like to make our own content. Some we sample from
movies, and some we create from scratch - such as our
info about making your own loops using a PC can be
found in our introductory manual on PC-based VJing
from our Painting With Light
are some tips for making your own clips:
food colouring into a large jar of water, filmed with
the lens of the video camera right against the glass.
Easy to do, but looks really good.
from vintage animation. Animation is much easier to
edit loops from than non-animated films, as the same drawing
is used repeatedly - you just need to find when the same
animation cel is repeated, and edit to the frame before
that for continuous movement. A lot of vintage animated
films are now public domain. Apart from Disney films,
we wouldn't touch those with a ten foot pole, they're
very territorial about their copyright.
from vintage movies. Dance scenes are especially good
for VJing, as are scenes featuring musicians. Live action
never really repeats itself perfectly, so we will often
reverse a clip and butt it up to the end of the original
clip to make a seamless loop (or using a VJ program like
Resolume, you can just do that within the program). "Bouncing"
doesn't work so well if someone's walking in one direction
and then goes backwards, but it works really well with
dance steps etc.
urbanity. We're lucky enough to have a very good DV
cam. The kind of stuff we film around our city - electricity
poles, trains rushing by, light-trails of cars at night
- all quite unremarkable in itself, but looks great layered
with VJ effects. Which is why such content's a bit of
a cliche in the VJ scene - easy to get, looks good, all
around us. It's not exactly creative, but it works well.
Lux and Super Nightshot. Many DV cameras, even
really low-end ones, have these functions. They create
a really pleasant motion blur. The former shows colour
more readily, often intensifying the colours - eg we shot
a dancer at night on the beach with the last dying rays
of sunlight behind her. With the camera on low-lux, the
colours of the sky were much brighter. We also got some
non-low-lux footage of her silhouetted (with no motion
blur) to mix in with the intensely coloured low-lux stuff
- to get the best of both. Nightshot (think Paris Hilton
video) and Super Nightshot (even more light-sensitive,
with motion blur) produce greenish mono footage even in
almost complete darkness. If you don't like the green
tinge, make it B&W with a filter on your desk or in
your editing or VJ program.
codecs are a nightmare. They were the bane of the
whole process when we first started out, and so many people
told us conflicting things about which codec to use.
tested a lot and decided that the main one to use on our
XP machine is the Ligos
Indeo Video 5 codec with .avi format. It resizes
well (is scalable) and is fine for scratching so long
as you remember to put in keyframes every frame when you're
editing. It doesn't get your files terribly small in size,
but as we've got enough hard-drive and RAM on our XP machine,
that's not a problem.
Indeo codec - we use the latest (commercial) version
this codec as it resizes footage well, and does a really
good job of compressing footage while maintaining
Unfortunately, it only works on XP and the latest version
costs money. An old version 5.1 was free, and is still
available from www.free-codecs.com -
and if you're using Windows XP you should already have
a codec that can read Indeo-compressed avi's.
was a problem with our G4 Mac Powerbook though, as currently
this codec isn't available for OSX. Sad. Solution? Got
rid of the Mac :P
the Mac, we used PhotoJpeg codec with .mov format, with
a compression rate of 90% for most things (depends on
clip). Not to be confused with MotionJpeg, which
we haven't managed to get very good results or performance
a good summary of video codecs at Wikipedia
although doesn't really cover VJ requirements.
size to make one's clips?
really depends on how much content you've got, how
your computer is etc. Most VJs these days seem to be
using 640x480, although a lot of the higher-end VJs
noses up at anything less than Broadcast Quality. As
we have a HUGE number of clips (probably tens of thousands
of loops and clips) that just isn't realistic for us.
Hard drives are coming down in price, but there's only
so many you can logistically manage at once.
have good graphics cards and use a codec that upsizes
well, so we find that for live gigs, 400x300 is just
fine and that's the resolution most of our video is
resize it up to 800x600 in Resolume and that's the resolution
we project at. As 300x400 is a multiple of 800x600,
scales up easier than 384x288, the resolution we initially
started VJing with.
we're recording for release on DVD, we work at higher
resolution, re-ripping what we need from our Master Sources
(usually mini-DV tape) and clogging up
for just long enough to make the video clip, then deleting
it all again or saving it onto data DVDs (be aware
DVDs are far less archival than CDs at this stage though).
We always keep our Master Tapes for anything we might
possibly want to re-use.
other VJs whose work we really respect also use these
(he also has VJ resources such as codec comparisons)
note: Resolume runs MUCH better if your clips
are all the same size, with an appropriate codec and
if you're going to be scratching) keyframed every frame.
Everytime we hear people complain that they have trouble
with Resolume crashing, it usually turns out that
they just throw in clips at whatever format, size and
found on the web, without reformatting them to a consistent
size and format. Since these also usually seem to be
losers using an illegal cracked version of Resolume,
they deserve to have it crash on them anyway.