Last month, people travelled from all over the country to attend Oli Sorenson‘s (AKA VJ Anyone) two day VJing workshop at OFVM in Oxford. Given that he is one of the world’s top five VJs (according to no less an authority than DJ Magazine) and the man behind London’s ‘AV Social’ and ‘Dark Fibre’ nights, it’s hardly surprising that his workshop proved so popular.
After a ‘getting to know you’ session, that enabled Sorenson to tailor the workshop to the needs of the group and to provide some invaluable one to one help and advice throughout, the first day kicked off with an introduction to the art of, from the proto VJing of 1960s ‘Expanded Cinema’, via Andy Warhol, video art and the seminal work of EBN and Hexstatic, to a look at some of today’s most prominent VJs, such as the Light Surgeons. This was not just for context, but to give participants standards to which they could and should aspire.
Next came a look at different approaches to and styles of VJing, including lens based media (motion and stills), motion graphics, found footage, ambient, film remixes and Japanese style VJing. Sampled versus original footage featured large here with some discussion about licensing footage, fair use, creative commons and justifications for sampling.
Then it was onto the practical side of things, with a look at VJ tech. Just about every conceivable piece of software and hardware was covered, from Resolume and Vegas to DVJ1000s, MIDI controllers, video cards and projectors, but not in a geeky way. The message here was that you need to be results focussed and to pick your equipment accordingly, rather than just noodle around in your bedroom with as much kit as possible. Here Sorenson’s vast VJing experience really shone through as he delivered hard learned hints and tips guaranteed to save vast amounts of time, money and technical heartache at every level from first gig to stadium tour.
As things continued to get more practical, there where suggestions of places to get (free & paid for) footage and a lesson on the structure of dance music & how to work with it visually. Then the day concluded in the computer room, where everyone had access to a machine preloaded with Resolume Avenue 3, for a hands on intro to this highly popular (and Technofile award winning) piece of VJing software.
Day two kicked off with a review of the previous one, during which participants were given the opportunity to discuss what they wanted from the rest of the workshop, then it was onto how to storyboard a VJ performance, organise and make the most of clips and effects.
Next came thee demo, during which Sorenson unpacked and set up his VJing kit, explaining the purpose of each piece of equipment, how to connect it all together and use it, dropping yet more practical tips as he went, from always carrying a torch and international power adaptors, to the best way to prevent your laptop from being nicked when nature calls.
After everyone had taken turns to have a good play with Sorenson’s set-up, it was time for the most important lesson of all…how much to charge! Then came ‘VJ Anyone’s 8 steps to pro VJing‘. Much of the rest of the day was spent building sets in Resolume Avenue, with Sorenson on hand to provide individual help and advice. Then the workshop concluded with participants performing and discussing their sets. Everyone left feeling they had learnt masses and taken a significant step into the world of VJing.
In addition to being one of the world’s top VJs, Oli Sorenson is a natural and generous teacher, with a wealth of practical experience and an encyclopaedic knowledge of everything and everyone VJ related. If VJing is something you are thinking about getting into, then don’t miss his next workshop at OFVM 25th-26th June 2010
More info: www.ofvm.org
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