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Packing up VJ Gear to fit on an airplane can be tricky business. I flew from Portland to San Diego in order to join the Xochi Media crew for Coachella this year – luckily, they’re supplying most of the heavy equipment, so I needed only the essentials, as photographed above. Here’s what I brought and why:

  • Edirol V-4 Video Mixer: The ever-present 4-input, 2-channel mixer which broke the price barrier for amateur VJs and became the staple mixer for many live video perfomers.
  • Canon HF100: This is mostly for documentation. I sold my trusty GL-1 last year for this super-compact High-ish Def Camcorder.
  • Monome 128: This minimalist, handmade interface is my main controller for VDMX. My Four-Layer setup maps beautifully onto the 16-button-wide box, and the bidirectional communication allows me to see what clips are playing at a glance. Additionally, the second-to-last row of buttons emulates a MIDI keyboard, allowing me to use all my keyboard-reactive animations without the need for the keys. The case was handmade here in Oregon by mapmap
  • Cavalry 500GB eSata Drive: This is my dedicated content drive, running at 7200RPM and sending its zeroes and ones over eSata through my ExpressCard slot for faster-than-firewire performance. It may, however, soon give way to an SSD…
  • 7″ LCD: This is a little touchscreen marketed for use in cars, purchased from a Chinese importer for around $130. The color on it is better than my old 5″ Gamecube monitor, but it’s forever stuck in a 16:9 ratio, stretching all my 4:3 content to fit. It acts as the preview monitor for my V-4.
  • Korg NanoKontrol: Just the right amount of faders and knobs to control my VDMX setup. This replaces my UC-33 which was a bit overkill most of the time.
  • Mesh bag full of cables and adaptors: while the Xochi Media crew will be providing the bulk of the cables, I bring enough USB, Firewire and Power Cables to patch my own stuff. Also important are DVI-to-VGA and DVI-to-Composite adaptors to get video signals out of my first-gen MacBook Pro, a 4-Port Powered USB Hub, my Logitech Gamepad, and a small bus-powered Firewire drive in case something happens to my eSata.
  • Stanton Uberstand (not pictured): This foldable laptop stand is a tremendous help in conserving precious table space, and it folds flat into its own carrying case. Minus points for needing a velcro cable-tie to keep it from collapsing
  • MacBook Pro (not pictured): The heart of my VJ setup, my now-slightly-aging First-Gen MacBook Pro kicks out the pixels with the help of Vidvox’s VDMX5, which I use as a 4-Layer Video Mixer, and a healthy dose of Quartz Composer for interactive visuals.

Everything goes inside of a case for protection, and then I put towels and sweatshirts in the case to keep things from moving around. I actually was slightly over the 50lb weight limit this time around, had to take out my camera at the baggage check counter and stuff it in my carry-on. But the equipment arrived safe and sound, and that’s enough to make me happy after the joys of my inaugural flight with this case:

I’ll be writing updates about Coachella throughout the next week and a half as we prep and rehearse – check it out: Momo the Monster’s Coachella VJ Diary.