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Collaborative mixing? Or, throwing all the paint at the canvas?

Discussion in 'Collaborative Work' started by Amukidi, Nov 12, 2003.

  1. Amukidi

    Amukidi New Member

    ?Rant -- nothing irks me more than someone 'mixing' their <insert derogatory style slang here> over a mix I?ve carefully considered and composited. Call me prima donna, but it just doesn't look good and I?ve seen it too many times. Even at laptop-jams, the visual collaboration never comes together in the same way that the audio side does, but that discussion isn't for here.?

    This comment by Spark in the Video Mixing Championship (VMC) thread prompted me to start this one. I?m sure we?ve all had plenty of times when we are ?jamming? with other VJs, sometimes more than one with (usually) one person on the output mixer. Every now and then, this can produce astounding results, but usually, in my experience, it results in total overkill on the screens. As an artist fascinated (some would say obsessed) by composition, this is not a satisfactory situation, as a lot of my time is spent on really careful juxtaposition, both live and in the NLE. Now, I know that a lot of this is more salient to the way we work, but I do feel that it raises a few issues that I would love to hear your comments on. There are a handful of VJs that I?m at home with in this respect, Adam (the ombudsman) Seaman and Genic are two that spring to mind, but If I was asked by an unknown (to me, that is) if I?d be interested in mashing it up, I?d approach it with real reservations. I?ve heard some VJs state that ?this is what it?s all about? and others who are not convinced. Where do you stand? Where?s the dynamic in 3 folk?s videos all squirted on the same screen? Imagine watching a film that had every square metre of the screen filled with action for the whole duration of the film? My wife and best critic uses a great phrase when I?ve gone over the top, which I think suits this issue perfectly: ?Throwing all the paint on the canvas.?
  2. DrEskaton

    DrEskaton Triple Hexagon, Osaka

    I agree. I think VJ'ing is at this really early stage of development where people think anything goes, but often it just gets too messy.

    Can you imagine any known DJ's letting another DJ they don't know mix arbitary tracks over the top of theirs? Dj's who mix back to back at the very least talk about their sets before hand to make sure they are complementing each other.

    recursive mixing, endlessly taping your own mix and putting let more layers ontop of it with an MX12 looks sloppy and just a lazy way to make content. The sooner that whole aesthetic dies in VJ'ing and gets replaced by actual compositional skills the better as far I'm concerned and I reckon the better for acually developing VJ;ing as an appreciated talent rather than lieing somewhere below the lighting guy in the pecking order.

    flame away
  3. Lara

    Lara alllgood

    Yes I do have to agree with all the comments here..... but at a casual gig, and don't flame me here, its great to have a mix with friends.... you very quickly see what works and what doesn't. The problem is perhaps not mixing together, but of mixing with those with a lack of visual sensitivity- who think its okay to mix 20 layers and a chromakey. Nobody I've ever mixed with I'm happy to say :)
  4. littlecatalyst

    littlecatalyst Retireded

    i see a lot of people crapping on tag teaming, and find it funny.... its just liek anything else... it could be like what you describe amukidi, all the paint being thrown up, but then again noone could tell me that i wasnt looking at an angery fruit salad during the mass jam... as opposed to our favorite position of being ensconced by our ivory tower and technoogy, tag teaming (like doing some mass jamy thing) required an extra level of c-o-m-m-u-n-i-c-a-t-i-o-n.

    sure i can understand what a drag it would be to have my stuff that i like seeing one particular way--- ((actually thats bull, whatever i have especially my own DIY stuff i want to push as far as i can..... see what happens next)) get cheapened by some kid who is just blowing uninspired crap onto my images.... but i dont see that happen too often. mostly the tagteaming that i have gotten into have been full of positive back-and-forths and lots of additive exponential excitement, meaning that what i put on to compliment what the other VJ had on got us both excited that the other VJ then said "well that makes me think of this image i have" i have seen two of us fly in harmony very well (one using narrative imagery while the other is doing patterns, then saying he yi want todo abstract now...) and we would be getting into a symbiotic groove

    symbiotic, like synergy, you know, when the interactions are greater than the sum pf the pieces... that happens when you let that human part back in, and tagging with someone is a great way to do that cause you have 2 choices, you can be an upset artist all grumbling to yourself in your head about how you dont liek whats happening, or you can open your mouth and find out how easy communicating can be....

    amukidi i remember how you said before playing at the massjam that you werre going to use a lot of flash shapes because edveryone else (at that moment) was going with the slick CGdelica... thats the kind of communications i have going throughout a tag team! that kind of thinking and workingit out together.... (oh except for the ocasional "Omigod that looks so cool!" from one tag teamer to the other, which is also nice....)

    ive had crap experiences as well but usually those were unplanned tagteams (go to the batheroom leave vids on autopilot, return and someone is on the boards, the vj who opened the night-- so im always going to be willing to see what we can to together, but after 5 seconds (and finding out later that they are now tripping hard) they couldnt handle the "Harshness" of my style (?) and they like their images their own way, to which i say "ok, i understand but it is my set, get the @#%$*& off my board"). ok other lame experiences are when theres too much crap from teh other VJ (ie big boobs dancing.... starwars.... you knwo the drill) and you just dont want to be associated with that stuff, but theres ways around that as well....

    all in all i gotta say that its been great and i support doing more of these as well.... who know amukidi, in SF maybe at the very least we can have a late night tagteam and you tell me what you think
  5. littlecatalyst

    littlecatalyst Retireded

    Re: Re: Collaborative mixing? Or, throwing all the paint at the canvas?

    first of all lets cut the silly part out right away.... djs in clubs "at the very least"discuss their sets? please. the big name flew-in-for-the-night dj is going to play what he played last night and the night before that (a la tiesto) hes not going up to the dj opening teh nigt to say what he is going to play. the midle dj (if there is a middle one before the big name) is going to be listening to whats going on while hes setting up and in general the vibe before they get on but thats about it... and whoever goes on after the big name is done, doubtful that they woudl really be getting the lowdown from the djs, they have to use tehir ears.

    now to the surreal, Dr E. where do you think the tem tagteaming comes from? from turntablists. i havce personally seen the picklz tag team with kid koala (our hometown teddybear) and now they do it all teh time but they didnt knwo each other.... been to hundreds of underground table parties where loads of kids will try it out too. so on either level, yes thet does in fact happen.....

    AND TO DISPELL ONE MORE MYTH, dudes you can have too many layers with resolume and a lappy.... you cant blame that on tagteaming... you can tag team in a hghly minimal way.. and you can do other fun things like highlight yoru skills (maybe youre and aftereffects genius but not so hot on a mixer-- maybe youre the opposite) and be a part of soemething that s just a little biggerthan yourself... try it. i guarantee if you actually communicate while doing it you will be pleasantly surprised....
  6. Amukidi

    Amukidi New Member

    "AND TO DISPELL ONE MORE MYTH, dudes you can have too many layers with resolume and a lappy.... "

    Absolutely, seen it loads of times - and I agree with Lara too, I've had some great moments mixing with friends - the bottom line being that we understand each other and are sensitive to each other's work. In some respects, if collaboration is the order of the day, maybe it makes sense for a third VJ to have controll of the mixer?
  7. vjpixylight

    vjpixylight AKA Will O' The Wisp

    absolutly...When Inside Dave came to Colorado, we did a Space Bunker Session where my Mate Doug(VJ Archetype) mixed both live cam, Daves, and my video signals together, and without even seeing each other's work, creatted a masterpiece..It was complete sychronicity...
    when Dave would have some 'street footage' I was at the same time putting in my own street footage..and visa versa...
    That said, I wouldn't go beyond the 3 VJ setup of live mix..
    the problem being that it just almost always tends to become a soup..

    I think VJ's that don't want to mix with other ppl just have a problem with not not getting enuf attention for themselves,(and ego) and hate to share the spotlight...
    WE can all make a mix a set by ourselves, tape it, show what we got, but to be able to do a great mix with 1-2 otyher ppl requires a great deal of communication, and compositing talent...
    it does work, and it can be quite interesting as well..:yep:
  8. robotfunk

    robotfunk Feed your Machine

    Soup is the key word here.
    Moderation is whats needed to prevent soup.
    Soup is the result of thinking 'IF mixing is a good thing, more mixing is better'

    I still think it can be done with people who share the same idea of how it should be done, but that it gets progressively harder the more people get involved. When teaming up it may be easier to get good results if you work serially (tag team) than in parallel.

    The best dj set I ever heard was when Derrick May first came over to Holland. Eddy de Clerq I believe invited him, and on this party Eddy, Derrick and Dimitri were booked to do their sets but instead of doing a 1.5 hour set each, they went '2 on 2' meaning each would play 2 tunes and then the next guy ... why 2 tunes?
    1 to react to the last tune the other played, the next to choose a new direction. It was sheer magic, probably mainly because the 3 djs respected each other and were trying to impress each other.

    Perhaps this method could be interesting for VJ collaborations as well.
  9. Lucidhouse

    Lucidhouse :::*:::

    I think we can all choose the way we show our work, without accusations of being selfish egocentric premadonnas. I?ve done the bohemian free for all arty farty bit a while ago and it was fine while it lasted.
    I now chose to show my work in its entirety the way I see fit, and yes I do collaborate with musicians and other artists, but it doesn?t have to be a free mix-up session, I just don?t think that format suits my aesthetics.This might sound like blasphemy to some of you, but I like to be in control of what I produce.
    And talking about egos, I?ve seen guys guard that mixer with their lives, not really wanting to share who controls it?stuff it, I?m not fighting over a piece of hardware, I?ll show my work instead?
  10. DrEskaton

    DrEskaton Triple Hexagon, Osaka

    Re: Re: Re: Collaborative mixing? Or, throwing all the paint at the canvas?

    ok I think my point was misunderstood. DJ?ng has progressed to the point where there is a craft to mixing, there are rules and ways of creatively breaking the rules when beatmixing so people can mix and have it work.

    VJ mixing seems often to be at the stage as if a hiphop DJ was playing and a happy hardcore DJ just walked and started playing his own stuff over the top and not even bother to match tempo and beatmix.

    DJś that play back to back sets (alternating at the decks, not just playing after each other) usually are friends and know each others work to bounce off each other so yeah they do discuss it, at least in the trance scene that I?ve seen.
  11. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    we often do shows with 4-8 people vjing at once (we all use vjamm pro so in total that's up to 128 layers! - just using the computer sources!)
    but multilayed vjing just doesn't work if you all just key another picture ontop.

    we are using diffrent screen outputs as well as having people alternating around producing backgrounds and foregrounds.

    we also have an idea of theams that we will play around with and we don't all insist on playing something all the time.

    the result of this type of collaberation is a much more complex show than one person can achive. however there is some preplaning and we all have an idea of each others clips / style so it is easyer to avoid clashing.

    ultimatly to achive the live multiscreen large scale show requires more than one person and it requires a certain amount of practice / discussion before hand to agree on how it all fits together. (ie it is not just a jamm / mashup) however i trully belive it is the only way to achive large scale multiscreen shows that are played live and as such collaberation offers a route to the next level of vjing.

    one thing that i would like to sort out for avit next year is a few diffrent residential courses where people go and work on a show together intensivly for one week with the aim of having an hour of stuff to present at the main avit event - these courses would be theamed around diffrent areas and would have some experianced people to lead / help people with there collaberations.

    collaberations are nessacerry for the best shows - but simply pluging in another laptop and randomly jamming in clips into multilayed mush is not the answer .
  12. Amukidi

    Amukidi New Member

    So what does the expression "Less is more" mean to you?
  13. funkcutter

    funkcutter punkvert


    springs to mind...

    think that it one of the easiest things to do with mixing - too many layers spoils the cloth, and too many vjs - all with (probably) very strong artistic style and demands will quite often over egg the pudding (oooh wonder if i'm hungry?!)

    like very much having sets within a show, and ocassional jamming with few specific partners - if the gig is a very short one then you have to be precise... if it's over 24 hours long - like many of the squat parties that i started mixing in - it gives you time to

    a) learn your trade and

    b) experiment - that can be jamming with others -

    a mush of colour and light is not always a good mixture - (unless it's in a full on rave where people's perceptions are changed hugely by psychedelics and it doesn't matter much what you do!!!! one of the most frustrating situations once you start getting properly proud of your work!)

  14. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    less is a point often missed in vjing.
    however just because you have more people playing doesn't mean you have to have full motion video output on all screens at once.
    cutting back on your output is one of the primary points about collaborative work.
    think of a band - not all the musicians will be playing all the time and when they do all play they leave space for each other (helped in music by the natural separation of deferent instruments tonal ranges)
    visuals are the same - by restricting your output (in terms of colour pallet, the use of picture in picture positioning, the concept of perspective etc etc) you can create space within the composition to allow others to take part.

    by being await of each others style and the mood of the music you can build in dynamics to the visuals from compleat visual overload to a single still image on just one screen

    using cleaver signal routing you can have separate screens showing component parts and another screen with them composited together.

    all in all working with more people adds many possibilities do things requiring multiple mixers and output screens but it require thoughtfulness and cooperation to archive clean results

    this is why i feel its important for avit to build these partnerships between vjs so we can move from "playing at once" to "playing together".
  15. littlecatalyst

    littlecatalyst Retireded

    ...funny you should ask that, john, as the guy who coined the term minimalism died yesterday (Richard Wollheim)

    ...i think were all in agreememnt here that tagteaming can be good if a) there is a communication flow between the inderviduals and b) so long as no one does the ghastly (what many do be it tag, solo, AV, djvj, vma, whatever.... its a disease no matter where it sprouts up) and has too much happening at the same time (what i meant when i said an "angry fruit salad")

    tag teaming will no replace the superstarVJ (a term i think 1/2 the people here find silly anyway) nor will it replace massjams or battles or anything else.... but seems to me to be a wonderful collaborative experience that can be as minimal as you want it to be or as wild as you need...... ((just as one last example, i played a tagteam a little while ago with this guy named mumbleboy, he does flash animations that are totally cute (www.mumbleboy.com) and he has a home-made flash mixer, i knew it woudl be ablad to play with him because of how keyable his work is, but i had no idea until we were in the middle of the set just how much i coudl influence his output and how much his choices coudl influence what i would do to them.... so in that case it may not toally be 2 VJS jamming together (he doesn't consider himself a vj, more a flash artist) but it was still a tag team and definitley didnt look like anything else that night (or that i have seen elsewhere...) a total positive experience all around...
  16. neeko

    neeko New Member

    Its nice to see a thread at last where idividuality counts for something.
    Is it fair to blame ego when the reality is just a little bit of pride in your workmanship.
    The creator of the clip knows what they where aiming for when they made it, In some ways it can be insulting for someone else to decide its not right now needs remixing. I agree with Amukidi on this, Playing your content to someone that "dosn't get it" is a sure way to leave the creator of the peice feeling disapointed.
    Quality not quantity, is the name of the game.
  17. Amukidi

    Amukidi New Member

    Tom - I appreciate all the points you are making, and agree with them, its just I've never seen it pulled off live before - it always turns into "mud" so, I'd very much like you to let me know when your crew are next performing, cos I'd love to see this in action.
  18. Lara

    Lara alllgood

    I love to tag team with other people, its an art of communication in itself, and its much slower, or more drawn out I think for me than normal vjing. I like to put something up and watch as others consider and react to it and each other's work in turn. It's 'visual listening' observing and contemplating, (and trying to raise the game :eek: for me a bit). One of the best times I was jamming with Michaelheap, Nickin and Mondo at a Raya gig, I had the *best* time. Reaction and interaction are very much positives for me, but I understand that if you liked total control then its not the way for you.
  19. Lara

    Lara alllgood

    It feels a bit for me like visual 'sex' :eek: :eek: sometimes you can really just get it on with people on an intuitive level- other times its more difficult, or funny, or not quite right. Whatever the outcome you always learn a little bit more about yourself from your reaction :cool:
  20. littlecatalyst

    littlecatalyst Retireded

    but neeko do you never rework your own pieces? do you always play them the same way? i gotta say that many collaborations i have seen (video, music, dance....) definitley do not erase the indiviuality of the artists infact its quite the opposite, highlighted. when tagteaming perhaps you might not use the images that have-to-be-the-way-i-made -them (again, dont you yourself rework your clips??) but find other images that work with the other VJs images and leave the *special* ones for a solo show... it's not a matter of what is right or not, its a special instance when you are working on putting things together...

    and the idea that a collaboration has to look like soup blows my mind... why do we seem to always sink down into certitudes? dont you think that two people with an ok sense of design would also be aware of that? or do you think that the moment they start to tag team they foget all rules and aesthetics and go for a full frontal assault? i think i have been more minimal when working with others, its definitley not a polarity-- no black/white on/off life just isn't like that.....

    i was thinking alot along those lines as well Tom, anyone here who has spent time as a musician (or a human) understands the concepts of bridges, harmonies, harmonics, resonance... the biggest difference between good improv and an annoying hippie jam (which usually ends in 12 bar blooze) is that the improv artists will listen to each other and then work on those themes to either allude to them, compliment them or even sometimes create a disharmony- tolater be resolved..... its all about being open to whats going on next to you, paying attention to others and stuff like that....

    thats what i was saying about masshjam, that i wish teher weas someone operating a router that culd control the output (even if osmetimes only one or two people work would be showing)

    in fact i thought that could be another interesting format for a battle, the router (& judges?) all see each output, and even if tehre are 5 outputs coming in, they will not have all of them showing at one time (except for peak-times) andteh rest of the time the VJs would have to duke it out just to get beamer time, forcing them to put out their best work, or at times they will haveto see what is on screen and put something out that works with it,, when the judges/router operator see that they will be back on the beamers (thought that maybe the punters could have some sort of controlls that operate the router as well but that is a bit off, besides this point is pretty offtopic---
  21. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    15th november - rome
    dunno when next uk gig will be we seem to do more stuff in europe than over here (can't think why!!)
  22. eXhale

    eXhale video magician

    a matrix was used in the massjam of the first AVit, i think it really added something even if it wasn't as advanced as what you are describing. sometimes only one or two video feeds were displayed before going back to seeing all the feeds. it really added something to the overall display (plus it's useful to avoid seeing windows or mac desktops ;)). maybe a matrix wasn't possible for AVit brighton but i would suggest to consider it again for future massjams.
  23. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    there was a matrix switch at avit massjamm - it was used to swap the diffrent screens between diffrent vjs.
    it wasn't designed to swich away from bluescreens although it was used in this mannor on a couple of occasions - there should of been no bluescreen output from vjs mixers as they should of fades to another source or to black - this was possable on all the rigs - any bluescreens on output for more than a second were down to incompitance on behalf of the vj.
  24. Amukidi

    Amukidi New Member

    Yes, but it broke down half-way through. I noticed just before I started that the area over the DJ was fed, for the rest of the evening by one VJ station. Tough on the poor bugger who got that really dim beamer on the left hand side wall, as you face the back. Was that PC under the MassJam area the one with the matrix on? if so, it had a "Error" window on it for ages!
  25. disassembler

    disassembler Mix+Mix+Chop+Chop

    I must admit: Collaboration with the right people can elevate the intensity of a show.

    DIs--> Tips hat to Josh Goldberg.
  26. vjpixylight

    vjpixylight AKA Will O' The Wisp

    I am surprised that noone here has mentioned the need for a sort of video-VJ moderator, who would be mixing to the matrix the final output of all the collaborative mix stuff..
    If there would have been someone(maybe a few) doing this, then even the VJ blue screen fluck-ups could have been avoided..
    I could see having 2-3 VJ's mixing eachoyher's stuff, that inturn would be sent to the mater moderator to be mixed/switched to output screens..
    any thoughts on this??
  27. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    this was happening


    FFS when are people going to start taking respocibility for there output - everyone had a preview screen and all the mixers allow simple fade to black to be applied at a moments notice.

    if you output a blue screen it is your own fault and no one else's

    the sad fact of the matter is that a large num,ber of people playing at the massjamm were unable to work the equipment to the most basic of levels - suggesting that you need someone downstream of you to prevent bluescreen output is the most stupid thing i've heard in ages - its like suggesting that the sound engineer should be ready to fade out the guitarist if he plays out of tune!
  28. vjpixylight

    vjpixylight AKA Will O' The Wisp

    I totally agree tom...there is no excuss...Just damage control...No reason to cut off your nose to spite your face..
    ...and to be fair, some of the preview monitors simply weren't working, and I think that if you have a Master mixer, they should be the the last line of defense for fluck ups..
  29. videoteque

    videoteque New Member

    Tom you come to Rome while I am working!!! GGRRR

    When do you fly back?? I would love to see you VJAMM Allstars!!!

    The DJ Rumi works with me on Fridays...
  30. sleepytom

    sleepytom VJF Admin

    flying back sunday evening - i have to get back to england to be evictied out of my house! (anyone know of a room in a shared house in brighton????)

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