The DJ became less and less visible for the audience in the past decade. Stages at popular electronic dance music events such as Tomorrowland and Ultra grew to an impressive scale in order to surprise and engage a crowd of more than 50.000 people. At the same time the developments of the DJ booth made that the artist is stuck in place behind a table, and in contrary to a guitarist the audience cannot spectate how the DJ is performing. This project is an initiation to reengage the audience in the DJ performance by communicating the actions of the DJ through video and light effects.
In order to facilitate the communication, a software application functions as bridge between the DJ and the crew at the venue. The application reads out the DJ actions and translates those into triggers for the VJ and lighting designer. The application was well received by the crews of Afrojack, Armin van Buuren and Hardwell and I am currently working on a beta version ready for road testing.
The assignment was an open design brief with the goal to create a novel interaction method between the DJ and the audience. The project is commissioned by and executed at Haute Technique, a Utrecht based company that designs interactive installations for retail, musea and the entertainment industry. Their designs are visitor-focused and custom-built for the client.
Designing the visual effects is a continuous process consisting of the phases described in the image below. The DJ is encouraged to participate in the design process as the visual effects should convey and strengthen the identity of the artist. The crew-members each use their own instance of the application to set up triggers and consequently link the actions of the DJ to effects in their operating systems.
Interaction with the application during show is limited to prevent becoming an obtrusion for the VJ or lighting designer: they can only bypass the system or switch between presets. It features a live view that allows the crew to monitor the operations of the DJ. Shows can be recorded and played back, with video footage of the event, for evaluation purposes.
The video below shows a test recording done at the office.
The interface is designed from the ground up in Adobe Illustrator CC and the software application is built in JavaFX using the IntelliJ IDE.