I want to be a VJ... how to get started?
January 8, 2010 8:38 AM   Subscribe

What's it gonna take to add video to my DJ setup? Educate me green!

Some background: I know my way around PC-based audio production systems (Cubase, Live, FLStudio, etc, etc, etc) and the in's and out's of DJing and audio production in general. I'm hoping to expand my current DJ arsenal with some visuals but I honestly have no idea where to start (aside from the features included with audio apps - mostly playback stuff).

Here's what I'm hoping to learn:
+ Gear: What do I need to take this on the road? Projector? Laptop? I currently use an iDJ2. It'd be cool not to have to migrate to something else for audio. Massive bonus for simplicity!

+ SW: I'll need to import from DVD, edit, add text and graphics, and sync to a beat (ideally in real-time while performing). I have a CS3 suite (or a decent chunk of it... forget which package but I have flash and PS, & IL).

Basically I want to import some footage to an application, edit, set a bunch of beat markers (on downbeats) of clips, then have it playback based on the beat (BPM) of the music I am playing live. OR if having it listen and sort out a BPM on the fly is too demanding, use some kind of physical input (button) to set a tap tempo.

Anyway, clearly I have no idea what the deal is... School me green VJs!

Thanks in advance!
posted by MeatLightning to Media & Arts (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The answers will depend on the scale to which you're working.

Hardware: If you're working small rooms or clubs, you'll probably want to bring your own projector(s). Laptops are pretty popular even up to fairly high-end large scale productions. At some point you'll run up against limitations in frame rate and frame size when you go beyond pre-rendered loops. We've got an i7 with nVidia GTX260m laptop, which is just barely useful for client demos, and our performance rigs are dedicated behemoths. YMMV. Triggered loops don't require much horsepower.

Software: Max/MSP/Jitter from cycling74 is popular. Actually, you don't even have to go that far; I've seen videoloop VJs that don't beatmatch and many people don't seem to notice or care, though this may limit how far up the food chain you can go. We use Derivative's Touch to create procedural graphics from scratch, so everything is live, real time, frequency controlled, beat controlled, interactive, blah blah blah. But we're crazy.

Go to some Visual Artists' Group meetings. In the SF Bay Area that's the Bay Area Visual Music Group. In LA, that's LAVA. You'll meet lots of cool people doing the same stuff you want to do. And you'll see many ways of doing it.
posted by lothar at 10:24 AM on January 11, 2010

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