Friday, January 30, 2009

v002 - The Rutt Etra emulator

Visualist Vade has created a Quartz Composer and VDMX compatible emulator for the Rutt/Etra analog video synth, with the assistance of co-designer and Video Thing hero Bill Etra:

v002 Rutt/Etra attempts to emulate the Rutt/Etra raster-based analog synthesizer.

The original Rutt/Etra machine was one of the first voltage-controlled video special effects systems and video synthesizers.

The Rutt/Etra is named after Steve Rutt and Bill Etra, the two engineers and artists who designed the machine. Bill Etra, Nam June Paik, Woody and Steina Vasulka, and many other artists composed visual art with the Rutt/Etra in the blossoming video art movement of the early 1970s.

The Rutt Etra fundamentally “understood” video signals, and allowed the patching of different video sync rate oscillators to control, offset and famously “z-displace” the resulting video, an effect most memorably demonstrated in the work of the Vasulkas. The Rutt/Etra is capable of much more, however.

v002 Rutt/Etra is an attempt to capture some of the beauty of the original hardware. It’s almost impossible to emulate an entire Rutt/Etra, as modern graphics and computer systems make fundamentally different assumptions from analog video systems. This plugin is a work in progress, and we will try our best to make it as faithful as possible to the original while exploring new creative possibilities.

Any donations recieved from the download page will be used to help Bill Etra, who is now living on disability and no longer has funding for his work.