Video DJing has been around since the 1990′s, in case you didn’t already know. I recently attended the Second Annual Video DJ Conference, held at Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, to network with more DJs and to see just where video DJing is at currently. I found everyone at the conference to be very friendly, welcoming, and open to sharing information and ideas. I learned a great deal about the current state of video DJing. I also found plenty of cool new hardware and software tools being used by video DJs today. I have been using Serato Scratch Live with Video-SL (now Serato Video) to play music videos when I DJ for at least a few years. I thought that DJing with music videos was the extent of what being a “video DJ” was. I was pleasantly surprised to see many new possibilities and applications for Video DJing. The extent to what video DJs are doing these days range from simply mixing music videos, including some video remixes and using some simple video effects, all the way to editing videos and building stage props to create an entirely unique audio/visual experience.
With the increasing number of “DJs” entering the market with controllers, cheap DJ software, and a small library filled with mp3s, there is a need for DJs to find new ways to separate themselves from other DJs in the market. Video DJing is offering an amazing opportunity to do just that. Granted there are still ways to create your own sound as a DJ, become well known and even well paid as a strictly audio DJ, however, adding the visual element to your DJ game can take something that is already dope (your DJ skills hopefully) and make it even more appealing and interesting to your audience. Making the switch to video is relatively easy to do as well. You apply all of the techniques you already know as a DJ but you are using mp4s as apposed to mp3s. There are also other things to worry about like making sure your video feed is solid and that you have a reliable laptop to run all of the software with no lag but once you get comfortable with spinning the videos you can start adding new software to expand your video capabilities such as MixEmergency. MixEmergency adds a lot of functionality to your video DJ setup with tons of interesting transitions and effects. They have even added an effects sequencer to the program that will allow you to pre-program effect sequences that you can trigger during your set which will not only effect your video in various ways depending how you program the sequencer, but it will keep the effects all in sync with the music playing as well!!
Once you get comfortable with all of that you can add other programs in like Avenue (among others) to add new layers to your video to make your visuals more interesting. You can even set audio and video samples up so that you can trigger them during your set to play them whenever you want. There were some DJs, in the Video DJ Battle, that even setup midi controllers to act like drum machines with the program and played a new beat with pre-loaded drums/samples that also triggered video clips that would play with each sample making for an amazingly unique performance!! If you get that far into your video DJing and you feel like taking on some new challenges, there are guys that edit their own videos adding in clips from movies, commercials, and even YouTube videos. You can even go so far as to create your own 3-D visuals to use in your videos as well. All of this pushes you more into the graphic design and video editing realm but once you learn how to do that as well as mixing, editing, creating audio….you’re skills are going to make you a very valuable person and you can apply your knowledge/skills in many different markets which means you should have no shortage of work!!
After attending this conference, my interest in video DJing has been re-awakened and re-inspired. There were many vendors in attendance as well that had lots of great new toys to add to your setup and spice things up for you. Some of the vendors included Rane, Smash Vidz, VJ Pro, Hercules, Denon, Virtual DJ, N.A.M.E., CINQ, and many others. If you are a DJ looking for a way to separate yourself from other audio DJs in your area, or even other video DJs, check out MixEmergency and VJ Pro (they have very high quality videos). These are great tools to help you make your sets more interesting.
I just want to close with a big thank you to Evan DJ MisterE and all the people who helped him put the conference together. Also shout outs to all of the dope DJs I met at the conference DJ Skribble, DJ Kontrol, DVDJ Crush, VDJ Blaze, VDJ Crime, VDJ NYCE, my boy VDJ Beloved, and so many more!! Can’t wait for the next one!