Re: max and director

Todd Winkler (
Fri, 12 Feb 1999 22:34:30 -0500

<x-rich>Here are a few things I know about Max, Director, and ICUBE. I have a
recent video installation that was shown last year at the International
Computer Music Conference, which uses ICUBE sensors embedded in the
furniture and floor of a bedroom to control video/sound playback. I
used HyperMIDI and Director 6.0. HyperMIDI is a
<fontfamily><param>Geneva</param>XCMD</fontfamily> that allows MIDI
data to control Director. EarLevel Engineering makes it. See:

I had one computer running Max and ICUBE, talking to two other
computers, running Director (the two computers handled multiple video
sources). Light sensors were placed inside the drawers of a dresser and
vanity, and pressure sensors were placed on a large chair, a bed, and
on floor rugs. The piece ran more or less smoothly for five days - I
had two or three crashes due to MIDI Overruns. This seemed to go away
when I limited the amount of data sent between computers.

The ICUBE can be used as a stand-along MIDI device, as opposed to using
it in conjunction with Max. Theoretically, the ICUBE should be able to
talk directly to Director, with all of the logic handled by a Lingo
script (I've never tried it).

As for interactive video playback in Max vs. Director, Director is a
much nicer interface to assemble clips, time pauses, do simple
transition effects, add text and overlay sound. The main drawback is
lag time - Director is slow. So, for dance or music related work, where
a gesture needs an immediate response - use Max. For some
installations, or situations where a 1/4 second or more delay will not
be a problem, use Director. I am just referring to video here, the two
programs a quite different.

Adding to what Richard and Nick wrote about Max:

Max was created specifically to handle music data in real time, with a
minimum lag time between a gesture and its resultant sound. Because of
this, Max has been useful for a large number of dance-tech projects.
There are versions running on SGI computers, Next computers, NT
systems, and Macintosh. A version for PC is slated for release sometime
next year. Finally, a large collection of audio objects, called MSP,
allows Max to record, process, and generate sound directly from the
computer - in effect, turning the computer into a sampler, synthesizer,
and signal processor.