If you’re intrigued by iTunes’ Visuals window and have a hankering to create similar interactive montages that respond not only to music but also to keyboard, mouse, and MIDI input, Onadime Composer may be the tool for you–provided you’re willing to put up with the program’s rough edges.
Images produced by the program are more varied than those in iTunes, largely because you can work with a number of media sources, including GIF and JPEG images, movies, sounds, and text. You modify these images–change their color, rotate them, or switch from image to image–using a series of filters (or
in Onadime parlance). You trigger actions with input sources like MP3 and AIFF sound files, live audio (a camcorder, for example), the Mac’s input or CD/DVD drive, and input devices such as mouse, keyboard, Wacom graphics tablet, and MIDI keyboard.
You might, for instance, create a form where the variation in an audio file’s low frequencies dynamically modifies the color of an image, creating a cool pulsing image synched to the beat of a bass drum. You create these dynamic images by dragging an input source (that low-frequency bass-drum beat) onto an output destination (rotation or a color change, for example) in the program’s Links window.
Onadime Composer includes a Console window where you can view your composition as well as control your Mac’s CD player and monitor sound input in an oscilloscope-like viewer. The program also offers a full-screen Performance mode that lets you see your compositions without extraneous clutter. Others can view your compositions with Onadime’s Free Player application or as exported QuickTime movies.
Although Onadime Composer is easy to use and can generate some impressive results, it needs polishing. On our 400MHz PowerBook Titanium G4, compositions and sound stuttered when using the DVD player as a sound input source. When we exported compositions as QuickTime movies, portions of the compositions were cut off. And although the packaging and PDF manual show the program running under OS X, the version we reviewed is not OS X-native and runs poorly in the Classic environment.
Macworld’s Buying Advice
VJs, multimedia artists, and other live performers will find Onadime Composer immediately useful. If you’re likewise interested in creating dynamic video compositions, you may, too.