Topic Of The Week: Video DJing

JD and I were just reflecting on our site a bit, and talking about how Video Report has been a great addition.  (We have Josh and Eloy to thank for that obviously!)  So we figured this week, we’d do a little survey to video-related survey.

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  1. Thedisgruntlddj

    I feel like spinning videos is the next logical progression to actual DJing.  Not to say that the live production progression (i.e. Enferno’s Live Remix Project) isn’t, but I think that is less “DJ” intensive as in you’re using more of your own original production to create a new song individually not programming pre existing tracks to create an energy which, to me, is the essence of DJing. (I’ve met Enferno personally and the LRP is one of the most incredible things I’ve ever seen so I mean no disrespect at all). Also, I’m starting to see DJ setups get crazier and crazier augmented with all kinds of midi controllers, effects units and things of the like and I feel that if you can’t rock two decks with a simple two channel mixer, you’re straying from the origins of DJing too much.  Having said that, looking at what Jordan Laws and the Screenwerks guys have done to integrate video in to the actual art of DJing blows my mind. These are guys spinning on classic DJ setups with very limited bells and whistles rocking videos like they were vinyl records.  

    Also, think about this. The up and coming generation is probably as visually stimulated as they are audibly. It started with MTV then moved to the internet. Sites like Youtube and Vimeo is how a lot of kids listen to music these days. I’m sure we’ve all had some young kid come up and retort “well, can’t you just play it off youtube” when we say we don’t have a certain song. Not to mention viral videos like the little fat kid who lip synced songs that rack up millions of hits. To stay relevant with the pop culture of today we can’t just ignore videos anymore. Shit, how many DJs out there have a track that has some audio from a movie or TV in it? You should all be raising your hands. Videos use music all the time, why not have music use videos?My only real hesitations about video DJing are that one, people will be watching screens instead of dancing and two the fact that, availability-wise, the output of video is nowhere near the output of audio.  I can make an audio edit in 10 minutes, but know nothing about video editing. What happens if I find a dope edit on soundcloud that doesn’t have a video? I know that most VJ’s have generic visualizations, but I feel like that is lazy. Every song deserves something visually equivalent to the audio in terms of evoking emotion.  Whether it’s the actual music video or some random pop culture reference, it doesn’t matter (Example: the side by side comparison of Kim and Paris during Akinyele’s Put it in your mouth a la Fit To Fill by Jordan Laws). I’d actually be very interested to see how long it took him to accrue such a collection to create something that profound. Every time i meet a VJ, i show them that, and their jaws hit the floor and they admit that they pretty much just blend from song to song with very little creative flair. Digging deeper I find that they feel very constricted by the available media claiming that it’s mainly just the music video that may have a mixable intro they got from Smashvidz. Maybe the media is out there and I’m just not accustomed to looking for it yet, but i feel like the process of trying to go back through my very carefully maintained “play out” library and find/make videos is so seemingly overwhelming that I would need at least a solid 6 months doing nothing but that to do it correctly. I feel like the people who really excel at VJing are going to be the ones who have the time and knowledge to start making their own video remixes that put them on the map. I’m sure they’re out there already, but when we see more and more of these people start getting bigger and grow the super creative video media pool you will see more “regular” DJs going the route of the VJ.

    • IMHO, the cost of entry is too high still. I admire the people who are willing to put the time into finding and making the video edits, building a video library the size of a serious digital music library, and keeping it fresh every gig. I am not yet ready to invest that kind of money into buying the video equipment and data storage, or invest the time into finding both video and audio versions of all the songs I would need for any weekly residency. To Thedisgruntlddj’s first point, I am more interested personally in exploring something like Enferno’s LRP for myself. For years I have been investing my time and energy into doing more of a performance based style of playing, without straying from the vibe of a traditional club set. I want the audience to appreciate the process as well as the music itself.

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