The visual element of entertainment

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Last Updated : 07 April 2013, 13:01 IST

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When you talk about offbeat careers these days, visual jockeying (VJs) seems to be one of them. While it’s not the most known profession around, it’s quite a lucrative option for those who take it up. VJs essentially create and manipulate imagery using technology in sync with the audio.

VJ KayCee, one of the better-known ones in the City, was the first guy in South India to take this up in 2007. Using his knowledge of graphic designing, he began what became a revolution. “For the first three years, it was a struggle. It was hard to make clubs understand what visuals do and why they should pay for screens and projectors. I had to knock on their doors again and again, do endless free shows and at the most, would get snacks and soft drinks at the gig,” recalls KayCee.

Now, however, things are different for him. He has worked in all the major music festivals in the country, been part of tours of all the international DJs like Sunburn and Submerge and more importantly, for the fourth time, is in charge of over 2,500 square feet of LED wall across Chinnaswamy Stadium for the Indian Premier League (IPL).

On how lucrative it is as a business, he says, “The audience and the event organisers understand the profession now. The charges differ from VJ to VJ. I offer customised content that is event-specific. In the IPL, for example, every animation that is seen is made for it exclusively. That quality assurance and customisation are why the rates are what they are.”

VJ Harish, who is best known for his audio-visual project with DJ Vachan called ‘Skip Intro’, shares his perspective. “One can definitely see VJing as a full-time profession.

But I personally use it as an art — I’m a guy who works along with the DJ and understands what he wants to express. Just putting in random images doesn’t make sense. In big events worldwide, visuals are synced with the music and lights and that’s what we’re trying to bring to India,” he explains.

While a lot of commercial VJs use image montages and movie clips, he prefers to make or buy his content. He informs, “I use three to four different softwares depending on the work involved.
Currently, I’m working on interactive set-ups where the audience can walk through the visuals and be a part of it. Many trends we’ve had in the past have recently started surfacing among the newcomers. For instance, I started projections on mosquito nets and lycra and that’s picked up now.”

Even for the artists themselves, playing with an audio-visual set-up helps add another sensory dimension to their listener’s experience. “With most gigs, it’s primarily an auditory experience. But by adding synchronised visuals, you add another medium in which the artists can express their thoughts and emotions. It also engages the audience by allowing them to create connections between the two mediums, based on their personal interpretation,” shares electronica artist Sahej Bakshi aka ‘Dualist Inquiry’, who recently performed in the City.

“In my opinion, using a projection-mapping installation works better than a flat projection screen because the installation exists in a three-dimensional form. I also like how playing from within the rig takes the focus away from me, infusing a theatrical element to the gig,” he wraps up.

Published 07 April 2013, 13:01 IST

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