- VJ (media personality)
A video jockey (usually abbreviated to "VJ", or sometimes "veejay") is an announcer who introduces and plays videos on commercial music television such as
MTV, VH1Canada's MuchMusic.Asia's Channel Vand Philippines MYX.
Origins of the term
The term "video jockey" is a derivative of the term "
disc jockey", "DJ" ("deejay") as used in radio. The term was popularised in the 1980s by the Music Television Network (MTV). (See List of MTV VJs.)
The founders of MTV got their idea from studying Merrill Aldighieri, the person to invent the job of Video Jockey and its term. Merrill worked in the New York nightclub "HURRAH" which was the first public arena featuring video with music in New York City. When Merrill was invited to show her experimental film in the club, she asked if she could first develop a use for video to compliment the DJ music so that when her film would be played, it would become part of a club ambiance and not be seen as a break in the evening. The experiment was such a success she was invited to stay.
Several months later the future-founders of MTV started coming to the club regularly, interviewing her and taking notes. She told them she was a VJ, the term she invented with a staff member to put on her first payslip. She was invited to show her collection of live performance videos she was creating nightly to form the base of MTV, but when she asked if she could be paid, they refused, so she declined their offer. Her video jockey memoirs [ [http://artclips.free.fr/videojockey_memoirs.htm 80ies Music Video Archive-Live at Hurrah ] ] have a complete list of all the live music she documented during her VJ breaks. There are over 100 hours of groups filmed including many US debuts. The original collection is now housed and accessible at Historic Films Archives [ [http://www.historicfilms.com Historic Films Archive] ]
There were no music video clips available in 1980 and all had to be created from scratch. Her method of performing as a video jockey consisted of improvising live clips using a video camera, projected film loops, and switching between 2 U-matic video decks. Many video artists contributed raw and finished works which were used as part of a visual arsenal. Stock footage was also incorporated. During her year of experimentation she developed the genre of ambient video music, collaborating with an electronic musician, Richard Bone to make a video music album, "Emerging Video".
When the club closed she was invited to direct the video lounge of another club, "Danceteria", where she developed the incorporation of more public participation. Live television was brought into the mix as well as public microphones and teletext. Shortly after being mugged one night on her way to work she dropped her career of video jockey, took a self-defense course and focused on building her production company. Other names include "VDJ" (Video DJ) and "MVJ" (Mobile VJ).
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