Inter-Interview with Sean Bowes
A while back we saw a pretty awesome Slice Transform tutorial by Sean Bowes.
This is how we got introduced to this talented VJ, content creator and animator.
While digging through his YouTube-channel we found many cool interviews with familiar faces like Laak, Joris de Jong and Sandy Meidinger.
So we decided to flip the script and ask Sean if we could interview him, and here we are.
Hey Sean! Thanks for taking the time for this interrogation. Tell us your story, how did you get into VJ’ing?
I have always had an interest in art, technology, and music - always drawing as a kid and filming skits on my parents camcorder with my siblings. That evolved into an interest in graphic design as I progressed into high school. After high school, I decided to pursue a BFA in Graphic Design and Studio Art.
During that time I started to see projection-mapped visuals at concerts. Specifically, I remember seeing EOTO at the beginning of 2012, and being really impressed with the design and animation of their new Lotus Stage design. The next day I looked up who was behind the visuals of that show and discovered the AV Artist Zebbler. I sent him a few emails with questions about projection mapping and how he approached making that type of content so I could try to do it myself. He set me further on the path of exploring Cinema4D and also introduced me to Resolume.
In 2015 I heard about a VJ Competition that was happening as part of the Together Festival in Boston. I had been playing with Resolume quite a bit in my free time but had never performed outside of my own bedroom before. I entered the competition and ended up winning first prize! That introduced me to more VJs in the area and opened some doors for me to start performing at some clubs in the area.
After your initial introduction into the world of VJ’ing you quickly started landing bigger gigs and festivals. Bigger gigs means more responsibility and art direction. Do you prefer the “anything goes”-vibe at clubs over art directed festivals and concerts?
I actually enjoy a mixture of both. I am a fan of variety.
I always like working on something new, and working in new situations with new people. So it is fun to switch gears between creating from my own ideas, and helping to execute someone else's. It can be refreshing and inspiring to see an idea that someone else has come up with and help to bring it to life with some of my own creativity, and I am often given access to opportunities that I wouldn't necessarily pursue on my own.
That is also why I enjoy being an animator / VJ / YouTuber. Moving from creating content, to mixing content, to educating others keeps me feeling inspired and helps me to continue learning and to think about my process in new ways.
Funny that you mentioned YouTube as we’ve been binging your channel at the Resolume HQ. How did you get started with YouTube and how does this affect your career as a VJ and animator?
I’ve had a YouTube channel for several years where I have intermittently posted videos about trips I’ve taken, daily life vlogs, and some tutorials here and there. Its current form started around the end of 2019 when I made a Getting Started in Notch tutorial. It was a piece of software I was excited about, but some of my peers seemed confused about how to get started or confused about the pricing. So I made a video that attempted to get them over the barriers of that first attempt, and a few friends watched it and liked it. I liked that feeling of actually helping people more than the usual flame emoji comment on an instagram post.
Then Covid-19 hit and I wanted to make stuff even though I couldn’t go out VJ’ing anymore. I made a couple more tutorials and I started doing interviews with people from the VJ scene.
The interviews didn't get as many views as I think they should, I guess this is because the subject is for a very niche audience of professional VJ’s and my channel was quite small at this time. So after about a dozen of them I decided to continue making tutorials. They attract more new viewers because they are more searchable. Eventually, I would like my channel to evolve into a comprehensive guide to get people started with VJ’ing. This is also why I go beyond making Resolume tutorials and do tutorials about landing gigs, buying a computer and other software packages.That has helped grow the channel and bring more eyes to the interview series as well.
I’ve met a lot of people as a result, from people I’ve looked up to and now have the privilege of interviewing, to new VJs who are excited to enter the field, and even some new clients. That's what I love about YouTube, you are building a community that you can interact with.
We are very happy to see a content creator making videos about VJ’ing in general.
Professionalization of the VJ profession is a noble cause indeed. What would you say beginner VJ’s need to learn to make the step to the big boys league?
From a technical point of view: You should know the Advanced Output inside and out. Big stages come with lots of creative and technical challenges, so having a solid understanding of all of the mapping tools and techniques will really help you. Also, learn to work with cameras, capture devices, and video routers. Eventually you also want to have a basic understanding of timecode as bigger artists tend to incorporate that into their shows in some way. This one sounds basic - but an understanding of color theory for matching visuals with lighting is another essential skill.
From a professional point of view: Learn how to work with the lighting guys and art directors. Work with people, and be enjoyable to work with. Coordinate transitions, build-ups and drops with the lighting guy. You can start practicing that at small club gigs. Be humble and willing to learn from other people, and if you don’t know how something works: just ask.
From a gear point of view: Stress-test your system and make sure your machine is up to it. Create a MIDI-mapping and familiarize yourself with it. Practice, practice, practice.
Let’s talk Resolume for a bit. What Resolume feature was a game changer for you?
Groups, definitely groups.
Separating your content into groups makes larger projects more manageable.
I separate my groups into tasks; a group for content, a group for logos, a scenic group and/or a group for advertisements.
Separation into groups really helps when you are working with content that has different mapping requirements, or needs to be always on, or manipulated separately. You don’t accidentally mirror the event logo or apply glitch effects to ads.
Thank you so much for sharing your story Sean. We are looking forward to new interviews and tutorials.
PS: Like and subscribe! And something with a bell.. And share.. Something! Am I doing this right Sean? …Sean? Comment »
This blog is about Resolume, VJ-ing and the inspiring things the Resolume users make. Do you have something interesting to show the community?
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- * Resolume 7.15 Released | Layer & Group Folding | Notes Panel | Dilate, Sharpen & Kuwahara Effects | Node Thumbnails 👍
- * New footage! 🚀 📺 🪨
- * Resolume 7.14.0 Released | NDI Improvements, Grid Cloner, Attribute Flow, 2D Meshes, Vulkan 🖖 Alley
- * New footage! 🔮 🎛️ ✏️
- * Resolume 7.13.2 Released | Hotfixes Are Now Free!
- * Resolume 7.13 | Clip Time Remaining, SMPTE Panel, Slice Fader & Scaling, Auto Node Layout Improvements
- * Resolume 7.12 | Pioneer DJ Sync, CrossFader Phase, 3 New Effects, Auto-Layout for Nodes
- * Visual storytelling with STVinMotion
- * Want Plugins? Get Juicebar!
Footage * Hardware * Inspiration * Software * Tools * Tutorials
Resolume Workshop @ St. Joost Art Academy
Last week Resolume went to the St. Joost School of Art & Design in the city of Den Bosch to share some of our Resolume-knowledge with the students there. VJ Liza Renee invited us to collaborate with her on a media art-focused Resolume workshop. We are always interested in using Resolume for more than VJ’ing so we got hyped and joined in on the workshop.
We started out with teaching the basics: composition, clips, layers, sources, effects and more effects and more effects and then some more effects. After that, we continued exploring the basics of projection mapping as most of the students were interested in this subject.
We had an amazing day with the students and saw some interesting results.
Each artist took their own approach to making their work, some used Arena to mix their existing video work, others jumped on projection mapping and there was even some experimentation with Wire.
We are looking forward to doing more workshops in the future.
If you are interested in a Resolume workshop at your educational institution feel free to contact us at email@example.com
Visual storytelling with STVinMotion
STVinMotion is the globe-trotting company of Steve Kislov and Nadya Abra. They produce footage packs and tutorials while traveling the world. We caught up with Steve to talk about his work, visuals, tutorials and travels.
Steve hosted a workshop on our Youtube channel. The footage used in the workshop can be found here and the masks used can be found here.
Batman has a great origin story, what’s yours?
I’m originally from Israel. In 2000, after travelling and losing myself at the best psytrance festivals around the world, I returned to Israel to find out that a highschool friend (VJ Masterdamus) was VJing and creating better visual experiences than what I saw at some of the top festivals abroad. I started helping him out, just out of sheer enthusiasm.
When he suddenly relocated to Australia, I had to choose if I wanted to let VJing go or become a VJ. Easy choice! I bought Masterdamus’s computer and he taught me how to create VJ content through video calls. Together, we performed at some of the best psytrance festivals abroad - the circle was completed, VJ STV was born.
The next step in my journey was STVinMotion which I founded together with my partner Nadya Abra. When we decided to leave Israel in favor of a nomadic lifestyle we added the "inMotion" to the name, symbolizing the motion of visuals and the motion of travelling from place to place.
I have retired from actively performing - in favor of focusing my attention on content creation and teaching. You could say that these days we perform vicariously through VJs who use our content.
Vunk Concert, Romania. Live Visual by Bobo Visuals
Can you tell something about your creation process? How does a loop pack come to be?
I get inspired by seeing artworks by others. Browsing Instagram or Pinterest and seeing beautiful art can really light my brain on fire. I’m an avid collector. I arrange what I like into themed boards (say, Jungle or Aztec).
When it’s time to create our next VJ pack we have themes and references already lined up. We search for an overlap between what we want to create and what VJs need. The key is making content that has the strongest impact on the audience.
We take the inspirational material and we start brainstorming about what we can make.
We look at the results as if this was a puzzle - looking for connections. The visuals have to connect conceptually and visually. The clips should tell a story and be pleasing to compose. Next, we create a couple of loops, take them into Resolume and see how they mix. We move elements around to see how they compose and react to effects. We try to have a good blend of Background Clips and Element Clips that can be mixed by the users.
From here on it’s an iterative process. We create more loops and try them in Resolume. This process is repeated until the VJ pack is complete.
From a technical perspective: We use mostly Element 3D inside After Effects. We sometimes use Illustrator for design, Cinema 4D for hard surface modeling and Daz3D for characters - all are imported into Element 3D (as paths, OBJs & OBJ Sequences) and are composed there for the final render.
Steampunk Show by ULA Projects, Russia
You guys are living nomadically, how does this influence your content?
We travel slow, spending a couple of months in each location so we can soak the place and ambiance.We expose ourselves to the local artwork and customs. It changes our point of view and evokes inspiration. Travelling is an experience that takes us out of our comfort zone, it forces us to adapt ourselves to the environment and be flexible. The challenges we face help us grow and continue changing. When we reach a new place we meet new people and culture, cuisine and music.
For example, the OrnaMental VJ pack was inspired by Indian Mandalas that we saw locals painting with colorful powder in front of their doors. The Cyborgasm VJ pack idea came while practicing Vipassana Meditation in Thailand and realizing that our reactions to the world are kinda automatic - we might already be cyborgs!
We see eastern theme's, steampunk, architecture, symbolism and tribalism in your content. With this you set yourself apart in a VJ-world where abstract visuals are dominant. How did this come to be?
Having themes in our packs is a deliberate choice and its purpose is to create a stronger experience. When a VJ mixes visuals, one after the other, the audience searches for a connection between them, a story and a meaning unfolds. When all the visuals are abstract, there’s no story or connection between the visuals and after some time the viewer might become indifferent to the show.
We want VJs to become an integral part of any event by introducing themes and providing interesting content thus becoming valuable artists rather than those who fill the void on the screens.”
Steve's Expanse video is showing off some travel-inspired content
You have a great YouTube channel with a wealth of knowledge. Why did you start making tutorials?
I started making VJing tutorials because users of our content were not making the most out of it - not layering and compositing it the way we were envisioning it. I realized that not everyone shares my vision and has the same knowledge.
When I released the first OrnaMental VJing tutorial, it became very popular - the enthusiastic feedback from viewers made me realize that people are craving for this kind of knowledge and that it makes a positive impact on their performances and careers. I enjoy sharing what I’ve learned throughout the years and helping other VJs to grow and acquire new skills. Of course, seeing the visulas we created fulfill their purpose is a huge part of it, too.
I created a Facebook group that is dedicated solely to Resolume Tutorials. Everybody is welcome to join it, learn from the tutorials there and contribute by sharing tutorials that you made yourself.
Awesome Resolume tutorial by STVinMotion
Thank you Steve for the interview. Make sure to check out the STVinMotion website and YouTube channel. They also regularly show their workproces on Instagram and Facebook Comment »
We're Hiring! UI/UX Designer | Senior C++ Developer | Product ManagerWe're again growing rapidly here at Resolume HQ because of the release of version 7 and a very exciting new product coming up. We're looking to expand our team and hire a new Product Manager, UI/UX Designer and a Senior C++ Developer. Have a look at our open positions below and apply if you qualify or forward this to anyone who you might think is a good match for our team.
Keepin’ It Cool with ComixOver the past decade, the Comix crew has been making such great content, it is almost comical. A multimedia company specializing in live events, interactive design, motion graphics & film, they have worked with almost everyone in the dance music industry.
From Avicii to Alesso to Kygo to DJ Snake to Axwell Ingrosso to Swedish House Mafia, the list is a bit endless.
Orbit & Resolume at the Singapore Night Festival, 2018
What happens when a bunch of artists, architects, programmers and engineers come together? A burst of creation with a dollop of technology. Minimal yet complex. Simple yet amazing. This is what Litewerkz is.
Formed by students who met at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, Litewerkz is a newish design collective- with lots of vision. Gradually growing from indoor static installations to outdoor dynamic installations, they have worked at developing themselves by welcoming new members and perspectives, every year.
In Pursuit of Secret Mapping Experiment
Imagine you are driving (top down, of course) along a pristine coastline.
The wind in your hair, the world at your feet. The sun is setting, the ocean is that perfect blue. The salty air is filling your lungs up with freshness.
You smile coz life is perfect and as you muse out into the water, you see this: