Video mixing: Numark’s NuVJ drives Supermarket’s VJ rig

When we first began mixing video live at our Supermarket audio-visual shows in 2008, we used an old-school 1990’s hardware video mixer from Panasonic. It was heavy and cumbersome, but it delivered every time when fed a camera and two streams of standard definition video. We hired the unit from Adelaide’s Media Resource Centre on several occasions, and despite it having a bunch of extra effects onboard including keying, fades and wipes, we were essentially using it as a bloated video cross-fader. Needless to say, things have changed a lot since then and after an ongoing battle with technology, we may have finally arrived at a harmonious setup.

Supermarket @ Adelaide Fringe Festival, March 2008
Supermarket @ Adelaide Fringe Festival, March 2008

We chose software over hardware in August of 2008 after looking into Numark’s NuVJ package. Despite not knowing anyone personally who’d committed to the rig, there were a few factors that made this the winner for us. Korg had (and still have) some great high-end video mixing gear on the market. So did Edirol. We were concerned though about future-proofing ourselves, and while hardware becomes quickly outdated, software can usually be upgraded without generating any waste and is lighter on the pocket. Purchase price was the was the next factor, and with the Numark rig coming in at less than half the price of a hardware fix from Edirol or Korg, we took the plunge. We gambled on the Numark controller, but the combination of our tolerance for the Panasonic’s crude design and Numark’s reputation of delivering high quality performance oriented DJ products left no cause for hesitation.

NuVJ midi controller & software solution
The solution: NuVJ video mixing midi controller & software

Snapping NuVJ up for a song via Amazon.com, Emma Sterling and I put the rig to work immediately, christening it at local street magazine Rip It Up‘s 1000th issue launch party. Unfortunately unable to run the NuVJ software on our laptops due to their wimpy video card specs, we pumped VHS, DVD, prepared samples and live camera feeds through Em’s Windows XP desktop computer for over four hours without a single restart or hiccup. Unfortunatley, not every gig since has run so smoothly.

The main problems we have suffered with our rig relate directly to our 3rd party analog capture devices. Running at its best, our desktop rig featured three EasyCAP USB analog video capture devices dangling out the back, taking whatever we threw at them. For some reason, these input devices would occasionally not appear as accessible sources in the NuVJ software (after upgrading from version 1.0 to the infinitely better version 1.5 (upgrade available from the Numark website). Restarting, switching USB ports and uninstalling/reinstalling drivers never consistently solved the problem, and many a show was compromised as a result. Despite receiving glowing reviews, only the third of our three show Adelaide Fringe Festival season of Basement Beats this year saw our rig run at %100 the whole show through.

EasyCAP video capture unit
EasyCAP USB video capture unit

Despite the bumpy road so far, we remain optimistic. Just two days ago our NuVJ rig became truly portable for the first time with the purchase of a new Acer Aspire 6930 notebook computer. Featuring a 1 Gb dedicated video card from Nvidea, the system has enough grunt to run video simultaneously over several external outputs. The computer was the first of its kind to sell through A&R Computers here in SA, and we are very happy to see that PC laptops have risen to the challenge of our video needs at long last. I can’t imagine what it was like for Ninjatune’s breakbeat audio-visual act Hexstatic when they were giving birth to the art of the live video mix using re-purposed studio technology in the 1990’s. Much respect to them, as always.

So if you’re all dry, tech’d out and keen for a taste of Supermarket’s VJ stylings, we’re breaking the rig in with a VJ set at the Crown & Sceptre Hotel here in Adelaide on April 9th. The event’s called All Hands on Decks and it’ll be a booty-shaking hip-hop and breakbeat affair, featuring two of Australia’s three-times DJ DMC champ turntablists, Staen-1 (local hero) and Perplex (Melbourne). Come celebrate the beginning of the Easter long weekend on the dancefloor with us, and hopefully the beginning of a much smoother ride for Supermarket’s video mixing future!

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Music: Supermarket bombs Adelaide Fringe with Basement Beats

After just emerging from the smoke cloud following our last event Lateral Movement, it’s time for us to change gears and get back into the breakbeat audio-visual zone… enter: Supermarket! We launched this project of ours (best compared to the work of Ninjatune artists Hexstatic) back in early 2008 with Fringe shows (after our 1st North American tour) and this year we’ve adjusted the format and moved the venue underground- to the basement of Big Star CD’s & Records on Rundle St, Adelaide. They’ve been a long time supporter of and beacon light for independent music in this town, and they’re situated close to the Garden of Unearthly Delights (the beating heart of the Fringe festival) so theirs was an obvious choice.

Adelaide Fringe: Basement Beats - March 5, 12 & 19
Adelaide Fringe: Basement Beats - March 5, 12 & 19

‘So what’s new with Basement Beats’ I hear you ask? Well, this time the show isn’t just about us.. it’s a celebration of fine local beatsmiths and cutting edge audio-visual presentation. Opening night tomorrow will see us team up with Amoeba Muzak, as they take us for a spin down their very special brand of minimal tech and shuffle-o-matic house music. Recently experienced as a solo act, Justin will be joined by former collaborator James on the knobs, dials and keys… and we can expect some booty shaking.


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While Amoeba Muzak drop their beats, Em and I (as Supermarket) will be VJing up a storm, with prepared samples and live camera feeds from the room melting into the mix. We’ll have more screens on site than ever before (a dozen if all works out) and the space will be lit entirely by CRT glow. A projector screen at the back of the room will be the main focus, but you can expect stacks of TVs and a few glitchy screens tuned in to alien transmissions! We’re also doing our familiar a/v set as the opener for Amoeba Muzak‘s live show. Nights run from 7.30 to 9.30 pm, with fruit smoothies bicycle-blended on the spot for your refreshment.

So that’s the shape of Thursday, March 5th. Good news for latecomers is that we have two more shows, on Thursday the 12th and 19th of March. The 12th sees Amoeba Muzak stand down to allow DJ Tr!p to shine. He’ll be raising the roof with his superb chiptune breakbeats, before the 19th sees Amoeba Musak return once more with a dubbed-out set of originals.


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While these names may be new to some, both Amoeba Muzak and DJ Tr!p have been rolling out beats here for over 10 years each, so it’s areal honour and pleasure to be sharing a stage with these distinguished gents over our three night season. Tickets are available on the door, but to avoid disappointment (the venue has a capacity of 40) we recommend scooting over to Fringetix and buying them there.

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