This is part three in our series of excerpts from Charles Kriel’s acclaimed new book, How to DVJ – A Digital DJ Masterclass. Here we look at Mixing from Video to Video (Chapter 11). In addition, to demonstrate that dance music can be much more fun when you can watch as well as listen, DJsounds presents an enchanting AV mix by DVJ Kriel. Fast cars, dancing girls, celestial scenes and wind turbines – find all these and much more in this seamless mix of sound + vision, plus pick up some top tips on how it's all done.
1. Jeroenski and Roog vs. Theo Parrish - Kriel's Twist When You Fall Re-Rub
2. Mono - Make a Difference
3. Marcella vs. Josh Wink - Winking at Sally (Kriel's Stabbing Oakie Re-Rub)
4. Laurent Garnier - Flashback (Kriel's More Cowbell Re-Rub)
5. Eric Prydz Presents Pryda - Seadweller
6. Mark Knight - Susan
7. Christian Smith and John Selway - Silver Bullet
8. Gabriel Ananda - Take Off
9. Eric Prydz Presents Pryda - Storm
Video: Charles’ special thanks go to “Sarah Warop (dancing & choreography), Pari Naderi (dance) and Adam Shepherd for a couple of excellent video gifts.”
Mixing from Video to Video While you’re in the dj mix, you’ll need to mix and cut the vidz too. The concept is simple – switching from one video to another, the same as you would with audio – but there are a few key differences. T-BARVS. CROSSFADER (V4 VS. KROSSFOUR) Videogear for DVJs is still largely based on video gear for television producers. That’s why many video mixers have a big T-shaped fader where you might expect a DJ-style crossfader. It’s called a T-bar. On a big BBC video console, it’s heavy with a weighted pull for slow, smooth transitions. The Edirol V4 has a smaller, plastic T-bar that still shows some resistance when you pull from one video to another. The friendly engineers at Edirol have also added the option of turning the T-bar 90°, so it seems to function more like a crossfader. The T-bar is great for transitions, but not so hot for scratching, and some VJs have replaced their T-bars with crossfaders to make video transitions. Do this at your own risk, and make sure you know at least a little something about electronics before you give it a go. The Korg Kross FOUR already goes the crossfader route, although there is still some resistance in the transition. Which style fader you use is really a matter of preference and budget. Try them both before buying your gear. CUTS The most straight forward transition from one video to the next is the cut. Because of the way video mixers are designed, all your sources are available on every channel and are selected by punching a button. Cuts are done by pressing the input source you prefer. Some high-end video mixers do this smoothly, but lesser mixers – the V4 included – will make the picture jump when you switch inputs. To make up for this, the V4 has a transformer button that will cut from one channel to another without losing sync (making the picture jump). The ultra-affordable VSW-1 also cuts smoothly. FADES A fade from one video to another is done on the T-bar or the crossfader. It’s a slow transition, just like a crossfade or mix on the DJ mixer. Many mixers will also automatically (and very smoothly) fade at the touch of a button. WIPES Wipes are ugly and are not your friend. A wipe brings one video up and the other down with a hard-edge in between, kind of like a windshield wiper pushing one piece of video out and bringing another in behind it. Think of old episodes of the original Batman TV series, and you’ll know what I mean. I’m sure they can be used effectively and creatively, I’ve just never seen anyone do it. Ever. VJ Mixers Here I have a look at the Edirol V4. VJ mixers share many features with DJ mixers – they’re specifically designed to be club friendly. Here I have a look at preview functions, fading from video to video, selecting your input source, adding effects, and the bus system. LAYERING WITH FADE It’s possible to have two videos playing at the same time, one on top of the other, just as you can have two audio tracks playing simultaneously to create a third. You can do this with the fader by putting it in the middle, as you would put the crossfader in the middle position on your DJ mixer. This can look nice, and is often none-too-jarring, depending on the content of the videos, but it comes at a cost. Neither video will play at full brightness, so your colors will be a bit muddy. Practice and decide which videos work well this way. Many won’t. LAYERING WITH CHROMAKEY Chromakey allows you to mix one video over the other based on areas of color. Chromakey removes a range of colors from one video to reveal the other video behind it. The removed colors become transparent. This is how they put the weather girl in front of a weather map. THE FADE OUT Chromakey is a great effect because both videos will come through at full brightness. Unfortunately, to make chromakey work effectively, you need to shoot the video you want to put on the top against a blue or green screen with very even lighting. If you don’t have access to a big television studio, you probably won’t be doing this anytime soon. LAYERING WITH LUMAKEY Lumakeying is the better option for DVJs. Lumakey lets you bring one video over the other based on areas of brightness. This way, you can make the dark areas of the top video disappear to reveal the video beneath. Lumakey is one of the main effects for creative DVJs. It’s also a great way to layer a logo with a black background over another video. AVOIDING VIDEO CHAOS If two clashing tunes played one over the other create a train wreck, two clashing videos create nothing more interesting than mud. In some cases, particularly when using keying rather than fades, both videos will appear to go abstract, and the wash of images confuses the eye. This can be a great effect, or it can be mind-numbing if used for too long. You can only decide in the rehearsal studio. As with tunes, know your videos. And practice, practice, practice! QUICK CUTTING Quick cutting from one video to the next in a scratch style is not really effective when you’re using either a T-bar or a crossfader with resistance. And sometimes trying to scratch a track, handle effects, get the sound right, and grab the T-bar can make you wish you were born an octopus. This is one of the main arguments for using as many technological cheats as possible. The V4 has a transition effect which will cut or fade back and forth between videos based on bpms. This is effective for scratch DVJs who want to use one hand to scratch and the other to handle the crossfader or upfaders on the DJ mixer. How to DVJ – A Digital DJ Masterclass by Charles Kriel is available now from Elsevier/Focal Press.
This is part three in our series of excerpts from Charles Kriel’s acclaimed new book, How to DVJ – A Digital DJ Masterclass. Here we look at Mixing from Video to Video (Chapter 11). In addition, to demonstrate that dance music can be much more fun when you can watch as well as listen, DJsounds...