Video scratching

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Video scratching is a video editing technique used within the music industry. It is a variation of the audio editing technique scratching.

It is typically used in either music videos or live performances, with one or more individuals manipulating a video sample to make it follow the rhythm of whatever music is playing.[1]


Nam June Paik was an early pioneer of video art and created pieces like 1964's TV Cello which combined live performance with video and music. It was a theme they'd return to over the years and Good Morning, Mr. Orwell recreated TV Cello as part of a larger, global performance.

Academy Award winning filmmaker Zbigniew Rybczyński used the technique in the 1984 music video for "Close (to the Edit)" by The Art of Noise. The video would go on to win two 1985 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Editing and Most Experimental Video. [2]

The group Emergency Broadcast Network are considered to be pioneers of the technique, popularizing it during the 1990s. Examples include The Edge's performance of "Numb" at the 1993 MTV Video Music Awards, and the wraparound nominee announcements and package design for the 1998 ceremony.

The British art collective Gorilla Tapes, comprising Gavin Hodge, Tim Morrison and Jon Dovey, developed a body of scratch video art work, also to much critical acclaim, during the early to mid-1980s. Their seminal 1984 work Death Valley Days reflects upon the stifling atmosphere of the Cold War years and has been exhibited at a number of prestigious venues including Tate Britain where one of the video's fours sections entitled Commander in Chief was included in the 2003 Tate exhibition A Century of Artists Film in Britain.[3]

U2's Zoo TV Tour in the early 1990s, used a range of multimedia including live mixing of a range of video, both live and pre-recorded.

Currently, Coldcut make heavy use of live video mixing and have even created software, called VJamm, to help with the process.[4]

New York artists Bruno Levy, Jack Hazard and Richie Lau composed Squaresquare in late 2001.

Kutiman quickly became famous for video scratching with his work using YouTube videos in 2009 [2].

See also[edit]