Gearlog: VHS DJ Rig for 2023

The Youtube Algo Gods have blessed me again.

Last night, I was poking around Youtube, and stumbled across this truly incredible DJ mix by Kerri Chandler, and it reminded me of a LOT of things.

After much brainstorming, I’ve come to the conclusion that really the only thing to do is to sell (almost) all of my VJ gear (the wearable wireless rig, the “cruiser” rig, and whatever else I have laying around that’s not part of the Butohscope), and build a fresh rig from scratch.

The first Videopunks live rig was originally built around a Numark AVM-02, and now they’re a lot harder to come by, but they’re a really great mixer. I’ve owned two. . . the first I killed at the FIRST Videopunks live set in Manhattan (due to sketchy ass power), and the second I killed onstage with Angelspit. 4 channel Vision Mixer, 4 channel DJ mixer, and a lot of knobs/buttons/faders. Shit’s fuckin’ great.

There’s a lot of ways that I could monitor this, but I think the ol’ standby Numark VM-03 is a solid choice. I’m not sure if there’s something slimmer, but this seems like the move.

Out of the mixer would need to be some sort of HDMI upscaler. . . there’s a lot of options out there, and I’ve owned a bunch of variations of THIS GUY, and they’re pretty OK.

Cool. . . So, that’s Mixing, but what about Playback? Ideally, I’d like to have a pair of Rackmountable VCRs with JOG WHEELS and Pause Functionality, with S-Video out, so I can get the cleanest image out of the VCRs, and into the Mixer, with bonus ‘FX sends’ for whatever Glitch gear I’d like to have chained in.

I’m lowkey looking at the JVC-HR-s3600u. . . it ticks all the boxes (minus TBC), and seem like they’re still pretty cheap & available.

Here’s an interesting forum post breaking down some of the taxonomy of the JVC model numbers at the time.

Something else to consider would be getting a pair of Mitsubishi HS-MD3000‘s. . . they’re really rugged, meant to be kinda beaten on, and most importantly, I already have one. . . So sourcing a second one might be cheaper.

You can’t really modify VCRs for Speed Adjustments, so I’d have to Pre-Stretch all of my tracks to a specific tempo. . . I think 120bpm is the move, since VHS is ostensibly 60fps (60i), and those numbers fit into each other pretty well. Additionally, 120bpm is pretty damn funky, and I happen to have quite a bit of experience DJing at that tempo.

I’m not sure if you can scrub audio with a VCR (pretty sure you can’t), so I’ll have to bake in some flashframe Cue Points. . . and a lot of the music that I would want to play probably never had music videos for it, so that’ll give me an opportunity to make a bunch of Music Videos for all sorts of stuff, which is fun as all get out. In terms of tapes, I’m thinking that a STACK of T-10’s would give me more than enough material to DJ with (maybe with color-coded labels? Why Not?!), and Really Just Get Weird With It.

The last piece of the puzzle would be some sort of DJ mixer case, like this SKB jawn. . . All I’d need to do is find a way to rackmount the VCRs, and I’m golden. A rackmount powerstrip seals the deal, and makes it real.

A lot of people have done DJ sets with VHS visuals (kinda), and a lot of people have DJed with Tape. . . but I can’t seem to find anyone who’s combined the two. This is gonna be a super fuckin’ wild.

Frataxin – Copulatory Transvection VHS

I got asked to do the Editing & Analog processing for this VHS release from Frataxin on Invocation Films (as released by Black Ring Rituals).

I’ve seen Joe perform a couple of times, and though Power Electronics really isn’t my thing, this dude gets me every fucking time. What an absolute ripper.

In a new personal first for me, this is getting released on Betamax, in addition to the VHS. What a treat.

Weeping Icon – “Two Ways” Music Video

Here’s a music video that I edited for Weeping Icon for the song “Two Ways.”

From the press release:

Two Ways’ is about people who want to appear virtuous in their public facing personality, but live a contradictory shadow life in which they do whatever they please, no matter how harmful their actions are to others. It’s told through the voice of a man named Todd (yes, that’s his real name!) who I encountered a few years back. He used a harmful term towards a woman he was angry with, then accepted a long explanatory talk from me, appeared to reflect, enthusiastically told me he’d appreciated me taking the time to educate him and agreed to change his behavior, and then immediately found that same woman and started calling her harmful sexist names without a moment between. I was truly in shock at how comfortable he was with his personality being stratified into two layers – the outward-facing kind, modern man, looking to learn from the necessarily rapid changes in society – and the sinister, selfish sadist beneath who believes in his own entitlement to act with impunity.

This was an interesting project, mostly because there were no scripts, no shotlists, and certainly no slates, just a half hour of footage, and a rough story idea.

The band was really great, let me do my thing, and ultimately we turned this video around in about 11 hours, from first watching the footage, to delivering for youtube.

The process was pretty simple:

First, we did a full edit of the music video, with rough GFX thrown in, and ‘locked picture’ at 16×9 (the native aspect ratio of the footate).

From there, we stripped the all the GFX from the edit, reframed for 4:3, and laid it off to tape multiple times – once as a ‘clean’ version, and then 3 other times with more analog glitch/distortion.

We captured all 4 takes of the VHS, combined them in the edit, overlaid the GFX back into the (now distorted) edit, and laid the entire master off to tape.

Final Step was to capture that output, drop it into After Effect, and apply a Detail Preserving Upscale to the entire project, bringing it to 4k.

Super Simple, Cheap & Cheerful, and a lot of fun.

Here’s some links to some press about it:

Weeping Icon – “Two Ways” (Stereogum)

Weeping Icon: “Two Ways” (Punknews)
Weeping Icon Share New Track “Two Ways”, New EP “Ocelli” Out This Friday (Front View)
Weeping Icon – Two Ways (If It’s Too Loud)
Weeping Icon Shares New Song (Closed Captioned)

High Five the Birthday Boy – “BLESSURE ONE MEGAMIX”




VXPX_018 – Richard Spencer Getting Punched in the Face for an Hour

This is the best selling VHS release we ever had, and it’ll probably stay in print nearly forever.

If you don’t know who Richard Spencer is, just know that his face is particularly punchable. Fuck That Guy.

A copy actually made it’s way into the hands of the unnamed activist featured in the video (Not Spencer).

There’s a very good chance that there’s currently a copy for sale on the Bigcartel right now.

Darren Keen Presents BAD SPEED (an A/V Experience)

This was a weird lil’ VHS release I did for my friend Darren Keen, based on these weird slowed chopped & screwed mixes he was doing at bars in the Lower East Side.

I think I made 12 copies or so of this, and they’re all loooooooong gone by now.

I uploaded it to Youtube, and it was immediately content struck. . . guess ‘Fair Use‘ & Derivative Works don’t mean anything to Google.

A: Darren Keen
V: Videopunks

1 Janes Addiction – Been Caught Stealing
2 Warren Zevon – Werewolves Of London
3 Squirrel Nut Zippers – hell
4 tUnEyArDs – Water Fountain
5 Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy
6 Whitehead & McFadden – Ain’t no Stopping us now
7 Blue Swede – Hooked on a feeling
8 Price is right Theme song
9 ABBA – gimme gimme gimme a man after midnight
10 Con Funk Shun – Ms. Got the body
11 The Trammps – Disco Inferno
12 Michael Jackson – Beat it
13 Jimi Hendrix – Star Spangled Banner

SoundCloud Link:

Darren Keen:

VXPX_006 – Video Art Is Boring

This was the second tape in the ‘Video Art Is. . .” Series.

There’s some really interesting folks on this tape. . . Darren Keen, Pictureplane, Vektroid, R23X, and all sorts of other folks.

Here’s the tracklist from Discogs:

1Love SpreadSayonara Forever
2Anna SpenceNew Radiant
3crx091081gbUntitled From “Becoming The Camracid”
4Darren KeenVideopunksCharlotte JappHard To Say No
5AVD78Lazer Sword Mix
6Capital WasteDumpster Delish S1E2
7Corey JohnsonFlow
8PictureplaneTechnomancer Manifesto (Dimensional Rip Nine)
9Fuck My WinterGuillaume Vallée (2)Cenacle Of Deceit
10Fornax VoidWintermute
11BPMCScene 0302
12Mathias KruseIf I’d Done Less
13VektroidTime Slips (Demo)
14Baghdad Social ClubCapital WasteU Know
15R23XSound_Track ~ [Mp3​]​.​torrent