Scott Sunn: Tracer Visuals

Posted by Scott

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Lusine went on after my set in Seattle last Saturday and he had some amazing visuals going on during the show (his set was incredible by the way). I went upstairs to check out the source of the amazing imagery and found the guy you see above, Scott Sunn AKA Tracer Visuals, literally DJ’ing a pair of 8mm reel to reel projectors. He was winding the reels and alternately covering the lenses with his hands to produce effects and transitions. It was pretty amazing to behold; I’ve never even heard of this concept much less seen it in action. I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Scott after the set and what I learned about his method and sources was even more incredible than watching him work. Apparently he had access to a job site where a school district building was being demolished. The building being demo’ed housed a library of vintage reel-to-reel educational films and he was able to take away six truckloads of film, his truck bottoming out on a couple of the runs. I can’t even begin to imagine how exciting this would be. I think it would rank up there with finding a couple suitcases full of money buried in the woods. He now uses these films in his VJ sets and the results are amazing.

I was too busy enjoying the set to get many good shots of the action, but you can see a few rather blurry stills above and a video from another show below. The top image is, of course, the man himself at work. For the photography geeks out there, it’s a multiple exposure set with a fill flash and slow shutter speed to capture some motion after the initial exposure. I snagged it with the D80 which ended up performing rather well that night given the low light conditions present at the venue. Might have to rethink that upgrade

You can find more info on Tracer Visuals at his site or his Myspace page. He apparently also worked on the Radiohead tour. Below is a video of Scott VJ’ing a Lusine show back in April of this year. Forrest, I’d have to imagine your head has nearly exploded at this point. Time to hit the swap meet.

9 Comments Leave A Comment


WH says:

October 3, 2008 at 12:08 am

incredible. finding that much awesome footage is probably the best thing that has ever happened to him.


Paddy says:

October 3, 2008 at 2:42 am

Amazing stuff. It boggles the mind that all of that incredible footage was just going to be destroyed before Scott found it. His work is stunning but his good fortune at finding all those reels is just crazy. A very lucky and talented guy indeed.

On a related note, Lusine’s music is wonderful. It’s just my kind of thing. Thanks for introducing me to it.


Scott says:

October 3, 2008 at 12:53 pm

exactly like that. when I found the bulk of my magazines I don’t think it really sunk in how valuable a resource they would be. it was only later after I had gone through a lot of them did I start to realize how lucky a find they were. but those were newsweeks, pretty common. I’d have to think educational 8mm films are a heck of a lot more rare these days.


Forrest says:

October 3, 2008 at 2:02 pm

You had me at the first image (which is a great exposure)… my jaw dropped once I started reading about how he came upon it! Holy cow… That’s what I call a lucky find! Maybe closer to destiny… Regardless, I’ve got to check out this guy in action.

Should I change my name to Scott so I can find truckloads of vintage whathaveyou? I’m thinking so… haha.


Ron says:

October 8, 2008 at 12:26 am

Not sure if its the same guy or not but there was a club in Hollywood called Star Shoes that was doing that for years. The guy had about 4 projectors with educational films. They had an an unbelievable night every Fri with Cut Chemist and Egon of Stone’s Throw (among many other hip-hop DJ legends) spinning funk & soul. The film collection was huge and some of the most bizarre and amazing stuff (puppets, cartoons, documentaries etc), so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same guy.