TF Archives

Visualised - The VJ Column

Author: micology
Thursday, February 22, 2007
VJ Micology is here to answer all of your questions when it comes to the world of visual mixing. Part of a new series designed to enlighten and empower artists, here's an introduction to help you understand the basics.

What's A VJ-
VJ (Visual- or Video- Jockey) is a blanket-term given to a person who mixes video footage comprising motion graphics, stills, animations and other digital or analog media sources in real time for the purpose of projecting the mixed content to the rhythm of the music. The video is usually screened through projectors or Plasma/LCD screens.

In Australia, it's currently very small and predominantly underground, but slowly getting bigger. There are few VJs who are recognised and respected for their visuals within the music/VJ scene. You can see their work at some of the great music festivals and bigger night clubs around Australia.

There are many events these days that require VJs such as music festivals, night clubs, parties, fashion shows, exhibitions, and art galleries. The demand for VJs has been increasing worldwide. Their visual expertise and tools are sought after for making a client's event a visual success. Europe is a particular hotspot for visual events. Many nightclubs and special events have a VJ right alongside the DJ.

How Does It Work-
A VJ utilises various sources including a computer, DVD player and or video/film camera. Any type of video source can work. The sources are plugged into a 'vision mixer' - which is a fancy term for video mixer. The vision mixer allows the VJ to mix all the various sources the same way that a DJ mixes records or audio inputs.

The techniques and equipment vary, but the basic principles remain the same (e.g. selecting, cross fading, scratching, cutting and sampling a rhythm to the visuals and or adding special effects via the vision mixer or computer software)

Some vision mixers also have built in effects or 'FX' that can be manipulated in real time to help synchronise the visual to the music, or add a unique flavour to the video output.

There are over 100 computer software applications that allow you to control your clips in real time, giving you even more control over your visual performance. These applications vary, but most allow you to apply different FX in real time. I stress the phrase "real time" because most VJs strive to synchronise and match the visuals to the rhythm of the music or commonly referred as BPM (beats per minute).

This is the beginning of a series of articles that aim to try and create a visual community/info centre within Australia. We look forward to offering everyone from the beginner to the more advanced of this growing art form.

In the next article we discuss some practical topics like:

• Who can be a VJ
• What you need to start VJing
• Links to demo VJ applications that you can download and import your clips to practice with

"It's easy to VJ - the hard part is creating unique content."

vj micology

Michael Stern aka micology has been a key player in the field of Visualizing/Branding for the last seven years. His expertise have been utilised by Australian companies in the music and wider entertainment industry as well as by the corporate world.
For info/bookings please visit - or