Guide to Hardware Based Glitch Video

This is a work in progress.  Thanks.

I’m presenting you, the curious reader, with a handy resource to help you safely break video.  Glitch video production of any sorts can seem a little confusing considering there is little documentation on the subject.  For those new to the medium the example set-ups and a few of the essential details discussed here should get you started.   For those veterans of glitch video production this perhaps will offer a little further clarification on an issue or two .  These are just my personal observations learned throughout my experimentations over the years and are in no way the-end-all-be-all.  In fact some of this shit is probably plain wrong.  If you have a suggestion, correction or a thought of any sorts feel free to hit me up, I love chatting about this shit.   Just a quick note, this guide has nothing to do with software based corruption techniques or modular video synthesis.

Tips for re-amping video. In the audio world re-amplifying sound is done by taking a recording and playing it thru another source of amplification (telephone, computer speakers, transducer, radio, etc) and recording it with a mic.  The same can be done with video by playing content back on a playback source (tv, projector, cell phone, etc) and recording it with a camera.  This gives you the opportunity to not only bump up to higher resolution video quality but it gives you the unique aesthetic charm of each playback device.  I prefer using a DSLR or an old SonyVideo8 Handycam depending on what I’m going for.  A good tripod with a floating head comes in handy to help frame and level your picture as best you can.  Getting the focus just right as to prevent heavy moiré patterns is a good look.  This requires getting the right balance of sharpness and fuzziness.


Digital Noise Reduction. Oh man, why would you want to reduce noise?  I’ve got to turn this feature off right away on everything I own.  LCD screens and all newer televisions have a DNR setting that factory defaults at “on.”  To turn this damn thing off takes some shuffling about in the menu, but you will experience less dropout as a result of it you decide to go the LCD route.  You’ll get some dropout regardless with an LCD but it will be significantly less sensitive.  If you are using an older CRTV and dropout occurs then chances are there is some similar setting that needs to be adjusted and turned off.

Getting rid of the On-Screen source info that  pops up on most any CRTVs.

It’s a real ball buster but unless your TV has a menu option to disable all onscreen text you are shit out of luck.  I had one TV back in the day that had a menu option to remove all on-screen display but I have not seen one since.  I also heard from someone online who attempted to mod his television to remove it.  Seems like an awful lot of trouble.  I prefer to change the aspect ratio of my source if possible to work around it.

Circuit bent video effects, dropped signals and TBC (time based correction):
Dropout occurs when a video signal is broken to the point of no return and a device requires a steady signal to maintain an image.  Your display (whatever that may be) thinks it’s source has been lost and there is that fucking blue or black screen.  This does not occur on CRTVs (unless DNR is enabled) but will occur on projectors, computer monitors, USB recording devices and on LCD TVs.  This is not optimal when working with devices that render a signal shaky or straight up fucked up……. like the fabulous Big Pauper Modified Circuitry “Fritz Decontroller” version three, available now, only from circuit bent video dot com.  Drop out sucks too because some devices can take longer than others to rebound once the signal is steady enough.  Projectors are notorious for this.  The work around is a either a standalone TBC or a mixer with a TBC built in to it.
“Why do my circuit bent effects look so different now?” you ask.
It’s because in the process of stabilizing your signal it does what it needs to do to render it stable.  While still looking quite fresh a TBC does drastically alter the look of circuit bent video effects.  You have a lot of frozen horizontal lines on the bottom third of the screen and movement tends to strobe a little bit.  It is what it is kid.
“What is the difference between Digital Frame Synchronizer and Time Based Correction.”
A DFS is for stabilizing a digital signal (HD, HDMI, SDI, etc) where as a TBC is older technology and is intended to stabilize analog video signals.

Example setups incorporating circuit bent video gear: There are basically three ways to process a composite video signal thru modified video gear.  Each setup produces slightly different aesthetic results each with their own pros and cons.


///(CAM, DVD, COMP) >> MODIFIED VIDEO GEAR >> TV (CAMERA FOR CAPTURE). Simply output from your device in to some nasty bpmc shit (via an RCA cable) and then out to a CRTV.  Record it with a camera pointed at your TV and you are good to go.  I prefer this method because it allows you to bump up to HD video and gives you maximum control over your capture brightness & contrast.  It also looks great.  Which kind of television you use impacts your footage considerably.  A CRTV tends to display a corrupted signal more reliably and vividly in my opinion.  A flat screen CRTV is preferable because it cuts down on distortion and manray patterns.


///(CAM, DVD, COMP) >> MODIFIED VIDEO GEAR >> VCR >> TV Instead of having a camera at the end of the chain you can use a VCR before your television.  VCR’s & VHS tapes offer a quick, dirty and cheap capture medium.  While this is a great way to go I use it sparingly, often only to record a sketch.  VCR’s interpret and record a corrupted signal differently than tv.  A lot of the vivid squiggles and colors are brought to life by the television itself.  Often times upon reviewing recording things look flat & low in saturation.  Distortions commonly look different as well.  I love recording straight to tape, it’s just not an accurate reflection of your effects.


///(CAM, DVD, VCR) >> MODIFIED VIDEO GEAR >> USB RECORDER. This setup is great for travel!  Or when you don’t have a tv on hand but still want to get creative.  You can find cheap made-in-china USB composite video capture hubs for under thirty bucks making it a pretty affordable option as well.  Usually the more expensive the capture device the higher the resolution it will upscale your video to and the better the software interface.  Capture devices, like VCRs, have their own way of interpreting a corrupted signal.  Capture devices can’t properly display some synch corruption effects resulting in drop-out (blue screen) which is a bummer.  I’ve never found a USB recording device that allows you to turn DNR off, but it is possible that it exists out there somewhere.  Just good to know before you go this route. and while we are on the subject:


///COMP >> MODIFIED VIDEO GEAR >> USB RECORDER (ON SAME COMPUTER).   This can take a little futzing with to get to work and often times creates some limitations but this setup is ideal for Greyhound buses, Amtrak and flights to Hungary.