VJs’ rigs are all different; unlike with DJing,
there’s no standard “two
turntables and a mixer.”
Performing live video combines the visual power
of filmmaking with the spontaneity of jazz.
By Paul Spinrad
It’s a great time for live visuals. After a century- projectors have far higher brightness and resolu-long march of color organs, visual music, light tion than the bank- and back-breaking Eidophor
shows, and club videos, visualists can finally projectors that defined the dance club look of the
manipulate and mix original material and samples, 1980s. Between a laptop and a digital projector,
both abstract and representational, in real time. you have all the hardware you need to start VJing.
You don’t have to wait for rendering anymore.
Illustrations by Damien Scogin
Most new laptops with dual-screen support (a VJ Software
must) can now handle live video mixing and Recent years have seen an explosion of live video
effects in resolutions of 320x240 or 640x480, software. Some apps, such as Videodelic, Touch,
depending on the software — and of course, and Zuma, are mainly synthesizers that use
they’re getting better every year. With a super- gestural input and settings to generate dazzling
fast gamer laptop, you can go even higher. abstract patterns. Other software focuses on
Meanwhile, the home theater boom has brought playing and mixing video clips.
a flood of dazzling and relatively inexpensive The easiest clip-based applications to learn,
digital projectors. Today’s lightweight, $800 DLP including Arkaos, Motion Dive, and Livid Union,