Saturday, 4 February 2012

VJ workshops for the iCreate project with Beat This

I have just embarked on an exciting run of workshops with Beat ThisCiC, running from January to April of 2012.
Beat This (CIC) have been running a project called “iCreate” which has taken groups of pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds and given them a ten week project where they will create visual and audio content with the aim of producing either a final recorded piece or a live performance, (or both!). It's all about process and connecting different artistic disciplines. So using photography, video clips and artwork to be used later in VJ'ing alongside a finished recording or performance. The groups have been developing their own pieces as individuals and engaging in group decision making, combining their output in the final instance as a collaborative piece.

one of the images produced by the students using NuVJ equipment,
I will be presenting the groups with the VJ'ing element of their projects.
By the time I come in they will have worked with other Beat This practioners and developed and created some artwork, some video clips and be close to finishing their music track.
Then we will load all this up into the awesome machine known as “NuVJ”, more on that another time.

 Despite having done hundreds of workshops, and having also perfomed live visuals of one kind or another at hundreds of events, I have only done one VJ workshop before, so these sessions have been a wonderful learning experience for me too.

My first sessions were at A.C.E. The Alternative Curriculum Education centre, this is a place where pupils who have been excluded, or partially excluded from secondary schools in Peterborough, go to finish their education.
The original idea was to develop all the elements to put on a final performance, however with the group at ACE it was clear that this was not the direction that they wanted to go, so after the first session we decided to flip it to making a Music Video, which left us 4 hours to produce a music video with them. Their experience of education and adults was such that it was a struggle to get the students to engage or be enthusiastic, but the idea of a video that could go up on YouTube seemed to be something that grabbed their attention, so music video it was. 

They were a little bit shocked when we explained how much a music video would cost to produce, at least the glossy chart ones, and how much time and the number of people that would be involved in the production. With our four hours of production time it was going to be interesting to say the least! However, we would be using the NuVJ to generate imagery, and we had already shot quite a number of videos previously when my brother did a grafitti session with them, using fat chalk pens to tag perspex and film this. So we had some pretty cool footage to work with.
The video is all but finished, and is now in what is known as Post-Production, i.e. me, finishing the audio layer, and compressing and saving ready to publish. Otherwise they managed to get something finished, just about, in the timeframe.

I have only worked at two of the schools in this project so far, so lots more sessions still to do which is very exciting!

Watch out for the final video and updates on more adventures with Beat This CiC!

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