VJ Techniques

On the topic of what goes into VJing, I just ran into this post on medium,

I see three main problems of modern VJing:

  1. Mixing
  2. Synchronization
  3. Esthetics

Which ties a lot into some of the ideas that I’ve been thinking about for the VV Edu course materials, and various small techniques that I have developed for myself over the years, or had suggested to me by other visual artists.

For example,

  1. When I perform alongside a DJ (particularly if they are using a 4 deck setup like Serato) often I will use a matching DJ style MIDI controller, and create a workspace that has a similar arrangement (eg along the lines of the 4 channel mixer, where I have two sub-mixes that I can crossfade between; this gives me the ability to create a ‘scene’ that I jam on, and then preview / prepare the next ‘scene’ on the other mix, and bounce back and forth, similar too how a DJ mixes live). Beyond this I’ll try to use masking / color adjustment FX that correspond to EQ mixing (like in this tutorial https://vdmx.vidvox.net/tutorials/dj-mixer-eq-style-masking-fx-for-vdmx)
  2. One technique that a resident club VJ told me is that he almost always fades out to black (or something extremely neutral) in between songs, then slowly builds up complexity again from there. This seemed to be particularly important in situations where the visuals are backing up the music. It also helped him when pacing the introduction of new material; visuals take on a different sensory experience when they are immersive / projected / part of a larger experience, as compared to how one might design for a music video which needs to constantly keep the attention of the viewer.
  3. Another great visual artist told me that they “always like to have a little something for everyone” in their crazy mixes. After the show people would come up and say “I loved the bit with the flying hotdogs” or some other silly little thing.

So, what are you technique tidbits in these areas?

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I noticed the VJ I work with fades to black when it’s a “reset” moment. Where as the DJ just built up a crazy sequence and had everyone head banging and now brings it down to a “cloudy” or “floaty” effect. The Vj I work with takes that time to let the audience sort of soak up the “float” and set himself up with a potential next two queues. Mostly because we know the Dj is about to drop a heavy beat, or some massive bass to smack the crowd around.
It may not be a full fade to black, but maybe a fade to cloud, or fade to float if I may. We try to be silly in our VJ mixes and introduce cartoons and other Gifs that folks may relate to, as well as tunnels and other trippy Sh**. To reiterate your statement, we try to have something for everyone, but mostly we try to have fun with it and our audience understands how silly we are.

Does this answer your question?


I think I just looked at every MIDI controller with a crossfader made in the past 10 years.