The Wobbulator from blair neal on Vimeo.

Analog signal in video, as in sound, is a medium all its own – as we saw last week with the gorgeous LZX Industries modules (more on those soon, too).

Here are more examples, both sent by reader Blair Neal.

The Wobbulator has its own special place in history as a video processor, the product of a collaboration between video artist legend Nam June Paik and video engineer Shuya Abe (a legend of sorts himself).

The technique, while inherently analog, could certainly inspire digital processes. I find it unfortunate that there hasn’t been a more systematic history of this kind of gear, but in this case, at least, the folks at the Experimental TV Center who provide this gear to modern artists also have a detailed paper, complete with diagrams should you wish to try some circuit-making yourself:

A raster manipulation unit or ‘wobbulator’ is a prepared television which permits a wide variety of treatments to be performed on video images; this is accomplished by the addition of extra yokes to a conventional black and white receiver and by the application of signals derived from audio or function generators on the yokes … The distortions performed on the image result from the actions of audio signals on the yokes.

Raster Manipulation Unit: Operation and Construction
by Sherry Miller Hocking, Richard Brewster, with Walter Wright, 1980

Nor is video processing simply a historical phenomenon; while it hasn’t had the same pace as analog sound, analog video is making a comeback. Dave Jones, a Dave Smith or Bob Moog of the 70s analog video movement, is himself reviving this gear decades later. His MVIP is a standalone video processing module; since it does work just fine on its own, it can be a drop-in video module for a Doepfer or other Eurorack audio module. (Yes, that’s right, audio kids – just in case your modular habit has left you with any cash left whatsoever, now you can add video to it!)

Good image on the top, crap YouTube image on bottom, courtesy the device’s creator. Compress this, suckers!

I find it strangely poetic that YouTube can’t capture what it looks like. Maybe that’s a good thing.
MVIP Mini Video Image Processor

Jones is also working on a new modular video system, too. Moog, Smith, Buchla, Linn … Jones. Works for me.

New name of this site: Create Digital Motion, or Not. Joking aside, in all seriousness, I think you can only appreciate what digital is as a medium if you can appreciate what it isn’t, and that you can only exploit it fully if you understand the potential of analog ways of thinking, too.

  • http://www.tweakingknobs.com TweakingKnobs

    Beautifull !

    love it !

  • http://www.skyron.org skyRon™

    whoa – new look! Yay!

    Uhm, how about "music – motion – noise – silence" (for us conceptual folk?) 

    Nam June Paik, of course, was and is one of my heros.  So was Bob Moog (who I met, and actually  attended a concert of my music!). Just a suggestion . . . 

    (and my latest exhibition here)

  • Peter Kirn

    Ha! Silence I think is when you walk away from the computer entirely. ;)

    Yeah, I hope we can do more coverage of some of the pioneers of this medium; on the visual side, especially, it seems everyone could use a greater sense of history. It can really be essential to the meaning of what we're doing now, I think.

  • yoo

    Love the banner navigation at the top..really brings all of the sites together! good work :)

  • http://www.blairneal.com Blair neal

    Awesome! Thanks for helping me get the word out about the device, people seem to really enjoy it. The redesign does look great too.

  • kpz

    in my opinion new layout sucks! except tags!

  • usedtobe

    the wobbulator made me cry! so freakin sick

  • http://www.mbiederman.com mbiederman

    If any of y'all are interested, I have the plans for a DIY wobulator. Well, they are _all_ DIY, aren't they? ;)

    Anyhow, I have the a set of drawing that tells one where to attach to the yokes and so forth to build one of these at home. Hit me up if you want a pdf. I got them from a long ago residency at the ETC (highly suggested)

    Just

    Not

  • http://www.mbiederman.com mbiederman

    umm, sorry about the break in comment seems to be a buggy system now?

    I was trying to say that there are volatages in a CRT that can kill, so please be comfortable with some electronics skills before putting the plans to use.

  • newUser

    nice work, i love it !

    it remembers me to the work of visomat at the year 1997.

    http://www.visomat.com/projects/berlin_visomat-in

  • Freak Without A Caus

    Thanks for the link to the Raster Manipulation Unit. While I doubt I'll get to it anytime soon, it does sound like a fascinating weekend(s) DIY project. It is surprising that that period of video experimentation isn't more documented or reproduced. The modern kits are more appropriate to glitch/8-bit music and lack the subtle curves & modulations of the video posted. Surely, with all the old TVs populating thrift stores, someone could make a hobby out of circuit-bending them like Speek N Spell toys. (just thought). And I like the new look Peter. It's easier to jump from site to site with the tabs on top.

  • Greg

    Thanks so much for sharing this. I also had some residencies at ETC and this was one of my favorite instruments (along with the frame buffer). I would love to see those schematics. I've been wondering about how to do a software version of this….