’ll create a section where we link to you.

Good luck! (Oh yeah, sign up for our newsletter, too!)

Filed Under: Tutorials

10 Comments

  • Mark says:

    Wish you’d posted this 18 months ago when you did the video, would have saved me a lot of time! Your video did help point me in the right direction though.

    Thanks.

  • It wasn’t this good when I did it 18 months ago. I was doing it all wrong. I completely rewrote everything to be modular last week so that you didn’t have to have a specific folder structure.

    Before, i was using a script to call other scripts, which was totally ghetto and ill conceived. Didn’t want to post that nonsense.

  • We did some live to tape shows with Wirecast a year or so ago and were disappointed with the results. I’m inspired by what you said in this posting: “Over the coming years, I’m making it my personal mission to democratize video, Anyone with a computer and a desire to share something with the world should be able to do so, without having to ask for anyone’s permission.” We’d like to give Wirecast another try. Maybe you could help?

    Girbe

  • Brian Dalton says:

    Very cool. I’d been monkeying around on this earlier in the year, any idea if there is a windows solution?

  • DiegoMP says:

    Very cool tutorial but I have one problem, in Wirecast 3.5 can’t open your file because it was created in a newer version of the app, can you explain how you make this or make a file for 3.5 users :)

  • Yo Diego,

    No reason not to upgrade… unless you have a stolen copy. :)

    The upgrade from 3.5 to 4 is free.

  • Pingback: Using an MPD18 to control Wirecast. - Mark Dalton

  • Pingback: Using an MPD18 to control Wirecast. | Mark Dalton

  • Dan says:

    Yeahh , it’s working! Amazing!
    I’m using a homemade midi controller and with a little customizzation works great! but i have an answer if i need more foreground? how i can add more? i add new shots but i don’t know how i can link this shots to this script…

    sorry for mt english, i don’t know very well.

  • dan says:

    … big opss… is a question not an answer… :)

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