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MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Video Synthesis  
Author Firestarter
I’ve been filming and manipulating film for a long time but have no expertise. Been casually entertaining modular video for a few years and it just haven’t come to fruition.

I was curious what this crew thought about starting with either the LZX visual cortex or their new Vidiot. I can build my own modules also, and have considered a synkie set up, but my free time is generally spent working with my livestock these days; so a diy set up would take me a very long time. I guess I’m thinking lazy all inclusive lazy route here. Budget is about 800/1000.

Definitely Vidiot. Save the rest of your budget for the monitor etc. You may end up spending more on "outboard" gear, even if you do how I did, by mostly buying used items on ebay. I've lost count now how much gear I found still boxed and unused, but at a tiny fraction of the original price.

So the Vidiot will eat most of your budget. A used 20" CRT monitor on ebay, in a good condition, *could* easily eat the rest (but see below). The last one I saw on ebay was in fabulous condition, used in a medical environment and refurbished. Alas, it cost more then the Vidiot alone. OTOH, you can get filthy 8" CRT for the cost of a fat bundle of cables and still get a great picture.

Also, look an old CCTV with genlock. You'll be able to plug one of those directly into the Vidiot and get a very decent B/W source signal. Great for video feedback, esp with the right lens e.g. 8mm. There are some cheap Chinese camera stands on ebay, too. So, with your budget, you could get the Vidiot, a cheap but decent monitor and a cheap but decent camera. A few cables and adaptors will take care of the rest. Maybe even a camera stand. A video mixer would be great, too, but might stretch your budget. OTOH, I got a basic mixer last year for the cost of a few cables.
I hope that doesn't sound negative. I'm not personally fond of CRTs - I have too many unpleasant memories of them - but other people love them, esp the Sony PVM range, which can easily be found on ebay at decent prices. LCD monitors are harder to recommend, esp with your budget. Maybe a cheap 7" LCD will work for you, but I have no experience with any. I have used a cheap upscaler with a computer monitor, and that worked well enough to get me started. The upscaler had a few limitations, like being a bit noisy, but I got some great video feedback done using that setup. I'm using a still from one of those early sessions as my avatar, so I can't complain.

So I hope I've given you a few options. Maybe someone else can be more helpful.
I'm in kind of a similar boat...

I've been using a macbook pro, lumen (in demo mode so far, cos I spent all my spare cash for this year on eurorack), an old lcd monitor and my iphone to create synthesized video feedback

and also processing (java graphic programming language) into lumen and back through processing back into lumen using syphon

both have achieved interesting results...

also have a cheap and nasty hdmi to scart converter which I could use... hmmm...

but I am curious as to expanding into synthesis hardware next year

@nerdware - any other reason for the vidiot over the visual cortex? there's not a whole lot of difference in terms of cash - maybe only 100€ or so

I have access to 2 or 3 TVs with composite ins (1 of which is crt) and probably space and power in the rack

so would only need to get either an hdmi or usb-c to composite converter for input to either anyway

the big advantages i see are that the visual cortex can process colour input whereas vidiot can only process b&w and the vc is in the rack as opposed to yet another box sitting on the desk

but maybe vidiot and a cheap video mixer would be the way to go? due to the extra functionality of the vidiot!
You can also look in the direction of the LZX Cadet modules.
Cheap, modular and if you want to go fully DIY, you can make your own pcb's with the schematic which are posted at the LZX website.

It is useful to have a analog video mixer and a Monitor & camera.
But those are cheap now. look for a Panasonic mx10 (around $15,- to 50,- bucks), camera and monitors go for around the same prices.

Start a basic setup and expand from there

If you already have a eurorack case with space for a VC, you could certainly start there, but the Vidiot has a whole bunch of tools that may make a better starting point. The VC is rather better than I expect the Vidiot to be at processing than synthesis, while the Vidiot should beat the VC for pure synthesis. It just has more synthesis tools builtin than the VC, while the VC has more processing tools. We'll know better when the Vidiot demos get made and posted.

Of course, if your budget is just for getting started, and you expect to spend a lot more later, the VC may be a better choice. It'll integrate better into your existing euro rig, if you have one. So the answer may depend a lot on what you have already and what you expect to get next.
Thanks for the reply all. I have an 8mm camcorder I plan to use and choice of a few monitors, what they are, no idea at the moment cause they’re in a storage space. I have a 18u eurorack system and a 44 space 5U. So the VC was appealing from the basic modular infrastructure stand point. But, it seems from your replies that it’s mostly a personal preference. Any other insights are much appreciated.
My interest is mostly in manipulating my own personal footage and overlaying multiple scenes, subtracting, dividing, adding, multiplying, excluding, difference, chroma key, etc. changing the speed and direction of timelapses, distortion, and influencing colors and position with sound. I’m not necessarily interested in shape modulation and synthesizing.
Neither a VC nor a Vidiot will do all that on their own. Overlaying requires 2 inputs, and both starting points will only give you 1 input. (A TBC module will help, but that'll blow your budget.) However, an external video mixer can the 2-input work and a VC will get you started on the rest. Maybe also a Bridge for better integration with your audio modules (e.g. filters). E.g. process 2 sources with the video mixer and feed into the VC, with keying and processing from various audio modules. Alternately, feed one source into the VC for processing there, then mix the VC out with another source for processing in the mixer. Both these mixer/VC workflows have given very good results for me.
Lots to think about. Are the best video mixers stand-alone? I’m not familiar with any of the terminology like TBC or bridge. I need to spend sometime reading the stickies.
TBC and Bridge are modules. The old TBC is discontinued but a new TBC module is expected next year. However, it'll be a dual TBC and likely to have a higher price. However, standalone video mixers are available secondhand on ebay. I recommend you look there.
I agree with NERDWARE the Vidiot is a great 9lazy) starter, it will synthesize AND process video feedback.

Also, scan through the old threads here, there are lots of questions about TBCs, mixers, video signals, etc.

Free/cheap CRTS are availabe all day long on craigslist/thriftstores and some are quite nice, just bulky and heavy.
Vidiot would be my suggestion, and then combine with camcorder / video mixer for overlay. Panasonic AVE mixers are great and easily available via ebay.
Awesome, thanks for all the tips. I was thinking a vidiot combined with an edirol video sampler could be a good combo; I scored 3 Panasonic rackmountable monitors and a 6 foot server rack on Craigslist (for free!) and they work great but are black and white.

In all honesty, I might just bite the bullet and start saving for an LZX case and a cortex.
It sounds alot like a few mixers would go a long way for you based on whay you're trying to accomplish.
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