Club video graphics cover a world of design, from grunged up video visuals to pristine digital eye candy.
When it comes to VJing, almost anything goes, from any digital source - including cameras, camcorders, mobiles and vintage clip downloads. It's a similar story with digitally generated content - rendered 3D animations, Flash animations, text, logos, Illustrator files and even random PDFs are all fair game in the creative world of club visuals. The goal is excitement and impact, not video realism or production gloss. So with all this variety, how do you decide how to put a performance together? We're going to break down the content into three main elements to make it simple.
The first is looping. A loop can be any section of video that looks good looped - which isn't much use as an academic definition, but makes sense when you see it in action. The creative point is that loops build up, or sometimes destroy, viewer expectation about what's going to happen next. Loops also establish a rhythm, and professionals will sync either their loops in time with the music, or add video scratch and stutter effects that play around the beat. (Watch any pop promo and you'll see that while there's often a rhythm, it's only rarely that cuts are made exactly on a beat.)
The second element is pure psychedelic eye candy - bright colours, spacey shapes and objects, impossible movements and transformations, and anything else that contributes to full-on psychedelic wig-out. Too much of this can become tiring to watch, so it's good to add this more as spice than the main course, although as with anything else in VJing, this depends on the venue and the audience.
The final element is mood, setting and reference. Moods can vary from soft and dreamy to hard-edged and technological, and the easiest way to use this element is to include footage that shows what you're trying to suggest in a very literal way. For example, use grimy street footage to suggest urban grunge. If this seems simple, that's because it is.
You can add text effects, logos, and even messages for extra points. But the whole impression is what matters most, and this is where the skill comes in. There are no shortcuts for creative interpretation, but even experimenting on your own you'll find there's a rare exhilaration when it all comes together.