Using Hypno in your LZX modular video ecosystem

Hey everyone, since we had a thread for LZX → Hypno, I thought it would be worthwhile to have a discussion about piping video the other direction and using Hypno inside your LZX modular video environment. While not intended to be a definitive guide, I have explored a wide variety of methods in connecting and using Hypno with my LZX system so I hope this covers the majority of users.

There are quite a few ways to connect Hypno to your LZX modules, however it may not be as straightforward as you might think due to a few circumstances:

  • There are no currently available LZX modules that decode full color video from a composite (RCA) source. From their most recently available options, Visual Cortex and Vidiot, composite input is limited to grayscale video decoding only (which is still perfectly usable and we’ll talk about why). Upcoming modules from LZX like TBC2 and Chromagnon won’t have this limitation.
  • There are no HDMI modules in the LZX catalog. Which means that if you want to use the most high quality output from Hypno, you’ll have to do some conversion. According to LZX, an HDMI module is planned for the distant future.

Given the above we can either work within some limitations, or try some

Using Hypno as a complex grayscale pattern generator with composite output
The simplest way to get hypnotic visuals into your LZX system is by connecting it to Visual Cortex, Vidiot, or Cadet I+III using the composite video output from the Hypno module. You’ll only get grayscale video (or luma), but there are more than a few ways we can utilize this signal. Because Hypno is an incredibly capable “complex VCO,” we are able to create video patterns that would require a large string of analog video modules to mimic. Here are a few ideas:

  • Colorize Hypno into new palettes with modules like Mapper, Staircase, Topogram, Fortress, Visual Cortex, Vidiot, and others.
  • Use Hypno as a complex modulator for modules such as Navigator, Shapechanger, Prismatic Ray, Vidiot, etc.
  • Generate hard or soft keys with Hypno by patching the luma into Doorway, Visual Cortex, Vidiot, Topogram, or Memory Palace, for example.
  • Parallel process the luma signal three different ways and combine the results in an RGB compositor
  • Composite Hypno with LZX-generated video waveforms in an RGB compositor and create even more complex visuals using Hypno as the base
  • Go wild! Use all of the above techniques at once and create something truly remarkable

Your best approach when using Hypno in grayscale is to dial back on the feedback/gain and use a single shape generator on its own, or one shape cross modulated by the other shape, so you produce more defined patterns. You can definitely let Hypno go wild too, but even the simplest animations from Hypno will add complex layers of movement and shape to your analog video patches!

Using Hypno in full color with HDMI and external converters
HDMI (digital) is the most high quality video output that Hypno offers, but LZX Visual Cortex only decodes full color video from 480i YPbPr/component (analog) video input. To use one with the other we need to convert and downscale the HDMI signal to 480i component using one of the following methods:

  • The best bang for buck is to combine an HDMI to VGA converter with an old scan converter. Converting HDMI to VGA is easily accomplished with a simple dongle converter, cables also exist with the converter built in. From there we can convert VGA to YPbPr with cheap and widely available scan converters from eBay/Craigslist. Scan converters reformat computer video signals (VGA/RGB) into other analog formats supported by projectors and consumer displays, such as component. There is also support for zooming/cropping.
  • Cheap conversion boxes can be purchased on Amazon for converting HDMI directly to YPbPr component. I do not recommend these, but they exist. The converter MUST support downscaling to 480i/576i (NTSC/PAL) or it will not work, so read the product specs in detail.
  • Semi-expensive professional AV options also exist, such as presentation switchers and digital to analog conversion boxes by Extron, Kramer, and TVOne. These are less “obsolete” tech than scan converters, but would still need to be acquired via eBay or Craigslist. I haven’t personally used any of these yet, so my own experience is too limited to offer many specifics.
  • The stupidly expensive option: Blackmagic HDMI to SDI converter, Blackmagic SDI to analog converter
  • The Roland V-4EX accept HDMI input and can output 480i component.
  • The Roland V-440HD has native VGA and YPbPr support, allowing it to accept VGA signals (from your HDMI to VGA converter) and output 480i component.
  • A computer with full duplex video could accomplish the conversion, such as with a Blackmagic Intensity Pro/Pro 4K, or dual Blackmagic Intensity Shuttles (one for input, one for output). This would also allow you to mix Hypno with other video sources uses OBS or GLMixer.

And one more option
You could also convert composite to component, but I would only recommend this option if HDMI is somehow unfeasible for your setup, or if composite is “good enough” but you want full color. Converting composite to component offers no major fidelity enhancements over composite itself.

  • Video mixers like the Panasonic MX-70, Roland V-440HD, Roland V-4EX, Datavideo SE-500, and Sony DFS700 support composite input and component output
  • Composite to component converters are out there, though not widely available.

With Hypno’s HDMI (or composite) output converted into component, you can process your hypnotic visuals in the analog realm in full color! Any of the previous techniques for processing grayscale apply, except now you’re given three distinct signals for red, green and blue to process and recombine any way you like!

Hopefully this loose guide has helped you understand how to connect Hypno to your LZX system! Feel free to ask questions or share your experiences. Soon I will add some product links to some of the above mentioned devices. I hope to update this thread with some visual examples down the road so check back later.