Development updates

by Jonathan Hyde

Hey guys, it’s occurred to me that we’ve been rather opaque about what we’ve been working on the last couple of years, so in this post I want to give an overview on what has been happening behind the scenes at Venn Audio, and where we are at in terms of product development, the challenges we face and our plans for the near future.

Blobs

After V-Clip was released, and taking into account the many feature requests from our users, I wanted to focus on making the ‘ultimate’ dynamics plugin, one that could compete with the many other fully featured dynamics plugins out there. What I thought this meant was that we needed to support all kinds of complex workflows, such as multi-band processing, mid side processing, oversampling, multi channel processing and more. Combining all the possible workflow combinations into a standard plugin of buttons and knobs proved a challenging task. So what I decided to do instead was to create a product where users can define their own workflow and fully customise the UX to their needs, which resulted in work on a fully modular ‘everything’ plugin that we decided to call ‘Blobs’, so named because of the workflow of connecting various different ‘blobs’ or audio processing modules together to form the full processing chain.

Naturally such an ambitious project would require a huge amount of work, and what was initially thought of as a several months long project eventually morphed into a several years long project. Nevertheless, a significant amount of work was completed for this project – the basics of a fully modular and fully customisable processing chain was completed, where you could ‘connect anything to anything’, and define all kinds of complex workflows, such as an oversampled container with dry/wet processing connected to multi band splitting connected to mid side waveshaping and dynamics. And what’s more, any combination of blobs could be grouped, saved as a preset, and then simply re-added to the blob workspace as many times as you wanted, allowing for incredible levels of processing depth and modularity. Below is a screenshot demonstrating the plugin, essentially an audio operating system, complete with windows and even a start menu!

But such an ambitious project proved perhaps too ambitious, the work to truly add all the features I’d like to see for a release became increasingly complex, and it seems bad business at this point to deprive customers of more products for so long. In order to try and give back to those customers that have been patiently waiting, we’ve decided to make use of some of the work that has gone into Blobs so far, which brings us to:

Free Suite

Free Suite is a set of plugins based on the work done for blobs, providing some of the blobs as free standalone plugins. The idea is to create a completely free, performant, light weight, resizeable, zero fuss set of cross-platform plugins. And when I say free, I mean no nag screens, no registration, no ads and no analytics, just full freeware. My ultimate aim would be for this suite to become a reference or standard, a set of plugins one might load when in a new production environment or DAW and quickly need all the necessary tools to do a complete mix of a track. Or perhaps as a reference to compare a new plugin to, in terms of performance and sound. The aim for the GUI is to be maximally simple and fully resizeable, and to have the plugins support as many different platforms and formats as possible.

The current line up includes: gain, pan, EQ, clipping (yes Free Clip 2 is coming!!), compression, delay, convolution reverb, test tone and metering. The DSP/back-end is already complete, there’s just a bit more GUI polishing to do. I plan to release an alpha for testers as soon as possible, and I will create a discord server where I will push regular builds of the alpha and seek ongoing feedback, where anyone is welcome to join and give their thoughts.


Note: early alpha screenshots, GUI subject to change.

Free Suite will be our first offering out of the larger framework we have created when working on Blobs, with further commercial releases on the way based on this same framework, including a sequel to V-Clip, a commercial compressor, and oversampling and analysis tools. Stay tuned!

Thanks,
Jonny

Viper Setup Guide

If you want to get started with Viper, you have come to the right place! The following is a step-by-step of how to get a midi trigger working for Viper.

For the demo, I will be using a Pro Tools session on Mac, with a very artistic video I made of a screen saver. I will start in timecode view, grid mode and using the multitool.

First thing to do is to make a new track for Viper:

Viper must go on an instrument track in Pro Tools:

Here is our new instrument track:

Let’s give it a name.

Then we will add Viper to it.

Viper’s two windows appear. The plugin window lets you customize the wipe and the transparent window display it.

Let’s move the transparent window over the video:

…and move the plugin window out of the way of our track:

We’ll make a marker to show where we want our wipe to hit. We have left the wipe duration at 2 seconds so we’ll need to trigger the wipe 2 seconds before this marker.

Okay, here’s where we’re aiming for our actor to start speaking.

Let’s zoom in to create our wipe midi region.

To create our midi note, we’ll use the pencil tool:

…and we’ll change the track view to ‘notes’:

Using the pencil tool, we’ll draw any midi note of any length. Viper will be triggered by the start of the note only.

Now, we can go back to ‘clips’ view to sync up our new midi clip.

Because we have been working in grid mode, our note is nicely lined up to the frame. Now, we need to make the clip 2 seconds long. (Technically, the clip can be any length, as long as the note is 2 seconds before the end.)

We’ll go back to the multitool.

And we’ll cut our clip at the start of the midi note (key command: a).

If we select the clip, we see it is 1 second and 13 frames long. We want it to be 2 seconds long.

…so, we’ll change our selection to 2 seconds.

…and press enter.

We’ll consolidate our selection into a 2 second clip.

We now have our midi trigger clip, with a midi note which starts two seconds before the end of the clip.

It’s so beautiful, we’ll have to name it.

We’ll probably save this clip into our template, so this is nicer than ‘Viper-02’.

So now, we put our cursor where we want the wipe to hit – on our marker.

Then, we cmd + ctrl + click (using the hand tool) on our clip to align the end of it with the cursor.

Now we are ready to hit play and see our wipe in action.

We hit play and watch as the playhead passes over the midi note and starts the wipe. The two lines meet neatly on our marker and our actor starts to speak.

And that’s it!

Here’s the whole process in a GIF:

And you can grab my Pro Tools session here.

As always, for any questions please get in touch here. If you want to try Viper, you can find it here.

Venn Audio featured on Integraudio!

by Adam

Integraudio is a music blog with plugin reviews, mixing and production tips, interviews and hardware reviews. Check them out to find the best free plugins and learn a new technique or two.

The guys at Integraudio featured both V-Clip and Freeclip in their article on clippers:
https://integraudio.com/7-best-clippers/

If you head over there, you can see how they stack up against the competition and see what other people think of their features.

Our new plugin – Viper!

by Adam

We have released our second paid plugin, and this one is for audio post production. To cue actors for voice recording and ADR, recordists traditionally use 3 beeps, then the actor speaks on the imaginary fourth beep. However, it is becoming more common now to use visual cues (‘wipes’ or ‘streamers’) on the screen, and the actors speaks when the two lines touch. Viper is a simple plugin that generates these wipes, triggered by a midi note.

If you are still using beeps to cue performers and you run your video on a second or third monitor (rather than a dedicated video device for your DAW), give Viper a try. Actors are getting used to having second or third cues to keep them in time during a long sentence with pauses, and it doesn’t have to be too expensive to make it easier and more comfortable for them.

If you are about to make an upgrade from an old Mavericks machine deep in the Foley cave that runs unsupported wipe software and you need something Catalina- or Big Sur-compatible, give Viper a try. Automatable choices of colors can make it easier for you to cue the Foley artist to the footstep or the cut.

If you are building a new studio and you are overwhelmed by the cost of hardware and software licenses, give Viper a try. It doesn’t have to cost hundreds of dollars to generate an onscreen wipe.

Viper sits in your template, ready to record when you are. Select and save your settings, automate your preferences and preview your wipe all from within your DAW.

See the demo here: https://youtu.be/ytcEt4OQLZc

Get the free trial here: https://www.vennaudio.com/product/Viper/

Allowing unsigned/un-notarized applications/plugins in Mac OS

by Adam

Apple’s official help page.

Mac OSX Gatekeeper protects its users from installing untrusted software. Older versions of Venn Audio products may not be verified by Apple and can trigger a warning on Mac OS.

Mojave/High Sierra

Depending on your settings, you may see a message, “the developer cannot be verified”. If you receive this message, try to follow these steps:

  • Go into System Preferences → Security and Privacy.
  • On the first tab, when an unsigned application is blocked from loading, there is an ‘Open anyway’ box which appears there.
  • Click it!

Catalina and newer

Catalina ramped up the security requirements and not only requires the developers to be verified, but the software to be notarized (scanned for malware). Allowing unverified software now requires a Terminal command, for example:

xattr -c /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components/Utility.component

If that does not work, you can disable Gatekeeper entirely using the following Terminal command:

sudo spctl --master-disable

Once you have installed and run your plugin, you should be able to continue to run it when you re-enable Gatekeeper:

sudo spctl --master-enable

If you have any problems/questions/feedback or need any more help, we always like hearing from you via the contact form.

Found Sound: Foley Percussion sample pack out now!

by VennAdmin

Our latest sound effects sample pack is out on Beatport now!

To produce Found Sound: Foley Percussion, we recorded the best percussive sounds we could create out of a variety of materials (tools, pots, pans, fruit, vegetables, old phones, cloth, freezers, tires, parking meterse, etc.), producing 13 drum kits including Body, DIY, Textiles, Wood, Mech, Organic and more! We carefully recorded, meticulously mastered and thoughtfully assembled everything so you can add that original and unusual sound to your music.

New Foley Sample Pack coming soon!

by VennAdmin

Venn’s latest sample pack made from original Foley recordings will soon be released! Watch this space for more details.

In the meantime, here’s a little demo to give you an idea of what to expect: