I've been thinking a lot recently about the type of hardware set up that could be put together for a small VJ rig. Instead of aiming for the most expensive rig imaginable I'm aiming for something on the polar opposite end of the spectrum.
At its most basic form you could put a few files on a memory stick and play it directly off a TV (most of them have USB inputs or SD card slots in them these days). You could let that loop and you're done. Even cheaper than that would be if the TV already played back from YouTube, then all you'd need to do is point it to a playlist that you've compiled and then you're done.
Exploring the idea of being a curator of visual content as a means of performance is an interesting one. There is an incomprehensible amount of media out there on the internet. Nearly 500 hours worth of content is uploaded to YouTube every minute. The role of people diving into the infinite abyss that is the internet and having them find creative gems that would have otherwise been lost in the noise is actually becoming an important one.
Whilst curation was an enjoyable aspect of the visual work I did years ago it was the live manipulation of videos that I found most fun. For that, I need an actual computer.
Previously, if you wanted to do any VJing work you needed a laptop. You also pretty much needed to go with a Mac due to the codec support being better. Technology has gotten to the stage now where you can go even smaller and cheaper. I want to look at going even further low tech and see what is the absolute minimum I could do this on. The obvious answer is the Raspberry Pi.
If you don't know what a Raspberry Pi is, it's a tiny computer that you can buy for £30. It's a whole computer that you can run Linux on (and a stripped down version of Windows if you're that way inclined)... For £30... Thirty pounds!
Granted, it's not the most powerful machine in the world, but people have really been pushing it to the limits and some impressive things have come out of it.
The key thing for me is that it's tiny. It actually can fit in a pocket. The ability to be able to carry a VJing rig around in your pocket really interests me.
So I've dusted off my Raspberry Pi and I'm going to have a play around with it. Something I wasn't expecting was being able to power the thing off one of those phone battery packs people have. It totally works! This is a big one for me, the amount of times when I was at a gig and I was nowhere near a plug socket and had a run an extention cable to get the thing projecting at the right angle (and probably breaking loads of health and safety rules whilst I'm at it). This thing can literally be set up anywhere.
I think I'm going to pursue the Raspberry Pi route. There's some software out there that I'm keen to try out and a few other things I want to try out with it. I'll post up anything that may be interesting.