DVD Review : Lightrhythm Visuals : Notations 01


Beaming in from Japan, International in flavour, a new DVD compilation of pixel-twisters from Lightrhythmvisuals(.com).

( Suryummy on left, actop on right )

What is a DVD by VJs?
Tricky to produce that’s for sure. Performing live a VJ tries to stay responsive to sound, the ambience of the setting, and the audience, and generally keeps it dynamic with constant refinements, manipulations, cutting and blending, effecting etc. In a live setting, a lower resolution of image is accepted and various errors and over adjustments are easily forgiven as part of the live performance. Once recorded to disc however, and played back in some home theatre system, the VJ is in competition with all of Hollywood and it’s production values, up against all the storytellers and their attention to narrative craft, compared with all the motion graphics artists and agencies, all the animators, cinematographers, and all the directors and their abilities to tie everything together. Still, up against all that, a compilation of real-time video wizards can still stand out with force of personality and quirkier experimental visual explorations.

Spinning The Disc
Promo compilation blurb said the DVD was “inspired by the book ‘Notations’ (compiled by John Cage)”, and aimed to “explore the new techniques in visualization of sound in the same way that Cage explored new forms of written music.” And so, on it spins and we are introduced to a variety of visual experiments over the course of 12 clips set to electronic music, followed by remixes of the same 12 clips – the artists included all shared their source files for other artists to visually reinterpret. Also cool – the DVD multi-angle function can be used to switch back and forth between the original and the remixed video. Overall the disc flows well, and while sometimes suffering flat spots, or descending into dated cybernetic visual cliches, has enough moments of visual surprise and polish to maintain interest. The remix section seemed to stand stronger, that extra layer of process lending them a more sophisticated feel.

Global Giraffe by Suryummy : Nice cinematography, tasty compositing of complex moving 3d elements onto urban train lines. Some nice mask transitions too, nice elements, but combined lacking something to make the piece compelling.
Shabondama by Ben Sheppee : Smoothly realised 2D graphic overlays and transitions in train station. Well edited.
E of Bwe by Alien-Eye : Sumo wrestlers given the scratch video treatment.
Global Giraffe (remix) by actop : Fantastic recompositing into sequenced slices, enhancing the original clips colours and masks well.
lake (remix) by Alien Eye : Weird and wonderful visual distortions of the 3D objects, nice light overlays.
Gravith (remix) by VJ Anyone : Super, strong introduction… and transition into splintery slowly panning graphics, that unfortunately devolves later into cyber-fare, but maybe the clip only seemed to get much worse because he seems to have added or emphasised some embarrassing text overlays – let me paraphrase, and imagine this text on top of 3d wireframes of a glitching human – “because of global warming, if we don’t find help from extra terrestrials, soon our only hope is to download the human psyche onto micro machines… ” Uhuh.
Brologic (remix) by Jasper Vader : Some nicely added mask elements, but still missing something.
Hoofprints in the sand (remix) by Ben Sheppee : Recomposited and re-layered to create some nice light and dark interplay.

Full details of all tracks, artists and musicians (and ordering details ) etc included at Lightrhythmvisuals.com

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