To VJ or not to VJ…

So, for my final part of my Final Major Project I’m looking to produce up to 3 videos for Khaidian to perform to live. I’ve already had some experience with this as I’ve been wanting to incorporate video into the Khaidian performances for some time. So far the extent of it has been to use other people’s work edited together. This is far from ideal, but given that some of the work is great and I’ve been using Creative Commons licensed work it hasn’t been that much of an issue.

VJs have been around for quite a few years now, but have only been used primarily in the dance genres. This is usually someone that live mixes video loops together during club nights. More recently there have been rock bands incorporating video walls showing animations and video that work with their performance. From Muse to Tool and even smaller bands like Animals as Leaders now incorporate video into their live shows.13000939134_32dfeae344_bmaxresdefaultDSC_4320

There are a few artists out there that are publishing loops and animations for VJs to use, but ideally I would like to keep the use of them to a minimum in any Khaidian performance.

Here’s a video of one of Khaidian’s live performances that shows what’s already been done with these VJ videos.

There are a few artists that have produced work that I find fascinating and may be an excellent connection to the possible final Khaidian background videos. Some of these are using projection mapping, which, although would be amazing to utilise and incorporate within a live show also has issues with the type of venues the band will more than likely be playing at this stage.

Deadmau5 performing in London

RYOICHI KUROKAWA – uses sound frequencies to relate to the visuals

BEEPLE – excellent graphic designer that creates loops used by many, many artists.

Augmented realities

I’ve been pretty inspired to try something new since starting this research. That, along with a desire to not fall into the same bracket as most other videos is leading me closer and closer to VR technology. My ideas don’t fully encompass virtual reality quite yet as I simply don’t have the skill, time or equipment to do that… perhaps one day though. My main idea for this, in an exhibition space, is as follows:


– The video itself will be a performance capture of the band via the Kinect. This will most likely be several takes of each performer on their own.

– Once the Kinect footage has been collected, the cloud points will then be moved into Cinema 4D. This data should then allow me to do some interesting things with the footage, potentially mixing real footage, filmed at the same time.

– The ‘staging area’ will be in the round with the main camera placed centrally. This will allow a viewer to see each member outside of them. I will design a simple background that will also react in time to the music.

– When the animation has rendered it will be put into an iPad so that when viewed, the gyroscopes will be able to inform the viewer which way they are looking.

– A physical, central stand holding an iPad type device. The stand has 180 degree rotation and 90 degree tilt. This allows the viewer to turn the device on its central axis, thus the virtual camera turns within the animation, showing the band playing around the viewer.

iPad exhibition display stand

Virtual realities

I keep coming back to methods of creating video that is very different. In that respect it’s more to do with the delivery of the video. A few bands and artists have already attempted to produce interactive or ‘virtual’ experiences. The Arcade Fire – producing their interactive web video; Bjork – her 360 degree viewable video and now Megadeth:

Apart from Dave Mustain looking insanely old now, this is actually pretty cool. They are releasing the track with a cardboard VR headset, which allows you to view everything as if you were there. The great thing about this is it uses existing affordable tech that most people already own to deliver something new.

I’ve tried out a friends VR headset that uses a smartphone to deliver the images and sound. Using the phones ability to discern where you are looking, you’re able to view something that is essentially using augmented reality to deliver a 3D experience. It’s obviously in it’s infancy, but it is really quite cool, nonetheless.

I must think some more on how to include something like this into my work.

FMP 1 ideas

I’m jumping around a lot with my ideas for this particular video. Nonetheless, here’s some  research for these ideas:

Doug Trumbull in 2012 talking about practical effects.

The Tree of Life “Universe sequence”

The Fountain – making of (Peter Parks universe)

tree of life effects


Some black and white / noir feeling stuff:

Renaissance – Tech Noir thriller

Fears of the Dark – Charles Burns.


Video 2 ideas

The principle idea I have for this is to utilise 3d depth cameras such as the XBOX Kinect camera. This will allow me to capture a 3d performance and use it as a 3d point cloud within cinema 4D. sounds easy enough, but I haven’t a clue how best to do this as yet.

Here’s some stuff I’ve found interesting so far that uses the Kinect information turned into 3d data.

Things I need to check out: – A connection method for kinect.

Alternatives to Kinect:

Final Major Project

So I’ve taken a month away from doing this stuff, not least because I’ve had a great deal to write for my thesis, but that’s another story.

My final major project will be broken into 3 separate briefs. Seeing as I will be doing a fair amount of work with Khaidian still I have been looking at producing some more content for the band. It makes sense to incorporate something I’m already working on into my university work, that way at least I might not burn myself out. I’ve also been considering alternative forms of project, such as traditional illustration, but right now continuing down the video route feels like I will reap most rewards. So what is in store? Well, I’ve already completed (bar tidying up and finishing audio) 4 videos, I know that I have another solid idea ready for another song and that leaves me with 2 final videos to complete, for this release at any rate. I actually don’t wish to use the one solid idea I’ve had for some time for this, as I feel it will be more useful to approach that outside of university. Theoretically I can use two parts of my FMP for two videos, and then the final part I can look from a different perspective for my videos.

For a long time now I have wanted to create live visuals for the Khaidian live performance. I have managed to create videos that runs parallel to Khaidian playing onstage, using the Mac and playing back edited VJ videos. My ideal would be to have an entire set (usually around 30 minutes) with each song following it’s own particular journey. This should enhance the performance of the band and not work against it.

It’s unlikely that I’ll be able to complete an entire 30 minute set worth of animations for the FMP, so I will have to look at how much I can realistically produce alongside my other videos. Scheduling will be an important factor in all this.