Supersense out of Vienna, Austria, has revived and refined an art project by media artist Gebhard Sengmüller and the company's Martin Diamant which sees users put a vinyl record on a turntable that results in sound and video appearing on a TV. Inbetween the two sits a VinylVideo Converter that converts what's picked up in the grooves into a digital video signal.
Supersense says it's always on the lookout for ways to combine the best of analog with the best of digital, and already cuts master vinyl in-house. The band of makers says that the VinylVideo "is stored as an all analog stereo signal" on the record and transformed into something a TV can handle by the Converter, which enhances the audio in the grooves and decodes the video signals and sends the whole shebang to a regular TV over analog or HDMI connectors.
The moving image magic happens inside a little black box developed in collaboration with Pro-Ject Audio. Since a digital video signal contains much more information than can be handled by any usual audio format, Supersense developed a completely new analog video signal format for the project.
Even so, the moving pictures coming from the setup are black and white only, and at fairly low resolution, and the synchronized audio track is mono, not stereo. But the turntable playing the classic-looking VinylVideo record can use Moving Magnet or Moving Coil cartridges and requires no modification.
"VinylVideo is an analog format that doesn't use digital compression at all," the product page explains. "As on traditional analog television, VinylVideo breaks up every picture into a picture lines. The video is stored as a stereo signal – and not as the usual video signal. That's why you need a 'translator' between the turntable and the TV: the Supersense VinylVideo pre-amplifier."
So where can you buy vinyl records with videos etched into their grooves? Supersense has a limited number of titles for sale, but you can also upload your own digital video files to be transformed into a 7-inch (4 minutes per side) or 12-inch (14 minutes per side) Vinyl Video master record.
The VinylVideo Converter is priced at €178 (about US$200), pre-recorded "Editions" titles come in at €16.90 and custom conversions start at €77. It's an expensive way to watch poor quality video, but is sure to be a conversation starter.
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