View Full Version : Hardware FX unit
9th April 2002, 08:08 AM
OK also restarting this thread with description of the item (and no comments about you can use a laptop and software, thanks). And yes I know a lot of this functionality is in the fairlight CVI and I already have one but I would like something more upto date and smaller.
I'm thinking of a unit similar in design and build to the Pioneer EFX500. http://pioneerprodj.com/products/efx500/efx500.jpg
I'm thinking a single video in so no mix functions, just FX.
1. Record button to sample uncompressed live video into ram, sampled video can be switch too instead of live video. Pressing again stops sample, pressing again starts sampling again clearing previous sample.
2. Scratch and loop functions on sampled video from ram.
3. RGB intensity knobs for picture tweeking (like low,mid,hi EQ on audio mixer).
4. Invert button
5. Freeze button
6. Colourize with a number of style options like solarize, spectrum, contour, etc. controlled with HSV (hue, saturation, value AKA intensity) knobs.
7. Rate knob/slider to control on/off rate off above functions (eg. so you can strobe invert and adjust strobe rate, just like the CVI) and a tap button to set it up.
8. Momentary on switch, so the FX is only active when you hold down the activator control for the effect or, it locks on and only stops when pressed again (see the concept on the pioneer site (http://pioneerprodj.com/products/efx500/efx500.mv) )
9. Kill all button, to remove all FX @ once and just give straigh uneffected video.
10. Mirror functions, possibly with mirrors controlled by sliders commin in from each of the 4 sides, and then rotated by knobs... this would give unlimited mirroring functions and really make all the trance/kaliedascope folks shit themselves in delight :)
11. Zoom slider to zoom image.
12. Maybe a 3d engine for mapping the incoming video onto 3d objects that can be controlled in realtime with a track ball or point. On a black/white (selectable) background, for keying out.
With the exception of the last thing they can all be done with ICs/Eproms as far as I know and thats the way I want to do it... nothing that can crash and cause problems live, instant on/off.....
Electronics wizards out there start your engines..... I know we can do it :D :nod:
9th April 2002, 08:16 AM
Just take a basic general purpose interface (like MidiMan SurfaceMan http://www.midiman.net/products/midiman/surfaceone.php), plug an Video Input card on your laptop/PC, hook a scan converter at the end : your the king.
That's my dream machine !!!!
But as I'm a newbie and the site crashed (the database actually), I won't post any more nonsence :-)
9th April 2002, 08:26 AM
I know your a newbie (and never ready the old thread) so I'll try not to get to annoyed..... I have already been through all the reasons I don't want to use software/latop.
Yes I have USB video in on my laptop and yes I plan on getting a surface1 (watch for my review) and I will be using them with software but thats not what this thread is about.....
9th April 2002, 11:19 AM
i'm also VERY interested on a PURE hardware FX unit... (i've build a composite video enhancer 2 shear 1source 2 2sources)
well, the quality is not so PRO, but if you want yuor source @ the same luminance for 2outputs @ VERY low cost, i can send you the scheme...
i'm (sadly) no electronic-genie, but with the help of internet i was able to build that thing when only having the "blue-prints"...
10th April 2002, 06:59 PM
take the picture Morph posted and just make it play VCD/DVD.
Keep all the "pitch" control, any A-B looping, scratching, etc. Maybe throw in a delay effect or something.
this would make LEVLHED very, very, very happy.
10th April 2002, 07:05 PM
Hmmm that would be cool LEV, but why not just make the unit work with ANY video input..... and buy a $50 VCD discman player to run into it... much more flexible :)
10th April 2002, 07:38 PM
send me a link!!
because thats one more thing to bring..... and have cords for.....
and I think someone will make a VJ VCD/DVD player sooner than the efx box you're dreaming of.......I mean I think its going to be easier to make........
10th April 2002, 07:43 PM
Well that was in US$ and it was secondhand..... but there were some very good cheap ones coming out of SE asia with a brand name something like NAVA??? I think....
12th April 2002, 10:32 AM
its napa I think, the link got posted here a while back but apparently they're shit, pitch control is advertised but is in fact just 1x 2x etc. and they dont loop properly.
what we need is a dvd/vcd version of the pioneer cdj, pitch shiftable scratchable portable yeah
I do agree with ya tho MoRpH, the hardware side is def. behind the software all these things are technically possible but until some manufacturer see the possible money to be made we're gonna have to keep using puters (with the inherant instability)
but just for a moments dream, imagine a unit, combining 2 of the above with a 4 channel vga enabled mixer something like per's baby, and the fx capabilities of morphs dream unit both pre and aftermix, all built into a 4u 19" box, with lcds for each channel and output, and a fold out knob and slider interface .....aaaaaaaah:o
12th April 2002, 06:18 PM
*MoRpH goes into a techno freak/VJ lust fit.....* :p
13th April 2002, 01:31 AM
yes yes I'm totally on track with where you're coming from, but consider this - having a dedicated dsp and connectivity box that is controlled by computer but processes it all full frame, real time without touching the CPU. A bit like a programmable Matrox RT2000 or AfterEffectsonIce. Imagine building a visuals app in some PD/Nato style environment, but each video object corresponds to a hardware function. Ultimate flexibility, at a level where the rest of us can create our own stuff, and release the pro's to stop worrying about CPU cycles used for the basics and free em instead for the most crazy shit.
What is so damn annoying is that the audio world already has something like this, the Moto828.
13th April 2002, 03:57 AM
Hmmmm interesting idea spark.... would a PC crash still bring it down??? would the actual controllers be physical.... IE. knobs and stuff??? Guess you could link it to midi controllers...... still that would be 3 pieces of kit to do what could be done in one.
14th April 2002, 03:25 PM
it is a must have item,
just points 1 and 2 are really crucial, sampling/loop/pitch control. then house it in a effects peddle (like for guitars) it should be no bigger than this.......and should cost not much,, ?50 - ?70 i would guess.
forget the 3d engine i say...
14th April 2002, 03:45 PM
Yeah I think now the 3d engine would be shit (as most 3d is), but you gotta have more than just 1&2 otherwise its just a realtime video sampler/player..... while that is VERY cool and something I would love to see, I think the realtime FX would really be the focus of the unit... that said I would just like to make something happen.. anyone know any of the big electronics companies that might be interested in making this for us???
14th April 2002, 04:54 PM
Yea Sparks got it...DSP is crucial now in the audio world, and could be adaquatly aplied to the video world, though I worked for a company using ICE cards, and for the 3 grand they costs, the dsp was not so effective on real time FX's... and I am afraid if you want brodcast or HDTV rez you will have to send a fortune for dsp cards...
14th April 2002, 09:29 PM
wow, I'd totally drop $200-400 on something like that, I love the idea. (and it really needs to be purely an FX box, not get convoluted)
My partner and I also had an idea for a hardware device, like the CDJ-100 or 1000, basically a hardware resolume. It'd have a CD slot like the CDJ's, but also one small LCD monitor for viewing thumbs of the clips in the bank. The CDs would have a certain format, and a certain codec, so that each cd is basically like a .dck file in resolume, meaning it would automatically load all your clips into memory when you insert a cd, and would have physical buttons to hit for each clip in the bank. It'd have the reverse button, a freeze button, and a speed slider. RAM would be upgradeable, like an audio sampler, for people who use larger clips/expandability.
A typical setup would have two of these, whatever else you want (like DVD players) and a mixer, and maybe an FX unit like morph described. If we wanted to get fancy the units themselves could have resolume-like effects, and a resolume-like chaos function. (I love that function!)
I think, from a hardware design perspective, this should be totally doable, not even that difficult, and could totally be done in the $400-500 price range that I'd think would make them attractive. Just need to find an EE major to help me out...
14th April 2002, 10:25 PM
Wow I'd love to get that unit you're describing murph :p
I i think it would cost a lot more though. If you want the unit to read the CDR/VCD and display the thumbs on a LCD monitor, it will require a little computer unit, which is I think A LOT more difficult to make than just playing and mixing some video "flux" like a video mixer or an FX unit like the restate rebelle do... (and the rebelle costs about $1000!)
14th April 2002, 11:39 PM
why not make the unit midi controlled? this would make it v. flexible
15th April 2002, 03:32 AM
Yeah Midi in/control would be wikkid... but it needs is own set of on unit controls to for those that don't/can't use midi, so like the V5 but better implemented :)
OK as I said who's got the friend @ sony/panasonic/roland/etc that we can take this idea too???
15th April 2002, 06:31 AM
According to me, Murph's idea could easily be implemented in embeded Linux.
A DVD/CD player, a small HD (cache), some RAM, a small and efficient kernel and a simple but efficient app. Add a good video card that can do effects and speed the decompression process (like ATI that does full MPEG2 decompression) and you might win.
MP3 player started by being a Linux box (and some still are, like RioCar).
Anyway, the embended OS approch is the closest to HW ease-of-use/effiency but is much cheaper to developp.
15th April 2002, 09:17 AM
Software = crash.......
15th April 2002, 09:19 AM
glue some ram and an eprom to this itvc15 chip (mpeg-2 encoder/decoder) and if you know whats going on, it might work..... these chips only cost US$29 each (if you buy 10000) so this unit would be cheap, cheap.
check the block diagram - its pretty friendly,
question: is mpeg-2 a suitable codec or is there poor control over speed and direction change? i haven't found any good info on this.....
in principle there are loads of suitable encode/decode chips look at all the camcorders that do this shit, firewire anyone? (i would prefer s-video)
15th April 2002, 09:36 AM
A basic linux kernel won't crash alone. And if you develop your own and efficient software, using crash-proof language or method, it won't. But developping crashproof soft is long and hard and sometime inefficent. I work here in a industrial computing company. We are working for Defense and Transportation, so crash isn't a solution (especially when you're driving a train at 200 mph). This could be done !!!! but I known it is not as strong as HW but it is much easier to build. Just build such a box, start selling it and then you could show a HW manufacturer that such a market exist and he might think about puting some money in it.
BTW, in audio, lastest mixer are just a standard PC driving a bunch of dedicated cards with special user interface.
15th April 2002, 09:51 AM
Well I don't have the resources to build the box in either hardware or software but plenty of ideas and creativity on the topic.
If someone can do it with a hardware/software box then cool contact me and we can get moving, if not lets drop the shit and move on to trying to get this thing built in hardware by a name brand.
15th April 2002, 04:37 PM
only problem I see with embedded linux is extremely poor video support, especially with video card drivers. I could see if someone wrote an app to directly access the hardware on the video chipset that we'd embed, specific to that chipset, and to the codec we're using, with fairly strict limitations on the format other than resolution and framerate, it might work. The advantage to this is that there are also lots of video output chips available to embed, and we could pick a really good one, and no UI to write, as it'll be controlled by hardware. Definitely easier to develop than fully hardware, though I'd scratch the hard drive in favor of 512MB of RAM embedded with two DIMM slots for more. ($100 for that is what you'd pay for any new 2.5" HD, and no crashing heads)
hell, this might even work as an external controller to an xbox. (but then it gets convoluted)
15th April 2002, 04:47 PM
Hmm yeah I was always planning video into RAM, HDD is not an option...... one cool thing about software would be if we had a number of controllers on the box, maybe we could set it up that you could write new FX for the unit and upload them say via USB and assign the parameters in software to the controllers :)
15th April 2002, 05:07 PM
Originally posted by murph
hell, this might even work as an external controller to an xbox. (but then it gets convoluted)
XBOX would definitely be a must have : one of the best 3D graphic DSP available (programmable thru Direct3D vertex/pixel shader), a stable platform (XBOX OS, stable becos derivated from Win2k and running on a controled hardware (no need to check for compatibility)) and a truly cheap one :D. As it is based on Microsoft DirectX API, it is really easy to develop.
The only draw back are :
- XDK (XBOX developpement kit) is REALLY expensive, and you cannot do anything without cos
- XBOX support only appz running on DVD formated for XBOX (and only Microsoft can burn such DVD currently, to prevent piracy).
- controlling with a gamepad isn't that easy (and even if the game port is basicaly an USB port, the connectors aren't the same shape and you won't be able to develop drivers for it)
And as a conclusion, M$ will NEVER allow you to develop such an app becos it will turn the XBOX into a professional appliance and people will buy just ONE XBOX and ONE app to run on it and M$ is losing money on the box (cheaper than the same PC - PIII 733, 64Mo RAM, GF3+, AC3 sound card), getting the money from selling the games and the XDK.
But it would be a dream :nod:
15th April 2002, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by MoRpH
One cool thing about software would be if we had a number of controllers on the box, maybe we could set it up that you could write new FX for the unit and upload them say via USB and assign the parameters in software to the controllers :)
That's the basic idea of my own soft ... First demo in a month or so, I think. (it won't be embed ...)
15th April 2002, 05:25 PM
Cool Awax I look forward to it.. I still think an embedded crash proof independent box is gonna be best though :) each to there own...... still waiting for ppl to voluteer their friend @ sony/roland/panasonic :D
15th April 2002, 08:13 PM
as far as i'm not the first propagating computer boxes
do you mind me pointing out the possibilties of a linuxstation again, MoRpH :D :D :D :D
16th April 2002, 12:56 AM
At my next trip to RadioShack (probably tomorrow) I'm going to get some things to start testing this out..
First and foremost: a bunch of alligator clips... a few people might know the easy S-video to B&W force (plug only the chrominance signal in)... hopefully crossing wires on the S-Video itself will result in some interesting effects.
Secondly: A little voice recorder chip... They sell these for a few dollars and they can record 15 seconds of audio given to it through a wire (not a mic, a wire)... hopefully this will work for sampling video as well. If not... I'm out a few USD.
After I've figured out what little tweaks I can make and how I can record video temporarily I'll set myself to building a circuit.
16th April 2002, 02:11 AM
16th April 2002, 02:20 AM
dunno how your gonna go with the audio sampling chip as rather than just dump a hirez sample of the waveform (with proper feqs) in ram I think it actually formats the data as PCM audio for storage and its definately low res sampling so with the feq on a video waveform your not going to be a. sampling enough to get the waveform of video properly b. going to run out of room far too soon for it to be useful (I mean prolly fractions of a second).
16th April 2002, 06:26 AM
voice by phone : under 4kHz ...
video : let's start with 60Hz ok ? with 480 lines (around), on a dual scan basis (half the image every scan), its 240x60 Hz. Then its around 640 pixel a line. So a to reach pixel resolution, it requires 240x640x60 Hz = 9 216 000 = 9 MHz ... far from it.
With 4kHz, you can display a 320x240 image at 0,06 Hz.
Anyway, I didn't use video compression but you planed to sample RAW and uncompressed video right ?
16th April 2002, 06:48 AM
:D I like when others do the math :)
16th April 2002, 08:08 AM
Sorrry, I can't help :rolleyes:
Originaly, I'm a signal processing engineer (mainly images), but I specialised in computing and multimedia. Right now, my day job is software developer on a face recognition project and my spare time job is software developer in VJ and 3D gaming.
16th April 2002, 08:14 AM
Nah thats great.... wikkid to have a nice software internals knowledgable person about :)
16th April 2002, 11:23 AM
awax is correct, audio sampler will definetly not work.
what is needed is a video anologue to digital converter (adc) (i think choose mpeg-2, with just i-frames, not p or b. it might be better to record raw video for putting effects on, as this'll be much easy then having to deal with codecs for effects, however raw would seriously limit size of samples) send this to ram via a controller chip (may not be fast enough).
to play - the controller chip asks the ram to send the frames we want in the order we want, ie to double speed, we go for alternate frames etc. (to do this, we upload a simple program to the controller chip telling it how to access the ram...)
then you send the signal to a video dac - digital to analogoue converter and violas.....
i genuinely think this is'nt to hard, and is the only way a standalone box will work without full on using a computer.
either you store video on tape disc or ram.
tape is not flexioble enough, cos is linear read.
disc is posiible,
ram is best
so use ram - but then we need to control it, this always needs software at some level.
i'm not sure if controller chips are quick enough for this, or if we have to go cpu.....
there are lots of links about suitable chips for this shit on the http://www.epanorama.net site, follow the video....
16th April 2002, 12:10 PM
Cool I put that link up on vjcentral quite a while ago but I forgot to check it with regs to this project... will do and report back :) capt.
16th April 2002, 12:25 PM
I've been toying with FPGA last year (hand made 3D graphic card :)) and it's really powerfull.
Basically, you have a PCI card in your PC case, you write a special program for it (standard C or else (definitely else for FPAG ;)) and you run it, the PC being here to input/ouptut data, load/dump memory and power the PCI card but once its developped, you can run the same soft on a standalone compatible system.
According to me the best would be a PC/104 system (very small form factor mobo) or a standalone system compatible to a PCI dev card. But everything is VERY expensive : both dev and final system.
But that way, it could be a 100% "hardware" system (quote becose it would be DSP running a prog so it's not a "real" hw system), fully standalone or driven by a PC with the PC/104.
16th April 2002, 04:08 PM
Morph, I'd hack off my testicles with a rusty bread-knife to get my hands on a bit of kit like that! We used to have a Fairlight at the College I worked at, and it was truly great - but I don't want to lug one round with me (plus, I notice that they are not as cheap as maybe they ought to be). I suspect you'll think I'm jerking off, but I really want to keep my operation in one rucksack and a small case - too many years of lugging around a Wurlitzer piano in my band days!! You can put me down for one of them as long as its small:)
16th April 2002, 05:09 PM
Hahaha no need to be so vivid with your descriptions :p
Yeah the CVI is the bomb , but as I said I'm over lugging a roadcase, since I have ditched my small VHS deck and have done to VCDs the only large item I have in my kit is the CVI (rest of the kit is just MX1 and laptop/scan), hence this project, once thats done it can all fit in one back pack, but ofcourse then you add a midi keyboard, live cam, commandpsot (when we get the software sorted) and another laptop... it starts to get large again :)
17th April 2002, 08:36 AM
I've found a very convenient developpement board : standalone DSP+FPGA, 4 video in, 1 out ... you program it in C so very easy to developp. www.ateme.fr
But 6500$ a board ... :sad:
17th April 2002, 08:58 AM
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