Decibel Festival :: Thursday Quickie from momo_the_monster on Vimeo.

Ed.: Visualists are constantly looking for better exposure and better fusion with musical events. In the US’ Pacific Northwest, one highlight of the North American calendar year is unquestionably the legendary Decibel Festival. Our own Momo is there, at an event that also attracts the likes of another favorite visualist of ours, Scott Pagano.

Incidentally, if you happen to be up in the Great Pacific Northwest of the USA, Momo is also spearheading a new community for the A/V artists: NWAV (North West Audio Visualists); their first meeting was a hit with lots of A/V goodies to watch.

Momo sends along this dispatch from Decibel. -PK

This is Momo the Monster reporting from Seattle, Washington during the 2008 Decibel Festival.

For my first full day of the festival, I brought along my new camcorder to document things. Evidence above.

Mostly I hung out at Neumos and worked on my new set for the night. You see, in the infinite wisdom of last-minute VJ planning, I decided early this week that I would use a brand-new setup, driving 80% of the show with Quartz Composer controlled by VDMX. Unfortunately, my work load during the week prevented the actual VDMX set-building until a few hours before the show.

I went with a 4-channel VDMX setup controlled by a Monome 128. My top four rows served as 4×4 media-launching grids, with two more rows for navigation commands, and a final row to act as a 16 -key MIDI keyboard.

It was the most structured VJ set I’ve ever done, and I enjoyed that. Once I get back to Portland I’ll have time to properly write it up with pictures and all.

I edited this on Friday night between going to the Optical Showcase and seeing Scott Pagano & Deadmau5 at Neumos. I set up my laptop, camera & external HD on a table on the mezzanine at the Grey Gallery, which serves as a home base of sorts for the festival. I was right behind the DJ, so my new $20 in-ear JVC headphones did the trick to at least let me tell when audio was distorted or not over the roar of the bassline. As a side note, the headphones later came in handy in a pinch as ear plugs.

All the footage was shot with an Canon HF100, which is an SDHC-Based camcorder which saves into the AVCHD format. So far, I’ve found the camera to be pretty decent, though low-light is not it’s strongest point. The Hi-Def recording is nice in theory, but at nighttime or in dark clubs it doesn’t produce a ‘wow’ factor, since it relies on a single CMOS chip. The files transfer quickly, but on my system they need to transcode to Apple ProRes for editing, and encoding is currently about 1x speed. I’m looking forward to trying out the new Adobe Premiere CS 4 which at least advertises native AVCHD editing, but I’m waiting to hear about any hands-on experience.

After editing, I got some good footage of Deadmau5 that I’m going to try to edit together before I head out again tonight.

A short talk with Scott Pagano should be forthcoming – let me know if there’s any visual artist you’d especially like to see on Sat or Sun and I’ll try to grab a few shots.