VJ…what is this?


VJ’s Uncovering the Mystery

You’ve probably seen, read, and heard a lot about “VJ’s”. Maybe you’ve heard them referred to as a video jockey, visual DJ, video DJ, or VDJ? There is a mystery that surrounds them that a lot of people don’t understand. So we wanted to take a moment to dive into what a VJ is and what they do.

What is a VJ?

Maybe your first thought goes back to the early 90’s (if you were born then) to the days when MTV still played music videos and watched Carson Daly talk about the best new music out. Or maybe you think about someone playing music at a rave or party with a video screen behind them showing random clips of weird movies pieced together. Something else?

What do we think it is? We think a VJ is someone who takes visuals and transforms an environment with a certain element of on the fly video mixing using a pixel mapping or advanced presentation (VJ) software.

VJ’s take visual media, paired with music and transform environments. This could take place at a club, large concert venue, church, or conference. It’s more than simply setting up a presentation for a concert set and pushing the play button. VJ’ing takes the basic structure of motion graphics, pixel mapping, and creates unique mash ups of media.

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What’s the appeal?

There’s probably 3 big reasons for the appeal for VJ’s and what they do.

  1. They create something new. Using advanced techniques, VJ’s are able to project imagery onto any surface and morph them into patterns, shapes, and colors that follow the ebb and flow of the music and take the audience on a journey.
  2. They create 0n the fly. A VJ might start out with an idea of where they think the set will go, but more often than not, they add elements, mix tons of media, and use visuals on top of visuals.
  3. It’s fun. There’s just something fun and exciting about watching an artist work. If you’ve ever had the opportunity to see a painter perform then you know what I’m talking about. There’s beauty in the chaos until you see the final piece. You don’t know where the piece will end up, but it’s an amazing journey to follow along.

How do you get started?

Getting started as a VJ takes more than just owning the right software, computer, projectors and media. It takes time to learn how to mix clips (more than just technically), how to pixel map and work with advanced softwares. More than all of that, it takes creativity. VJ’s are artists that work with elements to create something new and bigger.

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Take some time to study who the big names in VJ’ing are and what they’re doing, software they use, and the time it takes. And remember, you don’t need a massive canvas to be a VJ. Find elements you’ve got available, grab some demo products and see what you can create today.

Check out the latest in VJ content here. Don’t forget to look at all the other series we’ve got to make it easier to search!

We’re spending sometime this month talking about all things VJ. Follow along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram with the #TWMVJ hashtag.

Tim Southwick

Author Tim Southwick

Tim is the Brand Manager for TripleWide Media. He has 10 years experience in the event management world and has a strong desire to see visuals and media used to increase the user experience.

More posts by Tim Southwick

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