Sourcing Clips for VJing

Paid resources

If you do commercial work and/or are looking for a specific clips that you can’t find on the free market, the following resources might be of help.

VideoHiveVoila Capture2014 05 01 08 32 37 PM

Envato’s marketplace is a great location for affordable videoclips, after effects templates and stock footage.


Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 34 24 PM

A great resource for double-wide or triple-wide projection setups. Focussed on churches, but also non-church performers can find some good footage. At the time of writing clips cost $12USD and for that price come in HD, double-wide and triple-wide resolutions.

Pond5Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 41 17 PM

Pond5 offers stock-video usually under $100USD.


Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 44 16 PM

VideoBlocks offers access to their entire library for a monthly fee ($79USD a the time of writing).


Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 37 14 PM

iStock offers high quality footage at high quality prices. 


Free resources


Creative Commons Licensing

Creative Commons (CC) licenses have become a popular copyright licenses that gives the author protection of their work while still allowing others to use it within certain limits. This is good news for artists trying to sample, remix or incorporate media into their own work.

Creative Commons currently offer six licenses:

Four out of the 6 allow remixing and with that are perfect for VJs. Two don’t, so make sure you steer clear of clips using those.


Remix-friendly licenses

88x31 Attribution (CC BY)

This license allows you to distribute, remix, tweak, and build upon the original, even commercially, as long as you credit the author for the original creation.

88x31 1 Attribution-ShareAlike (CC BY-SA)

This license is identical with the one above, but requires you to share your work under the same license.

88x31 2 Attribution-NonCommercial (CC BY-NC)

This is the attribution license limited to non-commercial work.

88x31 3 Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA)

This requires attribution, only non-commercial use and requires you to share your work under the same license.

For non-commercial VJ sets all of these are an option and will open up a larger pool of media when searching the sources below.

For commercial use the first two still provide great options. 

I usually start searching for (CC BY) and then expand from there. 


Non-Remix-Friendly licenses

There are two licenses that do not permit remixing (No derivative works). In most cases these won’t work for a VJ setup and I recommend steering clear of them.

88x31 4 Attrribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND)

88x31 5 Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND)


Free Video Sources


Vimeo let’s you filter by any or all Creative Commons licenses as well as for downloadability.



YouTube gives you fewer controls, but does offer an extraordinarily large collection of videos. To download a tool like KeepVid will be needed.

Wikimedia Commons:VideosVoila Capture2014 05 01 03 14 55 PM

Wikimedia has a good collection of videos from the Wikipedia universe that is full of interesting short clips and video footage.

Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 01 57 PM is a large library of media in the public domain or otherwise free to use. It is great for vintage finds. Dario Salvi recommends the Prelinger collection and the Ephemeral library.


Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 09 06 PM

Beeple aka Mike Winkelmann is a generous 3d video artist and a VJs best friend. His always growing collection of mesmerizing 3d video loops will have something for you. 

A/V Geeks

Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 18 12 PM

A/V Geeks is another great place for vintage footage. 


Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 19 17 PM

Videopong is VJ specific and offers a collection of VJ loops. 


Voila Capture2014 05 01 08 23 24 PM

This video loop store has a special giving away 10 high quality loops a day. 


For a few more free resources, check out Dario Salvi’s list of free resources.


Using an iPad screen as live video input in VDMX

When using VDMX I’m always looking for new types of video input and live interaction. I love the idea of direct manipulation on the iPad and was looking for a way to broadcast that through VDMX. Follow the simple steps below to use your iPad in your own setup.

You will need:

  • VDMX5
    My real-time video performance or VJ software of choice.
  • AirServer
    AirServer is the most advanced AirPlay receiver. It allows you to receive AirPlay feeds, similar to an Apple TV, so you can stream content or Mirror your display from your iOS devices or Macs running Mountain Lion or Mavericks.
  • Syphon
    Syphon is an open source Mac OS X technology that allows applications to share frames – full frame rate video or stills – with one another in realtime.

Let’s get started

  1. Start VDMX and create a new project [⌘+N]VDMX-iPad
  2. Launch AirServer
  3. On your iPad, go to your AirPlay settings and select your AirServer server, usually named after your Macbook. Then select Mirroring. VDMX-iPad2
  4. Your iPad screen will appear in a window on your desktop. Make sure not to close this window, otherwise this won’t work.
  5. Start Syphon’s Simple Server and Simple Client.
  6. In the Simple Client select your iPad in the sources drop down.VDMX-iPad3
  7. In VDMX right-click in your media bin and select “Add Clips From Built-In Sources > Syphon > AirServer-YOUR IPAD NAME”VDMX-iPad4
  8. Make sure the clip is selected and highlighted in red.VDMX-iPad5
  9. Start using your iPad as a live input.

See it in action:

Using an iPad screen as live input in VDMX from Tobias Treppmann on Vimeo.


Easter VJ Set

I was approached by Lancaster Alliance Church to see if I could create two VJ sets for the Easter season, specifically the Good Friday and Easter Sunday services. The goal was to create an immersive experience bringing together sound, visuals, drama and spoken word that create a new experience of the Easter story for attendees.


My setup included widescreen projection using VDMX5, Korg NanoKontrol2 and over 500  CreativeCommons Vimeo clips as well as a few purchased clips from Triplewidemedia.


Korg NanoKontrol2



Below are video excerpts from both services.

LAC 2014 Easter Service – Friday (including Tobystereo VJ Set) from Tobias Treppmann on Vimeo.

LAC 2014 Easter Service – Sunday (VJ Set) from Tobias Treppmann on Vimeo.


Generative Flamenco

An experiment in generative music creation

(Processing, Ableton Live)


Generative Flamenco analyzes an image of a couple dancing to flamenco music pixel by pixel and translating it into MIDI signals, filtered by range, scale and key.


The small white square indicates the current position. The square loops through the picture line by line horizontally from left to right and top to bottom. Clicking anywhere in the picture will move the square.

Pixel to MIDI

The brightness value will be mapped to pitch and duration, saturation to velocity. The MIDI signals are sent to Ableton Live and output with a layer of filters and effects. Tempo, and transport control (Play, Stop) can be controlled from within Generative Flamenco.


In Action


Download the Processing sketch and Ableton Project on github.


This weekend, make your own cellphone: DIY Cellphone

DIY Cellphone

As part of his PhD research at the MIT Media Lab, David A. Mellis is working on an open-source cellphone built with an Arduino using the GSM shield and library. He published his code and instructions, so you can build your own cellphone this weekend.