The SuperNova 12

The SuperNova 12 is a custom-made analogue video synthesizer, designed by Jeffrey Siedler, and engineered by Stephen Jones of Australia's Severed Heads. According to the designers, it is the only 12-oscillator dual picture analogue video synthesizer that they are aware of.

The Supernova 12 is a fabulous unit. It can produce two completely independent colour pictures that can be mixed or keyed into one another. A third external-keying image can also be produced, so the two picture generators can be keyed by a completely separate image.

Jeffrey invites those interested in further details to
contact him, as he is very excited about the infinite potential of this real-time dynamic image synthesis device.

Click on the pix for a full screen view of the unit.

The Supernova 12 video synthesizer is an analogue colour video pattern generation system based upon the interaction of up to 12 oscillators producing combination complex waveforms driving the red, green and blue components of a video signal. The unit is capable of producing two independent output color video signals that can be mixed together using the inbuilt vision mixer. The result is a dynamic cascade of interacting waveforms producing fascinating colour combinations in real-time.

The synthesizer has separate modules that can be patched together as required for pattern generation. Each oscillator module contains a range control, frequency adjust, CV adjust, wave shape control and separate outputs for triangle, sine and square waveforms. Each oscillator has a Controlled Voltage input, and a sync lock input enabling the oscillator to be locked to the horizontal or vertical sync pulses from the vision mixer. The unit incorporates several analogue effects modules that can accept any output from the oscillators and includes such functions as: addition, subtraction, differentiation, integration, rect. and multiplication. A pulse width modulation control affects some of these functions.

The video synthesizer is controlled by a JVC KM-1200 Colour Special Effects Generator. This unit provides the horizontal and vertical blanking signals for sync-locking the oscillators, the video switching for the video inputs, and provides a means where an external signal can act as a key for the two input video signals. Complex multi-layered images can be built up this way, and manually controlled by the vision mixer.

To build a colour video image, processed signals from the oscillators are connected to the red, green and blue picture inputs. The RGB levels are adjusted by the operator as well as a bias adjust for each colour. The controls have a wide range of latitude, and can make for maximum colour control flexibility from the most subtle shades to the boldest hues and intensities enabling enormous creative potential for the user.

The Supernova 12 is capable of producing infinitely variable abstract dynamic complex colour images with real-time control and adjustment. Interesting patterns are formed when two or more oscillators are combined for each of the RGB colour channels. One example is having an oscillator locked to the horizontal or vertical sync and either modulating the output waveform via the CV input or adding it to another sync-locked oscillator that is also modulated by a CV input. The output waveform becomes the basis for one of the colour channels. Repeat this process for the other two colour channels and very complex images can be produced. Square waves typically produce hard-edge patterns, while triangle and sine waves produce more curvilinear and softer edges to the images.

Various sequences of rhythmic modulation effects can be achieved by the unit. For example, if a square wave output in vertically sync-locked, and this in turn is modulated by a vertically sync-locked sine wave output added to another oscillator free-running, then the result is a well-ordered but extremely modulated pattern repeated on the video monitor. By changing the frequency of the first oscillator, the angle or skew of the modulated pattern can be altered.

Vertically sync-locked oscillators produce a wide variety of angled waveforms for further modulation by their CV inputs. Mixing waveforms and inserting these into the CV inputs of a vertically sync-locked oscillator not only provides enormous scope for modulation expression, but the pattern is repeated horizontally beyond the edges of the display monitor. Using a square wave for the fundamental control oscillator produces hard-edge lines. Using triangle or sine waves produces maximum delineated patterns with a continuous soft edge. The result resembles soft cloud-like structures or vapour-like tendrils depending on how the control oscillator is modulated. An external function generator can also be used to modulate sync-locked oscillators producing an even greater range of frequencies for the user.

Some examples of the output - Click on the image to enlarge it:

Owners on record:

Only one! - The unit is a prototype,
owned by Jeffrey Siedler of Sydney, Australia.

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