Monday, April 2, 2012

Setup Check: Vj Cassius

This month for our Setup Check we will be looking into Vj Cassius' setup for mixing live visual elements in The Root System's performances.

The Root System: Hey Cassius, how's it going today?
Vj Cassius (Kaw-See-Us): Pretty good, just working on some new visuals for the upcoming show at The Manor.

TRS: Awesome. Well we're here today to talk about your setup for mixing live visuals, Vjing as they say. What are you working with?
VJC: Well I am a big fan of Quartz Composer and I use that as the core component on the software side. I use this to take care of my clips, effects, and animations I use. Then as you can see here I have some different interfaces for controlling these visuals.

TRS: Tell us a bit more about your interfaces. How are you controlling the things people see?
VJC: Well it has been a bit of an evolution lately. I really got into the visual arts when the Microsoft Kinect came out a bit ago. So I used that as a early controller - not as a video source but to use my hands to control the animations. Fast forward through Xbox controllers, keystrokes and the bunch and now I am here. Right now I am working with an iPad running a custom touchOSC layout along side a v1.0 Sensebellum Logibox. I use the iPad to cue up effects and tell me what I am working with but the physical knobs on the Logibox are the only way to go for fading in channels.

TRS: So cueing effects, triggering clips, and different channels. Some might here those terms from the Djing world. What do you think about that?
VJC: Well they go hand in hand I'll say that. As far as the jargon and lingo, I think Visual artists will develop their own dialect given enough time to come into their own. But I do think there are underlying similarities between the Vj and Dj world. The Red/Green/Blue - Low/Mid/High paradigm comes to mind when I think about it. Or the way music and visuals have come to adopt sampling and mashed content really goes to show the commonality, thus the shared terms and archetypical function of interfaces.

TRS: Very interesting. So where do you see your setup evolving from this point forward?
VJC: Well I see using more forms of interaction. I have been working on live sound input and live video input for quite sometime and I see better ways to integrate those now then say when I started. In general I see more varied forms of interactions in more open ended arenas. For instance, instead of a 50 button array, if you could access those same actions with a wave of the hand or intuitive gesture it would be easier - perhaps more open ended and easy. I don't think I'll be doing that tomorrow - but sometimes. For now, I am looking towards differentiating which controls are best used in touch interfaces and which are best used in physical designs.

TRS: Looking forward to seeing what you come up with! Any resources you thought were particularly helpful in coming to this point?
VJC: Yes! I would like to thank in particular. there is a great community of programmers working on the Quartz Composer environment, which is if you ask me, the next paradigm in computer programming. I would also like to point out that there are great references for Vj's in books like "Audio Visual Art" by Michael Faulkner and "The Vj Book" by Paul Spinrad.

TRS: Awesome! We;; thanks for your time, we'll be sure to follow up on what you have going here!