The 2007 way of promoting your VJing: giving away clips. So while we’re on the subject of legal, free clips to use in your next visual set (classic movies were the subject last week), this week:

68 Vintage Fairlight VJ Loops by VJzoo (2007) [, from

Get ready for some grungy, glitchy 80s electro-style analog visuals:

There are NOT for everybody’s taste – they are messy, grungy and grainy loops harvested from “Vintage AV Plug n Play” sessions using equipment from the 1980’s and 1990’s such as Fairlight Computer Video Instruments (CVIs), the Panasonic WJ-AVE7 and feedback from an analogue Panasonic video camera on a Commodore monitor. The Fairlight CVI was developed in Australia in 1984 and was used by early live-AV artists such as Severed Heads.

That’s right, Fairlight — better known for their high-end sampler/workstation, the Fairlight CMI, credited by some as the first commercial sampler — also made video equipment. And if there’s one thing we love at CDM, it’s talented Australians.

The footage raises an interesting question: whether tis nobler to use actual glitchy footage in your set, or build your own. Our friend Anton Marini (vade) has done some beautiful work making his own glitch patches in Max/MSP/Jitter. (More similar glitchy stuff elsewhere on his site, too.) This is entirely synthetic. Even if you’re not into glitch, it’s a fascinating learning experience to deconstruct the look of it and figure out how it’s put together.

Updated: Yes, speaking of glitch, this is not actually synthetic — see comments from vade. He has done some really beautiful — and uniquely digital — glitching in other projects, though. More on that soon.

Also in the free loops category: Holly Daggers’ free loops on, including some beautiful footage she shot of steam coming out of smokestacks near her new Queens studio.

This gets me thinking, though: anyone else got access to a Fairlight CVI or other vintage equipment? We’d love to hear about. Heck, I’d love to come to your studio and visit it personally.

More on the Fairlight CVI:
Fairlight Computer Video Instrument [Retro Thing]
Fairlight CVI @

  • chris

    Wow CVI loops, I've got oodles of this stuff on old tapes (used to be the only way to save what you did) makes me think I should pull it all in and put it online. Not exactly glitchy, but quite beautiful in an old school minimal electro fashion. Wonder if we could get Steve Jones (who was the main visualist for Severed Heads in those days) to put some of his stuff up.

  • Glitch is hot!!! I dig it! As far as making your complete set out of this type of material,- possibly not a best idea. I usually have few of my fave glitch clips handy at all times whenever some DJ goes for a bit of train wreck, I can save him as if was intentional 🙂 Ta da.. Now, where were we.. full set of glitch ?? hehe

    And make your own!!!

  • I've owned a couple of fairlight CVI's. They are quite interesting, though I admit I have not used them much in awhile as I've been concentrating on learning applications such as motion and getting ready to learn max/msp/jitter. †hey are not easy to find. If somebody really wants to get there hands on one, I'd considering selling my extra Fairlight.

  • You're welcome to come and visit us and play with our Fairlight CVI's any time! It's probably a long plane trip though….

    And Chris – yeah! Would LOVE to see your vintage fairlight stuff. We have some loops of Jasper playing with a CVI when he was about 10yrs old, pretending to be a rockstar. I wonder if that's where his VJing obsession started…

  • It's probably not legally approved etc, but it's such a great piece of VJ history that I'm glad someone uploaded an early Severed Heads clip Hot With Fleas to YouTube:

  • Hrm. The glitch posted here from my site is actually genuine so to speak. I use an RF (over the air radio frequency TV reciever – from 900Mhz to 2400Mhz) and slightly de-tune the carrier manually by a few Hz. This basically looses the sync signal and things get wonky and really sexy. Those particular shots are not created in Jitter (sadly, ive yet to figure out a way to get it that convincing in software), but I have been working on some new techniques. Its funny you mention and post this today, as Ive been really thinking about some things in regard to this, especially using the GPU to make things faster and emulate glitch (glitch alike so to speak)

    Great post, those are nice loops and great resources to have. I really need to get my hands on some old analog gear. Its such a shame it can be so difficult to record if you decide to mess with the sync (I was fortunate enough that a friend and I discovered a random no name MP4 digital recorder that somhow doesnt need sync to record video frames).

    Ok ill stop ranting now..

  • What a delight! I saw these a long time ago, but I'm glad they've come back to me thanx to this blog. I really like the glitch aesthetics — in particular recently, in the online world Second Life, I've been seeing what kind of happy accidents can come about when mucking with the UI debug features.

    I've done some glitch visuals myself like:


    SL also has basic functionality for playing back QuickTime movies: I'd like to have something like this inworld playing in a club. Unfortunately, it isn't easier to sync moving pictures to sound, but it's gotta start somewhere.

    CVI's effectively before my time, happy to learn from history!

  • We record our output to mini-DV tape on our through our V4 which seems to iron out the sync issues, then we can just rip it from tape and keep the tape for archiving.

  • Ah. Thats interesting. Id be super curious if the V4 could add sync to some of the signals being output by my Icom IC-R3. That… would be very nice – id be suprised though as most of those units use some sort of time based corrector, which assumes the incoming signal is something even remotely like video:)

    Thanks for the heads up – ill definiately have to give that a shot!

  • Thanks Kat and Jasper for releasing these clips, they're great! I used some of them for a gig on Friday night, feeding them back through a camera pointed at the screen for even more glitchtastic action.

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  • No probs, happy they're getting used! If anyone wants to come to play with our Fairlight CVI's, we're thinking about having a big Vintage AV Plug n Play as part of our proposed Festival at the end of 2007. Fancy a trip to Perth?

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  • Jarbas JÃ&fno

    Does anybody know if CVI used audio input params like intensity, pitch or something to control the video effects?

    Im asking that because we see here that CVI has an audio input.

    Any ideas?



  • Jarbas: I think it does indeed, as the VJZoo guys were using one at a gig recently and told me that the music had so much bass it was overwhelming the audio input.

    Be nice to the VJZoo guys and they may tell you more!

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