VIDEO-SL is the video plug-in for Serato’s Scratch Live, extending the turntablist / virtual vinyl metaphor from sound to the realm of video. Once loaded, you can manage video clips and control them with vinyl or CD as if they lived on records, a clever rendition of something that would technically be impossible (or at least difficult) in the non-digital world.

Ed.: A reader notes that in fact there are encoded “video vinyl” records; I’m not sure the behavior, however, would be the same as audio – that is, what’s unique here is treating the vinyl video signal as exactly analogous to audio on a turntable. Maybe there is a way to do that, though, if someone can enlighten us.)

You can manage, mix, add loads of effects and transitions (many audio-responsive), for instantaneous audiovisual DJing. The only catch is you need some specific elements in your setup: a computer with a capable graphics card, and a copy of Serato with a Serato-capable interface from Rane. (Clarification: An early version of VIDEO-SL worked only with the Rane TTM-57 SL mixer. Now, you can use a number of Rane mixers and interfaces, and via a supported Rane interface, a non-Rane mixer. There’s also now MIDI support for performing from any MIDI controller you choose.)

But for Serato users with that setup, adding video powers just became a no-brainer. The software is on sale through the end of December for only US$99 (half off the usual price). And if you don’t have a hundred bucks but do have the rest of the setup, CDM can get you one of a couple of copies we’ve got for free. So we can be equitable, just write in comments a brief explanation of why you deserve to get the freebie and what you’ll do with it. If we find an answer compelling (hint: promising to help us share what you do with it on CDM would be a big help), we’ll announce you as one of the winners.

If you’re curious what all the fuss is about, see the video at top, in which French gentleman Joachim Garraud shows you around how he’s using Serato and VIDEO-SL on tour.

Free loops from that project:

Invasion Box 2011:

More on the product (including requirements):
Download a free demo

  • Vjwunderkind

    Apart from the fact that this guy is a total $£¥%head and can't play that keytar, I see some of us visualists lose our jobs. On the Otter hand, I fear we're going to see even more cheesy video downloaded from Youtube. 

    • peterkirn

      I don't see how the availability of this product has any real impact on either of those issues. In fact, on the contrary, I find that most of the people using VIDEO-SL are VJs. So when I say "for DJs/turntablists," I mean primarily that it works within that paradigm. You're just as responsible for content. Now, that doesn't mean that good VJs always get hired or that content is always good, but — come on, that was certainly true before. VIDEO-SL has been available for some time. 

      And, meanwhile, if this attracts some people who have traditionally been DJs to the field, I don't see how that's a problem. There's long been a crossover of techniques, skills, and individual artists. 

      We ran one of the first reviews, and we've consistently looked at it through the eyes of visualists:… [sorry, there's a server issue that is causing some older image links to be broken – on my to-do list for the january cleanout!]

      • Vjwunderkind

        I say nasty things about this guy because I vjed for him and he wasn't being nice. He IS a dj bringing his own visuals –  at least occasionally. I'm just saying that guys like this might make promoters think that they don't need a vj anymore. 

  • Not to nitpick, but video in vinyl is not "technically impossible" – in fact, it has been done:

    • peterkirn

      Right, you can absolutely encode video on vinyl, but here's where I'm uncertain – could you do it in such a way that you would be able to scratch the results?

  • Redselecter

    Gotta pitch for the Video-SL giveaway… we've got a nascent electronic music scene here in Kingston, Jamaica, and myself and a few other local DJs have been trying to bring the fuller experience to the fan base that we've developed, through lighting, production, live remixing, and of course video – main obstacle is expense (small poor country w/ high customs duties)… at the same time, we also have a rapidly growing local film and video industry, and we've been trying to bring the two together to put video content from local creators into the mix (no pun intended) – see films like Better Must Come and Ghetta Life – its the ultimate mashup!

    • Redselecter

      and of course we would give CDM a peek πŸ™‚

    • peterkirn

      Sounds awesome.Do you have a Rane mixer with which to test?Hello, Kingston(!)Peter

      • Redselecter

        Rane TTM57 but actually would prob MIDI map DJM-800 since I am starting to use the Bridge w/ Ableton as well.

        Because of reggae and the studio scene in Kingston, a fair amount of big name dance producers and DJs pass through to add some dancehall flavour to their productions, so we usually grab them to do a DJ set when they're here as well – we've had Bob Sinclar, Diplo, Congorock, 12th Planet, Jason Bye and Sarah Main in the last two years.

  • prevolt

    Hey Peter,

    You no longer need a specific Rane mixer, just any form of Serato interface. A lot of people actually prefer to use MIDI-capable mixers like Pioneer, etc., as Rane has never shown any interest in dedicated video control features.

    Serato has been hinting about releasing a video plugin for Itch recently, and that could be a much more exciting development then anything we've seen on the Scratch Live side for years. Development of the video plugin for Scratch Live has slowed down to the point where Inklen's competing Mix Emergency plugin has stolen most of VSL's high profile user base and even taken over a lot of VSL's forum. The response from Serato to all this has been nothing but silence.

    At this point Mix Emergency is the better option for a DJ who's accustomed to other VJ software and features. It can record itself, new transitions and effects come out all the time, it's customizable, people go on and on about how great it is. I'm still too stubborn to buy it myself though.

    If Serato is always gonna move this slowly on the development side, at least having video in the Itch world will shake things up a little more from a control standpoint. There's a new Itch controller coming out every month now, and once everybody else figures out how to respond to what Novation's done with the Twitch, things could really get interesting.

    But my biggest wish for either video plugin is that they could support more than 2 channels! Just getting one more channel would change everything. It can't be that hard to do. If they offered 4 I'd never ask for anything again. I don't care how fast my computer has to be, I'll buy it.

    • peterkirn

      Yes, I'm very interested in looking at how this compares to Mix Emergency. I know this whole area is really a niche at this point, and isn't getting the kind of attention mainstream DJ tools are.

      So you're imagining four decks a la the four-deck interfaces on the DJ side? 

      And yeah, actually, just having three video channels adds a lot. In fact, since 2 is often too few and 4 too many, I wonder how you might decide a 3-channel video mixer. πŸ˜‰

      • prevolt

        Rane already has a great 3-channel mixer in the Empath, so maybe someday it will get the -SL treatment like the TTM56 did.

        DJing with videos has definitely gotten the niche treatment, and it's starting to feel stuck there.  On the label side, the only videos you can legally get for DJ use are still the tired Top 40/club things full of chyron and bugs and copyrights.  Serato has been really slow to innovate, while Traktor and Live show no sign of ever supporting video.

        • prevolt

          And on the 3-or-4 channel idea, yeah, they could implement it the same as they've done the 4-deck audio interface.  No further development required, and just let us handle the rest.

          At that point you could build whole song arrangements–rhythm/harmony/lead voice (or whatever)–and be able to link everything more organically and subtly without constantly running out of cue points and jumping through tracks.

  • Peter, this would be a great addition to my Living Remix Project working with the kids to make live improvised music in the workshop & if we had this, it would bring the youth project to another amazing level!,!
    Love to have it for the new programs coming up next year. We also just set up a studio in the Bronx & will be working with the International Community High School again which is 10 blocks from the studio. Lemme kno if I win it! For more info on the living remix project peace Aaron

  • elry

    if had the software i could sync my visuals to my live show like in the video.
    will be using it with the bridge

  • "French gentleman Roachim Garraud" prefers to be called Joachim πŸ™‚

    • peterkirn

      American gentleman Reter is a bit rembarrassed.

      Sorry, was one other glitch in the article above, as well, now fixed.

      • Vjwunderkind

        My meeting with him led my to believing that he isn't a gentleman in the first place. 

  • ok, (at least according to this wikipedia article .. if its correct) i wasn't crazy thinking i heard about this a while back.
    so, looks like lower price, midi support and broader range of mixer hardware is the news here. I never really look too closely at this since ive never really dj's but thanks for the 2nd look.

    and not sure if we want to continue debating if this kills the vj or not …. ill vote for not. Someone who is a dj, and trying to make music will likely team up with a someone – vj or motion graphics designer – to help develop and create visuals.

    I'm thinking the dj shadow tour did just that –Looks like it was 2010 by a quick search, but thought it was earlier, maybe there was more than one. He worked with ben stokes to develop the show. i didnt see the show, but what i remember reading was : part of the visuals were videos w audio tracks that came from the dj and part came from the vj – live camera feeds, and other prepared video.

    i think its a pessimistic view to think the vj will be killed by one piece of software. think ableton w midii also makes doing audio video sync fairly easy to execute based on the videos ive seen — at least for someone who can manage Live as a dj or performance tool. there is also the pioneer dvd decks (thinking they were used on the dj shadow tour i was thinking about) though their cost makes a laptop more appealing to most video people.

    I think the broader challenge is to come up with compelling audio and video, with out one just being something shiny to distract from the mediocre other half. Maybe not the best comparison but -There are reasons it take years to get a film made. just because you're building pieces and doing the assembly live as the performance doesn't necessarily cut down on writing the music or developing the visuals -graphics, shot specific for the project, or found footage.

    In a club, were there is someone doing visuals (house vh or lighting guy) and someone (guest) dj'ing without prior planning … goes to a a question of how many venues are stuff up for video, and if so how is it set up. … I guess i just don't see djs having the interest or time to invest in developing visuals to go with their dj set. Though, to be fair its been a while since I've been a larger club.

  • gio

    Hey Peter, I would love to check this Serato Video SL thing.
    I've been working on audiovisual stuff on and off for a few years, mostly Jitter for the creation of the video material  and Isadora for performing live, with pretty good results I think but I'm always looking for new solutions. It's endless πŸ˜‰ 
    I got a Serato SL box a while ago and I've been experimenting with it for my live set even though I don't have turtables at the moment. I made this little patch to control it running a padKontrol in native mode and I gotta say it works pretty well. Being able to add video to that in a simpler way than in my current setup (not very flexible) would be amazing. I haven't been able to perform my AV set often cause its not flexible enough and I like to change my set pretty much for every performance.

    Anyways,here go couple of videos of my audiovisual show.


  • Please release a version for ITCH!!!

  • Whatever happened with this giveaway? We're chugging away in the meantime, learning Quartz Composer πŸ™‚

  • StoryBoy

    In the meantime I got MsPinky MaxiPatch working Resolume 4.0 via OSC …

    Now I need to work out how to get OSC of the M4L patch and then I'll be sorted.

  • Hugojohnson01

    hey guys, don’t suppose you still have any of those free copies??! Dying to put a set together with this, plan on mixing a load of cinema 4d experiments i’ve been building up into a set. Each C4D experiment has been synced to audio either with C4D’s sound effector or by manual keyframing. Trying to build a library of these short clips to mix and a match into a kinda Richie Hawtin “Closer To The Edit” mix but with visuals. Still have bit of work to do on it but dying to have a look a it so far with the annoying graphic on the SL video demo!! PS. I promise to share all the info behind the project with you guys, have learnt a lot from this great site so would be the least I could do. Cheers guys : )