PO-MO Project
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Jessica Ireland
Interrobang

Published: Monday, September 14, 2009

It might be easier to describe what VJing is by explaining what it is not: hipster “TV personalities” you love or loathe filling time between music videos – if the station even plays those anymore.

London native, Skot Deeming, has been VJing for about eight years and usually has to clarify to those asking that his job doesn’t involve commenting on The Hills or debuting the new Jonas Brothers’ video.

What his job does involve is a visual art that has a history rooted in underground rave culture and is just now getting some mainstream attention.

Case in point: Deeming and his VJ partner, Winnipeg’s Meghan Athavale, will be bringing their skills to LOLA Fest 2009’s Rogers main stage working with the headliners.

The idea behind VJing involves a live video performance.

“It’s similar to what DJs do, but with video,” explained Deeming, by phone in Winnipeg. “You’re making a music video in real time as the music’s being played.”

Deeming and Athavale, known by their group name Hello World, take footage from the Internet, DVDs, scenes they’ve shot themselves, still images and custom animation, done by Athavale, and meld them together for a visual spectacle. Deeming currently has about 3000 video clips in his library.

They usually perform alongside a DJ or band. Their show has some similarities with their fellow performers.

“We’re playing live but we just happen to be playing videos,” said Deeming. “It gives the audience a more layered experience.”

“It grabs attention and adds an element people enjoy more. People tend to end up on the dance floor when videos are going.”

The idea of playing pictures to music may seem basic but a lot goes on behind the scenes.

If a band has asked for a VJ, usually preparation lasts a week and the theme of the videos is discussed in advance. If they’re hired at the last minute, a lot of their work is fast-paced and improvised, which requires a keen knowledge of music and its nuances, said Deeming.

“I listen to a lot of music closely and know where the changes are going to be,” said Deeming. “(Sometimes) I sense when the changes are going to be and go with it.”

“It takes a lot of focus and an extreme gift in multitasking.”

As the two get ready for LOLA, Deeming’s particularly excited about showing family and friends who have supported him at home what he’s been up to since he relocated to Winnipeg early this year.

“I feel like I’ve really grown, my mixing is way tighter,” he said.

Besides any hometown reunions, he’s also excited to be in the city as it shows off its artistic talents.

“So much of the art happens below the surface (but) the city is actually a cultural centre,” he said.

Visit http://www.lolafest.com for more information on Hello World, other performances, installations and more. For more information on Skot Deeming, visit: www.mrghosty.net, or Meghan Athavale at www.pomoproject.com. - Interrobang


Po Mo Project is the brainchild of Meghan Athavale, a projection show she manages in collaboration with various bands and musicians. It's visual art to accompany music, either by a live band or a club DJ. A musician herself, Athavale also goes by Meggity Rabbit, the vocalist/pianist/guitarist in local group Pound the Valley. Using a multidisciplinary method, a Po Mo Project performance uses manipulation of live video feeds, flash animation and beat detection software. Seeing she's No. 1, obviously many of you are already in this video loop, but the unacquainted can check it all out at pomoproject.com. - Uptown Magazine


http://sonicweekly.com/articles/dj-lab/the-future-of-vjing/2009/08/14/
Filed under: DJ Lab by Anne Stewart on August 14, 2009

Dim the Lights, Crank the Bass, Prepare for Total Immersion

Tony Ustel, an up-and-coming Canadian DJ who performs under the name King Cobra, remembers the first time he realized that he was watching a VJ at work. “I always thought that people used an edit program to make the images, then put it on a DVD synced to a beat timer,” he says, “then I started to really understand what the VJ was doing, creating eyes for the music.”

Creating eyes for music, windows into the soul of a beat, is an art that VJs are constantly trying to perfect. “There is so much development going on in the audio-visual world right now,” says VJ PO-MO, known by the light of day as Meghan Athavale, “The only limit at this point is the human imagination.”

Don’t worry wannabees! When PO-MO - who specializes in syncing her own animations to music - says that imagination is the only limit, she’s not speaking from a lofty place of unlimited liquidity. Rather, she’s saying that you don’t need a big budget to be an innovator.

VJ mrghosty - a colleague of PO-MO’s whose craft leans towards playing with found and manipulated footage - has been building his own rig for years using equipment found at antique stores and flea markets. “I was mainly using a bunch of VCRs running through a mixer, with my computer running clips that I could mix a little bit to the rhythm,” says mrghosty of his first setup. ”I then started modifying old analog gear like CED videodisc players so I could mix and scratch picture as well as sound.”

Mrghosty, a.k.a. Skot Deeming, now uses a considerably lighter rig - a dual laptop configuration run through a vintage analogue mixer - but his DIY approach remains intact. “I’m very much someone who tries to use what I have at hand,” he says. “I mod and hack the gear a bit to get it to do what I want, rather than spend the money on the very expensive gear that can be found out there for VJing.”

DIY Inventors

Although the market for pricy VJ gear is booming, the home workshop is the place where much of the development in audio visualization is happening. “Our programmer built a multi-touch surface in an afternoon using materials he found around his apartment,” says PO-MO. “I learned to make a huge back-projection screen out of $5 worth of wax paper. Skot has rigged up LED throwies and modified controllers made out of used and found equipment.”

“We’re also currently working on our own portable outdoor screen design,” mrghosty adds. ”On several actually. Screens are also really expensive. In a pinch hang a white sheet. I got a couple at a thrift store and bleached them. They’re handy to have around.”

Good to know you don’t need a fat wallet to be part of building the future of VJing. But do you have to be as scarily smart with technology as these VJs sound? “Patience is more important than technical knowledge,” PO-MO reassures us. “Technology inspires us to find ways to express ourselves creatively, and that forces us to add to what we already know.”

Audience Interactivity

So what does the future hold for idea-heavy, cash-poor VJs of varying technical know-how? “Adding elements that the audience can interact with rather than simply watching is something I’m very much interested in,” says mrghosty. ”Imagine that we could do our mix visually, but with elements of these visuals being controlled by the audience.”

PO-MO notes that this is already being experimented with at large-scale events like Shambala. “Motion sensors and other interface devices are being used to alter the visual show, so it’s different every time,” she says. And not surprisingly, DJs love it. “It gives the audience a full spectrum of delight,” says King Cobra, “and it gives them a bigger push to get on the dance floor. Since I started playing with a VJ, the floor dancers have doubled.”

Working with Environmental Factors

Another emerging trend is the development of technologies and visual styles that take advantage of otherwise inhibiting environmental factors. While VJs often complain about too much light or smoke in a venue ruining a visual performance, PO-MO uses these elements to add depth and texture to her show. “One of the things I’ve been playing around with is projecting into mist or fog,” she explains. “Certain colors in the spectrum seem closer because they reflect from those mediums better. If I animate a swimming fish and change its color and size gradually, I can simulate it moving in 3D through the fog.”

Evolution on a Budget
PO-MO’s description creates quite the mental image of a future when concert-goers may find themselves not only staring into the eyes of the music, but actually moving through the mind of the beat, displayed visually all around them. Looks like your mom might have been right when she said you don’t need drugs to have fun.

Blurring the Line between Audio an - Sonic Weekly


Jonathan Forani
September 18, 2009

Though classified as VJs, Hello World doesn’t really like the term. So what would the duo prefer to be called? “Live video performers,” says member and London talent Skot Deeming.
While the term “VJ” can be an accurate label because Deeming and his partner Meghan Athavale often perform at clubs and alongside bands, the duo will take the practice to another level at this weekend’s London Ontario Live Arts Festival — Hello World will turn VJing into art, something Deeming assures is not an easy task.

What they do goes above and beyond the typical VJ job description. Deeming and Athavale — also known by their stage names mrghosty and PO-MO, respectively — have different video mixing styles they will showcase in tandem at this weekend’s festival.

Using an extensive library of clips and diverse images — including anime — Deeming applies his experience as a film and music video editor to manipulate the clips with editing software. Athavale’s practice is similar as she uses her current experience in the animation industry to create images that will be used for manipulation during the shows.
As live video performers, Hello World’s creativity tends to come on the spot.

“It’s all improv,” Deeming says. As such, the images they create onscreen are not separate from the music — rather they go hand-in-hand.
Often collaborating directly with musical acts, Hello World interprets what they see and hear onstage to form their own unique images onscreen.

This weekend, Athavale and Deeming will accompany all of the musical acts with their artistic talents via a large screen on the Rogers Main Stage.

The festival has welcomed Deeming as mrghosty before, but this is the first time LOLA will showcase the duo together, as Hello World is a fairly recent creation — after his last showing at LOLA in 2007, Deeming moved to Winnipeg where a friend introduced him to Athavale.

Thanks to funding from the Winnipeg Arts Council, Hello World hits the stage this afternoon, starting with Deeming’s video accompaniment to London’s own A Horse and His Boy.

Aside from performing at events like LOLA and VJing for bands and at clubs, the duo is constantly looking for ways to expand their creativity.
Deeming recalled their occasional “guerrilla show” stunts where they would buy out parking lots, find musical accompaniment and project their shows onto a wall for passing pedestrians. Athavale is currently working on similar architectural experiments, where she projects her images onto buildings — most recently her own home.

Deeming says live video performers like himself and Athavale are a rare breed in North America – “the VJ cult” is a far greater phenomenon on other continents.

“In North America VJs are seen more as sidekicks to the main show, the ones who just support the music,” he says. - The Gazette


Discography

Cheshire Grin, released through Manitoba Film and Sound in 1997

Blowfish (online here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E01CF9C_Qlw)

Jumper

Live CBC recordings

Photos

Bio

Meghan Athavale (VJ PO-MO) is primarily looking for gigs as a VJ. She often works with a partner (mrghosty.net) using a customized vj rig, and creates original animations for each show.

If you have recieved an application through Sonic Bids, it is because your event does not have an obvious adjudication process for VJs at this time.

Meghan has been a professional animator and motion graphics designer since 1997, when she graduated from the Computer Animation Specialist course at Red River College in Winnipeg. She spent several years studying traditional animation at NFB and life drawing at the Winnipeg Art Gallery, and has worked for animation studios, graphic design firms and web development studios as an illustrator, animator, and interactive media developer for over 12 years.

She is heavily influenced by too many animators, directors, and musicians to name. Her show includes multitouch laser technology, beat-detection, manipulation of live video feeds layered with analog and digital video, custom branding, and architectural projections (where possible).

She uses her VJing as a networking opportunity to develop interactive motion graphics for bands, djs and events.

See video examples here:
http://www.youtube.com/pomoproject

or visit the website:
http://www.pomoproject.com