Mix Emergency 2.0 and Serato Video Square Off

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This week is shaping up to be an exciting one for video DJs, with Serato officially releasing their new video plugin the same day that Inklen drops their new 2.0 version of Mix Emergency packed with brand new features. Things have been heating up, with ME2 closed off from new versions of Scratch Live and Serato Video MIDI mappings soon to be supported in ITCH. Curious what the best new program for video mixing is today? Click past the jump to read our comparison of the new offerings and to read what Serato and Inklen have to say about their new releases!

(Update: Mix Emergency is now fully compatible with SSL 2.4)

Serato Video was announced earlier this year just before NAMM so that was not a big surprise, but what we weren’t expecting was a brand new version of Mix Emergency that may have more features on the exact same day.

At A Glance

Mix Emergency 2.0 is the next logical step for the software, really taking the effects and features that ME has been known for to a new level. They’ve introduced a load of new beat-synced effects, transitions and Quartz FX, as well as some smaller features like projection mapping capabilities (not as complex as Amon Tobin’s projection mapping show, but still a start) and MIDI output – both of which make ME2 a more diverse solution for video DJs looking to do something new and different.

Mix Emergency 2.0

Serato Video is largely a step forward for the video engine behind the plugin. As Serato noted when we spoke to them today, the major change versus Video SL was complete rewrite of the backend architecture. This promises not only stability and the ability to use Video in ITCH, but also means that future development of the plugin will be easier for the team behind it all. We expect to see a much faster development cycle here, especially to continue giving Mix Emergency a run for its money.

Serato Video 1.0 in the flesh.

Letting Them Speak For Themselves

We decided instead of doing a traditional rehashing of the press releases that new product releases often encompass, the best way to compare the two softwares would be to get in touch with the folks at Serato and Inklen and see what they have to say about their new products, and (albiet very carefully) about each other.

Inklings from Inklen

First up, we chatted with Nick from Inklen:

Hey Nick! Thanks for answering a few questions for us. What improvements in Mix Emergency 2.0 are you most excited about? 

The new beat-synced components (effects, effect parameters, transitions, and Quartz Compositions) are the most exciting for me – not only because I think that they’re great features, but also because they open the door for a whole range of features that I’m hoping to implement in the future.

I’ve also been excited to see how the Automatic Border Fill feature would be received by users.  I think it’s one of those features that doesn’t sound too exciting, but will really be a time-saver for working Video DJs.

I’m really enjoying the MIDI output feature too – in particular, I really like having Touch OSC (which I’m running on an iPad) update to reflect the state of my effect parameters.

What does ME2 have that Serato Video doesn’t offer? 

Every new feature listed for MixEmergency 2.0! (see the full list here)

As well as that, there are features such as performance recording and exporting (since v1.1), delay compensation (since v1.5 – this is a huge help if you’re having video delay issues in a club), high quality video output (since v1.0), automatic transition changes (since v1.0 – freeing the DJ to concentrate on their audio), video preview windows that can be resized and repositioned, and Syphon output (since v1.7 – this is huge, and allows VJs to send the output of MixEmergency into other applications, such as MadMapper, Resolume Avenue, Modul8, etc), just to mention a few.

Who (that our audience might know) is using ME2 when they’re playing out?

At the last WMC VJ battle, the top 3 spots went to VJs using MixEmergency (DJ Crime, Jordan Laws, and Jay E) – and this year Jay E has taken out the top spot.

Jay E using Mix Emergency at WMC 2011! Click to watch his winning set.

There are a number of people starting to use projection mapping in their shows, and it is slowly making its way into clubs too. I’ve seen a bunch of people setting this up in clubs around the US recently – creating dedicated sets and running MixEmergency alongside other VJing software.

We’d also be interested in hearing why ME 2 isn’t going to work with newer versions of SSL – is Serato closing you out? Any plans to expand beyond Serato?

At this stage, we’re still discussing this with Serato. In the meantime, we recommend users stick to using versions of Scratch Live between 1.9.2 and 2.3.3. When we have any further news on the matter we will inform our users.

What’s that? You want to watch a promo video that tells you everything new in Mix Emergency 2.0? Your wish is our command:

Serato Speaks!

We also asked a few questions of our friends over at Serato Audio Research (also located in New Zealand! Kiwis make great software, apparently!):

What’s improved in Serato Video over Video SL?

We’ve rewritten the entire architecture, so that Serato Video is more tightly integrated into the software as a whole for improved DJ workflow. There are performance improvements that [you] can experience now, but the real benefits will be in future updates as the new architecture opens up the plug-in to much more development & new features.

In Serato’s eyes, what’s the most exciting part of this release?

Serato Video now works with both Scratch Live and ITCH […] each ITCH controller has unique features, so there are many more creative possibilities for manipulating video playback. This versatility is open to all Serato users; you only pay for Serato Video once even if you use both Scratch Live and ITCH.

What does Serato Video bring to the table that its competition is lacking?

[…] it’s the experience of using Serato software & supported hardware with Serato Video that really puts it above the rest. Scratch Live and ITCH are professional solutions; software and hardware carefully co-engineered for the tightest response and maximum stability. No other solution offers the ease of Serato plug-and-play connectivity.

Is there a team that will continue development of video in Serato?

Our developers have worked incredibly hard on the new architecture for Serato Video. Now the platform is more open for future developments, you can expect to see some exciting updates coming in the future.

New features are planned for forthcoming updates and we’re looking forward to showing you what we have up our sleeves.

We’d also be remiss if we didn’t post this pretty awesome promo video for Serato Video featuring the man himself, Fatboy Slim.

Who comes out ahead?

For the moment, there’s no clear winner in this battle – but the rest 2012 will really give us a better feel for who will stay on top.

Mix Emergency 2 has a more powerful feature set for the time being – so if you’re on a Mac, there’s no reason not to give it a shot! Here’s a link to the free downloadable demo on Inklen’s site. Mix Emergency is more expensive, but not prohibitively so, and while there’s some question as to the future Serato compatibility, ME2 works just fine as a standalone solution.

Serato clearly is throwing their hat into the ring hard- there’s a serious team and money behind the Serato Video division, and with proprietary hardware and software, many will crave the Apple-like simplicity that is offered with this solution. ITCH users will probably appreciate how easily Serato Video works with their pre-existing setups (we can’t wait to see someone destroy a video set with a Twitch and Itch!). Serato also has a full free demo available on their site, check it out here.

  • Camroberts

    I want to start DJing with 3-D video applications.  Does anyone know how to do this? I have access to a 3-D television I could use to make this 3-D video DJ set. As far as video mixing goes I prefer custom visuals over music videos.  A large percentage of the songs and remixes I play don’t have music videos to go along with them.  Great article, Serato video is cool. Joachim Garraud uses Serato Video well.

    • OK, I’ll give this question a stab (since I have a Bachelors of Fine Art in 3D Animation). Pretty much everything you do in 3D has to be made by someone, textured (put pictures or colors on) by someone, then manipulated by someone and then lit-up by someone, so you’re really looking at (and I use this term way too lightly) “A FREAKING LOT OF TIME” to do things in 3D… If you want to control things in 3D (via some input) there are GDKs out there that allow external inputs but you’re now working squarely in developer territory. You will have to deal with expressions and software program-specific embedded language routing (like Maya’s M.E.L. scripting). Did I mention you need a really beefy computer (and video card) to render anything you want to work on in 3D? You will quickly come to find that this isn’t something you can bang out in a few minutes or even hours, each “scene” takes a good, long time to lay out and make work. “Just video” is much easier to deal with than “3D” and I’ve been trying to “put some perspective” on the whole “video mixing” as a “hey, I can do this too” kind of thing.

  • Video is a very different animal than Audio. Since we perceive about 85% of everything we do through our eyes (unless we’re blind or in too-dark-to-see conditions) we will be a LOT more discriminating about what we perceive. Simply dropping canned video effects (with knobs and sliders for tweaks) over audio is like simply dropping audio loop samples over watching a movie, it gets old FAST. I like that engineers try new things, but this is a solution looking for a problem. I can tell you (because I have a background in it) that Video is just as hard (if not harder) to make as good as a great DJ set and most video cannot be done in real-time because of the nature of what’s going on. I’d really have to say that while these “Video DJ packages” are visually neat and at least a step up from WinAmp and Media Player Visualizations, they are nowhere near what you need to produce anything on par to the DJ sets you work so hard to make compelling… and then there’s the issue of visualizations distracting or being wrong for the mood.

    Yes, I get that these are live-playback and that they’re interactive, but if we’re debating over which one is the best product for playback during a set, we’re way out of perspective. It’s like watching two grade-school kids wrestling; not very sophisticated and in the end, it’s nowhere near what the professionals do to make things look good.

  • Djdraco

    Serato didn’t have anything to say about why they are better. That was a run on of words to avoid the question.

  • Meowmix

    What a bunch of bull, did you guys even pay attention to the new features that VDJ8 is gonna bring? Um…i dont know, like live editing of videos within the software. 

    • craigMack

       I use Traktor & VDJ .. just got around 75 different video effects for VDJ.. they look just as cool & they give them to you pretty much free. the firs video was saying a lot but the video effect really didn’t change. 

  • Clem597

    ME2 looks perfect for me a ableton dj who is looking to get into vjiing but do i need SSL to have audio and video synced

  • JesC

    ME2 looks dope, but I would prefer Serato Video cause it’s on program with a internal plugin.

  • Robert12711

    FUCK SERATO ITCH!

  • you cannot MIDI map in ITCH. Right now you have to use your keyboard and mouse to control everything other than the faders.

    and secondly no clear winner in this battle? are you serious? just take a look at the output quality of serato video vs ME 2.

    in my opinion if one piece of software can do everything another piece of software can do plus more, the former edges out the latteris.

  • Lol..take a closer look at the screenshoot of M.E 2…dj techfools=))

  • Erikt6

    Mix Emergency is an absolutely awesome piece of software, the output looks amazing, everything scales up & down perfect, it’s worth it’s weight as a standalone software that has no sound , will use it at a show.
    With some minor sound features, audio line in or soundflower , it would at least make beat sync effects useable with any audio.

  • I recomend you to watch this 😉 A very creative way to use video in sync with music !

  • Greatmesk

    why is it that the biggest competition when it comes to Video DJing doesnt get mentioned? You know, Virtual DJ Pro? I didnt see anything VDJ cant do, except for syphon output and projection mapping, but once V8 drops, jaws gonna drop too 😉

    cheerio, and a great comparision/ review as usual, djtt ftw

    • Spacecamp

      Not forgotten, just not part of this article. We know that VDJ 8 is coming, we’ll review it as soon as we get our hands on it. 

      • craigMack

         not even vjd8 .. vdj already has TONS of crazy video effects and transitions. the only thing vjd sucks at is timecode and control scratching.

    • Nrgiceberg

      nice one…in my home most Dj tot using it is not cool cause Virtual Dj Pro..is another apps that suit stay at home …its is so cheap clubs and outdoor uses.. they complained..(pro mac users plus well-known interfaces) that djs using virtual dj pro are jokes.. that sounds quality drop comin from VDj Pro..i duwan argue with these branding djs,,safe times arguing for dicovering more future Djs uncover-side either from smartor Iphone…systems covering Android,Microsoft or Mac.
      i dont mind been labeled cheap..but not Virtual Dj Pro..mys 1st Virtual Dj was jst a single little skin turntable apps..jst clicks open another Vdjs to mix..Bpm Studio was mine first mixing tools way back…before pioneer player 500s was created

      For me ..always like tryin make the best out of nothing..

  • CRO

    Important tip we all can learn from Fatboy Slim:
    “Don’t wear shoes on a gig”! 😉

    • ObviousAlias

       Whenever possible, I also play barefoot.  Have preferred this for years.

  • banditmeerkat

    Does anyone know of an app for PC that specifically allows the clip playing to react to sound?

    • Virtual DJ…..
      If you really want to Video DJ on a PC buy Virtual DJ.
      If you want todo it on a MAC, Buy serato and Mix Emergency. 

    •  Um… Cakewalk has been doing it for years…

    •  WinAmp and Windows Media Player both have “Visualizations.”

  • There is a very clear winner!!!!! Everyone who has used both know ME is by far the best VJ program on the market. Serato is years behind and needs to put major development into Serato video to have any chance of getting it on par with ME.

    Unfortunately Serato is not giving us any choice if we want to adopted the new rane series mixers. Serato 2.4 is not compatible with ME (2.4 is needed for the new mixers). 

    • Spacecamp

      Serato has a large team and lots of money and is integrating directly into their software and hardware.
      Also, as you identified, Mix Emergency might soon be totally locked out of new versions of Serato. Mix Emergency definitely leads at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that it’s the long-term winner – which is why for now, we’re not calling the race. Plus, Virtual DJ 8 is coming. 

  • Lies!!!! “Serato Video MIDI mappings now supported in ITCH.” No it is not supported in itch yet!!! you guys have been told incorrect information.

    • Spacecamp

      Indeed-  it seems to be a “coming soon” feature. We’ve made the change in the article.

      • They pay you?

         How are we supposed to take anything in this article seriously? you guys are so uninformed about the topic you didnt even know itch video isnt implemented yet….. AND

        “For the moment, there’s no clear winner in this battle”

        Maybe cause the battle hasn’t started???
         The public would need to weigh in first on workflow etc which would you know… require it being available.. ME can’t fight itself.

        DJTechFools indeed

        • Owen

          Do realize that djtt is run on a shoe string with a minimal amount of staff? Or are you just a used dildo about things all the time? They corrected the mistake what more can you ask. If you dont like the articles then jog on.    

          • Guest

            Information is information. You either read and regurgitate what you read correctly or you don’t. Writing an article with wrong or missing information tarnishes the credibility of the reviewer and this site.