V Squared Labs’ Digital Stunners Light Up The ULTRA Stage

Who’s responsible for the show behind the DJ?

Anyone who’s been to a large-scale EDM show can tell you that half the production is the light/shape show going on on the screens in front of and behind the DJ. Of course, you have to extrapolate that by about 100 for a show as over-the-top and large scale as Ultra.

But obviously, these things don’t come pre-set in the computer. So I wondered…who actually MAKES all these next-level PowerPoint presentations going on over the artists’ heads?

Fortunately, I got an invite from V Squared Lab to pop into the production booth during one of Saturday’s biggest shows — Steve Aoki on the Mainstage! — to see how it all works. Take a look at what V Squared cooked up for Steve:

Through a collaboration with Ultra Music Festival’s Creative Director, Richard Milstein, V Squared’s main guy Vello Virkhaus mapped and constructed the digital animations and graphics that danced across the LED screens of each of the Main Stage performances this year.

I got a chance to catch up with Vello as he oversaw Steve Aoki’s set on the Main Stage Saturday evening, and he let me know that Steve’s visuals alone took about four months to create.

For this scene in particular, he even had to make a real mold of Aoki’s head to re-map and animate into the digitization. Cool, right?

We didn’t get too deep into the extra-technical stuff because let’s face it…I wasn’t going to have any clue what he was talking about. But he did let me get behind the tech guys while they pushed and turned a lot of very-important-looking buttons on some extra-expensive-looking equipment…all while Steve jumped around the stage tossing cakes all over the place.

@steveaoki on the main stage @ultra #UMF #Ultra #UltraMusicFestival Day 2

A post shared by Rivea Ruff (@thefestivalista) on

It’s not something most of us even give much of a thought to, but months and months of work go into those flashing lights and images that spin and bounce on beat to the DJ’s selections. It was exceptionally dope to get a chance to see what goes on behind the scenes!

V Squared Labs / Rivea Ruff


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