The enigma of interweaving visual aesthetics to the tunes of a sonic ambience has reached pinnacles of success through Video Jockeying over the last decade. This new genre of culmination of art and technology, planning and spontaneity, imagination and visualization, found its roots in 1966 when Andy Warhol hosted a ‘Happening’ in New York’s New Cinematheque. On that day, for the first time, Warhol projected silent excerpts of his own films to live music played by The Velvet Underground. The trend snowballed with improvisations by Pink Floyd and integration of laser lights by Jean-Michel Jarre. Live music shows were now becoming a scintillating experience with computer graphics and psychedelic affects, juxtaposing frames from different modes of media (films, newspaper, documentaries and magazines). By the early-mid 1980s, every pop album had to be accompanied with a music video to make it to the charts! MTV was born due to the overwhelming number of music videos produced. The term ‘VJ’ was coined to tag the MTV host, a metamorphosis from a DJ. Over the years, with the wide popularity of this transposition, VJ no longer meant the MTV announcer, but a visual affect choreographer, remixer, producer and performer!
In addition to the creative acumen of the new genre of VJs, technology provided a host of devices/tools to popularize this imaginative form of art. Hallucinogenic experiences were created with the advent of digital imagery, audio-visualizer software and analogue/digital video mixers. Other popular hardware in the VJ’s arsenal include the Edirol V4, Pansonic MX & AVE series mixers and Korg's Entrancer effects unit. The Edirol V4 is a 4-channel Video Mixer made for portable or fixed installation use. It is ideal for use in nightclubs, places of worship, theatres, and other live performances. With an enhanced V-LINK feature coupled for the multimedia geeks, the user can trigger clips, and perform real-time video effects and transitions. The Korg PAD entrancer is a completely new type of video effect processor with a touch panel for fingertip control over images and sounds. A wide new range of intuitive visual effects may be created by different motions of the finger over the pad. It can even record the movement of your finger allowing the facility to reproduce complex authentic visual effects very easily. The Chromascope video synthesizer creates abstract 2-dimensional automated colored patterns in full PAL resolution. The Pioneer DVJ-X1 is one of the latest inclusions in a VJ’s kit, empowering him to synchronize digital audio and video simultaneously to create an elite musical expression. This device made its debut in spring 2004.
Vjamm, Motiondive, Arkaos, Touch and Smode are some of the trendiest software tools available to create the mesmerizing video affects, where the VJ’s creativity has no limits! VJamm, the audio-visual VJ software is a realtime sample player featuring extremely fast response times with MIDI support and 16 simultaneous channels of AV with live effects. Clips can be dragged real-time with the clicks of a mouse for imaginative compositions. The tool also allows creation of personal effects and is compatible with any video cards, limited only by the graphic card’s performance. Smode Studio is another complete performance solution for an excellent VJ performance allowing real-time visual composition with 3D objects, pictures and videos with exquisite detail.
With the proliferation of MTV-genre of music channels and its growing popularity, the young-generation in India has found a new avenue to explore their creativity. As per Aditya Dev Sood, CEO CKS, a user research and interaction design firm, “Veejaying is in fact the new avatar of technology, music and video, a jugalbandi of DJ and VJ”.
Lopa Bhattacharya is a content writer/developer working on websites for overseas/Indian clientele. Has worked for various corporate website projects, CD-Rom presentations, brochures, flyers and other communication materials on varied themes ranging from travel, hotel industry, photography, web design and software development to US-based clubs and network communities. Was previously an editorial associate for a news, culture and entertainment portal based on the life and times of Kolkata.