Disc Jockeys (also known as DJs) have been evolving since the late 19th century. With the popularization of night clubs in the 1960s, DJs ceased to be human jukeboxes and started manipulating music to create original compositions. In this way DJ-ing became an art-form unto itself. The late 1990s saw the advent of the “MP3J” system. These systems dubbed as “digital vinyl DJ systems” allowed for the manipulation of digital audio in the same way one can manipulate a vinyl record on a turntable. Since digital vinyl maintained the same form factor as regular vinyl records it quickly gained popularity with DJ already familiar with the turntable. As the hardware and software necessary to process real-time video became affordable, DJs started to intermix video into their audio performance. In the same way that a DJ remixes audio, a VJ remixes videos and produces video mash-ups during live performances to create a unique visual 'composition' that is completely improvised. A mash-up is a composition created by blending two or more videos. Often VJs will use a video mixer or a laptop during their performances to help remix videos. However laptops are visually unappealing, cumbersome, and difficult to use during a performance. They are also unfamiliar to a DJ accustomed to the turntable form factor.
Created for the Microsoft EmbededSpark Challenge, Vturnable makes the process of creating video mash-ups simple. Vturnable is a turntable for remixing video. Vturnable has several advantages over existing methods of remixing videos. It is an all-in-one unit. VJs often use existing turntables as a MIDI-controller that controls video elements on a computer. In such a scenario using a laptop becomes unnecessary since it dedicated purpose is to process video. Using one dedicated device also reduces the number of devices a DJ or VJ must carry with him/her to performances.
The Vturnable is designed to make remixing video effortless. This is accomplished by making the work-flow similar to the workflow of a digital turntable. First the user loads media into the device by inserting a USB thumbdrive. Vturnable will detect media on the device and buffer it into the device. A thumbnail image is rendered for each piece of media (7 files maximum). Users can select which file the wish to work with by taping buttons labeled 1 through 7. If they wish to preview a clip without sound before selecting simply tap and hold buttons labeled 1 through 7 and the thumbnail will play the clip without audio. Once a clip is selected taping the center dial (labeled ‘9’) will play the clip. Turning the dial left and right will rewind and fast forward the respectively. The knob(labeled 10) controls the volume of the selected clip. Buttons 11 through 14 select loops. Loops are short sections of media that play repeatably. Buttons 15 and 16 select where the loop will start and end. Button 17 applys an audio effect to the center dial so that when it is turned it produces a scratching sound similar to that of a record being turned on a record player. Button 18 sets the cue point when the selected media is paused and moves the playhead to the cue point when the selected media is playing.