New money pit

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Slabwax
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New money pit

Post by Slabwax » Tue May 19, 2020 10:52 am

Hello folks,

I've recently developed the itch to start experimenting with video synthesis. It's funny what 2+ months of lock down will do to a sick mind. It looks like LZX is the main name in the game, yes? Should I just wait until the Chromagnon is released? It looks to be a semi modular equivalent of a video synth ( ala Oberheim sem).

I do have a couple how to do question. What do I need if I want to bring in 2 or 3 prerecorded video sources or live video feed into lets say a Chromagnon for manipulation? And one last question. Is there an easy to use, somewhat low cost capture device for importing to my computer for editing?

Thanks
Slabwax

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wuff_miggler
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Re: New money pit

Post by wuff_miggler » Tue May 19, 2020 5:31 pm

i dont do video synthesis - but LZX gear is so damn cool - i almost want to do it for how damn cool their modules and systems are :P

Sorry carry on :)

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joem
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Re: New money pit

Post by joem » Tue May 19, 2020 9:36 pm

In order to get multiple video sources into a modular system, the video signals from those sources need to be in sync with one another. With broadcast-quality analog gear, this was usually built into the sources by means of something called "genlock". (It was also often built into lots of analog security cameras, which nowadays can be had for very cheap used.) So if you want to get some old broadcast gear or security cameras, look for genlock inputs since it'll make things a lot easier.

If you're using gear that doesn't have genlock built in, you need an external way to get their signals in sync. This is done with a device called a time base corrector (TBC). Sometimes you can find an old used standalone one for a decent price on ebay. Also, video mixers (that deal with analog signals) usually have TBC built in since they need to deal with multiple video signals, so some people use old video mixers like the Edirol/Roland video mixers as a TBC before running the signals into their modular. (Video mixers can be useful for other reasons too, like their built in effects and for feedback patching and so on.) I'm not sure if there are any currently-in-production TBC's for analog video these days... it seems like used gear is the only way to go.

That said, LZX themselves have a TBC module coming out soon-ish (hard to nail down exactly when due to covid19 delays but I think it's on their timeline to come out before the Chromagnon does). It's called the TBC2 and it's going to be really awesome for modular video synthesis. It's 2 channels, but if used in conjunction with something like the Chromagnon, I think you'll then have 3 channels of inputs (2 from the TBC and 1 from the Chromagnon). Also, you can add more TBC2's or Chromagnons for even more inputs. (LZX previously made another TBC module a while ago, so you might be able to find one of those used somewhere, but I don't see them pop up very often. Also the upcoming TBC2 will be sooooo much better than their previous TBC so I don't know if I'd recommend getting one of the older less-full-of-features ones.)

Since you seem to be waiting for a Chromagnon anyway, I think the best option for adding video sources is the TBC2 module.

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joem
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Re: New money pit

Post by joem » Tue May 19, 2020 10:01 pm

Oh, and as far as starting off goes... Yes, I'd recommend waiting for the Chromagnon (if you can wait). It's going to be a pretty awesome device! And it's going to be the base device for LZX systems going forward. Previously, the base device has been the Visual Cortex (VC), and it provided sync, had inputs and outputs, and had many useful features too. The VC has been discontinued, though you might still be able to find some new ones at various modular dealers (though maybe those supplies are all gone now), and used ones pop up for sale every now and then. It's still a very capable module and would make an excellent base for an LZX system. The upcoming Chromagnon is it's successor, though it's quite a different device... It doesn't have all the built in mixing/compositing features that the VC had, but it has other features the VC didn't have. The Chromagnon is a bit more future-looking, with it's ability to handle better quality video than the VC (and all previous LZX devices before it), and it's the start of a new generation of modules/devices for LZX, so it'll play best with the new LZX gear but it'll also play plenty well with the older gear too.

So, like with the TBC2, if you can wait for the Chromagnon, that'll probably be your best option to start with.

If you can't wait, your best bet is finding a used VC or a used Vidiot (an awesome standalone video synth by LZX that isn't eurorack but can integrate with eurorack via patching). Or you could get a Cadet I Sync Generator and Cadet II RGB Encoder module. The Cadets are a line of DIY video synth modules from LZX, and they're much more basic than the stuff I previously mentioned, but they're pretty neat in their own right especially if you like DIY and want to learn video synthesis from a different level. (If you know programming languages at all, I think a good comparison is that if the non-DIY LZX modules are Python, the Cadet line is kind of like C or perhaps even assembly language.) It's a less flashy and less immediately impressive approach to getting into modular video synthesis, but for the right person it can be great (I'm one of those people!). I think LZX may have discontinued the Cadet I and Cadet II (and some of the other Cadet modules) since they use a 14-pin sync connector that is being phased out, so they might be harder to find than some of the other Cadet modules, but I think some stores still have some and sometimes people sell them (used or perhaps even unbuilt) from time to time.

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joem
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Re: New money pit

Post by joem » Tue May 19, 2020 10:07 pm

One more thing to mention.... In case you haven't seen it yet, the LZX Community forum is a great place for all-things-LZX: https://community.lzxindustries.net

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FetidEye
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Re: New money pit

Post by FetidEye » Wed May 20, 2020 1:17 pm

+1 to all what joem said.

I'm a DIY person too. and have also designed some modules.
Is is worth mentioning that even if you get a Visual Cortex and some of the older models, you can totally make cool video with them.
The discontinued modules are awesome too! if you get your hands on those, they are totally worth it.

There are also some other brands that do eurorack video :
-Erogenous Tones - Structure
-BrownShoesOnly
-Afterlife Laboratories
-Reverselandfill -that's me :)
-Dave Jones
-BPMC
and some more

and there are a lot of standalone devices, such as:
-Gijs Gieskes - TrinsRGB-1c, Oscope, etc
-Jonas Bers - CHA/V
-Syntonie - diverse glitch devices
-Fluxmonkey
-BPMC

Slabwax
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Re: New money pit

Post by Slabwax » Wed May 20, 2020 2:51 pm

Thank you every one for your advice. I think i'm going to preorder a Chromagnon. Maybe a few other things that will pair nicely with Chromagnon as well. one thing I noticed on the Critter & Guitari Eyesy is it has a audio in. the Chromagon does not seem to have one. So, is it nessacary or just nice or not needed at all.

Thanks again for the replies.
Dean

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FetidEye
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Re: New money pit

Post by FetidEye » Wed May 20, 2020 5:12 pm

check out the Lzx sensory translator
most of the time it is more interesting to use audio as an indirect source.
else it becomes something like a winamp moving line. but if you use it to steer envelopes and triggers, the image moves with
the music way more complex, thus more engaging.

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Zymos
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Re: New money pit

Post by Zymos » Thu May 21, 2020 3:31 pm

Take a look at Structure- it has everything you need in one module (assuming you have some other Eurorack to send it modulation and triggers).

Slabwax
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Re: New money pit

Post by Slabwax » Thu May 21, 2020 10:33 pm

Once again thank you all. Some great info here. Zymos thank you for the heads up on the Structure. That looks a fantastic bit of kit. But like most good gear not cheap.

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Zymos
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Re: New money pit

Post by Zymos » Fri May 22, 2020 8:47 am

Most expensive module I’ve ever bought, but totally worth it. And maybe less likely to lead you into a money pit since it can do so much on its own. Though I did buy an old video mixer and a Waaave Pool (a little Raspberry Pi box that processes video)- but I have no plans or desires for other video modules at least.

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Agawell
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Re: New money pit

Post by Agawell » Fri May 22, 2020 2:58 pm

... yet!

I don't think a chromagnon and a tbc2 alone will be much use - you'll still want a 3 way video mixer of some description - and lzx don't currently have one in their line up
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Utility modules are the inexpensive, dull polish that makes the expensive, shiny modules actually shine - and stops them tarnishing too!!!

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wednesdayayay
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Re: New money pit

Post by wednesdayayay » Sat May 23, 2020 7:11 am

I agree that TBC2 and chromagnon seem strange to start with potentially

you won't really be able to mix between those three different videos (as far as we know from the info release about it) with just the chromagnon

however I think it has been mentioned about some kind of mixing funciton built into the TBC2
"MIDI input and thru for switching and mixing functions"

I'm not really sure what this means functionally. maybe you can use a midi input to say mix outputs A>B and B>A

so that might help facilitate mixing between all three sources though I'm only basing that off of that line from the description

I was also thinking all the inputs on the chromagnon are video rate so even without the potential for MIDI mixing on the TBC2 you could always throw the extra outputs from TBC2 into any of the inputs on chromagnon other than RGB
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