June 6, 2011

Ryan Noise and the APC40

Before I begin please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Zack Røcket Timms or just Røcket for short and I work on the video production team as a producer, editor and all around media production specialist. I have been editing films for over a decade now and recently crossed the line from hobbyist to working DJ here in Atlanta. I’ve been with Unique Squared for about three months now behind the camera editing and shooting and am going to take a more public role with the company so look forward to more blog posts and video appearances from me in the near future.

Ryan Noise is the only guy I know using Ableton and the APC40 in this way. It’s amazing watching how he pipes in live video to be mixed down and edited during shows. It demonstrates the APC40′s potential to do whatever you want, through the power of MIDI. The way Noise utilizes his gear represents what we here at Unique Squared are all about, innovation and adaptation in the music industry.

I’ve never used Ableton in live applications, but have heard and seen it used in ways that are consistently mind blowing.  Having seen some of Noise’s work on performances with Sons of Glitches, I knew that he was doing some cutting edge stuff with video mixing.

Once he arrived I had a chance to sit down with him before his demo. I learned about his rig and what exactly is happening when he slams a bunch of green squares on a light matrix. I then came to find out that he has been amassing videos and editing them down to run through a live video remixing program into Ableton from his APC 40.

Ryan turned his APC40 into a tactile control unit for live video remixing by applying filters and parameters to the assignable knobs and buttons. Ryan has begun to incorporate elements into his performance that increase the amount of audience interaction and participation.  Taking what he does even further, Ryan is able to capture and remix footage taken at the event he is performing. This leads to a whole new level of audience interaction and performance, which is ridiculously important in the DJ world, because it makes him stand out.

Check out the videos to see how Ryan sets up a basic Video Mixing template and check out his interview on Ableton and the AKAI APC40. Thanks for chiming in. Happy gigs.

First Video Transcript:

My name is Ryan Noise, I am originally from East Atlanta, just moved to Denver Colorado.
So Ableton Live, for me, has been a huge missing piece of the puzzle.  Ableton is the core of everything that I use, it is the idea planning spot that I take.
What it does is it allows me to experiment and to go down other paths with things live video.  It is completely customizable, you can do so many things, amazing things, your mind is the only limit on this.
Huge advantage of the AP system since the moment I met it is it is just so intuitive. Ableton built and designed for it, very little programing.
There have been gigs and moments when I show up to gigs where I will want to go in a new direction or have a new idea; without fear, I can go into those things and say man, I really want to put RGB on those knobs, and I can know within a minute or seconds I can click on something and make a change on the fly and not lose that creative spark.
You never find yourself pigeonholed, and the opportunities are amazing.  This controller has set a standard, this thing is so open ended with the software that is available, that it can make itself timeless.
It allows for things like video and things that people do not think of when it first starts.  I think that having a few controllers, adds to creative possibilities and creates new things and makes your brain work in new ways that you would never expect yourself.  Be you, be unique, at 

Second Video Transcript:

So the idea today is that we’re going to take, and build, from scratch using Ableton Live, the Akai APC40, the LPK25 and a couple video plug ins.
We’re going to build this template, mash these things together, I’m going to show you how to build it from scratch.
Alright, let me show you the screen. We’re going to go ahead and open up Live real quick as our first base host.
It’s always important when you run something like rewiring, that you start off with one hub and stack your blocks up.
Alright guys we’ve opened up an APC template that I’ve made for our video editing.
A few things have changed at this point, you’ll notice that we have a strip right here on the APC, this gives us a representation of the buttons that we see here and our little grid set up. Now these are nothing more than blank MIDI clips, there’s nothing in here, no values, nothing.
We’re only using that so that we can get a lit LED over here in response to our programs and know where we are at any given time.
We’re going to duplicate this, obviously it says pad one, what we’re going to need to do is have 8 of these across to make it match the APC40. So we’re going to duplicate this track.
If you watch the APC we’re getting feedback. I’m going to go ahead and collapse, and now if you look while I mash these buttons. We’re getting feedback, so I can tell what button I’m pushing.
This will come in handy later on when we open up our other programs and we need to know what we’re actually controlling. We’re going to go over here and open up a little audio clip, we’re just going to use a simple mp3, drop it in here, and just try to get some audio flowing so that we see it’s functioning and working.
We can save these templates and combine them later. Next, we’re going to go ahead and move on to the video aspect.
Alright, so we’ve got both apps up and running, we’re going to need to sync these things before we get started programming our video so we’re going to want to select right here and come down to grand DJ.
You’ll notice right there in our selection, we want to send our MIDI to grand DJ and we’ll do that for all of these. Now all this data is being sent from the APC40, to the Ableton, to our Kaoss. And basically we have beat pads or some kind of little cells.
And what we’ll do is set the matrix size, right here it’s going to let us set any amount of boxes we want. We’re going to want to use the same amount of pads that we have here on the APC so now we have this big grid here on our screen.
This is going to match the APC40 perfectly. So anytime I’m pushing these buttons, It’s launching these video clips at the same time.
You can also do the same thing with audio to match up with these video clips and they’ll run together. What we’re going to do is go through and MIDI map every one of these to the Ableton cells that were in our previous thing. And whenever I do this, you’ll notice that that cell is now responding.
So we’re sending a button here to control basically two parameters and two pieces of software. We’re going to repeat this process for the whole APC40, we’re going to take it out to the club, give it a test run and see what kind of results we get.


  1. Richard says:

    This gadget seems so interesting. I wouldnt mind trying this out myself and playing around with it. it seems like you have full control of what goes on with the visuals and audio.