The Tag System Explained

Tutorial category: 
Main Controls

Last updated on Saturday, May 13, 2023 - 9:43pm

One of the modern challenges performing with video on stage or in-stream is playing the content you want exactly when you want it. What’s even more challenging is keeping that content in tempo sync and in phase with music throughout your session. Visual Libraries containing thousands of videos is now commonplace for performers to ensure flexibility to match different genres and event themes throughout the year. Managing all that content in a live setting has always been a daunting task for the industry.

To help solve this dilemma, Vidjam introduces a dynamic tag system to help you preorganize and instantly filter your media into playlists and video grids live during your session.

This feature allows you to send groups of filtered videos to running playlists or video grids that can be updated in real time while maintaining tempo and phase sync with your music by applying quantization to your actions. Playlists and video grids of any size can be created, saved, stacked, sequenced and mixed together with camera and effects layers. .

Here’s how it works:

First, your need a video library installed on your computer. This can be content you already own or one of the libraries that can be downloaded within Vidjam’s Downloads tab like Beat Sync or Visuals Complete.

Next, the videos must be tagged so they can be instantly recalled during your sessions. Libraries packaged with Vidjam are pre-tagged so if you’re using one of those libraries you can start filtering your media live without any further preparation. For other videos you own, you will want to make sure they are in the correct folder structure and tag them manually before you start performing live.

You can also add your own custom tags that fit your unique workflow so the rest of this tutorial can be applied to any videos installed on your machine - even those included with Vidjam.

Ok. The general idea is that adding and editing tags in Vidjam enables you to mark videos according to your personal taste so they can be instantly recalled in future sessions using your mouse, hotkeys, MIDI controllers, streamdecks or using the automation features of Vidjam. This helps ensure the most suitable videos always play at the right time. Vidjam takes it a step further by offering quantization to your actions which ensures your videos always remain in perfect timing with your music even when swapping out entire playlists or changing videos grids during a performance.

In this example I’m selecting tags from various tag categories. Notice the playlist on the right dynamically changes as I select different tags. As I select more Themes and Video Collections, more videos populate the playlist. As I select different tags from the Settings category, fewer videos will populate the playlist. Rating and Energy tags can be added to your videos based on your opinion of those videos. In this example, I have not added any rating or energy tags to the videos in the library so clicking on those will clear the playlist since no videos in my library have any of those tags applied yet.

Once you are happy with your playlist you can confirm it using the checkmark. The base layer playback immediately reflects this change. To send this playlist to a video grid layer for manual control, add a new video grid and use the import playlist button. Within the grid you now have manual control of each individual video.

You can stack any number video grids and mix them together using blending modes. Each grid, its settings and MIDI mappings can be saved as a layer preset for instant recall anytime during a future session. Entire stacks that include these grids, effects, cameras and external sources can also be saved into stack presets for later recall during your sessions.

Here you can control if the categories and their tags will be shown in the main UI using the Hide and Unhide buttons.
For example, right now you can see the BPM tag is visible in the UI but when I hide it in preferences you see it is no longer displayed. The same concept is applied to individual tags within the categories. For instance, If I make the Genres category visible I might want to hide a few of the genre tags within that category - here they are all visible but if I hide Ambient and Downtempo in preferences for instance, you can see they have now been removed from the category list.

This area of preferences is also where you can manage your own custom tag categories and their tags. Please see the creating custom tags tutorial for details.

Directory tags include theme names, collection names, and video names are shown in these media panels are derived from the folder and file names on your hard drive. If you want to change the name of a theme, video collection or video name, you should make the change to their respective folder and file names on your hard drive. Then perform a quick scan in vidjam so those name changes are reflected in the directory panels.

Dynamic tags are created by Vidjam’s BPM algorithm and may be edited to compensate for errors. Please see the Setting Video Beatgrids tutorial for details.

Custom Tags like Genre, Energy and Rating can be modified using two methods depending on the category type.

Method #1: Engage the “Edit Tags” button and select media from the playlist. Buttons for all tags that are applied to the selected video will be highlighted in bright pink. In this example, these tags are applied to this video. Now let’s select a few more videos by control-clicking in the playlist. Notice some of buttons are now highlighted at half brightness.

This is how vidjam communicates to you that some of your selection has these tags applied and some do not. If the highlight is bright pink this means the tag is applied to your entire selection. If it’s the duller pink then only some of the media you selected have this tag applied.

Now let’s edit some tags. Once the media you want to edit is selected, simply change the state of any tags within the UI. For instance, you may add an energy tag, rating tag or mark a video with a setting tag like stock footage or do not loop. You may then select different files and repeat the process.

We suggest enabling the “loop video” button for this process. This way you can take your time editing tags for the selected video as it’s looping and then use the skip forward button to go to the next video in the playlist.

If you want to apply the same tag settings to all files in a playlist, you can use the Select All button and then make your tag edits.

Once you’re finished editing tags, disengage the “edit tags” button. All your changes will be saved to the database for instant recall during your future sessions.

Method #2: Use the Quicktag area to add Favorite and Do Not Play tags during normal operation. Those tags will be applied to the currently playing video in the base layer. These special cases help you further refine your tags on fly for future sessions without having to enter into edit mode.

See a video you love? Click the favorites tag while it’s playing. See a video you don’t like? Click the Do Not Play tag and it will never appear in your future playlists. To recall videos that have the Favorites or Do Not Play tag applied, you can select them in the settings panel.

Once you’ve set tags for your media, you can recall them as filtered playlists for instant recall in your sessions simply by clicking on the tags in real-time. You can save playlists for instant recall using the highly flexible Scene buttons. Scenes allow you to combine your playlists, layer presets, stack presets, MIDI mappings and other UI parameters into a single action that can be instantly recalled and quantized during your sessions. This provides a way to save and recall completely different workflows, looks, effects chains and UI combinations using hotkey and MIDI-assignable buttons. Find out more in the Scenes tutorial.