A mixture of all three! It took us days to figure out exactly what was required, to be able to do exactly what we need to be doing, as it’s quite an unusual task we’re undertaking, especially the audiovisual sampling of live streams that you’ve actually no idea what exactly they’ll be until they happen!
This just isn’t a normal gig set up and no equipment exists to do exactly what’s needed. Ideally, we’d like some huge Grass Valley multi-channel mixer that takes everything from SDI to Y/C and their Turbo recorder or similar, but the audio side of this kind of kit simply doesn’t work in the same way as DJ kit and certainly doesn’t have audio effects, or appropriate video effects for that matter.
So central to our set-up will be one of Pioneer’s new SVM-1000 audio/visual mixers. We worked with Pioneer on the development of the SVM, from conceptual ideas to the testing of the early prototype – so it’s good to be pushing it’s capabilities outside of the club environment. We’ll also be using our own customised Edirol V4 video mixer that’s been modified to take audio, and we’ll use it to shrink the picture and do further overlays; allowing us to have two live images side-by-side, using our laptop running VJammPro – which is essentially an AV sequencer and clip triggering software (which can also shrink the picture live too); we’ll also capture footage on this laptop from any of the live feeds and place the clips in VJammPro. And to complete the set-up we’ll have three DVJ-1000’s – Pioneer’s DVD turntables, and a DJM-1000, which is a six channel audio mixer plus it’s effects unit, the EFX-1000. Oh and ten tonnes of cables, connectors and video monitors!
How many concurrent feeds will you have access to?
We’ll be getting six live feeds, and I think it’ll be a mixture of live cameras from the same event and at other times different events coming down at the same time.
How will you be capturing the video for remixing?
Using both the SVM-1000, which can capture small samples on a loop, and also simply using PremierePro and immediately placing the clips in VJammPro for instant triggering or looping in time with the music, nothing mysteriously complicated at all. Audio wise, we can also capture samples using the EFX-1000 unit, instantly mixing them too, to form part of the music.
You mentioned in your newsletter that you were given archive footage. How much material did you have to work with?
Quite a lot of hours, and from Olympics going back to the 1930s! …fantastic scratchy old black and white footage of boat races, boxing, athletics and the like. Working with a large archive is always great, in fact our live cinema project ‘The Eye of the Pilot’ (Ed: Video on Dailymotion) is based on an incredible personal archive of a French pilot who shot all this beautiful colour 8mm film all around the World in the 1950s, we sampled this and wrote a whole score around it and perform the show with live guitar; for info should point out we don’t perform this show in clubs, it’s very different to our audio/visual club sets, we only perfrom this project in cinemas, art spaces and so on.
You’ve been putting together “bedding tracks” to use for the broadcast. What kind of pre-produced material are you using as a base for your performance?
We’re making breakbeat-driven loops created from the sounds of the actual sports themselves – like table tennis, beach volleyball and boxing etc – so what you’re hearing is actually what you’re seeing too; i.e. we cut-up shots of guys playing table-tennis into rhythms, using the sound of a bat hitting a ball and the ball hitting the table and so on to create the basic beats. These aren’t the base of our performance though, they are just elements to bring in from time to time. Bear in mind this whole experiment is one huge improvised set based around the live coverage material!
Your remixes tend to be very percussive, sound-oriented affairs. How much time does it take you to find the perfect chunk of video with both great video and audio.
Well, clearly putting this project aside where we’re in the realms of improvising to live events, it can take hours and hours on end just to find a simple shot with the right sound. I guess like any artistic pursuit, things just take time until you feel happy with both your raw materials and your end results; and obviously everyone has their own levels of satisfaction. Think if an extreme case like Stanley Kubrick, an absolute perfectionist who’d sometimes take even days just to get what he would consider a perfect take. Me and Tolly often spend hours upon hours in the studio on just a small section alone until we’re both happy with it! And as you point out, for us it has to be both great video and audio – as an example, a bit of a generalisation, but if we find a good piece of audio, say dialogue, but the person speaking is out of shot we probably wouldn’t use it. Bear in mind too, when remixing a movie particularly, we also have to think about narrative and getting across what the film is about, which makes sampling doubly hard and much more critical.
Is there a web stream of your performance available so people outside of Austria can check it out?
Unfortunately no, it’ll be a channel only available on broadcaster ORF’s interactive services. Like all broadcasters digital platforms, it’ll be one of the choices you see when you get the interactive sub-menu of channels to choose from.
But yes, it’s a shame they’re not streaming it somewhere on the web for all to see. It’s a ground-breaking project to be part of and we’re keen to entertain and push the envelope, whatever the medium. We’re told they’ll be audience feedback and voting via interactive messages, which will be different from what we’re used to, but obviously it’s a long way from working with a live crowd, and the kind of instantaneous response we’re used to – especially at music festivals!
In some respects TV gallery directors already do live mixing, but we’re taking it all that one step further and remixing, being more experimental and playing with the sounds and images in ways they wouldn’t normally.
Thanks guys, and good luck this weekend! We’d love to hear how the performance goes, and any CDM readers in Austria – chime in if you manage to catch Addictive’s show. This far into the Olympics, I’d definitely be happy for something other than boring sporting events to be shown on my TV.