One of the things I admire about audiovisual duo Eclectic Method is the way they work with audiovisual materials, slicing and mapping visual materials as though they’re sonic loops, all within the rhythmic grid. They’re also, as visualists go, able to carry a party on their own in a way that’s truly rare. So even as I hope that the term “visualist” will come to mean far more than the audiovisual cut-up and a video translation of what VJs (and DJs) have been, there’s no less to learn from Eclectic Method.

They also do things with Sony’s software that’s utterly insane.

You see, before ACID and Vegas were Sony projects, they (along with the awesome Sound Forge) were Sonic Foundry products. And Sonic Foundry, more than any other developer before or since, treated music and video interchangeably in their software design. Resolume Avenue in their ground-up Resolume rebuild has started to try things for live performance, and Ableton has tacked-on video features, but Vegas at its inception was revolutionary. It was always meant to handle both sound and video, and it was always meant to deal with them in rhythmic time and beat-match them. It was the first — and, rather oddly, so far the last — product to be built for a new audiovisual age.

Not only have developers too rarely noted the importance of Vegas, but users have, as well. Eclectic Method, happily, instead spent years becoming masters of Vegas and sister program ACID, and now do audiovisualism better than about anyone currently on the circuit. (For more of the roots of this style of work, of course, don’t miss the earlier collective Emergency Broadcast Network. Oh, and ACID, for its part, was GarageBand before there was a GarageBand.)

Eclectic Method use this approach to a specific end. But there’s no reason you couldn’t use this same editing approach with your own footage and music as well as found footage, or to develop a different rhythmic style all your own, or to work with an entirely different aesthetic, or to apply this to other editing tools not made by Sony, or to build your own tools…

You get the idea. It’s well past time for the audiovisual age to take off.

How to Remix Video

Eclectic Method site

  • ACIDlover

    sssshhhhh… don`t give away all our secrets…
    otherwise everybody will do it.

    but seriously, ACID and VEGAS are completely underrated in the community, either audio or video.
    They come late, so they where rated `oh, just another package`.
    And what I love, they have a different approach for workflow and usability.
    ACID in their recent version is as powerfull as any other professional DAW plus all remix possibilties.
    VEGAS is so easy to use, that it looks firsthand as a toy. But don`t be mistaken:
    Most professional broadcast journalists are using VEGAS, because the workflow is tight and lightning fast.
    The time from filming the top news until its in the air is a blink .
    I can go on on and on, I forgot the price: well below 100 USD for the advanced user version, well below 1000 USD for the professional version (which you usually don' t need until you go into broadcast issues with time code etc.

    Doing VJ with acid and vegas is a change from resolume or arkaos: You produce your music video first at home (with much more control than live) and then use something like mixvibes or serato (with their respective video extension) to present it live in da houze.

    But don' t tell nobody, its a secret…

  • Vegas looks pretty cool. I'm astonished that it was designed to treat audio and video as one. I suggested the need for such a tool to Apple years ago, but I felt a little crazy doing so. It's such a specialised, 20th century world.

    I've taken a very purist approach to treating audio and video as a single chunk of media, ie. no 'background' tracks allowed. You have to see every sound. Check out this Delia Derbyshire track – Final Cut and Logic for composition, and Motion for animating each sound.

    In any case, I need a new workflow. There isn't enough time in the world and I want to spend more time playing music and less time 'architecting' it.

  • Orubasarot

    Just a friendly reminder to all the killa bees in the house:

    Sorry, that's my yay area obligation.

    Also regarding Vegas, I was out of town for a brief gig as a cameraman and photographer at a conference. I was suddenly asked to produce a video summary of the event to project on the last day, and also a DVD ready version, but all I had was my netbook. No problem, fired up Vegas, dragged and dropped some photos for a lil bit of Ken Burns, cut the video up as if I were in notepad working on a .txt file, and watched Cops reruns while rendering. No mouse, Lacie, G5, Cinema Display, nothing.

  • Tom

    All day I have to teach Final Cut. Thank god at night I can go back to Vegas and get some real work done. The difference is like steam engine to electric car – Vegas just does what your fingers want. It's a musical instrument and it kills me that it's not the 'industry standard'.

    One excellent thing – dragging and dropping a filter onto the output window. Makes perfect sense.

  • Orubasarot

    The most astonishing thing about Vegas and Sound Forge is that so far Sony hasn't really ruined either of them. They seem to be perfectly content with charging a few hundred for a new splash screen every year while addind irrelevant watered down versions for confused customers who don't know any better.

    I hope this continues for at least another 10 years, because the software is like an extension of windows. Opening the manual has never even crossed my mind, nor have I ever had a question on how to do anything besides choosing the right codec.

  • Aaah yes. So much love for Vegas! It truly is a beautiful piece of 'ware.

    I was so very resistant to using it when Peter was showing me, but from the first project I produced entirely with Vegas, I was converted.

    @Tom: Thanks for the filter tip! I didn't know that one.

  • Yeah Vegas is absolutely incredible and completely obliterated by most of the AV community. Being a music producer, the rest of the video editing software has always been difficult to use for me. Vegas on the other hand treats video as if it were audio, wich seems logical if you consider that they are usually linear time based events to cut up and mix. I used to use ACID before Live came out, and if Live didn't exist, I would surely still be using it..

  • I feel vindicated! I've been using Vegas for a few years. I thought I was playing with a kids' toy! The link below will take you to a remix track I did using this program.

    I've also produced several episodes of a public access show, "I Am Television." The later episodes are pretty Vegas-heavy.

    If not for sites like this one, I'd still be in the dark with this stuff. Thanks!

  • So thrilled to see the Sonic Foundry heritage brought up. Vegas' DAW-y roots have made it easier to do many audio edits, altho its audio automation could be beefed up like video keyframing.

    I did a related tutorial awhile back about finding the BPM for an audio track so you can add visuals:

    HOWEVER, as a veteran Vegas user, I have a few observations:

    – The newest Vegas 9 includes Elastique timestretching. A win for audio quality.

    – But, Vegas still isn't as GPU-accelerated as it could be, meaning you still need to render a lot of things in order to watch them realtime. Dealing with composited layers stutters compared to GrandVJ. My wife has gotten some good results exporting clips from Vegas to play in GrandVJ and then back into Vegas for more postprocessing, but that's still workflow hoops. Here's some techy alien hawtness:

    – Also a crucial weakness: unlike After Effects and others, Vegas CAN'T detect the amplitude of an audio track. This means, not only are clunky workarounds required for ducking, syncing TrapCode-style effects to changing tempo is painfully manual.

    I liked the Wu-Tangy example featured here. Speaking of, the other day, I just jammed to one of my fave RZA productions, "Triumph":

  • Vegas is great. when it isn't crashing, or failing to render your whole timeline, which is ALL THE FLIPPIN TIME…and these problems have been going on for years, throughout different versions. sony's support is pretty useless. It's a shame, because I like it for all reasons mentioned above. When it works. But when there's a deadline looming I can't trust it.

    And the new 64-bit version 9 doesn't even run without crashing as soon as you hit render on my machine, a problem that a few people have but nobody seems to know the solution to.

  • Interesting perspectives Mike. I very rarely have Vegas crashes, and definitely not when rendering! That's one of the reasons that I take certain projects to it – because I can't trust After Effects to render a project without crashing half way through…

    Probably a complexity thing perhaps – I take more complex post-production through After Effects, so that's where all the crashes happen for me.