5.1 Syphon in Z Vector (MacOS)


From the Syphon homepage: “Syphon is an open source Mac OS X technology that allows applications to share frames - full frame rate video or stills - with one another in realtime. Now you can leverage the expressive power of a plethora of tools to mix, mash, edit, sample, texture-map, synthesise, and present your imagery using the best tool for each part of the job. Syphon gives you flexibility to break out of single-app solutions and mix creative applications to suit your needs.”

Z Vector automatically shares its output via Syphon upon start up. Important: As your Z Vector output resolution is mirrored by your Z Vector syphon feed, please change it to be whatever you want it to be (important: unless you’ve set the resolution, it defaults to “Window”, which is less than ideal when you’re working purely with Syphon).

For the purposes of demonstrating this functionality, we’ll be using the Syphon Recorder tool by Syphon authors Tom Butterworth and Anton Marini. After downloading and installing the app open up the Syphon Recorder preferences (Syphon Recorder -> Preferences) and choose whatever video format and resolution you’d like to go for (it’s obviously beneficial if these mirror what ever you’ve set from Z Vector). After finishing with the preferences, choose the Z Vector feed from the dropdown menu. You should now be able to monitor the output from Z Vector. Press record, record for a while and stop when you please. After finishing you should end up with a video file that will automatically open in QuickTime player.

Next let’s test using Syphon to input in to Z Vector. For the purposes of this tutorial we’ll be making use of the fun analog-style video synthesiser software Lumen by Portland, Oregon based Paracosm. Lumen also supports Syphon natively. After downloading the application, start it up and double click on one of the presets. For this tutorial I happened to pick a pretty looking preset named Black Lotus. Lumen will now automatically output the preset via Syphon.

We’ll now hook up Lumen’s Syphon output in to Z Vector and use it for a texture to liven up the visuals. Right click on one of the BG triggers slots and choose Syphon -> Lumen - Main Output. Then left click on the slot to activate the feed for your background.

Let’s bring in the background layer so that we have a place where our Syphon feed will be placed.

And finally do some changes to our new profile to make the texture a bit more interesting for our purposes. I won’t go in to details on what I’m doing here as it’s been covered in the previous tutorials. The main take away of this tutorial, a part from learning how to rout Syphon in Z Vector, is that Syphon makes texture exchange a breeze and is probably the single biggest technical advance in VJ’ing, ohh, just maybe ever (well OK at least the past ten years). Have fun!

Editor’s note: For those of you on Facebook, here’s a test I recently made routing Z Vector in to Lumen via Syphon https://www.facebook.com/DelicodeZVector/videos/1237667942952961/ and vice versa Lumen in to Z Vector: https://www.facebook.com/DelicodeZVector/videos/1231847623534993

Continue to the next and final part in this tutorial series:

5.0 Intermediate: Syphon and Spout in Z Vector