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Virtual MIDI Keypad Show Control


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I've wanted virtual midi keypad show control for a while. I wanted to assign channels, rename buttons, theme actions by color, etc. Basically, I wanted a show control I could customize for each show that would output a midi signal Watchout Production could understand and output to my display machines. Well, after a morning of hunting and testing, I think I found a pairing that does the trick. So, for those of you without a midi show controller OR who have been looking for a virtual solution, here is one that is currently working for me:


LoopBe1 – Virtual Midi Driver

$14 Commercial (Free for Personal Use / Testing)



AVD “Midi Buttons” – Configurable Midi Controller Keypad


Free for Personal and Commercial use.


Install LoopBe1 and it will create a virtual midi device on your computer that essentially listens for a midi show controller to send it information. Then, just open Midi Buttons and start configuring your cues. It definitely takes some configuration but, it does work and really breaks you out of Watchout's "Task" window. Here was a button configuration that worked for me inside of Watchout: (ensure you set Output1 to LoopBe and set it to Active in the configuration window)



Note On

Channel: 1

Note: 2

Velocity: 1

Output: 1

Press / Release



Note Off

(all other details same as above)


Add a new Midi Note Input and have it "learn" that button. You should see channel 1 and note 2 listed. Now, assign the input to a task and watch it work. I tested this on a Windows 7 machine running WO 5.5. There are obvious drawbacks like not having sliders or being able to halt aux timelines with the stop button in the WO task window but, I get a fullscreen show control to customize that could even work on a touchscreen monitor if configured correctly.

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Thanks for sharing, Nate.

I have been using audiovisualdevices' free SerialButtons instead of their MIDIButtons, and found it useful testing serial codes to Watchout.


So, personally, I prefer RS-232 and string commands. Albeit serial does not have the MODWheel controller to manipulate Tweens live, but with serial I am able to :

1. Stop or pause Aux Timelines (1 button each)

2. With a numeric set of keys from 0 - 9, breaking up the serial code, and using the carriage return code as a 'Take', I am able to address unlimited Aux timelines, and F-keys greater than F12 (eg. F15, F22, F199, F999, etc).


With audiovisualdevices' SerialButtons, however, the limitation has been that strings cannot have a space within. This means aux Timeline 1 needs to be renamed Timeline1 for the code to work. On the other hand, my 35-key serial keypad from Genovation does allow space inside a string, so assigning one key to Aux Play (run Timeline for example) followed by a numeric key(s) - 1, 2, 3...55, 101, etc), then the Take key (Carriage Return) will play aux Timeline X. The wait time between keys is not material. Similarly with the halt and kill commands, gotoControlCue, standBy, online True, False. Calling up the Alignment aux Timeline is easy. No more hunting/scrolling down the Task window.


I am one of those who prefer the tactile feel of physical buttons during a show rather than touch-screens. Then again, perhaps the same method would work with a touchscreen interface though I do not have one to test, yet.


Thomas Leong

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