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To VJ or Not to VJ


Often DJs will ask me about the ins and outs of spinning videos at their gigs.  What software to use, which controller, and where to get videos are just a few of the questions that are asked.  There is one important question a DJ should ask before delving into video though; is it worth the extra effort?  For some people it is, but for a majority in certain locations it isn’t.

My experience has been that being a VJ is more lucrative on either the East coast or West coast…in the Midwest, not so much.  Changing your format from audio to audio/video is an expensive transition to make.  A DJ’s expenses for tracks doubles (at least) when they decide to download the video instead of the audio.  There is also the increase in download time to consider when switching to video, which means more time spent building virtual crates.  While some software companies do a good job of providing free audio tracks to spin if you use their software, they totally neglect to provide video material for the video plug-ins that they practically harass you to buy.   The short of it: to be a VJ is time consuming and expensive.

My advice for all DJs would be to evolve with DJ technology.  Staying married to the old and familiar only results in you working harder not smarter in any field and the DJ field is no exception.  By the time a person learns DJ software competently it becomes changed or upgraded.  By the time you master your DJ controller, it has lived out it’s 12-month life cycle and becomes outdated.  It’s good to have VJ resources and technology at your disposal because it is part of the undeniable evolution of the DJ. 

With the economic downturn as an excuse, the average club owner isn’t going to pay extra for a VJ.  The club owner doesn’t care that you spend twice as much time and money preparing and performing a VJ set.  Stepping up your game doesn’t always amount to stepping up your pay.  The bottom line is getting people through the door, so any extra effort will go unappreciated without a larger crowd drawn to it.  My advice would be to only spend money on gear and plug-ins that increase your income or pays for it within 60-90 days.

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