So, you want to become a VJ?
What do you need to get started?
Computer with VJ Software…but there’s more
We’ll go into details next week on Choosing the Right Computer, but you’ll need one with lots of horsepower, a killer graphics card, and great VJ Software.
What else do you need?
Projector/Screen or LED Wall – obviously if you’re going to VJ an event, you’ll need someway to project it for all to see. That could be a projector/screen surface combination or LED wall, panels, screens, curtains, or LED strip tape. All of these can be mapped using different presentation softwares (link above) and pixel mapping software. The sky is the limit (as is the price.) Consider a free/demo option if you’re just starting out and learning as this will allow you to figure out what you need to do and what software works for you.
Multiscreen Components – the software you use will determine what application add-ons you may or may not need for multiscreen. Additionally, you’ll need to be able to output multiple signals from the computer to your various projectors. We typically go with a DataPathX4 or a TripleHead2Go. There are numerous other options out there, but these are fairly cost effective and simple to use for new users.
Cabling – don’t forget to get adequate/quality cabling. Signal can fail over long distances and degrade quality if you don’t have the right cable, boosters, and converters. This is definitely a place where you can run into issues if you go to cheap on your options. If you’re looking for advice on a specific setup, shoot me an email and I’ll give you some recommendations.
Caffeine – a little bit of humor here as you’ll have some long days and late nights programming, setting up, and running your shows.
Music – whether you’re mixing the audio yourself or working with a DJ, band, etc. be sure you’ve got music to jam to while your testing out your setup. Bring a range of beats and energy to see how different effects work together.
This is where we’ve got you covered. With some of the best producers around the world, we have thousands of motion graphics perfect for creating an amazing VJ environment.
Here are some things to consider when choosing great VJ content:
Contrast vs. Gradients – this is a big object of concern especially when using LED. Gradients don’t always translate right on LED and can look just plain bad. Find content with high contrast elements. These pieces usually have a lot of energy and movement as their more simplistic at times from a style standpoint.
Looping – you’ll want to have media that is seamlessly loop able. Many clips in this category are shorter by nature (4-15 seconds) so you want to ensure that you can loop them for long play, layering, etc.
Style – as you determine what content you want, consider staying in similar styles or complementary styles as you move throughout your set. Content can be layered on top of one another, pixel mapped across a variety of surfaces, etc. so it’s important to make sure that style matches in the tone you want.
Becoming a VJ isn’t something easy to learn. It’s more than just having the right gear and skill set. It takes a drive and passion to pour into your work. If you want to learn a new art form, you need to know it takes time. It’s a performance that’s not a simple step by step task list to learn and master. It takes creativity, drive, and an eye for design that bursts forth from inside you.