Sztukato 2016 - Festival of Arts and Fashion

20:34
Thu
31
Mar 2016

Sztukato 2016 - Festival of Arts and Fashion

18-20 March 2016 in Protokultura club in Gdańsk, Poland, an interesting event took place: Sztukato - festival of arts and fashion (Website, Facebook Event). It involved arts gallery, fair of handmade clothes and accessories, fashion shows, concerts and many other activities. I was doing visualizations during the whole event. It was new and interesting experience for me, as I learned a lot during the event, as well as while preparing for it. I especially gained lots of experience in video editing, as I prepared some prerendered video footage. Depending on the circumstances sometimes I played these videos in a loop, sometimes just showed logos of organizers and sponsors and sometimes launched the abstract/psychedelic visuals generated procedurally by my program.

Here is full gallery of my photos from the festival: SZTUKATO 2016 Festiwal Sztuki i Mody @ Facebook.

I can see many VJ-s use Resolume, but for simple displaying images or videos I used Screen Monkey. It's a free program that I came across when browsing VJ Forums. It has some problems (GUI has some minor bugs and it even stops playing videos sometimes), but it also has many useful features (layers, fade in/out, linking clips in a sequence, Schedule and many more).

The biggest problem I had with Screen Monkey is that it didn't want to play any videos after installation. (My environment was: Windows 7 x64 with latest updates, K-Lite Codec Pack Full in latest version, Screen Monkey version 3.7, video files format: MP4 container + MPEG4 Video (H264) video stream) Solution to this turned out to be:

  1. Add any video clip to Screen Monkey Dashboard.
  2. Right-click on this clip, select: Video Options.
  3. Uncheck: Prefer ffdshow Video Decoder.

After going back to my work, I had a thought that there is one big difference between creative work and doing software engineering. When creating something, whether it's an art, writing a book or even coding a small program, you can always come up with SOMETHING even if you lack knowledge, experience or time and the deadline is close. It may be better or worse, client may like it or not, but at least you have SOMETHING and the rest is just a matter of negotiation. When working in software, it's more binary - all-or-nothing. You either meet the specification or not, pass all unit tests or not, you fixed the bug or not. Sure you can also write better or worse code, your solution can be more robust, efficient or better architected, but this has its own problem: Writing bad code increases technical debt, which makes it harder to work with the code in the future while being quite invisible to the client and your manager. On the other hand, when assigned some creative task, you probably launch your editor and start from a blank document every time.

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