VJ-U

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Introduction[edit]

VJ-U: An educational project to design curricula for the study and practice of visual performance, i.e., VJ-ing. Note: not the kind of VJ on MTV. ;-)

Definitions[edit]

VJ= Video Jockey. Not the MTV hosts, rather an artist who performs with -- whose medium is -- video. Aspects of the Art of the VJ include:

  • Live, realtime moviemaking
  • Über Auteur DIY
  • Musical principles applied to cinema
  • site and event specific screen installations
  • Movies played for and made in a dialog with an audience

Core Skills[edit]

  • Media Literacy (turning consumers into producers)
    • reappropriation of media
    • critical thinking
    • systems thinking (structural analysis of media production)
  • Composition
    • within a frame
    • in time and space
  • Videography
  • Mixing/Realtime Montage & Compositing
  • Collaboration
    • with musicians
    • with theatrical performers/dancers
    • with other artists
  • Listening/Seeing
  • Technical Skills

Upcoming classes[edit]

  • Fall 2007 - VJ-U XStudio at Urban Assembly School of Music and Art[1] (high school), Brooklyn, NY. Instructor: Dan Winckler.[2]

Work by VJ-U students and teachers[edit]

Syllabi[edit]

Lessons[edit]

Nutshell descriptions of VJ-U classes

Viral Video[edit]

University of Rochester Students responded to news of 'end user' produced Superbowl Ads by making 4 'viral videos' in one hour and posting them to youtube.

Camera Exercises[edit]

  • Exquisite Corpse Videos
  • 2 person shooter
  • Cubist Portraiture
  • Obstacle Course/Paparrazzi
  • 1-shot Words
  • Repetition Exercise (from Meisner)

Light[edit]

Past classes[edit]

  • Spring 2007 - VJ-U (university-level) at Eyebeam Atelier[3], Manhattan, NY. Instructor: Benton-C Bainbridge.[4]
  • Spring 2007 - VJ-U XStudio at Urban Assembly School of Music and Art[5] (high school), Brooklyn, NY. Instructor: Dan Winckler.[6]
  • Spring 2006 - VJ-U (public school level) at Eyebeam Atelier[7], Manhattan, NY. Instructor: Benton-C Bainbridge.[8]
  • Fall 2006 - VJ-U XStudio at UAMA. Instructor: Benton-C Bainbridge.

Former students[edit]

Eyebeam VJ-U, Spring 2007:

  • Anne - interning at Creative Arts Workshops for kids (CAW)
  • Abigail - interning at small made for TV production co, taken a couple video production classes
  • Nick - Animation Collective. Studio Arts major
  • Gail - Emerging Pictures; photography, digital artwork - Photoshop, InDesign
  • Natalie - Richard Corman (photog) ; photography, digital art, design
  • Kali - Paul Taylor Dance Co; done photog, digital art, broad interest
  • Olivia - Cultural Affairs Dept (gov); historical and modern contemporary art
  • David - United for Opportunity Music/Invasion Group; physics, into music
  • Ben - Engel Entertainments - film/media studies major; into improv,
  • Amy - Children's Museum of the Arts - studio arts, psycho ; into art education ; done photog, drawing
  • Luke - 4th Row Films (docu, tv shows, stock footage for VJs) ; film studies ; into film, hasn't done filmstock
  • Liz - Tribeca Films ; film prod major ; done 16mm, digital
  • Daniel - VH1 Classic ; into performance art, installations ;

Useful Info[edit]

helpful hints and instructions

Preparing media for VJ software[edit]

For most VJ applications running on moderately powerful computers, it's best to compress QuickTime Movies in Photo JPEG at 320x240 or 640x480. Quoting from Vidvox:

"PhotoJPEG is the most common video codec used by VJs. Due to it's low data rates and fast decompression, PhotoJPEG is ideal for video scratching and playback of multiple video files, particularly on laptop hard drives which tend to be slower than hard drives in desktop computers. However, PhotoJPEG is a lossy codec and even when using a high quality setting (90% or above) the image quality is clearly worse than DV or a well-made DVD."

follow these steps for exporting QT movies from Quicktime Pro, etc.:

  • click on the movie to select it
  • select File: Export from the pull down menu (or Apple + E)
  • keep the .mov file name extension
  • choose Movie to QuickTime Movie
  • click Options
  • Select Video checkbox
  • click Settings
  • for Compression Type select Photo - JPEG
  • for frame rate use Current
  • for Keyframes choose Automatic
  • for Depth choose Color or Grayscale when your movie is Black and White
  • for Quality it's worth experimenting. Most common would be High.
  • If you choose, click Options and make sure 'Optimize for streaming' is deselected
  • click OK
  • for Size select 320x240 QVGA or 640x480 VGA. (Preserve Aspect Ratio is important for 16x9 movies, make test movies and play them in your VJ app to determine what option will work best for you). select Deinterlace
  • click OK
  • If your movie has sound then select Audio
  • click Settings
  • select Linear PCM
  • choose Mono if your movie isn't Stereo
  • default sample rate is 48KHz but choose a lower sample rate if you don't have hi-fi sound
  • use Quality: Normal, 16 bit and Little Endian
  • click OK
  • deselect Prepare for Internet Streaming
  • click OK to begin exporting!

Converting troublesome Windows Media files[edit]

Please see this how-to for converting Windows Media audio/video files to Quicktime or MPEG-4 on the VideoLAN Wiki.


Copying DVDs[edit]

If you are copying a DVD-ROM or non copy-protected DVD-Video on an Apple computer, you can use the Disk Utility program that comes with all Macs.

  • Put the disc you want to copy into the drive.
  • Select it from the list on the left and click on "New Image".
  • A "Save As" menu should pop up.
  • Save the new disc image with an appropriate name. (Benton suggests limiting this name to eight characters in all CAPS and with no special characters. ie: NMROCZKA.)
  • Under the "Image Format" drop down menu select "DVD/CD master".
  • Click SAVE. The disc should begin copying.
  • When it is completed the new disc image should appear in the left hand column with a ".cdr" extension. Select it.
  • Eject the master disc.
  • Put a blank DVD-R into your drive.
  • Click the BURN icon.
  • Press Enter or click BURN.

Ripping DVDs[edit]

  • If you wish to extract video from a non copy-protected DVD on an Apple computer, you can use MPEG Streamclip or Cinematize. (instructions to come)
  • If you wish to extract video from a copy-protected DVD on an Apple computer, you can use a free application called Mac The Ripper. You can download this application at www.mactheripper.org/ Mac The Ripper will extract MPEG2 files from the DVD which you will then need to convert to Quicktime movies in DVD2DV or ffmpegX.
  • You can rip DVDs in one go with Handbrake. It uses xViD AVIs (very fast and small), H.264 (slower but looks great and small filesize) or Ogg Vorbis (don't know much about this one).

Ripping the .VOB files in Mac The Ripper:

  • Put the disc you want to extract video from into the drive.
  • Launch Mac The Ripper.
  • The name of the disc you plan to extract video from should appear in a drop down menu below the "Disc" and "Mode" buttons.
  • The size of all video files on the disc will appear in the top-center of the viewer window.
  • The mode of disc extraction will appear below the size.
  • To change the mode click on the "Mode" button. A drop down menu will appear with the types of disc extraction."O
  • Choose the extraction mode that best suits your needs.
  • Click back on the "Disc" button.
  • Make sure the "De-Macrovision" check box is checked. This will eliminate problems during playback.
  • Click the "Go!" button to begin the extraction process.
  • A "Open As" window will appear.
  • I suggest saving your video extraction to the hard drive.
  • Click on the HD image in the left hand menu.
  • Create a new folder to hold your extraction by clicking on the "New Folder" button on the bottom left hand corner of the "Open As" window.
  • Name Your New Folder.
  • Make sure your new folder is selected and click the "Open" button.
  • The extraction will begin.
  • When the extraction is complete a window will pop up explaining that the extraction is complete via "Bomberman". The pop up will also tell you how long the extraction took to complete and that copying DVDs that you do not own is a crime. Click close.

Converting .VOB files to Quicktime movies in ffmpegX:

  • Open the ffmpegX and the folder with your files
  • Click on File that you want to transfer into DV and drag it into the window labeled from
  • Go to the Window that is labeled To and click the down arrow
  • The arrow will drop a menu
  • Select DV from the menu
  • Click the encode button in the bottom right
  • A download window will appear and downloading has begun
  • It will Click when it has finished and will save in the same area where it was saved before

Uploading to YouTube.com[edit]

VJ-U calendar[edit]

New York City events of interest to VJ-U http://www.google.com/calendar/render?cid=eauh6596bbkba3fu8atms0gl4k%40group.calendar.google.com

visual tools[edit]

  • Max/MSP and Jitter (30 day fully functional free trial)
  • PureData - a free and open source alternative to Max/MSP
  • Processing - free and open source Java library you can, among many other things, build a VJ performance app with
  • VDMX (commercial app)
  • Modul8 (Mac-only commercial)
  • Isadora (commercial)
  • ImX (free Mac OSX only)
  • Milkymist (hardware platform for interactive performances)

places to go in NYC to learn, see and practice live visuals[edit]


Places to post your work online[edit]


VJ related pages, sites and blogs[edit]

veejayu youtube playlists[edit]

defeat censorware tools[edit]

Use the following tips and resources to get around the New York State Dept of Education and other censors to get to YouTube and other sites we need to see: