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Lumen: To make a small intro and put everything on the table, tell us who VJ Spetto actually is and how he lives.
VJ Spetto: My name is VJ Spetto, 25 years dedicated to the visuals, responsible (together with my team) for 2016 Olympics Opening Ceremony projections contents. Since 1997 living between airports, spreading video remixes to audiences around the world. Nowdays I have two GQ: São Paulo and Barcelona.
VJ Spetto: My first incursion into the VJ world was in 1997. At that time I developed a software called VRStudio to make the projections. It was a very primitive software, Win98 / XP based. My setup was 2 cpus, 2 monitors, MX-50 videomixer, VGA to video converters, well a lot of equipment. I remember the first time I did a Europe tour I flight with my “compact” setup: it weight 70 kilos.
In 2007 me and VJ Zaz created the United VJs, an international group of artists with high skill level in production content. With this group we did tons of Videomappings around the world. The United VJs works as an autonomous machine, our creation & production processes are very horizontal, without hierarchy, everybody is free to do what want. I think this is our richness.
VJ University came as a necessity to improve our VJ community: we want to spread our knowledgment to new artists! We strong believe this is the way to create a very powerful VJ community, with professional skill level. As we know, all these new techniques, languages, softwares that we use are so recent, there’s no dedicated classes into the traditional educational institutions. That’s the reason we created VJ University. We try to be very practical during our workshops. The result is: around 1.500 new artists participated of our workshops, a lot of them with important expression nowdays into the VJ showbiz. I need to confess that I am so proud when I see my pupils doing crazy shows, ashtoning visuals, videomappings, fulldomes movies, art installations.
I am always with one eye into the future. Fulldome, 360º projection, VR are the keys and the new horizons when we talk about Immersive Content.
BlendyDome VJ is a the solution we’ve found to “domecratize” the Fulldome scene. Before us the servers, softwares and process to create and play Fulldome movies are so boring and expensive – we were talking about hundreds of thousands dollars!!!
But with a strong effort and a creative solution we finally brought an accessible software to every VJ, to every visual artist. First time I saw a Fulldome movie was in 2012, the Media Servers used to be 8 machines, almost 1 ton of equipments, almost one million of dollars in hardware and software solution, no interaction possible. So we did BDVJ – one laptop, two tripleheads and voilá! Live visuals, connection to any visual application, freedom to VJs in 360º. I think this is revolution: putting together artists and scientists.
Lumen: Which of your projects became the biggest achievements? The highest peaks of skills and ideas.
VJ Spetto: I always try to find new methods and experimentations each new project. I like the “Envisions” Videomapping show we did in York. It was a proof of concept, the method to produce the content, how we did the masters. Also “Hysteria”, our first fulldome movie. Till now we heard kids shouting when we play this movie.
I think that BlendyDome VJ and Blendy Cam plugin was a nice example of a bar conversation that became true. Zaz and Roger convinced me years ago that the Spherical Revolution was the next one big thing. And they were right, for god’s sake!
Lumen: How would you define your personal approach to work? Maybe you have some time-management hacks or weird rites, except «listening to techno or silence»…
VJ Spetto: For each job I start expending some days just thinking, establishing connections, making my synapses to work. So I start to sketch something (I really like pen and paper, old school), share it with the others United VJs.
From that there’s no middle point: I went straight to a 3D software and draw my visions.
One very important step is to calculate the amount of time the machines will expending rendering my content. We know, we all have a deadline, so create a reverse calendar is always useful – and saves lifes. I try to keep the proportion for each machine: 1 day designing, two days rendering. And at least 3 machines (just for me) working fulltime.
Lumen: Please, tell us about challenges you usually meet during the process of realizing your fulldome projects. Maybe high costs of constructions, unfavorable weather conditions, troubles with projectors, etc.
VJ Spetto: The most common mistake is the missing screen. Domes are made of external covering, structure and … screen. Yes, without the screen you could see the structural frames and then the magic disappears.
The other common error is different projectors or lens.
Domes are mathematics. If you dont follow the formula you are f..cked. Basically will not work.
But the most annoying thing it is the bad-cable-sindrome: the very long HDMI that fails, CAT-5 floating in the water, smashed VGA connector. That’s the reason I always ask for fiber cabling.
Lumen: How do you make visual content for shows? Buy or produce?
VJ Spetto: We produce all our content. It is very rare to us buy third part content.
Lumen: Are full-dome projections popular in Brazil among local artists, audience and cultural institutions?
VJ Spetto: It is a very new experience, very in the beginning. That’s a lot of people wishing to experiment it, everybody is with one eye on it. Since 2015 there was festivals with domes and the feedback was superb.
Basically it happens with private sponsors, cultural institutions are a bit late in this area here in Brazil.
Lumen: It’s also interesting to know, residents of which countries buy your software more frequently and active. Maybe that’s the way how we can draw some kind of VJing world map:)
VJ Spetto: BlendyDome VJ is present in 40 countries. The actual ranking is 1st USA, 2nd UK and 3rd Germany.
Lumen: Talking about producing software for domes, do you plan to develop it in the nearest future? And who are the main competitors of BLENDY DOME VJ throughout the world (if they exist)? In other words, whose software do you personally respect?
VJ Spetto: We have a plan to develop a Windows version of Blendy Dome VJ. Also there’s a Videomapping / 360º video synthesiser on track.
Personally, I dont know if we have competitors, that’s different approaches each software have. We are here to help VJs to project in domes, spheres, planetariums using the minimum hardware possible. As I said, we want to “domecratize” the Fulldome scene.
Softwares I respect? VDMX, Modul8, MadMapper, CoGe, Vezer, TD. They make my day.
Lumen: Could you please share some creative plans exclusively for Lumen? What do you keep in mind and want to realize asap?
VJ Spetto: I am researching lasers and parametric 3D. We also have a department that are developing 3D sound pieces (Yes, we believe that sound matters a lot!).
Also I like the idea to create “gaming performances” and 5D / 7D experiences.
We are starting to sell domes, we did a partnership with a local factory and now we have our own domes to sell.
So 2017 seems to be a year full of good news.
Lumen: What can you advise to young VJs and Visual Artists? How to start, how to earn money, where to find inspiration?
VJ Spetto: First: believe on your art, this is the only thing that could save you, and it is the most important also.
Second: try to do best always. And when you reach the excellence don’t relax: continue to develop yourself constantly.
Third: help your artistic community. Help your VJ friends. Establish strong relationships inside your artistic community. Exchange information. Share your impressions. Teach young artists (younger than you!).
Forth: Read a lot. When I say A LOT I mean really A LOT. Dont expend your time on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, expend your time with a book. Dont believe the newspapers and TV. Believe on you. Believe on your consciousness.
Fifth: Don’t be afraid. Sometimes they said that you are wrong or that you are crazy. Forgive them. You are doing art because you need to do it, otherwise you will die. So dont be afraid, if you need to shout do it loud. If you need to make that mad 3D parametric full of vray and everything else together, just do it. If you need to the strangest soundtrack of your life, just do it.
Lumen: What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
VJ Spetto: “Hey VJ, press the F..cking button NOW!!!”
Article supported free by Alexandr Kuiava/ LIME ART GROUP