Some of the youth who’ve been doing the VJing today are obviously interested in music. Most people like music but nowadays more and more people are grasping the idea that you can actually do this yourself.

I’d just like to say to anyone who’s interested in making music that making music is fantastic, but if you can actually put visuals with it, you’ve got a much more interesting and saleable package. So that’s why it’s worth learning about VJing.

The connection between DJing and making music is quite interesting; everyone wants to be a DJ nowadays. What happened when DJing kicked off was that those of us who were able to mix and scratch records together and knew which records were good for people to dance to found that it left us with a bunch of useful skills and knowledge that we could take into a studio and start making records out of, so a lot of people like myself who were lucky enough to get into music production have been able to jump straight in.

I see there’s a similar evolution with VJing: VJing has been about mixing visuals live in clubs - now those skills and those ideas and familiarity with being able to manipulate visuals live translates into being able to go and become sort of a director or film maker.

VJing includes the idea of DJing, includes the idea of making and performing and mixing music, producing music in the studio, and includes making whatever visual elements you can add to your music so you’ve got a bigger thing and a better product to be able to sell: most of the records that are in the charts have a video which adds a visual element to them to help sell them. So that’s why it’s a good thing to learn how to VJ - it’s a natural development if you're interested in music to get into visuals as well. I think nowadays, with so many computers, playstations and so on, that there’s no real difference between using a computer or playing on a playstation and actually doing the kind of mixing and matching and event structuring that goes into making a film.

So playing a computer game and composing with music and video is actually very close. The difference between them is when you're making music and making videos, you’ve got something useful, or at least entertaining to show at the end, so it’s very constructive.

I’ll follow up Cooking with Coldcut with a little demo I did, if I can get this to work, of actually messing around with those samples live to show how a track is made.

What I’ve got here running on the laptop is a little sequencer program which is like a word processor: you play in musical patterns to it on different tracks and it loops them up and plays them back and you can alter individual notes.

Down at the bottom it shows the notes that I’ve played and it shows a timeline going across the screen. What we're going to do is part 1, part 2, part 3 part 4 and loop over a four bar section, and I’m going to play this sequence - this is how you’d use a normal music sequencer; it would just play an audio track.

Please note: all video content opens in a new window and is in quicktime format

matt's sequencer

Down the bottom are these little thumbnails and I can actually play them from the computer’s keyboard. That’s just the top track playing; notice the absence of visuals. The other tracks are control tracks and they are playing samples from VJamm.

View quicktime movie of Matt’s sequencer:
Matt’s sequencer, 2.4MB large version
Matt’s sequencer, 516KB small version

Triggering audio-visual samples

I can also trigger them from this sequencer program. The foundation of most modern dance tracks is the beats.

View quicktime movie in a new window:
Triggering audio-visual samples 252KB (large)
Triggering audio-visual samples 132KB (small)

audio-visual loop of a drummer

I’m just going to have a jam on this: try to follow the different elements that you can see on the left of the screen. Try to see how they correspond to the elements that come in on the screen and you hear in the mix.

View quicktime movie of Matt’s sequencer:
Audio-visual loop of a drummer, 532KB (large)
Audio-visual loop of a drummer, 272KB (small)

Matt jamming live with VJamm, part1

View quicktime movie of Matt jamming live, part1:
Matt jamming live, part1, 7MB (large)
Matt jamming live, part1, 3.7MB (small)

Matt jamming live with VJamm, part2

View quicktime movie of Matt jamming live, part2 (more manual triggers):
Matt jamming live, part2, 2.1MB (large)
Matt jamming live, part2, 1.1MB (small)

So that’s a demonstration of applying the ideas and techniques from making music which people have developed over the last fifteen, seventeen years to actually manipulate video in real time. This is a new type of thing which is coming up, so there’s a lot of things still to be ironed out - it’s a new thing that we're making, but basically “do it yourself” video, cinema and television on the desktop, with a funky soundtrack, is what we're doing.