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Critical Reflection

Evaluation

During the process of developing and creating this live performance project, I have learned a lot about what exactly is involved in developing, planning, preparing and putting together a live music performance. There have been ideas that worked well, and some that failed and I have found certain promotion techniques successful and others less so.

Visual Djing Projection

I am really happy with the visuals I managed to create for this performance. I believe they really added an extra dimension to the performance and aided in establishing a distinct brand and aesthetic for myself. The Resolume software was also a great addition to the project as it allowed me to manpiulate the visuals live and in real time which made them a lot more interesting to watch.

I am also really pleased with how I utilised my handmade midi controller to manipulate the video, and how easily compatible it was with the software. I believe having something I made myself that nobody else has adds a certain unique quality to my performance.

Stage Presence

I feel my stage presence really improved during the preparation for this project, mainly due to the amount of trial performances I did during which I was able to try out new ideas and decide which tracks I would play and in what order. It also allowed me to become more comfortable on stage, especially the performance I did in London at the beginning of April. I received a lot of great feedback for it which definitely boosted my confidence a lot.

I also feel that doing so many performances in preparation for the main one gave me the opportunity to get acustomed to setting everything up as quick as possible. This benefitted me greatly, as by the time the final performance came around I was able to set up really quickly and efficiently.

Strengths and Weaknesses

This project I felt overall went really well, it helped me gain some valuable skills I can apply and take forward to future projects. It has given me a valuable insight as to what is required to carry out a successful live perfomance utilising visuals and projection. By creating the entire project from scratch, including the ideas, compositions, marketing, and design, it showed me just how much time and work needs to be set aside for creating something of this scale. Every phase of the creation required lots of planning, experimentation, prototyping and attention to detail, and it was very difficult at times being responsible for so much at once.

My strengths throughout the project I feel were my designs for the projections. I think I was successful in creating a strong visual brand, with a well designed logo that was also unique. I’m pleased that each track had its own video that was well timed and in sync and I feel each one was atmospheric and I think it visually reflects the music very well and I was able to create the strong aesthetic that I first set out to achieve which also appeals to my target audience and brought the performance to life and added depth and character to my sound.

There were a few technical difficulties during the perfomance which seemed to be caused by the Resolume software glitching. After the performance I tried figuring out what caused it but I couldn’t find anything out of the ordinary with the project file or my midi mapping, and I had managed to rehearse the complete set with no issues many times prior so it is a shame that something malfunctioned. I will be sure to learn a lesson from this for future reference.

My biggest weakness besides the technical difficulty I think was time management. I feel I spent a lot trying to settle upon an idea and used a lot of time researching and developing concepts that I didn’t end up following. This was detrimental later on in the process and I feel that time could have been better spent.

Conclusion

If I were to continue working on this project or to do it again I would have managed my time better and probably created more detailed videos. Whilst I’m really happy with how they turned out I feel I could have added a bit more to them, and in the future I also aim to get more familiar with Resolume in order to utilise more of it’s many features and effects in order to create more interesting and diverse visual manipulations.

I would also develop the effects on my vocal pedal too, as there is a custom effect option I have never used that allows you to create your own custom setting for vocals. I feel this would improve the performance as it would allow me complete control over my vocal distortion.

Finally, in the future I would like to bring another musician on board for future performances. I feel this would take some of the pressure off me, and having someone at the laptop would make dealing with any technical issues much easier.


Graphic Design

Graphic Design

During preparation for the show I took on the lead role of designer. This made me responsible for creation of the logo and branding of the overall show. Once we’d decided on the name Flux Collective, I began working on possible fonts and themes to create a logo. I created multiple designs in Photoshop, revolving around different themes and colour pallettes. Once I was happy with a handful of first designs. I posted them up on social media for the rest of the class to have their input.

First Design Post

The most popular designs were the white and black ones pictured above. The rest of the group seemed happy with simple line work design and a very synth-wave, 80s, minimalist approach so, with this in mind I went onto develop these two. I began editing different fonts and different images, and as many of the group requested more colour in the design, I also incorporated red into later designs.

Second Design Post

The biggest issue with all the designs was settling upon the right font. I tried out numerous designs, that were ranging from bold, italic to faded and distressed. After awhile it was agreed that the finer, thinner fonts just worked better with the logo so I started trying out fonts that matched this description.

Design

With the above image settled upon, where everyone seemed happy with the overall design, it was at this point I was able to move into the final stages of the design, simply making small changes and incorporating feedback such as adding a little red, defining and shaping lines with colour.

Final Design

This was the final design, I am overall really pleased with it. The development and progression went really smoothly and I think I did a great job at incorporating everyone’s ideas and feedback. I went onto design several posters for various shows on the build up to our final performance. This one as you can see was for the Gwdihw show on 20th of April.

Gwdihw Poster

Along with designing the posters to the events of Flux Collective, I also designed the merchandise, which consisted of t-shirt prints. For this, I went back and made small tweaks to the final design, ensuring all the settings were suitable to print the right size. I also made sure that the design was made with a transparent background to be able to apply to t-shirts.

t-shirt design


S.W.O.T Analysis

S.W.O.T Analysis

Strengths:

A major strength of my project I feel is my aesthetic. I feel I have created a strong brand with distinguishable visuals that I feel could be easily recognizable as my work. I feel I managed to get the visuals and music to really compliment each other. Another strength of my performance I believe is that it is extremely atmospheric

Weaknesses:

My main weakness is stage fright and nervousness when performing as it impedes my stage presence. I feel my performances would be better if I was more confident. Also my time management, as I could have progressed a lot quicker if I planned things out more.

Opportunities:

I feel the biggest advantage that my performance has is that it is quite unique due to the use of visual DJing. I also feel my handmade MIDI instrument adds to this, and it also gives me a lot of freedom to perform as a front man whilst manipulating visuals in real time. I don’t think anyone else is going this right now so, I feel that is the biggest opportunity for me that it is rather unique.

Threats:

Technical difficulties, relying on software there is always a chance of technical issues to arising, especially when working with relatively new software to me. I feel that would be the biggest threat to my project. I am hoping to give myself enough time on the software to feel confident in being able to use it efficient. Another possible threat to my project is working with DIY instrument, there is a chance that it could possibly stop working or start deteriorating before the final show.


Further Performances

In Class:

Class performance

This was an early demonstration of my final idea for my performance. This was one of the first times performing with my DIY controller after setting it up to manipulate video footage instead of sound. I got given some really good feedback from this performance, which really encouraged me to keep with this idea and develop it a lot further.

Gwdihw:

Gwdihw Performance

The Gwdihw gig I felt went really, really well. I mainly focused on working on my stage presence and persona to be able to perform confidently, as this is something I have struggled with. I feel I achieved a major breakthrough for my performance, as I really felt on ease on and comfortable whilst performing. It also gave me a clearer idea of how I wanted this project to progress and the running order of songs.

https://youtu.be/kSHcRq0NHeA

https://youtu.be/_BUN1kThQyk

London, Electrowerkz:

London Performance

I was very lucky to be offered an amazing opportunity to open for an established act called Assemblage 23, in London early April. Elecktrowerkz is one of the few large scale venues in the UK specializing in experimental and alternative music. It was a really incredible experience being able to open for a band with such an established fan base. The venue were unable to accommodate my visuals as their cables for the projector were not compatible with my laptop, and because of this I couldn’t use Resolume either. It was unfortunate but I still feel the performance went very well, and I got a lot of great feedback from it.

https://youtu.be/wZUiLvbqpEk

https://youtu.be/g0Bm8yhEmDY

Final Rehearsals

Rehersal

When it came to the final rehearsals, I felt confident after performing regularly. I was also able to set up relatively quickly. After the London show I also made sure to purchase cables of my own to prevent future complications. I also invested in a cheap and small compact projector to allow me to rehearse at home. This really helped when it came to my performance as it allowed me to practice more often and be able to feel confident working with projection.

Projector

https://youtu.be/UbbYuMN8hk8


Promotional Plan

Promotional Plan

During the promotional phase of the show I will utilize all social media platforms such as, Facebook, Youtube and Instagram to spread the word. I will incorporate hash-tagging on these services in order to find potential listeners by searching for terms that relate to the sort of performance. I am also planning to gradually release images and little promo teaser trailers, to simply build a sense of intrigue and anticipation for the show. Visual content is extremely important, especially within a genre like witch-house, and I feel you can say far more using visual aids than you can in words so, I plan to create a strong visual “brand” and aesthetic for my work. My stylistic choices are really going to need to reflect the music, as I feel it’s what’s going make it reach it’s correct audience.

Here are a couple of links of visual teasers I put up:

https://www.facebook.com/DimethoxySTP/videos/1831759660183063/

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2snwxTDRYk

From research I carried out I found that most artists that release this kind of experimental electronic music try and keep it “underground”, as it is very niche and has a small audience not intended for mass appeal. Especially in genres like witch-house it is normal for artists to keep their releases small and limited, often throwing some symbols, numbers or punctuation marks in the middle of titles for people to find it harder to come across. This is done with the intention of keeping their audience/fan-base small but dedicated. I intend to go along the same sort of lines, keeping the release small. On the more important social media posts, I plan to “sponsor” them, which entails paying money to further the reach of a post to targeted individuals with similar interests based on their profiles. This will allow me to reach a slightly larger audience.


Idea Development

Idea Development

For my final performance I’ve decided I want to really develop my previous idea but take it a bit further. After looking into VDJ performances, I would like to incorporate this into my performance. I will utilise a midi controller that I made myself, and use it to control video, editing and manipulating visuals in real time. For this I started looking into using the software Resolume Arena, and found it fairly straightforward to use. It allowed me to midi map visuals as easily as midi mapping music in any DAW software.

I also plan to keep using an effects pedal on vocals during my performance. The vocal pedal has multiple effect options such as reverbs, distortion etc which I can switch between for certain songs. I feel the vocal pedal just works with the experimental music I am creating, and it helps me achieve a distinguishable aesthetic and sound.

Res Screen shot

Moving my performance forward and thinking of the lighting for my show, I plan to have very little lighting from the front, in order to highlight my visuals. I am considering having a UV spot light on me and cold colour lighting the rest of the stage, just to create atmosphere and make the show feel a bit more immersive.

uv light

Stage plan:

For my stage plan I want the projector to be in the centre of the stage, projecting on to a large backdrop screen. I want to position myself just right of the projector not to obstruct the visuals. I’ll need a lightweight portable laptop stand, that could possibly be a music stand simply to hold the laptop.

Final Stage Plan

Technical Requirements/Equipment List:

1x Laptop Stand

1x Laptop

1x Vem Box Vocal Pedal

1x SM58 Microphone

1x Projector

2x DI Boxes

1x Midi-controller

1x Uv/Black-light 

The Set-up:

Female to Male XLR connecting the microphone to the pedal. Jack to Jack cable from pedal going straight into DI. Mini-jack to stereo jack from laptop to DI and micro-USB to USB from midi-controller to laptop. For the set up I will also need a long HDMI cable going from the projector to the laptop.


Wider Listening & Inspiration

Research

Whilst researching visual performances, I came across visual Djing (VJing) Where DJ’s would use software to perform live editing in real time, which synchronized with music and sound. After finding some example I researched it further and was inspired to incorporate it as a major part of my final performance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEsmpUNqH88

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6m2IvEkw82kDMC Visual DJ 2015 Entries.

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After researching VJing I came across the software Resolume, which is the renowned software when it comes to Vjing. I first began looking at simple tutorial to get a better insight of how complex the software is. After looking at a few tutorial I felt confident taking on a project and being able to learn it well enough in time for my final performance I watched a lot but these two were very beneficial to me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaI58fPP_BQHow to Start VJing with Resolume.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6XJ2OQmBTYZyper VJ Tutorial

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A great simple yet effective project I came across that used Resolume, that had results I felt confident I could achieve within my project in time for my final performance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4I4Qqrx0OIYAstrobite – Lolipop

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One of my favourite pieces I came across that used resolume that I know I’d never be able to achieve by my final performance but I’d love to one day achieve. I think it is beautiful with extremely strong visuals and aesthetically matches the tone and mood of the music.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b01K5HpGVy4RITUAL (live performance) from Flore & VJ team WSK

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This is a piece of work I came cross that I took major influence from. Another project that uses Resolume but manipulates footage and creates a unnerving atmosphere and is almost unsettling to watch. A simply yet effective AV project. That just edits and manipulates video in such a way that you feel uncomfortable, although the visuals are not necessarily dark. It is just executed in the perfect way. I am hoping to capture this exact atmosphere in my performance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jqtDC8gmVI4Narracje Festival (HD live rec.), AV performance: Inside

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Another inspiration for my final performance is this multiple chapter VJ performance call ‘Broken Planet’. This taught me a great technique of pre-editing videos on editing software first. Which lead me to pre-edit a video together in After-effects before importing it to Resolune shaping up my final performance. I found this project to be really effective and some of the techniques used I really want to incorporate in my final piece.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_oIA7WYT42E – War VJ Performance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Sy8gaHALm0 – Addiction – VJ Performance

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he6Spu3jJy07Sins – VJ Performance

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I came across this performance, which is totally along the lines of what I want to achieve in my final performance. This performance uses old movie clips and found footage, manipulated and edited together to create a VJ piece of work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VpTiTI-_2CE Girls Will Be Ghouls – Live VJ performance by Val de Vil

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A beautiful teaser trailer for a VJ performance. I feel this would be the best way to promote and market my performance, simply releasing little aesthetic teaser trailers to capture audiences attention.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8mRywtlAsSc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FntpUtFKss – Addicted with Perc and DVS1, 11.05.2012, VJ Performance Teaser

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r7EOOzsE1Ok – African Techno Dance (live video performance) Demo Cut