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In this vlog I want to talk about visuals. You can think of visuals as the videos that play on screens behind or in front of the DJ booth at a club. Over the past few weeks I have watched multiple interviews with some of the world’s top DJs that all emphasize the importance of visuals. Some have incorporated video mixing into their performance, while others hire a VJs that travel with them.
Taking on the responsibility of incorporating your own visuals into your performance makes sense for DJs like Armin Van Buuren and Markus Schulz. When you reach superstar status, you have a brand that is built not only around your music, but also your style. Doing the visuals yourself means that you can promote your style even when you’re in a venue that doesn’t put your brand’s interests above their own. If you’re successful enough to be flying around the world, you’ve probably got enough money to pay someone to create a set of visuals for you, or to accompany you wherever you go. It’s really just another form of marketing.
What’s surprising to me is that it took so long for this trend to catch on. Back in 2004, Pioneer released the DVJ-X1. It was similar to a CDJ in function, but you could use DVDs with it. 2 years later, Pioneer announced a followup model called the DVJ-1000. They also introduced the SVM-1000, a DJ mixer with built in video mixing capabilities. For a while I thought this might gain some traction as DJs like Sander Kleinenberg were showing how cool integrated visual could be.
Pioneer’s video mixing system was unfortunately too expensive for the average Joe to buy. The SVM-1000 mixer costs over $5000 and each DVJ-1000 costs $2500. Thankfully, software solutions that have been released since then have made video mixing much cheaper. Serato Scratch Live, Mixvibes Cross DJ, and Virtual DJ all have video mixing features available. Depending on which software that you’re using, you may need to buy a video plugin that costs between 75 to 150 dollars.
I’m glad to see that more DJs are thinking about the visuals that accompany their performance because it shows that they are thinking about the experience of their fans. Hopefully if there is enough support from the superstar DJs, software and hardware manufacturers will make it easier and more affordable for everyone to incorporate video into their mixes.
As always I’d like you hear what you think about visuals. Do the visuals add to your experience when you go to a club or do you not pay attention? Also, would you be inclined to incorporate videos into your mixes if it was easier to do so? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.