The Video Synthesizer
This proposal describes a new kind of video synthesizer which uses the graphic potential of the video medium for a programming language. The instrument, called the Design Device, will perform video synthesis and signal processing under control from a mini-computer which reads a specially formatted picture language. This programming language will permit artists to prepare ideas away from the studio and provide a permanent record on paper of all useful programs.
Below are excerpts from a late 1970's paper by Tom Dewitt describing an enhanced video synthesizer called the "Design Device." This proposal reviews video synthesizers of its day, touching on their principles and limitations in waveform generation, colorizing, signal routing, and image display through XY deflection. The suggested enhancements form a technical sketch, to synthesize a video art tool for use by independent video artists.
REVIEW OF EXISTING VIDEO SYNTHESIZERS AND IDEAS FOR A NEW ONETo free the video artist from the confines of the real camera-recorded world, it is necessary to develop instruments which generate a television compatible signal from raw electronics. A synthesizer is the paint and palette of the video artist, a device which lets the artist construct spaces from the dictates of imagination.