VJing is improvising with video to music.
integration of music and projection has a long history,
going back centuries (honestly!) to experiments with "Colour
Music" in the 1700s. I really recommend buying The
VJ Book to read more about the history of VJing.
are a huge range of styles within VJing. Give it a few
years, and no doubt they'll evolve into identifiable genres.
Already though, you can see characteristics of particular
types of VJing, and there seems to be a fairly regional
influence as well (although of course there are just as
many exceptions as VJs that fit my cliches...).
VJs use a combination of the general styles I describe
for VJ (video performance artist) entry.
Dive is perfect for this style of VJing and Edirol
offer integrated hardware/software packages with Motion
Dive that make this a great option for those less geekily-inclined.
of the most proficient Motion Dive VJs is VJ
MoSelle from Ministry
of Sound, Singapore. The image here is our content,
remixed by Mo at a MOSS gig during our 2006 tour. Seeing
what other VJs do with your work is great fun - they can
transform it so much it's almost unrecognisable. In this
case, in a good way :)
software is also good for this style of VJing.
terms of sweeping regional generalisations, we'd suggest
that this genre of VJing is most common in the UK and
ranges from spinning balls and tunnels with rendered
textures and beat-synched pulsing shapes to 3D animation
etc. Many VJs who have been programmers, games or multimedia
developers become this style of VJ.
that sort of thing well, and can be integrated in with
known as Mash-Up style. These VJs use edited footage
from popular culture such as news, archival footage
has long been a key factor in creative DJing, and so
it's no surprise that it's also a style of VJing. We
react when we see familiar things, and VJing is a very
powerful way tomix recognisable images together in
a new way, or to make a point. (See also AV artists
of the major VJ softwares are good for this style of
Video Feed VJs
there’s a DJ with a big ego, there’s a camera
pointed at him projecting him huge on the screen.
linked with the international Clubbing scene, people
world over love to see themselves on the on-screen and
so that's what these VJs do. They tend to use more
tools, as flicking and blending between different camera
streams with a few basic effects is the main aim, to
the vibe of a huge event rather than being distracting.
To add variety, they will often also mix in beat-synched
'eye candy' type visuals like Milkdrop or DVD-based
visuals (see also Hardware VJs).
application of Live-feed VJing are artists such as
Holly Daggers, who uses live-video feed and a hi-tech
kick-arse laptops have trouble processing multiple,
video streams with multiple effects, so the emphasis
in this sort of VJing is using the vision mixer (aka
desk), DVJs and other hardware-based tools to the
are now a number of hardware devices made specifically
for VJing. Each of the devices do different things, and
some of them relate specifically to particular software
- such as Motion Dive or Resolume.
hardware controllers include Kaoss Entracer. VJ
Central is a good place to read hardware reviews.
artists do audio as well as video. This makes them more
palatable to a music-oriented Club scene, and therefore
AV artists generally have a much higher profile than VJs.
activist artists use AV, as it's important for them
get a message across and audio helps that. Some examples
I'd put into this category include Inside
Us All and Cold
Cut - whose 1997 AV work "Timber" first captured
the attention of many of today's AV artists and
also develop some great Freeframe
Plug-ins, so they're really helping to develop the technical
side of VJing as well as promoting their political causes.
most popular software for AV performance is probably VJamm
as used by the appropriately named VJamm
are also a rapidly growing number of hardware-based
artists using Pioneer DVJs,
devices where you can scratch AV material from DVD.
book is due out shortly demonstrating practical use
the DVJ called "How
to DVJ , a Digital DJ Masterclass" by Charles
Kriel. I guess from the title it's targetted at experienced
DJs or AV artists rather than VJs.
so have to declare a vested interest here... we made
that up as a catchy title for Freeframe-Effects-based
VJing,since it didn't seem to comfortably fit into
the other genres we've listed.
style of VJing uses abstracted video - eg, light-trails,
blurry drive-by footage, power poles, clouds moving
past etc. The VJ-ness is often achieved through use
of Freeframe effects
to make everyday-looking footage abstracted and artistic.
In many ways similar to the Impressionist painting.
in a tradition of Expressionist and other Avant-garde
cinema from last century.
is perfect for this sort of VJing - developed by a
pair of Dutch VJs. This example is from one of our
'video painting' pieces,
showing the input footage, the treated ouput footage
and a screenshot of the Resolume interface in action.
are people who use VJ tools and even perform in club environments,
but have a strong Postmodern contemporary art basis to
what they're doing, such as Holly
Daggers in the US and jean
in Australia. They're
busily working away to contextualise and document the
theoretical base to this cultural phenomenon, like We're
silly fluff-heads compared to them, but we really value
what they're doing.
VJ tools and techniques in an Arts context, with a sit-down
audience, is starting to be called Live
TV are two acts leading the development of Live Cinema.
There;s an interesting interview about the possibilities
of 'Expanded Cinema' using VJ Tools between jean
poole and German VJ fALk here
comes from a comment recently by a high profile
VJ, who complained that VJing is being taken over by
Art School Prats. I guess we fit that bill, since we
met and became VJs quite literally at Art School.
suggest that the context of being an Art School Wanker
means that you enjoy performing in Arts-based Festivals
(such as New Media Festivals) in preference to, say,
big Music Festivals. Also, we place a huge value on
Surrealist Cinema of the 1930's, the Dada Movement
and other early experimental cinema, as we see obvious
parallels with the potential created by VJ tools encouraging
experimentation like the early days of cinema.
> Personal VJs
VJs work closely with one or two acts, and tailor their
work to suit a particular artist or who work in collaboration
with that artist. Given the lack of status currently given
to VJs, these sort of collaborations aren't usually seen
as "AV acts", but from the perspective of a
fellow VJ, I see that the best examples really are AV
Shadow, U2, Alice Cooper (right back to the 70's),
have visuals as a key part of their live performances.
These sort of deep, collaborative involvements, in my
opinion, are conducive to producing the best VJ performances
possible. Probably hardly anyone knows the names of these
VJs, but I think history will come looking for them when
visuals are given the kind of credit I think they can
> Club Bunnies
people get into VJing because they're into Club culture
and it's probably less competitive than becoming a DJ
category of VJs aren't usually as purist about making
their own content as the others - it's the commercial
end of VJing, and what many promoters of big events want.
visuals are integrated with the lightshow at a big gig,
for example, it's likely that this is hardware based,
for reliability and simple operation.
this is even really VJing is probably contestable,
the lack of creative, live control over the visuals. "We'll
all be replaced by a Media Server within 2 years"
said one prominent VJ recently - and if your perspective
is that of a big club who just want automated visuals
to go with their superstar-DJs show, then he's probably
the future for Clubland is in hardware-based visuals,
then content production has the key growth potential.
what type of VJing do we, VJzoo, do? We developed our
own style which we dubbed Video Painting, since our background
is more art-based than being programmers or graphic-designers.
also love old movies though, so we use archival footage
too. For example, we use old 'Soundies', Bollywood and
Burlesque. We alter our style to suit the gig to a certain
extent, although we'll only take a gig that's within the
range of what we do well - we just don't DO that computer-generated
stuff well, and aren't interested in the whole live-feed
we love about the moving image comes from what can be
captured by a lens, the things that people might usually
miss, or not recognise, or have forgotten about - we like
to recontextualise that into a modern, immersive experience.
also collect and use vintage equipment such as Fairlight
CVIs. We're not really into the 80's revival Electro
scene, but playing with temperamental old equipment
much fun and we have huge respect for AV pioneers like
very involved in Live Cinema too - an exciting new
field where the audience is sitting watching, and we improvise
either with live musicians or a predetermined soundtrack.
Keeping an audience's attention with non-narrative visuals
can be quite a challenge, and with people watching so intently,
there's a lot more pressure to create an interesting, smooth
and engaging show. The rewards are so much greater though
- to have people paying such close attention means that
people really 'get it'. Also, to have a rousing, enthusiastic
round of applause when you finish your set is something
you don't get the chance for in club VJing!
1987 Severed Heads AV track 'Hot With Fleas'
love to work closely with musicians, DJs and sound artists
and to produce collaborative work - which is why our
process is quite intensive. We're not the kind of
VJs you just hire to turn up on the night to do some pretty
background-visuals. This is our passion. If you want something
that's part of the lightshow, we can recommend some good
DVDs that you could throw on instead of hiring us
are more links on our Links Page.
other VJing discussion that you might find interesting: