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What is a VJ and what is VJing?

VJ is a abbreviation for 'Visual Jockey' in the events and club industries (this is what we are referring to here)

VJ is also an abbreviation in the Media and Press industries for 'Video Journalist' but that's another topic.


A VJ is an artist...

normallyVJing is the art form of mixing and manipulating visual content usually on the fly. Back in the early days this was normally done with 2 or more video sources, likely to be tape machines, possibly live cameras etc and a video mixer.

As technologies progressed, tape became DVD's, opening a whole new world to the VJ allowing the ability access and search video content much faster. A more freestyle VJing technique born. The use of DVD is now seen by many as thing of the past, however some VJ's are still VJing using the DVD's and video mixer configuration, and doing a great job with them.

VJing is an art form, there is no wright or wrong equipment to use. Its like going to the shops, walk, drive, take a car or van, whatever is required to do the job, the bottom line is you get the shopping, that said, walking when you needed to take a van is just not going to work out well. With VJing its all about the content and the visual experience you create. How you get the content there is not so important, but some equipment will make life much easier.

Nowadays most VJ's prefer to use 'Media Severs'. This basically is a computer running software that allows video to be mixed and manipulated using external controllers, the most common control interfaces use Midi or DMX to trigger the visuals on the media server(s). Media servers give VJ's instant access to large amounts of video files taking the free styling art form to another level.


So what do you need to start VJing?

First you need content. This is a personal choice, can be pretty much anything from a clip you videoed on your mobile to visuals you created on a computer. You can get VJ Loops from if you don't wish to create your own.

You will need a way of playing back the visual content. Quite often the best and cheapest option is to use a computer running VJing software. Using video capture devices the software will allow the computer to mix external devices such as video cameras or DVD players etc. See our section on Media Servers and VJ Software for more information.

However you can use other video sources and a video mixer.

And finally you need a display, Plasma screens and LED walls are becoming more and more popular but there's still the good ol video projector or beamer.


A final little tip to being a great VJ in clubs and at events is to remember you're part of a team entertaining a audience, allot of VJ's never make it because all they think about are the screens. You must look at the bigger picture, listen to the music, lock at the lighting system etc. If the music requires a black out then blackout the screens, don't sit there thinking how great the screens look with the lights off when everyone else is thinking you have fallen asleep. ;o)


If you have any comments or additions to this article we would love to hear from you, please contact us here

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