Become a mashup master with VJay for iPhone
VJay for iPhone is a new release from Algoriddim. It’s available now at an introductory price of $0.99 from the App Store, and is only compatible with iPhone 4S, iPhone 5 and 5th-generation iPod touch. It’s also currently highlighted as an Editor’s Choice app on the App Store front page.
VJay is an app that allows users to mix two videos and soundtracks from their device’s music library together to create a “mashup.” On-screen controls allow for real-time mixing between the two videos and their soundtracks, and special effects may be applied for a true “video DJ” experience. Those with the appropriate equipment may even cue up upcoming tracks using a headphone splitter, allowing for the creation of non-stop mixes with video.
The simplest use for VJay is simply to crossfade back and forth between two videos. Sample content is included with the app for users to get started with, or alternatively users may shoot their own video and/or use content from their device’s content library. Once two videos have been loaded, they start to play at the same time, and through use of an on-screen crossfader, the user can switch between them. Tapping a button in the top-left corner of the screen allows the user to choose between various transition effects rather than a simple visual crossfade, and a settings icon in the top-right corner of the screen allows for options to be customized — including the ability to crossfade the sound and visuals independently of one another.
When viewed in portrait mode, users can watch their “mix” on a virtual top screen while applying effects to one of the two videos on a lower display. Effects can include strobe lighting, bitcrushing, psychedelic “twisting” effects and numerous others. Most are applied through simply tapping and holding on the virtual lower screen to determine the strength of the effect. The lower screen may also be used to adjust the EQ values of the videos in real-time, to loop small parts of one of the videos or manage the way in which the two tracks sync up with each other.
At any time, the user may record their performance, with all their crossfading and application of effects applied in real-time, and then export the resulting video to their camera roll, Facebook or YouTube.
VJay is clearly a very powerful application, and its ability to broadcast its output via AirPlay or HDMI output means it will be a useful tool for those interested in the art of the video DJ. Its low introductory price suggests that it is an attempt to get more people interested in the techniques, though, and it’s here where the app falls down somewhat, in that it doesn’t provide any help whatsoever. Its interface is largely icon-based and for the most part the icons are relatively intuitive, but it takes some experimentation to determine exactly what all the elements do, or indeed what the app is even for at first glance.
The app’s “help” menu includes a link to Algoriddim’s website and their online help center, but the information available in here is extremely limited. A “tips and tricks” section is a little more helpful, but not organized in a particularly logical order. What the app really needs is a full, searchable manual and the option of an interactive tutorial — or at least some additional information online to help users get started. As it stands, VJay is a powerful tool for those who know what they are doing, but runs the strong risk of being completely indecipherable to those not already with the conventions of video DJing.