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As of 2016, Michael Allen has been doing visual projections for live events for nearly 20 years.

-  He uses hardware + software with found footage (new and old) to compose and project custom visuals based on the musical performance and style of the event.

-  He gathers the found footage he uses from various resources (an archive of over 2000 16mm films and a telecine projector / videotapes / Youtube / etc.) and edits it using Final Cut Pro X.  

Once the footage is gathered, digitized, and cut - Michael uses VJ Software (Modul8 / Madmapper / Resolume) and hardware (DVDJ, Ipad, videomixers) to remix and broadcast it. 


Michael: "The idea is to customize the visuals well enough to trick the audience into thinking that what they're seeing was planned and practiced, even though much of the time the dj/musician has never seen the show and much of the time I have no idea what they're going to play next.  Of course this is usually not the case with bands and touring acts because they tend to use setlists and repeated performances.  -But nightly I do live visuals sets to crowded houses for popular acts who need everything to seem semi-choreographed.  I do this by listening to the music that's playing and envisioning the content from my vast catologue of footage.  When I imagine a video clip that seems like it should go right with the song that is playing - i access the content via DVD, laptop, ipad, or whatever I am working with.

If the projections look preproduced and planned - rather than random and spontenious - then I am accomplishing my goal.  In addition to the mental imaging technique explained above, I use other tricks and techniques that I've learned and refined over thousands of hours of gathering and displaying videos at shows.

Sometimes - the visuals can drive the show just as much as the music.

Sometimes - the visuals BECOME the music."


Michael also uses custom screens and installations to help accomplish this.

For a more thorough description of the mapping process, click the VIDEO MAPPING link above.

For pictures of custom stages and installation, click the PICTURES link (under More).

And for video samples of Michael's work. click the VIDEO link (also under More).     

Visuals / Video Editing and Projections


In 2011, Michael presented a 'Visual Music' seminar for SAE (the School of Audio Engineering) in Hollywood.  Below are several of his notes from the class.  This is good information for the up-and-coming VJ.  But if you're not interested in becoming a VJ youself - skip the rest of this section by clicking a link at the top of the page.



First off, I'd like to introduce you to the concept of 'SYNAESTHESIA'

Synaesthesia is a sensation produced at a point other than the point of stimulation - like seeing a color from hearing a sound. People have been experimenting with synaesthetic concepts in art since the beginning of time - but with the technological developments of the past hundred years, we've seen the evolution of a new type of 'visual music', which the VJ uses to express himself.



- In 1895 Auguste and Louis Lumiere patented the first motion picture device.


- And in June of that same year Alexander Wallace Rimington demonstrated his Color Organ accompanied by a piano, a conventional organ, and a full orchestra.


- In 1910, a couple of Italian Futurists named Arnaldo Ginni and Bruno Corra experimented with color-organ light projections.

These people experimented with light as a means of expressing musical ideas. In an age before electric light... Just like us - a hundred years later, they modified the tools of their day to accommodate this need for visuals.

Without computers - and without film these people were creating visual music.


-  Then in 1920, color theorist and painter Adrian Bernard Klein developed the Klein color projector - a keyboard controlled instrument that used prisms to project colored light.


-  In 1921, 'Lichtspiel Opus 1' was released. This is considered to be the first abstract film ever to be shown publicly. One critic deems it "visible music, audible light"


-  In 1922 a Kinetic electric light instrument, which illuminates colored light bulbs when a soundless keyboard is played in shown in Russia.. It is referes to as the spectrophone or Kinetic-light piano.

We use computers to do the same thing these people were doing then.


-  In 1929, Disney released the first of it's 'Silly Symphonies' series... 


-  In the 30's, animation artists like John Whitney and Oscar Fischinger continued to experiment with new forms of visual music.

Oscar Fischinger conducts experiments where he would photograph multiple abstract designs onto an optical soundtrack along the edge of motion picture filmstrips, where audio signals are read continuously with the film's visual frames.

His aim was to identify the sounds created by different visual forms to produce a new type of music.


-  In 1941, John Whitney used a sixteen-millimeter optical printer and a device that uses a system of pendulums to draw on the soundtrack section of film - translating oscillations into synthetic sounds of various frequencies and timbres.

This was the beginning of the age of digital computing - 1945 saw the invention of the first digital processor.


-  By the early 1950's, experimental films were being made using new technologies, such as magnetic tape and optical printers to manipulate filmed oscilloscope patterns with color filters and to superimpose layers of colorful abstract

forms. John Whitney developed a computer from the machinery of an M-5 Antiaircraft guidance system which he used to make early computer animation.


-  In 1952, at San Francisco State College, Professor Seymour Locks used a plastic clock-face cover as a lens, in which he manipulated liquid pigment illuminated by an overhead projector. He performed his light projection as jazz musicians improvise accompaniment.


-  Soon thereafter - the '60's saw an explosion in the visual music medium. People like Tony Martin developed new and interesting psychedelic light-show techniques - which were used in shows with acts like Jefferson Airplane, The Doors, Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Janis Joplin, and many others.

Kenneth Knowlton at Bell Telephone Laboratories created BEFLIX, the first programming language developed for computer animation.


-  In 1967, light-show artist Glenn McKay started Head Lights, a light performance company. He used hand painted slides, transparencies, watercolors, inks and dyes, to project "painting with light" to correspond with the live shows of Pink Floyd, The Doors, Jefferson Airplane, and other rock groups at numerous shows including Visuals were happening at venues and festivals like San Francisco's Filmore West, and the Monterey Pop Festival.


-  1970 with engineer Shuy Abe, Nam June Paik produced the Paik-Abe video synthesizer, a device that manipulates the colors and forms of video footage, the results of which are recorded on videotapes for television broadcast and installation.

Paik calls this device his "Light Piano". The same year, Gene Youngblood published his book 'Expanded Cinema', an unprecedented study focusing on recent crosscurrents between technology and art, declaring that experimental film is approaching a new kind of "synaesthetic cinema" capable of arousing "cosmic consciousness".


-  Then in 1973, Stephen Beck developed the first digital video synthesizer, The Video Weaver, which he used to create the abstract patterns in his visual-music series 'Video Weavings'. The same year, Dan Sandin completed the Sandin Image Processor, a computer that enables real-time image composition analogous to

musical improvisation. Conceived as a performance instrument, the processor becomes the key tool for artists exploring the interactive potential of video.


-  Now, let's skip to the 1990's. Because of the explosion of video artists and VJ styled presentations throughout the '70's and '80's - it's pretty much impossible to properly reference all of the significant developments and artistic innovations of the time...

So now, I'll list some of the more modern innovations that have helped drive the evolution of the artform:

There have been a lot of technological developments over the past 20 years.


-  For the modern VJ, it all started with overhead projectors, slides, and film - then came tv's and video projections - and now we're using DVD turntables, laptops and massive LED screens.

Now, we have:

Lasers - Laptop Computers - Digital Recording - Desktop Video Editors - The Internet - The Kouyaaniquatsi Trilogy (Regio) - Computers Special Effects Generators - Computers w/ effects Increasing Storage Capabilities - Computer Animation -  Rave Culture 


-  The 90s saw the development of a number of digital video mixers Like the Panasonic MX50 and AVE5. These mixers were designed for home video editing and low budget TV production but they were quickly adopted by VJs as the core component of their performance setups.

These video mixers were used to mix pre-prepared video material from VHS players and live camera sources, and to add computer software outputs into the mix.


-  Then in 1998, Edirol released the V5 Video Canvas, which was a hybrid device featuring solid state storage of still images combined with a basic video mixer. This marked an important transition point, where large music corporations saw an emerging market for video performance hardware.

The products that followed the V5 have become the mainstay of VJ hardware setups.


-  In 2001, Edirol released the V4 Video mixer, which was arguably the first video mixer designed specifically for VJ use. It features MIDI control to enable integration with digital music equipment, and has quickly become adopted as the standard VJ mixer. The V4's popularity has lead other music companies like Korg and Pioneer to developing hardware designed specifically for VJs.

Today's VJs have a wide choice of off the shelf hardware products, covering every aspect of visuals performance, including video sample playback


Now, more bars and public venues than ever are equipped with video monitors, projectors, and video presentation equipment.

With the development of YouTube and other on-line video servers, visual content is highly accessible.

And while some VJ equipment is still expensive, used equipment is trickling down - and is more affordable and accessible than ever. We have resources such as Ebay and Craig's list to find and purchase used equipment, films, and other hard-to-find tools of

the trade... We have massive LED panels, and high power video projection systems...

Now, without visual accompaniment and multiple-medias, a performance can seem pretty lackluster.

And now, with the IPhone/iPad and other wireless/mobile video players, there are applications that are just beginning to develop that will change the way the VJ works.



- Following is a list of hardware names and functions:

- Laptop - Most newer software will require you to be running a Mac: G4/1GHz; 512 MB RAM; OS 10.4.x; USB port; QuickTime 6.5 or later PC: Pentium 4/2GHz; 512 MB RAM; Windows XP/Vista; QuickTime 6.5/ DirectX 9.0.b/Flash Player 7 or later

- Monitors - You can use any video screen that can recieve an RCA input. Older TVs need a VCR or converter box to convert the RCA signal to the standard coaxial in. The more portable the better. You can get flat, plasma screens for anywhere from $150 (individually) to rack mount units with 3 or 4 monitors for $1000 and up.

- Distribution Amplifier - The video distribution amp separates one video signal into two or more signals. Also referred to as a 'splitter', or a 'DA' - these units usually require AC power.

- Power Chords and Power Strips - Carry plenty to be prepared for any room.

- BNC Cables - BNC cables are the cable with a locking pin on each end. Usually a thicker gage than RCA.

- RCA Cables - RCA cable are the standard Yellow (video), Red (audio 1), and White (audio 2) cables that most consumer audio/visual gear comes equipped with.

- S-Video - The multi-pinned cable that most video projectors/ players/mixers/etc. come equipped with. The video is more clear through S-Video cables. but they are easier to damage and not recommended for runs over 15 - 20 feet.- VGA - Standard computer cable. While some projectors have a VGA input, most mixers do not. They do make signal converting adaptors, though.

- HDMI - The digital cable used to transmit an HD signal from a blue- ray player

- DVI - Another multi-pinned Computer output cable - they make DVI to VGA convertors and DVI to HDMI cables.

- Firewire - Digital Cable

- USB Cable - Digital Cable

- Video Mixer - The video mixer is the most important part. Mixers allow you to mix multiple channels of video together, and some have effects. Some VJ software includes realtime mixers, while many require transitions such as dissolve and fade to render - preventing true 'real-time' capabilities. There are many video mixers on the market. The Panasonic WJ-MX50 and WJ-AVE5 can be found on Ebay for $800 - $1350 - while the WJMX12 (the more portable, less featured version) is around $500. Or the Videonix MX-1 for about $550... The more modern, standard VJ Mixers are the Edirol V4 ($1100), the V8 ($2300) , the Korg Krossfour ($700), the Numark AVM01 ($699), and the AVM02 ($800). Pioneer has a mega-audio/visual mixing tool called the SVM-1000 thay they sell for over $4000.

- Effects Processors - Besides the effects built into the mixer, you can control and manipulate the images using independent effect processors. Korg put a machine called 'The Entrancer' for real-time video effects, but they stopped making them. They also made a video effects generator/sampler called 'The Kaptivator' that is out of production also. You may be able to find these used - but I'm pretty sure they don't make these products anymore. Edirol makes effects processors and samplers. Not only do the V-4 and V-8 mixers have excellent effects capabilities, but they make devices such as the EDIROL CG-8 Visual Synthesizer and the PR-1000HD & the P-10 Visual Sampler (Edirol's version of the Kaptivator).

- MIDI Controllers - Some good ones are the Akai MPK49 and the Akai MPD32 - but companies like M-Audio and Korg make good one's too. Some software packages actually require special MIDI controllers to properly run their package (Motion Dive. Livid's Tactic M2).

- Players - You can get regular DVD players for under $40 these days. The cheaper players sometimes work just as good as the higher priced ones - as long as they play properly and have RCA and S-Video outputs. It is good to have a 'repeat' function with no on screen display. On screen displays are bad. You can play your videos directly from your computer... There are also special DVD players for VJ/DJs like the Pioneer DVJ- x1 ($1500), and the DVJ-1000 ($2500).

- Recorders - The Pioneer 20X DVD burner copies DVDs quickly. And Panasonic makes wonderful stand alone recorders... There are also some awesome hard-drive recorders on the market. Besides video cameras you can even store your content on devices like Tivo. Video can be stored to DVD, Tape, Film, Hard Drives, Hardware

like Video Samplers, and on Live Cameras.

The Neuros MPEG recorder is a palm-sized device that records full resolution video at 30 frames per second to an SD card.

- Cameras - There are many cameras on the market - consumer and pro. They should have an RCA or S-video OUT.

- Video Projectors - Rated in 'Lumens', the brightness of the projector is very important. If you are in a relatively dark room with 10 to 25 feet throw - 2000 and up will suffice. You can make a projector dimmer - but not brighter, so the higher the 'lumens' the better. Costs vary dramatically. Most projectors have a 'zoom' feature to increase and decrease the screen size - but higher end projectors make these adjustments using lenses. Video projector bulbs and lenses are very expensive (Bulbs - $300 - $500 and up, Lenses - $1000 and up). Keystone controls are good. Keystone is the adjustment that makes it possible to 'skew' the projections height and width to accommodate for the position of the projector. If you are not facing the surface head-on you get a skewed image if your projector does not have the right keystone controls...

- Film Projectors - Usually available second-hand, there are many types of analog film projectors on the market. 16 millimeter, Slide Projections, 8mm and Super 8 (much dimmer and more fragile than 16mm).

- Overhead Projectors - The liquid projections from the '60's were mostly created using techniques on the overhead projector. This is done using dyes, oils, and colored water with opaque plates to make the bubbled psychedelic look. Now, they make actual light fixtures that create this effect.

- Hum Bucker - A pass through device that eliminates hum (interference) to video signals. When using long cables, or running video signals in cables that are touching electrical cables, you can experience interference (hum). You plug the hum bucker into the cable transmitting the interference, and 9 times

out of 10 you will clear up the picture.

- Cables - I can't emphasize enough. -You need a LOT of cables. Power Cables, Video Cables, Audio Cables... Bring more than enough. I use film reels to store and access mine...

- Adaptors - Be prepared to adapt RCA to BNC or vice versa. RCA barrels are also very useful. There are also S-Video to RCA adaptors that are very useful in a bind.

- Some people create their own means of broadcasting their visual content. There a portable projection displays and art installations like my Eyeonasphere. For more information about some of the more innovative presentation equipment and their inventors, visit the websites on the 'Modern Innovation' section of the handout.

Screens and Stands - You will always need to consider where you will be placing you projectors and equipment.

Much of the time, the VJ will put himself at the front-of-house, because it gives you the best view of the show and the stage. But often, VJ's set up on or near the stage - which just requires a long video cable to run to the projector.

The projector can be set on a stand or ledge, or attached to a truss or pole.

Home Depot sells erectable, sturdy stands for $75-$100. Your stands must be very stable - because they are to be set up in a live show environment where much of the time people don't watch where they are walking, and most of the time they're drunk. Your stands must be portable - because you have

to carry them in your vehicle with all the rest of your equipment, and because you have to set it all up at the beginning and end of the show.

Sometimes there are ledges and balconies where the projector can be safely placed. Be sure to make sure that the public doesn't have easy access to the projector - because sometimes people may mess with it without your permission.

Some people use bases and auto-poles to mount the projector using projector mounting hardware. This hardware is also good for trusses.

I've included a section called 'Aspect Ratio /Screen Size' on the handout to explain some of the more useful screensize details. The aspect ratio of the image is it's width divided by it's height. This information is useful when setting up projectors and determining the size of projection you will have from a particular distance.

Different projectors and lenses use different aspect ratios, which can usually be found in the user manual or online.

-Now, I'll write down a list of surfaces used to show visual content:

- Walls - Video Monitors (old tv's, LED Screens, Plasma Screens) - Video Walls (stackable monitors using a routing matrix - much

like they use in store displays and at trade-shows) - Sheets and Canvas (light colored fabrics) - Fastfold Framed Stretch-Screens - LED Curtains and Panels

- Custom Built screens made from cut outs (foam board, wood, sewn up fabric)

- Weather balloons / Inflatables - Scrim material / Netting / Window Screens



- Applications like Final Cut Pro, Flash, and Maya aren't necessarily created for VJing - but they can all be helpful when creating content. The same goes for Macromedia Director (Adobe), and IMovie HD

There are VJ applications for every platform (Mac, PC, Linux, etc.).

- Some apps allow the user to trigger clips from the computer's keyboard or MIDI controller.

- Some apps allow 2 or more channels of video streaming from the hard disc or memory to be mixed, blended, and composited together.

- Some apps use algorithms to generate video and/or control images and media.


•    About Face - VJ mixing program that supports .mov, .avi, .mpeg, .bmp, .jpeg, .swf, .gif, and .png - PC - Free Download -


•    Aestesis - Sound to visual program that has many different psychedelic modules, supports video capture, and lets you mix and key live between channels - PC - Free Download (w/ plug-ins) -


•    Arkaos- Arkaos Visualizer is a free visual player that lets you run graphical/effect videos through your MP3 player. It has beat matching capabilities that fuse images and 3D effects with the percussion and bass lines of MP3, Wav, and AIFF files.

- Free Download - Arkaos VJ is a MIDI capable VJ version with multimedia authoring and editing tools suited towards live performance. -$350 (free trial available) -Mac and PC -


•    ArtMatic - Combines fractal-like images, random textures, gradients, displacement maps, and tiles - Free Download - Mac -


•    AV Mixer Lite - standard audio video mixer with intuative controls - Free Download - PC -


•    Balther's Graphic Groove Box - Moving visuals program for graphics, Flash, videos and 3D with MIDI control and interactive real-time animated effects. - Free Download - PC -


•    Beat Harness - a free semi-automatic VJ program. Use it as an extra channel on your videomixer, or let it do all the work automaticly while you drink beer at the bar. Analyses sound-input, and uses live camera input, videos, images, effect- and transition-scripts to generate realtime visuals and effects. - PC - Free Download -


•    BlissPaint 2 - Animation and video light show tool based on 2D algorithmic paint systems with a color synthesizer, controlled through a keyboard, MIDI, and sound input. - $150 (free trial available)

- Mac -


•    BOMB - Sound responsive visuals program, useful for creating animated abstract visuals for VJ's. - Free Download - Mac and PC -


•    Cell - Real-time video/audio playback and performance tool. - $89 - Mac -


•    ClubDJ / ProVJ - ProVJ gives you the most complete crossfade control of any DJ software. Choose from 6 Video-Fade effects, 4 Timeline-Fade-Presets, or manually adjust the "Visual Crossfade Controller" for complete control. Plus, use the "Mix Now!" button for mixing the current track with next one at any time. Display your logo, sponsor logos, photos, even text message to your audience all imposed over music videos, live video & ambient visualizations. - $199 (free trial available) - PC -


•    CoGe - 27 rendering modes Realtime record Supports folder of stills/folder of movies Master Layouts. - Free Download - Mac -


•    CTHUGHA - A sound reactive visuals program. - Free Download - Mac and PC -


•    C.V.A. - A MIDI controllable real-time 3D abstract imagery program. - Free Download - PC



•    Dervish - Video Parameter control for Jitter (see Jitter) - Free Download - Mac -


•    FFRend - a renderer for Freeframe plugins. It allows you to chain any number of plugins together, automate their parameters using oscillators, and record the output to an AVI file. The input is a video (AVI), still image (BMP/JPG/GIF), or source plugin. Most VJ softwares support Freeframe, and can record their output, so what makes FFRend different? FFRend is optimized for content generation, whereas VJ softwares are typically optimized for live performance. The key difference is that FFRend never drops frames, even when your project is too CPU-intensive to be rendered in real time. It's also possible to perform with FFRend. All parameters and oscillator settings can be controlled via MIDI. FFRend is free, open-source software for Windows 2000/XP. It includes comprehensive help, an installer, and a simple demo project - Free Download - PC -


•    FLxER - a video mixing software based on Adobe Flash? tecnology. FLxER is free. FLxER application is about 30kb and is available for Windows, MAC, Linux and PocketPC, there is also a fully functionality web version that can be used from every computer connected to internet ("USE NOW" button on the header). Download the standalone version here DOWNLOADS FLxER 4 main features: 7 channels video mixer HD output resolution starting from 800x600 and higher Supported media: .swf (full ActionScrpt 8 support), .flv, .mp3, .jpg, .gif, .png, .txt Advanced live text editor over all channels Http media loader over all channels DV-IN Analog and digital over all channels Full Colors and Trasform palette Blend options over all channels Effects and Analog effects as blur over all channels Full customizable list of wipes Video Sequencer over all channels XML Video Recorder to share or recall your livesets in a few bytes XML Video Player Broadcast Video Delivery to share in real time your liveset all over the world or to use more pc to do a live set Broadcast Video Player MIDI interface 3D ENGINE - Free Download - Mac and PC



•    Gephex - a modular video jockey software. The base visuals can be chosen from sources like video files or cameras. Then they can be modified by filters and mixers. Each modifier has several parameters, that can be controlled by signal-generators, input devices like joysticks, sound cards, or midi-devices. - Free Download - Mac and PC -


•    Hippotizer - Stand alone VJ rig - runs the Catalyst DL.2 video system - Hi-end rotating projection system - Price N/A - PC -


•    iBox - Like Hippotizer, stand alone unit that generates 3D graphics that respond to music - with inputs and outputs. - $5,500 - PC -


•    Isadora - A graphic programming environment that provides interactive control over digital media with special emphasis on the real-time manipulation of digital video. - $275 - Mac and PC -


•    iWall - iWall is a text-to-screen software tool that allows you to create interactive entertainment at your events by letting the crowd chat, flirt, and joke on the big screen using SMS text messages. - $170 (free trial available) - PC -


•    Jitter / Max5 - Interactive programming environment for music, audio, and media. - $495 / $695 (free trial available) - Mac and PC



•    Mabuse - enables you to mashup your movie files using MIDI within Ableton Live. - Mac and PC - Free Download -


•    MaxiPatch - allows simultaneous mixing of .WAV, .AIFF, and .MP3 audio files and QuickTime movies. All digital media files that are played in “Maxi- Patch” can be controlled by the MsPinky vinyl records played on your standard DJ turntable. - Mac and PC - Free Download -


•    MediaFusion - Gives access to video loops and pictures - available through 256 banks of 256 visuals. The software can also use connected video inputs (e.g. live cameras) as a media source Entering text messages, used to customize Macromedia Flash files Setting up of the interface between computer and DMX lighting desk Setting up the characteristics of the video output, including using multiple projectors with soft-edging or keystone correction Simultaneous Playing of 8 layers media with optional effects Previews the active media and layers, and the final compositions Can be run from a laptop if the DMX console is not present - Mac and PC - Price N/A (trial download acailable) -


•    MIDI2Video - Uses music to animate and synchronize visual media. - Mac and PC - $30 (free trial available) -


•    MidiVid GPU - Interactive video performance software for next generation 3D hardware. MidiVid GPU is a complete re-write of the original VJ application, MidiVid. The GPU-enhanced version is designed to take full advantage of today's graphics cards, leveraging their power to perform real- time effects at high resolutions with quality not possible in CPU- based software.

- PC - Free Download -


•    MixEmergency - visualisation application capable of being controlled by Scratch Live. It allows the user to mix, scratch and record video and visualisations in real-time. - $179 (free trial available) - Mac -


•    Moonster - Create video animations and synchronize in real time with the music. - PC - Free Download -


•    MotionDive - Video sampling/layering application with effects (hardware required). - Mac or PC - $300 (with hardware) - motion_dive_.tokyo_performance_package/index.html


•    MuteVJ - allows you to mix 3 channels of swfs and jpegs and apply up to 9 dynamic filters at a time. Mute is open source vj software so there is great potential for third party plug-ins and collaborative development. - Free Download - PC -


•    Neuromixer - Visual mixer with effects. - Mac and PC - $65 / $75 (trial version available) -


•    Noise Cradle - an advanced audio visualisation, capable of rendering 3D visuals in response to audio from any media player, microphone or audio input device. - Free Download - PC



•    NuVJ - NuVJ is an intuitive VJ environment which seamlessly integrates software and hardware for a professional quality, hassle-free performance. The NuVJ environment is based around a DJ-style setup which allows you to mix, scratch, and apply effects to video clips and images. The NuVJ software and controller have been designed to be simple to use, while allowing for unprecedented variation and creativity with your visual sources thanks to an extended set of features such as live inputs, synchronization to music, and real-time visual effect generation. - Mac or PC - Price N/A -


•    OCTAV-4 - MIDI software that uses the V-4's MIDI implementation to tie together multiple V-4 outputs of differing content into a unified composition, synchronized to a tempo, or individually controlled with your mouse. - $59 - Mac (w/ Edirol V-4) -


•    Onyx-VJ - Mix up to 5 layers of video (FLV, SWF) Extremely easy-to-use drag-and-drop interface Filters can be assigned to a tempo, make your videos respond to music Create “mix files” that let you load and save mixes with all their associated filters and effects Powerful API to create custom filters, transitions, and videos - create your own filters in minutes - Free Download - Mac and PC -


•    Orpheus - Interactive video sequencing software which permits real-time control and synchronization of digital video sequences with any form of live or sequenced music. - Free Download - PC -


•    Ots-AV

- Audio, Video, Karaoke playback system with ultra smooth Video transitions. Autobeat matching/mixing capabilities, and live scratch of both audio & video. - $199 (free trial available)

- PC -


•    PCDJ - VJ - whether you’re mixing Video, Audio, or even Karaoke files. With frame accurate cueing and no-latency playback, you have the most realistic feel possible. Choose your method of control: Keyboard & Mouse, any MIDI controller, Time-code, or a HID device such as the PCDJ DAC-2, DAC-3, and all the Denon Midi Controllers and then some!.Mix, Scratch, and Remix - with PCDJ VJ all your performance needs are at your fingertips. - Price N/A (free trial available) - PC -


•    Pixel Toy - Visuals / Pattern generator with effects. - $20 (free trial available) - Mac -


•    Pix Player - Content provider / real-time player with keyboard and mouse controls. - Mac or PC - $29 -


•    Pix Recorder - Synchronize your favorite music with pictures, art, and graphics. Modulates tone and image to create reorganized projections based on music. - $29 (free trial available) - Mac -


•    Processing - an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and sound. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool.

Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain. - Free Download - Mac and PC



•    PS24VJ - PS24VJ is a VJ software running on the Sony Playstation 2 video game system which features most classic VJ softwares options. Leave your laptop home and just take your PS2 with you when performing a gig! - Free Download - PlayStation 2 - Invite a VJ to join you for a jam: PS24VJ can be controlled by two users simultaneously!


•    Quartz Composer - Quartz Composer uses the graphic and video effects embedded in Mac OS X (since 10.4, Tiger), which makes it very stable and powerful. The final files are very small and run in an infinite loop which eliminates the problem of trying to loop footage with particle simulation or chaotic movement for rendered files. It is a great addition to Modul8 or VDMX, which take the Quartz files (.qtz) directly without the need to render them before. - Free Download - Mac -


•    Resolume - Real-time digital video mixer with effects. - Mac and PC - $299 (watermarked trial available) -


•    Robotfunk Flowmotion - MIDI Controller application. - $206.38 - Mac and PC -


•    Serato Video-SL - a software plug-in for Scratch Live which adds the ability to playback and mix video files. Manage a variety of video clips from within the Scratch Live library and load them onto a virtual deck for control with either vinyl or CD. The controls allow you to mix clips with a variety of transitions, as

well as apply effects to each video clip. The mixed output can be sent to your computer's secondary display for connection to external monitors or projectors. - Mac or PC - Available for trial download - $700 (w/ hardware interface) -


•    Union - Real-time image/video mixer with text creation, BPM sync, audio aware controls, and MIDI integration. - $299 - Mac -


•    Salvation - Salvation is a node based video processing application well suited for VJ-ing. This allows you to mix as many layers or effects as your computer hardware will allow. Unique effects can be programmed directly into the software using the GLSL pixel shading language. - Mac or PC - Free Download -


•    TextMachine 3D - Real Time Text/Symbol Rendering - All Fonts installed on the PC - PC - $99 -


•    TouchMixer - Software product for designing interactive art and visualization - PC - Free Download -


•    VDMX - Ultra non linear playback modules Tight integration with Quartz composer Time warp features BPM sync MIDI output WiiMote support. - Mac - $300 (free trial) -


•    Videator - According to the website - it's like Photoshop for video. - Mac

- $49 -


•    VIP - Video Interactive Processor for real time based performances. - Mac or PC - Free Download -


•    Virtual DJ - Does the same thing that Serato Scratch Live does - w/ controller. - Mac or PC - Free Trial Download Available - $300 (w/ hardware interface) - b0cc-4f87-b0b7-e3584e0fad39


•    Visual Jockey - a modular VJ software. Whilst being simple to learn compared to other modular systems it allows very complex compositions. Currently it does not have a GUI for "DJ-Style" VJing like Resolume or OpenTZT. It has a very advanced Playlist mode which can be played like an instrument, or you can directly control individual compositions all with thumbnails (from SP1). Some unique features are: - Deinterlacing of Live video sources - Easy Video Mapping on animated 3D objects - Advanced Realtime Chromakeyer with Spill and Noise Reduction - Realtime Object (Color) Tracking - Midi Out of System Variables - Integrated "Basic-like" programing language MANGLE which allows complete control over the output screen. Including partical system, graphic primitives, sprites, brushes and a unique area function that allows complex screen manipulation. - More than 300 native plugins - Unlimited Freeframe Variables The Resolution, number of effects and number of layers is only limited by CPU Power. Both support and updates are frequent and superb. - Free Download - PC -



- Many fine artists and graphic designers will say that recycling found footage isn't an appropriate creative means of personal expression. According to Marius Watz in 'vE - "jA: "The worst VJs recycle found footage and apply filters in a mastabatory manner without adding any unique signature to their work."

And yet, I personally admire and respect the proper use of sampled media. Not just because it's my main resource for imagery in my visuals shows, but because I am genuinely fascinated by the 're-assignment' of meaning to pre-existing materials. I love seeing footage be 'reinvented' by the context that it's being used in. I have fun watching creative imagery juxtaposed and synchronized with the aural environment.


Tastes differ from one person to the next - and it's nice to recognize this, as well as to recognize that everybody has their own style. To me, we should try to be inspired and LEARN from one-another, and try not to be too judgmental.


- Here are several types of visual content - VJ Generated (custom graphics / camera feeds) - Geometric and Abstract Works - Resampled / Found Footage - Vector or Pixel-Based animations - Installations (Film, Slides, Video) - Overhead Projections - Narrative


- Here are some good places to find content: - Youtube, Vimeo,

- Ebay (Films and Videos) - Garage Sales / Thrift Stores / Auctions (found slides, films, and used video) - Cameras / Live Video / Digital Photographs - Content Presets - Generic - Found in hardware like the Kaptivator

and in pretty much all VJ software. - Stock / Royalty Free Collections (Motionloops, AVGeeks, Etc.) - Video Stores  - Search Engines (Google and Dogpile image search) - etc.



- Everybody has their own way of doing visuals. Like music, there are different genres or styles of mixing videos and creating visual environments - and some appeal to some while being completely lame to others. Just like music, visuals have the power to entrance and/or repulse - and these effects will be different from one person to another, and one crowd to the next. The difference is - with visuals the genres are not yet defined. Each VJ does his thing individually - using his tools and content to accentuate the environment as best as he or she can. - Some use computers, some use film - I personally prefer using as many different formats as I can to broadcast my collection of images. - Some shoot their own content, and make their own animations, while others use found images to create their 'visual music'... I'm a found footage guy. I guess the point is that visuals and VJing are analogous to music and DJing in many, many ways - and with technology bringing about brand new capabilities, we are on the cusp of an all new age of multimedia display and presentation. In the future, DJs will probably have to have visual accompaniment to make the musical performances seem 'complete'. Bands will have visual artists who are just as important toward the expression of their ideas as any of the other musicians involved in the performance. The VJ will be more and more integral toward the creation of environments at clubs and bars. With modern technology evolving so rapidly, developments such as the internet, YouTube, HDtv, powerful computer processing capabilities, Iphone applications, remote servers, and so much more - we are experiencing a time where we are MAKING UP A NEW LANGUAGE.

Now, maybe if we can learn where this medium has been - where it is - and where it is going. we'll be able to envision better ways to create visual environments. By learning about the tools used (what they are, and what they can do), maybe we can come up with our own innovations. If you find this interesting, and you become

inspired to come up with your own visuals show - maybe you will inspire somebody else. And if enough people see and enjoy your show, then maybe you can help come up with your very OWN genre.



- VJs pick their visual style and their content based on the type of music that's playing - or the 'theme' of the event. A VJ may use space, colors, and patterns over images to visually match the environment to what music is playing.

- When building a show, it's good to start with an idea of what you want to do. Create several a/v samples relative to specific themes and tempos. Experiment with them in different orders, layers, and using different effects. Add more music.

Make more loops from this process. Then start over.

- One thing I like to do is come up with a theme or topic, go to the video store and grab as much footage as I can that pertains to the theme - and remix it. In other words, pick a subject and explore it. (like nature, space, buildings, fish, computer animation, and so on.)

- As a VJ, you have to consider trigger points and loops. You also should set up a way that enables you to access content quickly and respond to changes in the music.

- The VJ may improvise a visual response to the music's beat - or they may follow a defined cue sheet.

- ChromaKeying is the process of removing a color or highlight from one channel of video and replacing it with the video from a second channel. Comparable to 'green screen', this technique is perfect for inserting words and text on top of an image.

(show example on v-4)

- Besides beat matching, a VJ may adjust parameters such as color and image deformation w/ the harmonic content of the audio.

(show example on Kaoss pad.)

- Here are a few ways to effect the visuals with the music: (Turn on some music and show examples.)

- Flash with the beat - Fade in and out - Use custom graphics- Adjusting effect parameters (negative, colors, distortion), live - MIDI - assigning visual representations to sounds. - Click Tracking - Sometimes live performers perform their shows

along with a click-track that the drummer is listening to keep the whole show in perfect time. This is a great way to bind the visual track to the music. It makes perfect sync between prerecorded visuals and live performance possible.

- You can emphasize the beginning and the end of a performance by incorporating an a/v piece to play...

- Live lighting design and visual manipulation (i.e. - oil projections, light controllers, anything that makes true analog control over visual effects possible).

- Then, there's always GOOD CONTENT.

- Shooting film or video with visuals as a part of the set / background can be challenging. It is hard to properly light a subject without interfering with the projections - and if you leave the projections alone, you risk not properly lighting the subject. It takes a good lighting designer who understands how the lights and the camera work together.

- Real-time effects processors and video samplers work well with live video. To avoid creating to much light, use infrared light. You can sample people doing things (like dancing) and play them back at themselves.

- Some VJs custom design content and mask videos to fit custom screens.



-  Now, that we've gone over the history of visual music, VJ hardware and software, and a little bit of theory and techniques - let's go over some of the many uses for VJing. The pay scale varies from one event to the next, and from one VJ to the next - so we're not going to go to deep into rates. Let's just talk about some of the many events that use the VJ.

- Many VJ's start out as editors, directors, and animators. - Sometimes the VJ works directly with the musician when choosing creative content, sometimes the event coordinator / producer. - Commercial opportunities - Incorporate custom logos, make them spin, etc. - Corporate Events. - Big events like inaugural parties, the Olympics (much less, the opening ceremonies), awards shows, and Michael Jackson's funeral - Nowadays, video installations are common at hotels and resorts. The Standard has video art on display in the hallways 24 hours a day. At the W hotel in Chicago, there is a very creative installation in the entry rhat makes it look like there are flowers floating around on the ceiling. - I've even noticed VJ style installations in airports. - Weddings and Bar Mitzvah's - For the tech-savvy - there are always freelance a/v opportunities (hotels, conventions, etc). - Annual Corporate Events - Raves - Bands - Clubs and Bars - Art Galleries - Theatrical Performances - Churches - You could even start your own label - marketing and distributing content - Festivals (listed on the handout)




Aspect ratios are mathematically expressed as x :y (pronounced "x- to-y") and x×y (pronounced "x-by-y"). The most common aspect ratios used today in the presentation of films in movie theaters are 1.85:1 and 2.39:1[1]. Two common videographic aspect ratios are 4:3 (1.33:1), universal for standard-definition video formats, and 16:9 (1.78:1), universal to high-definition television and European digital television. Other cinema and video aspect ratios exist, but are used infrequently. In still camera photography, themost common aspect ratios are 4:3, 3:2, and more recently being found in consumer cameras, previously only commonly seen in professional cameras, 16:9[2][3]. Other aspect ratios, such as 5:4, 6:7, and 1:1 (square format), are used in photography as well. Converting formats of unequal ratios is done by either cropping the original image to the receiving format's aspect ratio

(zooming), by adding horizontal mattes (letterboxing) or vertical mattes (pillarboxing) to retain the original format's aspect ratio, or by distorting the image to fill the receiving format's ratio. Cinematographic aspect ratios are usually denoted as a decimal fraction width to unit height, while videographic aspect ratios are usually denoted by ratios of whole numbers

- The size of a video image is measured in pixels for digital video, or horizontal scan lines and vertical lines of resolution for analog video. In the digital domain (e.g. DVD) standard-definition television (SDTV) is specified as 720/704/640×480i60 for NTSC and 768/720×576i50 for PAL or SECAM resolution. However in the analog domain, the number of visible scanlines remains constant (486 NTSC/ 576 PAL) while the horizontal measurement varies with the quality

of the signal: approximately 320 pixels per scanline for VCR quality, 400 pixels for TV broadcasts, and 720 pixels for DVD sources. Aspect ratio is preserved because of non-square "pixels". New high-definition televisions (HDTV) are capable of resolutions up to 1920×1080p60, i.e. 1920 pixels per scan line by 1080 scan lines, progressive, at 60 frames per second.


YouTube Search Topics

- Woody Vasulka : video art pioneer from the late 1960's.

- El Arte Del Video Synthesis : produced by TVE S.A. Television Espanola in 1989 exploring the art of video, composition and synthesis. This edited and selective compilation focuses mainly on video synthesis and some selected artists that used analogue and digital techniques to create highly innovative and visual artforms.

- Nam June Paik : Korean-born American artist. He worked with a variety of media and is considered to be the first video artist.

- Marius Watz : modern video artist.

- Lichtspiel Opus 1 : (1921) The first abstract film ever to be shown publicly. - John Whitney : American animator, composer and inventor, widely considered to be one of the fathers of computer animation.- Norman McLaren : Scottish animator and film director known for his work for the National Film Board of Canada (NFB).

- Glenn McKay : Liquid light show artist.

- Stephen Beck : Video artist who created the first video synthesizer. The term 'Virtual Light' was coined by scientist Stephen Beck to describe a form of instrumentation that produces optical sensations directly in the eye without the use of photons.

- Mogli and the Pandora's Box : Sample video of Pandora's Box VJ Interface.

- Nine Inch Nails Hurt : (2002) Awesome use of visuals in a live show. 35mm film on massive see- through scrim.

- Marshall Mcluhan : Viewed as one of the cornerstones of the study of media theory. McLuhan is known for the expressions "the medium is the message" and "global village". McLuhan was a fixture in media discourse from the late 1960s to his death.

- Lyon's Festival of Lights : The annual three-day light festival in the French city of Lyon is set to open tonight, with buildings brightly illuminated and citizens setting lighted candles on their window sills.

- Jordan Belson and Stan Brakhage : More modern visual music pioneers...






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