NOVAK 3D DISCO™ EVENT SAMPLER from Novak Collective on Vimeo.

It appears Novak have hit on a winning formula for making live audiovisuals more complete and more immersive. The 3D glasses are just one part of that; they’re adding dimension to their parties in more ways than one.

Toby Harris sends along this reel of their parties, along with some rave reviews. I’ll share what he says as I haven’t yet been fortunate enough to see their show:

It’s a story about a collective of VJs coming together to overcome the randomness of all-night wallpaper vjing by putting in the work and creating instead a really high quality product, a “thing”. And it’s worked: they’re being booked all around the world. They often have to split up to do simultaneous gigs in different places. I saw their latest gig where they got to what they called a real v1.0 of their a/v set. Thats a year of development for a cohesive set, on top of years of building up a library of 3D loops, not just a vj doing something alongside a dj and calling it av.

I think it’s an inspirational tale on all fronts, and something that would be a kick-up the arse for a lot of people.

The gig rig, says Toby: Ableton Live with custom Max for Live patches for audio-to-visual communication, Modul8 as the live visual software, and DVI output.

It sounds great. And 3D could prove to be for more than just Avatar; I fully expect to see those more sophisticated glasses at a party soon.

Next Projection Frontier, Going 3D? Head Tracking, Stereoscopy

  • Joni

    Saw these guys at Glastonbury last year and have to say it was terrible. It just felt like a gimmick and didn't have any depth to what they were doing at all. Most of the visuals were just a picture of something stupid like a horse spinning round being all 3D.
    Although saying that hopefully they have worked out something better since then and improved the music, visuals and low quality 3D glasses that made the experience quite painful. I'd really  love to be proved wrong and see them produce an impressive 3D AV set.

  • minusbaby and vj enso did this at the 2009 blip festival as well:

  • my head hurts already 😉

  • Aaarrrgh… I hate this trend. 3d movies, 3d tvs… 3d is not going to save anything. I can't judge the quality of the content from the reel, all I say is if your content is crap, it's still going to be crap AND people will look ridiculous wearing those glasses. For the moment, I see this 3d trend only as a gimmick.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Jeff: I don't disagree; it's about the quality of the content, of course. But it's also red/blue stereoscopy, so saying this is a new trend would be … a stretch.


    wtf is with the half-assed bmore remix of…AMELIE!?

  • @peter: Well, I didn't want to imply this is a new trend, what I consider new is this sudden interest in stereoscopy, this kind of  rush from the movie industry and now the tv manufacturer to quickly jump on this, as a sort of savior. (and maybe this is a good idea, I don't know. All I know is that I'm not convinced 3d is relevant if you don't create with it in mind or if it doesn't take you to another level content-wise)

  • Peter Kirn

    @Jeff: oh, no, absolutely; I agree. 3D is getting overhyped at the moment because it brings hope to sagging electronics margins and a stagnant movie-viewing audience. They just look at it and hear cash registers. They may be right, but it's only going to work if the content works.
    For live visuals, though, it's still interesting. I don't think the live thing is really going to work with red/blue, though, because while people enjoy the glasses as a fashion accessory, the technology itself just isn't very effective!

  • DieTapete

    the glasses look way too cool to just wear em in the movies. those parties are the place were they belong!

  • Andrew @ Novak

    Hi All,
    Guess def need to answer some of the points above….
    Glasto – hmm, yes, to be honest there were 'issues' at Glastonbury, it wasn't one of the better shows, and we also we at an early stage with that show, since then we've been working hard to producing it as a full AV show, especially with Max4Live allowing us to sync up Live and Modul8 how we always wanted.  It has moved on leaps and bounds since then and we premiered the new AV show at the HMV Forum in April – we're much happier with it now and receiving really good feedback – obviously continuous development happens with all these things…
    The 'jumping on the bandwagon issue' – we actually started 3d disco about 4 years ago, just a bit of fun, something a bit different – have been doing club visuals for longer than I can to think about, and I'd be the first to admit that the current cinematic clamour for 3D has helped push on what we do massively, the interest in it has meant its really taken off for us – but what are we supposed to do, ditch it because its become flavour of the month?
    It has been a really interesting journey for us, we freely admit that it is far and away the most 'pop' thing we have done, but it is great to get a real sense of engagement and connection with an audience due to the glasses.  As I've said above we'e done years of vjing, some pretty big tours, many we are really proud of, others we quickly become bored of because basically all the visuals are is dynamic wallpaper.  Our more 'artistic' for want of a better word av performances appeal to a niche audience, 3D disco is something that most of the time works on a much broader scale.
    Tech wise – anaglyph (red and cyan) glasses are really old technology, and yes the 3d effect is never going to be as good as watching Avatar at the IMAX, but we think we've got it working pretty well after a huge amount of effort and work creating colour filtering and experimenting in the production.  It doesn't always work well, getting the lampies to not shine red and cyan lights near the screens is a constant ballache for example.  There are however really good reasons why we're gone down this route (we have also got an OF generative polarised system).  Anaglyph doesn't require anything special hardware wise, a decent projector and a standard screen produce the results.  Its hard enough in our experience getting this done in club environments – the amount of times we turn up at a gig and its set up with crappy knackered projectors and a sheet for a screen is too many.  To do Polarised you either need a very expensive 3D projector or 2 projectors lined up perfectly over each other and a very delicate silver screen – its just not going to happen unless we set it up ourselves in an environment we've got complete control of (watch this space).  Also, as Peter says, anaglyph glasses go down really well with the members of the audience, and to be brutally honest very well with sponsors of events – in our eyes not a bad thing…
    Anyways – we stand by what we've produced as an AV set now that we feel appeals to a wide audience, maybes if you get to see it in a good environment you might like it too…?

  • btw here  is a better video of that minusbaby set:


  • Joni

    @ Andrew @ Novak: Genuinely glad to hear that you've built the show into something that you're clearly now very proud of. Hopefully I'll get to see the improved show at some point. And the prospect of a special show using polarised glasses is very exciting.

  • wow. didn't expect that.
    i saw one of the first shows they did at a cinema and the content was obviously sparse but it was all high-quality motion graphics they had made specially, and the 3d effect was good in that controlled environment.
    few years later, and a month or so ago now, i saw what they described to me as the debut of the 'v1.0' a/v show, and i thought it truly rocked. also, the comparison to the other acts (addictive tv, dj yoda) was just night and day.
    but what really, really impressed me was that as a vj collective, they had made a product that was selling on its own merits. they have 'broken through'.
    fwiw, over the years i've done plenty of high-art things with them to small audiences, largely subsidised by commercial work – in fact thats how i met them, they produced perhaps the best, earliest theatrical presentations of commissioned a/v work in two events called 20/20. but this is taking them places, and paying the bills.
    there can always be a pissing fight, but this distillation of a club a/v experience is good work, and i look forward to others coming up and delivering on what could take the scene further.

  • Sarah

    While this may be a bit of a gimmick, I went to a 3D dance party hosted by the sweatshoppe art collective at a gallery in the lower east side following their last art opening and it was really fantastic. really creative use of 3D, i'd never seen anything like it in my life, strange cool stuff. they weren't using the red/blue glasses though. i'm interested in how this compares, it looks quite cool, but yes, those glasses are  bound to give you a headache.