Hidden stores of forum gold

The online forums dedicated to video synthesis harbour a huge wealth of information relevant to the aspiring VSDIYer. For most of the months that I’ve been obsessively trying to figure out how to build one of these damn things, my main go-to resource has been the Muff Wiggler video synthesis forum. I could get effusive talking about how excellent the forum is, but suffice to say that there are some extremely knowledgeable and experienced people there, and it’s a truly welcoming and generous community.

Recently, I’ve been poking around the Electro-Notes forum, another major resource for synth DIY info. I’d been there before, but until today I’d never realized that there was a video synthesis subforum on the site. It’s small compared to the MW one, but has some very worthwhile posts. In particular, this one is worth reading – it features, among others, one of the brilliant folks behind LZX Industries writing before the LZX system was developed and working through some of the basic problems of video synthesis, including sync separation and video reencoding. Quite amazing as a piece of recent vsynth history, considering how quickly the LZX Visionary has developed into a very full-featured and professional device.

A lot of questions are raised in the thread concerning one of the most important and fiddly parts of an analog video synth – sync (generating it, stripping it from composite signals to get RGB video, recombining it with RGB to get composite), but these issues are left tantalizingly unresolved! I’m still figuring this all out myself, but one of the things I’m hoping to put together is a discussion of desyncing and resyncing video that’s, and accompanying schematics, that are approachable for beginners. I think that the lack of a cheap-and-simple solution to the barrier posed by sync requirements is one of the biggest hitches preventing more DIYers from experimenting with video synthesis.

The thread contains tons of great info. Some interesting chips come up that I’d never heard of, including the MC1377 RGB-to-NTSC Encoder (replaced at Mouser by the NTE879 RGB to Pal/NTSC Encoder), the LM1889 TV Video Modulator (replaced at Mouser by the NTE846), and the AD724 and AD725 RGB to NTSC/PAL Encoders. There’s a page explaining the workings of the MC1377 a bit archived here.

Not least, the post contains something I’ve been wanting to see for ages – an online copy of the Sandin IP plans/schematics/distribution religion. The schematics for the Supernova 12 video synthesizer were even posted, though later taken down. This thing was built by Jeffrey Siedler and Stephen Jones of the amazing Severed Heads, so in honour of them, here’s the video from the SH single Dead Eyes Opened.

Does anyone out there have good info on sync solutions that could easily be built into a DIY video synth?


4 thoughts on “Hidden stores of forum gold

  1. as an aside here is a shot of a normal audio euro modular producing video with the help of a commercial sync gen and encoder !

    would love a simple design that can produce separately available H and V sync

  2. Thanks, Chris! Really nice stuff in your Flickr account. I’ve seen you post about that sync gen box before – have you ever taken a look inside it?

    By the way, what were you using to process those world map graphics? Looks great!

  3. yeah its a bunch of video ICs looks early 80s to me, the map is actually clip art built in to a video tilter run through some fed back video mixers 🙂

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