Projection Surface Maintenance: Draper Cinefold Screen Repair

I’ve had 2 rented Draper Cinefold screens with me on the tour. These are relatively expensive collapsible screens which we got a good deal on for a 3ish month rental. Unfortunately their former life at dance parties outside in the elements had left them with some pretty serious battle scars. One of the screen frames had a broken hinge, as did one of the legs. This is why I don’t go Outside. Bad Things happen Outside. These I “fixed” with gaffer tape and strips of plywood, until we had a couple of days off between tour legs and I time …

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Is it Bad to Hang a Projector on Its Side?

Every time you say you don’t believe in visualists, a bulb dies. Photo by -cr. In an informal poll of a variety of people, I’ve been unable to get agreement on a pretty fundamental question in projection: Is it bad for a projector to hang it vertically? For instance, to project on the floor, your first temptation would be to hang the projector perpendicular to the ground, with the lens pointed downward. But some projectionists argue this can increase the failure rate of the projector. Why? I’ve heard to explanations: one is that it’s “bad for the electronics” and somehow …

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Ask CDM: Stuck in a Hospital? Learn Advanced Visualism!

Dan writes: Please pass on as many links as you possibly can think of for a beginning VJer who is currently stuck in hospital for a time – lots of time to play and practice and learn through tutorials etc. any help appreciated. Excellent question! So, let’s help him out — any suggestions, folks? Heck, it’s worth compiling a list of “rainy day” tutorials we’d all like to work on when any circumstance (long plane flights, etc.) give us some time. Ideas?

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Wanted: Alternative Music Controllers or Software to Overcome Disabilities

One of the reasons to look beyond conventional controllers for music (like the ubiquitous, piano-style black-and-white keyboard) is that these controllers have a certain range of expression. But these constraints also impact people with different physical abilities. The piano assumes a certain kind of physical facility, and even as it makes playing easy for people with that facility, it prevents others from being expressive. Case in point: reader Niels Schuddeboom has been looking for alternative controllers or software that would allow him to overcome cerebral palsy: I am looking for a solution to make it easier for me to play …

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RAM Upgrade: Quick Fix for Masses of MacBook Problems

In my computing life I’m very much into segregation. Until recently I’ve worked exclusively with PCs and have always had 3-4 machines around, each installed with a certain set of tools to do a specific job: Workstation with After Effects, Photoshop, Web Development tools, Content stuff… Laptop with Mail, IM and other communication/organization stuff. Server with bittorrent downloading, media serving and distributed rendering. Gig machine with just Resolume and required codecs. Since this whole tour thing started I’ve had to consolidate everything onto my MacBook. All of the usual amail, browsing and IM duties remain, but are now encroached by …

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MacBook Speed Bump: Still a Fantastic Mobile Musician Bargain

Apple has made a minor upgrade to its MacBook line — same price, same lineup, but improved offerings. The $1099 white model is actually a pretty great deal now: 2.0GHz / 1 GB RAM / 80 GB HD means you get a pretty solid model out of the box. Upgrade to 1.5 or 2 GB RAM, and I think you’d be very happy, even running relatively intensive audio processing. As always, consider an external FireWire drive if you’re doing any significant multitracking. (Spend extra if you need DVD burning or, you know, the color black.) This could mean the previous …

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Getting Good Gigs … For Visualists

I got to run a feature yesterday on Create Digital Music with tips for getting good gigs, written by musician and Chicago electronica scenester Liz “Quantazelle.” That story has in turn generated a lot of discussion on CDM and elsewhere. This raises an interesting question, though: how much of this advice applies to visualists and, specifically, standard VJ gigs? We face even more challenges: needing projection surfaces and (in some cases) projectors, having to “accompany” music, and having a new medium that most people still don’t quite “get.” My own gigs have often been nontraditional (modern dance) or mixed with …

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Getting Good Digital Gigs: Discussion, Debates, and a Place to Chat More

Laptop performance gigs: MOMUS displays one (atypical) way to present your live performance persona. We forgot the “Find a way to keep your face warm” tip. Photo by Tamara Weikel, taken in a Chelsea (NY?) gallery. Getting good gigs is a challenge for all genres, and it touches even more issues when computers are involved. So, as we’d hoped, Liz’s tips for getting booked has generated a lot of discussion. In addition to comments here on CDM: The wonderful community at EM411 has some discussion, including a great tip: bring VHS tapes or books to prop your computer atop the …

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How Do You Case and Transport Your Visualist Rig Step 1: Ask CDMo Readers

The tour with Bobby Flynn is hotting up now. Over the weekend we had two shows: In Brisbane and the Gold Coast, which meant that I spent about 8 hours of my weekend setting up and tearing down my rig, aligning projectors and screens, running cables, and running around. The tour map currently displays 16 gigs down Australia’s east coast, and we will have another 35 or so joining them over the next week or so as dates are finalized. The cardboard box protecting my V4 during transport has already torn, and I’m sick of plugging and unplugging cables. So …

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