VPlay from Microsoft Research – Multi-Touch for VJs

VPlay is a research project by Microsoft Research based on a multi-touch like a Surface Computer, which allows users to manipulate video in real time. Using real time interaction,  VJing is made possible on a multi-touch surface which provides new possibilities, unique interfaces and interesting human computer interaction. Different objects on the surface represent different real world objects such as mixers.

It’s not really a new concept, as a whitepaper on it titled ‘VideoPlay: Playful and Social Editing of Video using Tangible Objects and Multi-touch Interaction’ was published in October 2007

VideoPlay is a novel tabletop system for editing video using tangible objects and multi-touch interaction. It targets the unique capabilities of the Microsoft Surface platform which supports high precision multi-touch and physical object sensing and tracking. New interaction techniques are presented that allow content to be downloaded from mobile devices onto the table. Physical tiles representing video clips, transitions and effects can be assembled and locked together with the aid of embedded magnets to create new video sequences. The intention is to support playful interaction, making the process of video editing more collaborative and engaging when compared to traditional techniques.

vplay1‘Scratching’ done by VJs and playback rate control of videos is planned to be implemented in the future through the use of tangible objects, which are used by placing them over digital objects on the surface. This sounds very similar to SecondLight, which allows lens to be placed a Surface Computer to provide a secondary surface.


VPlay also provides a more social experience and interaction between the VJ and the audience. They software itself is extremely smart and can detect various gestures depending on the close proximity of objects as well as their rotation. Think of it as a drag and drop experience like Windows Movie Maker using a powerful Surface Computer, where you can move objects closer to the main video to add effects to it, adjust effects by the rotation of objects and so on.


Publications on Vplay and VideoPlay can be read here and here.

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Technology enthusiast, Internet addict, photography fan, movie buff, music aficionado.


    1. It’s for Surface computers only. A similar application could be made for multi touch computers too down the road, but the use of tangible objects and a Second Light kind of implementation is yet to be seen on non-Surface touch multi-computers.

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