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our software:

This is a list of software we actually use to VJ, or to prepare content with. A list of freeware and trials developed for our workshops is here.

Resolume.com - Excellent VJ software. After giving a bunch of different VJ programs a decent trial, we settled on this one as the best match for our needs. At about $300 it's very good value for money, and pretty stable. They also have a page full of links to the best VJ content available on the web. .

FreeFrame.org - Cross-program Plugins for video effects, can be used with a range of VJ and video editing programs. Some are freeware, and some cost (PayFrames?). Only work on older version of Resolume though, not Resolume Avenue.

inside-us-all.com - Our favourite Payframes :) These are just THE best Freeframe Plugins if, like us, you like to seriously crapify your footage. For 70 Euros you can get a pack of over 20 Plugins that, for example, turn your perfectly good, clear 3CCD video footage into the most grungy, badly-synched pixellated mess that you've seen since the 1980's when you were using a coathanger as an aerial on your cheap TV.

Sygyzy Freeframe Effects - Developer of some of our favourite Freeframe Plugins. Some are free, but the "Hold On, Wait a Minute" pack is definitely worth the $50 or so if you use still images in your VJ sets. Eg, for basic functions like fading between stills that, sadly, Resolume can't (yet) do by itself. Also home of the wacky Pop Art filter Warhol - cunningly hidden for free in the demo pack for their Chromatic Aberrations Pack.

VirtualDub.org - Video editing freeware that we prefer to expensive programs like Premiere. It's easy to use and runs really smoothly on our WinXP machine. For example we can scroll frame by frame with the Mouse, and set additional mouse buttons to '50 frames forward' etc. The range of filters developed by a network of freeware supergeeks is awesome. Also PC only!

Flix Pro - an excellent video-to-vector converter. Not cheap but worth the price if, like us, you're more of a video person than an animator but want to use vector-based (ie, Flash-looking) footage. It also converts video into FlashMX format for delivery on the web. They also produce a program to make dynamic Flash-based text animation very easily.

Some other VJ software we've played with but don't actually use (as it doesn't suit our style, mostly):

Salvation - new 3D rendering program by an inde developer Trey Harrison that's definitely worth a try. Only currently available as a beta-test on application, this program looks very promising. We've added it to our (small) repetoire of programs we actually USE on an ongoing basis. You can even 3D-ify video files, and it's very easy on the RAM. Unfortunately, will currently only run on WinXP.

Neuromixer - Since Resolume doesn't work on a Mac, we had to seek alternative software to be able to use our G4 in our VJ rig. Happily, Neuromixer is freeware (although we suggest donating to the developer VJ Fader if you use his software for gigs). We've since got rid of the Mac.

Milkdrop.co.uk - this is a Winamp Visualiser Plug-in that requires a pretty good graphics card and fast computer to run well, but looks a hundred times better than older-style music visualisations. And it's FREE! We don't really use it ourselves as our style's more retro than eyecandy - but still, it's very cool and an easy thing to chuck on at parties if you can't be bothered learning to VJ :)

ElectricSheep.org - Organic-looking eyecandy, even prettier than Milkdrop but a bit more effort to use for gigs as you need to render the 'sheep' into loops or chains to record & reuse them. You can buy Electric Sheep on DVD too (although it's old-style sheep, the new ones are a lot more attractive): spotworks.com

We don't recommend that you necessarily need the following pro video software, as it's pretty expensive & we only bought it when we started doing video clips and DVD production. You can buy each program seperately, but it's a lot cheaper to buy them all at once as a Collection. It's a great suite if you can afford it, as it all integrates together beautifully:

Adobe Video Pro Collection consisting of (various versions available, have slightly different component software):

Adobe Premiere Pro - Industry standard video editing software. There are much cheaper, but obviously less powerful versions available - Premiere and Premiere Elements.

Adobe Encore - DVD authoring software. Easy to use and a lot more sophisticated than the other software we're tried to use without a great deal of success.

Adobe Audition - Sound editing software that includes Surround-Sound capability (multiple channel output).

Adobe Photoshop CS - Nice to get it in the package, but I still prefer Paintshop Pro :)

Adobe After Effects - It's sort of like Photoshop, but with a timeline. It's so easy to animate still images, put text over video and a million other things. So many uses, and nowhere near as difficult as something like Flash to get used to, if you're familiar with Photoshop.

wish list:

If only we had the patience and technical skill to make our own Freeframe PlugIns, these are some we'd love to create:

Boost Saturation - Although there's a saturation Freeframe, it just reduces the saturation - doesn't allow you to boost it.

Mondrian - White background, black lines, video in rectangular areas with coloured filter (Red, Yellow & Blue).

Multi-Colour Warhol - The existing one's OK, but just makes each quarter shades of one colour. Would be more Warhollian if it made each quarter a couple of colours, even cycling them - maybe like Colour Cycle?

Simple Fade Stills Transition - shows still for a certain number of seconds, fades to black then fades up the next still.

Super8 - Bit of blur, some vignetting, super-saturation of colours, maybe some film-scratch.

Flickerfest - Sepia/B&W(adjustable), film scratch and a bit of stutter (adjustable) - to look like early Lumiere-era film.

Woosh! - Super-speeds periods of clip (eg for 2 seconds) then returns to normal speed - the kind of thing that's easy to do in Premiere but we'd like to be able to do it on the fly. Resolume has "R" (Random speed) setting which gives a bit of that sort of feeling, but this Woosh would ideally be more controllable and keep the clip travelling in the same direction.

Busby Berkley Prism - Like the old 1930's - 1950's effect where a central image is repeated 7 or 8 times in a ring around the main image. Maybe even rotating around the middle image.

Vignette - a simple, soft black edge. Preferably varied shapes and diameter, that you could use in conjunction with lumakey functions (ie, as a mask).

Gradient Colour - adjustable gradient between two colours, where the intensity of colour can be varied along with the hues (vertical and horizontal version).S

These are effects we try to get by combining various Freeframe Plugins etc, but would be great to have it all in one Freeframe filter for each.

Any Freeframe programmers out there, go ahead and steal our ideas - just make sure to give us a free version to use after you've done all the hard work for us ;)

copyright all material 2005 kat black & jasper cook