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How many people do your milkshakes bring to the yard?

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so you just have a bunch of pre-loaded vectors and animations, then push various buttons with various levels of effects to produce.... that? Doesn't that take the whole "design" out of it?

 

I never really liked the french new wave that much but i always appreciated what the artists were trying to do... so... good luck with this "new wave"

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o you just have a bunch of pre-loaded vectors and animations, then push various buttons with various levels of effects to produce.... that? Doesn't that take the whole "design" out of it?

 

I'm not a VJ but I've had the chance to work with a couple good ones. It's one of those things that seems easy until you actually try it. It's like thinking that to be a really good DJ you just need to throw on a couple good records, how hard can that be:) So much of what a VJ does is about the live performance and it doesn't always transfer well when recorded as a reel. It really is a whole other thing seperate from motion design.

 

Some of the VJs I've seen were sending different video streams out to several different projectors, selecting video loops on the fly, live switching video feeds from cameras, and doing all this to the beat of the music, not to mention doing it in front of a crowd of thousands of people on humungous screens, where everyone will see if you mess up. The best VJ's understand how to build on the emotion of the music and make sure their visuals are complementary and not competing with it. If you ever watch a good VJ working up close I am sure you will walk away awed by the skill involved.

 

Not a comment on this specific VJ reel, but it has happened to me on several occasions to be underwhelmed by a VJ reel, only to be blown away seeing that person actually perform. For sure not everyone who calls themselves a VJ is doing all this stuff, but I've found a lot of the stuff VJ's are doing to be really interesting and hoping this post might help get a few skeptical motion designers to take a second look.

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Fair point, but the actual visuals that VJs produce tend to be very lazy-looking. There is rarely tangible design chops or a cohesive nature to the overlaid clips. Even a theme or artistic intent, a connection between the images used, would be better to look at than the prevalence of found footage and 50's domesticana clips that pervade this artform. There is so much space for innovation in VJing, particularly amongst us here at Mograph, but yet most of the stuff I've seen is just lazy. It takes a lot of hard work to produce your own video clips, that merge, beatmatch, inform the dancing of the crowd AND look good when superimposed. For instance, where's the colour theory? Where's the beatmatching? Where's the synaesthesia that links the high-end, hi-hats, vocals, kick drums and synth lines to visuals that represent and complement them? It's all about the music.

 

Why don't people try making good-looking, HD, immersive pieces that so happen to alter dynamically to sound input or manual MIDI input? Because no-one seems to spend the time on it. It looks easy, to my eye, to become a well-repected VJ if you understand all that is wrong with the scene at the moment. We're on the verge of greatness, but we need to define the puropse of VJing and its possibilities, before the format can evolve.

 

I'm playing with MIDI channels at the moment - making the channels played in Ableton control Arkaos layers - which should produce a nice AV set once set up. But even this is far from pioneering, Hexstatic have been doing similar for years. It would be a shame if VJing stagnated and evolved slowly, but thankfully the scene in Italy (particularly Rome) seems to be bringing it forward.

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Hey iline totally agree with what you are saying. For sure as an "art form" VJing is in it's infancy and there is a lot of uninteresting stuff out there, and maybe a lot more potential than actual great work. I am sure my perspective is skewed a bit too as someone who is not going out to clubs a lot when I go out to see stuff it's because I am going to see people who I have heard are doing really interesting things so maybe I am missing a lot of the ho hum stuff.

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Why don't people try making good-looking, HD, immersive pieces that so happen to alter dynamically to sound input or manual MIDI input? Because no-one seems to spend the time on it. It looks easy, to my eye, to become a well-repected VJ if you understand all that is wrong with the scene at the moment. We're on the verge of greatness, but we need to define the puropse of VJing and its possibilities, before the format can evolve.

 

As far as HD content goes, the hardware is still cost prohibitive for HD mixers/projectors. 640x480px is pretty much the norm here in the States with the exception of touring rigs and megaclubs. Additionally, as anyone here can attest, making quality content is a very time intensive proposition, and if you're playing an extended set (5 hours is not uncommon) there's going to be some filler. The nightclub/party environment itself is certainly not one that lends itself to greatness, elevated purpose, or even half-ass decent design, but individuals who are passionate and driven (Vello Virkhaus, Eclectic Method, Ben Sheppee, Meat Beat Manifesto, etc) rise to the top, just like any other field. I agree that much of the content out there is poorly mixed, overused, luma soup garbage, but as the artform becomes more accessible, the bar will continue to go up.

 

With the long-heralded convergence of affordable AV mixing finally here (resolume, serrato, etc. etc.) , the next few years should yield some truly exciting acts and interpretations of the artform.

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Fair point, but the actual visuals that VJs produce tend to be very lazy-looking. There is rarely tangible design chops or a cohesive nature to the overlaid clips. Even a theme or artistic intent, a connection between the images used, would be better to look at than the prevalence of found footage and 50's domesticana clips that pervade this artform. There is so much space for innovation in VJing, particularly amongst us here at Mograph, but yet most of the stuff I've seen is just lazy. It takes a lot of hard work to produce your own video clips, that merge, beatmatch, inform the dancing of the crowd AND look good when superimposed. For instance, where's the colour theory? Where's the beatmatching? Where's the synaesthesia that links the high-end, hi-hats, vocals, kick drums and synth lines to visuals that represent and complement them? It's all about the music.

 

Why don't people try making good-looking, HD, immersive pieces that so happen to alter dynamically to sound input or manual MIDI input? Because no-one seems to spend the time on it. It looks easy, to my eye, to become a well-repected VJ if you understand all that is wrong with the scene at the moment. We're on the verge of greatness, but we need to define the puropse of VJing and its possibilities, before the format can evolve.

 

I'm playing with MIDI channels at the moment - making the channels played in Ableton control Arkaos layers - which should produce a nice AV set once set up. But even this is far from pioneering, Hexstatic have been doing similar for years. It would be a shame if VJing stagnated and evolved slowly, but thankfully the scene in Italy (particularly Rome) seems to be bringing it forward.

 

Hi iline.

 

I hope I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot here and I think you raise some interesting points. I am one third of an electronica band who do their own visuals. For us, the live visuals are as integral to our performance as the music.

 

Now I've seen some VJ work that does seems lazy and not exactly inspiring. However, I have also seen just as many incredible VJ performances that have really contributed to the overall live act. I also think that it's very hard to judge a VJ performance from just a video as with any live act, a lot of it can get lost if you're not there.

 

I'd be interested to see what work you're cooking up with regards to the Ableton and Arkaos set-up as that is exactly the process we used for our last big gig. Like you I think that there is a lot of potential with where VJing as an art form can grow.

 

JimJam

 

ps. If you wanna see some clips from a gig we did with Hexstatic then you can check em here. They're certainly not perfect, but it was our first time of using Ableton and Arkaos together.

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