Millumin — Swiss-Army Knife of Media Servers
Having to be in many show sites and events, you come across to the same software / hardware over and over again. With the demand of media to make events become more theatrical, one piece of software that I always use is Millumin. To me, this is the Swiss-army knife of media servers for live shows.
I’ve used multiple media servers in the past from your traditional Arkaos, d3, Green Hippos, Pandora, Watchout, and Ventuz. I’ve also used software-based products like VDMX and Resolume. However, nothing compares to the ease-of-use, stability, shuffle-media-without-breaking-a-timeline, ability to use ProRes files with no hiccups than Millumin.
Most major events breaks down to these categories: Audio, Graphics, Scenery, Video Playback and Video Switch.
Millumin as an Audio Switch: If you have a lot of pre-recorded audio cues, Millumin can serve as your audio media server. Millumin V.2 has added a complex audio mixer so you can load multiple audio streams and output as a cue for certain events during a show.
A case where you have background music playing and want to cue a VOG, you can do all that within Millumin as a mix and a cue.
Millumin as Graphics: This is where this software shines. It is not unheard of using a custom canvas / resolution in an event. Using a Mac Pro (2013), I’ve outputted a pixel count of 11,520 wide without a hitch and media just kept playing. However, you do have to take in consideration what codec you’re using to playback these large files. From research, I find that ProRes LT (even Proxy) are the way to go and also HAP.
Other great features is the ability to tap in into After Effects (future version will also have Cinema 4D support) live via plugin so you can map and warp custom projections down to the exact pixel space. And the nice things, when you jump from one application to the next, your live output will always be what Millumin is outputting.
*From experience, custom resolutions are a pain to configure and I’ve always relied on hardware than software-based products. Datapath products or a hardware EDID manager has always been my preference.
Millumin as Scenery: Scenery and live graphics are pretty much the same. But what I consider scenery is lighting. With version 2, you can program DMX lighting.
Millumin as Video Playback: Guaranteed most, if not all shows have some videos to playback. And like most live events, edits have to be done in the fly. Millumin is a great live video editor. It can create loops, timed cues (if you have multiple video files but have to stitch it as one then jump to a certain frame at the end of the video) and even animate beyond a cross dissolve.
*Make sure you’re using a unified codec for all your videos. ProRes LT (even Proxy) and HAP are the codecs I see that had no problems and are optimized for Macs specifically running only on GPUs.
Millumin as a Video Switch: You can access cameras, multiple playback machines, laptops for presentations like Keynote and Powerpoint, etc. Using a mix of Blackmagic products, Millumin can see these as input(s); if you have a MacBook Pro, you can use the selfie camera as an input.
Although you can access live cameras, be very cautious to the CPU / GPU load your machine is accessing.
These are your common departments on most shows. In a smaller show, you can use Millumin to run all the departments mentioned. As shows scale up in size, Millumin can scale up also. It’s a very flexible piece of software. Using Ardiono, Kinects and motion sensors, Millumin can act as a standalone interactive media shell or if you have multiple screens showing different content, you can have Millumin to connect to as many machines and be synced using timecode. It’s an endless myriad of possibilities.
For now, Millumin is only for the Mac. I must thank the developers making a phenomenal stable product. Also the support is practically instantaneous. If you happen to notice a bug or have a question that the forum hasn’t answered, expect a reply and/or fix right there and then.
If you’re working in the Live-Entertainment Industry / Show-Biz, give Millumin a try.