Outsourcing The VJ: Collaborative Visuals Using The Audience’s Smartphones


  • Tyler Freeman


I’ve been a VJ/visualist for years at many concerts around the world, and I was always disappointed in the concert format: a very one-way medium where the audience listens to the band and watches what the VJ chooses
to show them on the screen, without any input of their own besides collective cheering in between songs. I strove to change this dynamic to create an environment where the audience has creative input in the experience, thus collaborating not only with the band and VJ, but with each other as well.

Thus I wrote Layer Synthesis Device: a collaborative VJ app. It can be used as a large-scale video installation or even as live video performance software at concerts and shows. It brings the audience together by allowing them to manipulate the large video projection with their smartphones. Anyone can log on to geolocated screens near them with their web browser and change video clips or GIF animations as well as mix the different layers of videos together. Any changes they make are updated in real-time on the publically projected screen as well as everyone else’s phone’s screen.