AVSynthesis: Blending Light and Sound with OpenGL and Csound5

Introducing a unique and powerful program for mixing son et lumière into fascinating experimental videos.
Known Problems

The AVSynthesis config.xml file includes entries for changing the program window size. AVSynthesis defaults to the current screen settings, and it will fail to launch if it can't validate the dimensions given in the config file. Alas, I was unable to launch the program in any screen mode other than my default dimensions (1280x1024).

The Csound phase vocoder opcodes are very CPU-intensive. AVSynthesis has crashed randomly when I use the effects based on those opcodes, though it works fine with them at other times.

The render.wav file and the data/render directory must be cleared by the user; AVSynthesis will overwrite the current contents.

Sound may become distorted when using the Analog Synth 2 and the Wild Grain processor. Use the mixer to balance audio output from the synths.

The Wrap

AVSynthesis is well worth the effort required to make it happen. The further I get into AVSynthesis, the more possibilities I discover that warrant yet deeper exploration, and I can see (and hear) myself staying involved with the program for quite a while. The program's author has stated that he intends to squash remaining bugs and add some new features, but he wants to keep AVSynthesis as uncomplicated as possible. You can check out the latest version yourself, and with this guide's assistance, you should be running AVSynthesis quickly and smoothly under Linux. Have fun, be creative, and be sure to let Jean-Pierre know how you're using his software.

Dave Phillips is a professional musician and writer living in Findlay, Ohio. He's been using Linux since the mid-1990s and was one of the original founders of the Linux Audio Developers group. He is the author of The Book of Linux Music & Sound (No Starch Press, 2000) and has written many articles on Linux music and sound issues for various journals and on-line news sites. When he isn't playing with light and sound, he enjoys reading Latin literature, practicing t'ai chi, chasing shar-pei puppies and spending time with his beloved Ivy.


Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.


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becks77's picture

thanks dave, you save me many hours of work with a clean doc on installation, usage, and rendering... i love avsynthesis

update 5/02

Dave Phillips's picture

AVS has gone through a series of updates since I wrote this article. Please see the AVS Web page for more information. Significant improvements include randomization controls, a version for JOGL (intended to replace the LWGL dependencies), and better image-size support.

Similis sum folio de quo ludunt venti.