jones ColorizeR & MORE!
Brief: The Jones Colorizer, one of his most famous creations, was a four channel voltage controllable colorizer with gray level keyers.

In the mid 1970's Dave Jones started developing a series of analog and early digital video processing tools at The Experimental Television Center. E.T.C. is a non-profit video studio used by artists from around the world to make video tapes. The early machines developed by Dave Jones included standards of the industry like keyers and sequencers as well as not so common devices like colorizers. The JONES COLORIZER, is among the myriad of famous and widely regarded realtime video processing innovations from David Jones.
David Jones is a Canadian-born video artist and engineer Who has been producing video tapes and performances for over 30 years and developing image-making tools for over 25 years. He has worked with electronics since he was ten. At age 12 he built a shortwave radio from a kit, then in highschool he built an AM radio station. After high school he helped to run a mixed-media performance troup in Europe, known as Video Heads. In the seventies he built, modified, and repaired video equipment for artists and orgizations throughout New York State, and began in 1974 working with the E.T.C. designing and building video tools for their studio. lie was involved in video performances and installations at E.T.C. and elsewhere. During the late seventies, he continued designing analog imaging tools and began to work on the first of many digital imaging machines. He also helped develop the computer system at E.T.C. and wrote the software for it. The early 8O's were spent working both in industty and the arts, including the designing of hardware and writing of software for the Amiga computer. Image processing tools designed by Dave Jones are in use in artist's studios around the world as well as in schools. Jones has become known for innovative and powerful video tools that let artists explore the signal.
Kit Galloway, Dave Jones, Jack Henry Moore, founders of VIDEOHEADS, at the Melkweg, Amsterdam, 1972.

Dave Jones & friends.

VSYNTH's by David Jones -

DJ made his colorizer in response to using the Paik-Abe, which had lots of color but limited control over them. DJ's had very precise control over the colors and the layering of the channels. The Jones Colorizer is still the only colorizer that was not based on a color encoder, which is part of why it looks so different than other colorizers. There were 4 colorizers built. Three of them are 4 channels, while the 4th one was a six channel version that is still in use today at the Experimental TV Center. The first, a 4 channel, was built in 1974/75. The others were built in the early 80's.

A partial list of other creations include:
- hard edge keyers, soft edge keyers, outline generators, frame buffers, A-D/D-A with bit swapping, video delay lines, audio delay lines, oscillator banks, various control voltage generators/processors, Raster Manipulator (poor man's Scanimate), sequencers, routing switchers, laserdisc (and now DVD) synchronizers, lots of custom controllers and software for specific artists.

Taking a concept from the analog music field, Dave Jones started adding voltage control inputs on his video designs that allowed each of the knobs to be adjusted by an outside voltage such as a waveform from an oscillator. This turned out to add incredible power to the video machines since now you could turn any, or all, of the knobs at once. By patching a bank of oscillators and other control voltage devices you could create complex images. As each new video device was developed these control voltage inputs were designed in giving this growing image processing system a lot of new capabilities.

By the late 1970's Dave Jones had built a couple of other custom analog image processing systems for video artists Ralph Hocking and Gary Hill. These included an assortment of experimental devices that evolved during the late 1970's. During the early 1980's Dave Jones decided there was a demand for some of his video processors and spent a couple of years developing versions to manufacture. During this time he worked as a freelance video engineer and digital consultant. By 1985 the new generation of video imaging tools were ready. In 1985 Dave Jones started Designlab and started to manufacture his image processing tools for artists. Due to the high cost of building these machines and Dave's commitment to keeping the prices within reason, coupled with the the limited demand, the sale of these machines could not sustain Designlab. The company ended up doing a lot of industrial designing and engineering for other manufacturers who required Dave's expertise in video.

Due to a chance phone call in 1991 to his old friend, video artist Gary Hill, Dave Jones moved Designlab away from industrial designing and back into the video art field. Designing and building custom video and computer tools to support the art of Gary Hill and a series of other video and electronic artists, Designlab's reputation for building custom tools for artists grew rapidly. Designlab, now known as Dave Jones Design, has become one of the leaders in the field of custom electronics used by electronic artists around the world. If you go to any major contemporary art show you will probably see art powered by Dave Jones Design's machines, or images created using them.

He's currently working on some new designs for analog video synthesizer modules which are essentially updated versions of his older creations. He's actively interested in hearing from those of you with interest in old fashioned (1970's style) analog image processing equipment. Things like keyers and colorizers, oscillators, etc.... Tell him yes! at his email address above, and we'll hopefully see more great things from DJ!


Dave Jones explored early digital video processing techniques through design work at the E.T.C. & in April 1977 he created the 64 by 64 frame buffer, which stores images as a pattern of64 horizontal by 64 vertical squares, with a choice of 16 grey lcvels per square. The cost of memory and analog to digital conversion limited the number of grey levels and resolution. These limitations yielded a video image meshed into a charming box-like grid of intensity, that is frozen or held under front panel control.
A 4 bit, 16 level video-speed Analog to Digital Converter, samples the monochrome video input. This is fed to a 4K by 4 bit static Random Access Memory (RAM), where it is held on command by a front panel push button, locked to the vertical interval. The output of the frame buffer memory passes to the output Digital to Analog converter, changing the video signal back to its analog form. When running "live" the image bypasses the frame buffer memory, passing straight to output. When "frozen," the image is pulled from the frame buffer, showing the last stored picture. A horizontally / vertically locked address counter supplies the timing for the memory. A later addition allowed coutrol of the write pulse by an external signal, developing a coarse keying between the stored and live image. The coarse "mosaic" and 1 6 level contouring of vodep intensity are components of image style seen in the 64 by 64 buffer.

Portions of this page have been taken from ARS ELECTRONICA 1992.

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