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Vello Virkhaus is a leading figure in the experience visual art scene. He has designed visual art and performed for some of the world’s biggest festivals and musical acts. From the Black Eyed Peas through Sting, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jay-Z, The Police, 50 cent and many others.
Before he was 21 years old, he formed one of the first VJ Arts companies in America, O.V.T. (short Optique Video Tek). In 2000, moved from Chicago to Hollywood California and started his own studio, called V Squared Labs. The start of V Squared Labs propelled Vello’s solo career as a VJ and Director to the next level.
Today, he manages his company from Los Angeles, designs and plays experience visuals for artists across America and all over the world.
Click here to read what Vello thinks of the VJX16-4
Here is an interview with Vello Virkhaus about the VIXID video mixer.
Can you tell a bit about yourself, the members of the crew, and the kind of work you do?
I'm 36 years old. I reside in Los Angeles California and run a company called V Squared Labs inc. My crew is Stephen Eachon AKA Bunny, Michael Shores, Davy Foss, Bryant Place, Scott Little and Christine McDowell.
We do experience visual art. Architectural content, 360 degree content, mapping, GUI design, visual effects, compositing and motion graphics.
I started officially VJ'ing in 1990's with OVT visuals crew in Chicago during my bachelors study at the School of The Art Institute of Chicago. The work took us around North America, and helped launch the VJ in electronic culture in America. In 2000 I moved to Los Angeles and officially started my own business. V Squared launched into experience visuals with the development of 2 different DVD's for Korn in 2001 and a 360 degree concert visuals package.
From Korn, v2 launched into the future creating dozens of concert visual packages and VJ'ing around the world. Vello has VJ'd and directed experience content for Janes Addiction, Bon Jovi, Mary J Blige, 50 cent, Coldplay, Korn, Diddy, The Crystal Method, Paul Oakenfold, Sandra Collins and many more.
How and why did you get into live visuals?
I began my live video experiments early with video feedback in the late 80's. Video for me, was the only form of visual art that could communicate in a modern enough syneasthetic fashion with music, and live musical performance to keep me interested.
How did you discover VIXID VJX16-4 video mixer and why did you choose to use it above other products on the market?
I discovered vixid on myspace through a fellow VJ. When I first saw it I was amazed. It was like an alien had landed! Other products. Pioneer SVM-1000 has a nasty latency on video inputs. Edirol has lower quality and limited to no blend modes. Grass valley is too expensive. 4 layers, zero latency and superior signal. Vixid is the best choice for standard definition switching in the VJ and experience market.
How are you using it onstage, in a live environment and in the studio?
On stage I use the vixid as the centerpiece of my switching setup. I feed all my mixers and laptops s-video into the vixid, as I have found its signal path and output significantly cleaner than the edirol and Panasonic equipment. In studio I use it to experiment with layering of generative visuals.
How has using this mixer changed the way you work?
Having 4 layers in composite mode together with no latency has allowed me to further advance my live camera processing mixing. I am able to layer 2 different processed feeds, with a clean non processed feed and 1 track of additional visuals. This has been fantastic, and something I had to do with multiple switchers before.
What features do you find most useful? Are there any features you could not work without?
The layer Gain and Blend modes are the most useful. Not having those, and the midi control would be terrible.
What is your typical setup for a live show?
My typical setup for an electronic VJ set consists of the following items:
- 1 Vixid VJX16
- 1 Edirol V-4 switcher
- 1 Edirol V-8 switcher
- 1 power supply/brain rack
- 1 Akai MPK 49
- Jazz Mutant Lemur
- 1 Edirol CG-8
- 1 Edirol Presenter PR-80
- 2 MacBook Pro Laptops
- 2 Laptop Stands
- Software: Modul8, CustomOpenframeworks Processing App
How long did it take to you before being able to use it during a live show?
It took me several jam sessions and a few phone calls before I was up to speed with the device. Once I had it mapped to my MIDI controllers, everything became more functional.
What are the best / biggest / most memorable gigs you've done with the VJX16-4?
- Electric Daisy Carnival 2009 175,000 people.
- The Black Eyed Peas, The END Promo Tour. Used on several dates towards the end of tour
- Nocturnal Wonderland 2009
- Monster Massive 2009, Halloween
- Carl Cox Dominican Republic. Halloween
- Together As One 2009 New Years Eve. Upcoming.
What have you got planned for the near future?
2010 will bring the expansion of V Squared Labs and the involvement of more partners in the business. The editorial and design machine room will be upgraded to a fibre SAN, stacking onto the 20TB central infortrend server. All editing boxes will be fibre channel switched/networked.
Anything you'd like to add?
I love the VJX16-4!
Vello Virkhaus unsing VIXID video mixer - Showreel 2010
Vello Virkhaus unsing VIXID video mixer - Showreel 2009
© Photos by Justin Misch