This is a video title generator, which allows you to create text of varying sizes and colours, and then overlay or mix it with an incoming video signal. As stock it has:
- 16 pages of programmable text.
- Full rubber keypad for easy text generation.
- Variety of colours, backgrounds, and shadow options.
- Selection and auto-scroll functionality.
- 1x Composite or S-Video input (switchable).
- 1x Composite or S-Video output.
In addition to the above, I have added the following to control different glitchy parameters.:
- 7x momentary switches.
- 9x latching switches.
The unit comes with a UK 9v DV center positive power supply, which should work between 100v and 240v input (so no transformer required for places like the US – just a plug adapter). Note: The unit specifies a 10v psu, but these are very difficult to find, and 9v works fine.
No other accessories such as the original box, manual, or cables are included. This is a good thing, as it means postage is slightly more affordable all around.
The VTG 228 is quite a nice, quirky old video title generator from the UK. Unlike some other units of a similar vintage, this one has a full keyboard which makes it much easier to program the text you want to display. Similarly, it has a variety of colours, shading, and other options which let you give your videos that 80s text ‘look’. Think simple, bold, colourful, and a bit cheesy.
I have circuit bent the VTG 228 to allow you to glitch the text in different ways. This includes ‘scrambling’, blurring, or changing the colour of the text, as well as some harder full screen glitches such as the addition of dots, hard outlines, and other such wonderful things. There are a few particularly cool effects, and my personal favourites include the rainbow letters and scrolling dots – neither of which are possible with the un-modified unit.
Playing the switches ‘live’ as the text auto scrolls can look particularly cool – especially if you combine it with other video mixers or enhancers. You can get beautifully weird and wonderful textures.
VERY IMPORTANT NOTE: This bend is listed as ‘B-Stock’. Details below.
This is one of the first video titler units that I’ve circuit bent, and while it provides some pretty cool effects, it’s also not up to the standard I would like, so I am selling it off cheaply with no warranty or guarantee. Some more specifics:
- Some of the core text generation functionality has been lost. That means that you cannot use this unit without any glitches any longer. Some colours and kinds of text will glitch even with none of the switches not engaged.
- The placement of the additional switches is a bit skewiff and weird.
- This particular unit came with a number of cosmetic blemishes and marks given its age. I have cleaned it up, and removed the cracked and broken front panel (I’ve included a photo of this below for reference purposes). However, there are still some marks on that I was unable to remove from the front. In other words – this thing is not perfect!
If you are an adventurous sort, and still interested in a wild glitchy text or character generator box, then usage details follow…
- Important usage note 1: Most of the bends are chosen carefully to ensure that the text memory is retained (so the text you have created will stay the same when you release or de-activate the switch. However, due to the chaotic nature of these things, the unit may sometimes lose the stored text with certain combinations of switches. If this happens, pulling the power out of the unit to reset it should fix this (though it may mean typing in the text again).
- Important usage note 2: If text appears scrambled or you experience issues with creating or editing text on startup, please ensure that all of the switches are in the ‘off’ position, then restart the unit. The ‘off’ position for the latching switches on the left hand side of the unit is to the left, and those on the right half of the unit are off when facing right. That makes sense, right?
- Important usage note 3: This is not a video enhancer style unit – and for that reason, the interesting glitches etc largely impact the text. There may be some shifts in the underlying video signal, but this is not the purpose of the unit. If you want to process video signals, then you’d be better off looking at a circuit bent enhancer specifically.
- Important usage note 4: For the most interesting glitches, make sure that you have an incoming signal. Running the unit ‘internally’ only with an output will be less intense.
- Important usage note 5: With the ‘shade’ knob (the bottom of the row of three pictured below) in the far left position, the output signal will be unusable. Turn it to 12 O’Clock for the best results.
I haven’t been able to find a manual for the VTG228, but it’s fairly straightforward, and you can figure things out with a bit of experimentation. For a brief guide, to create text, you turn the upper left ‘On Off’ rubber switch to on (indicated by the red light), then you can edit each line using the pads. The four built in knobs allow you to adjust the shadow, saturation, and width of the text, as well as disabling the text overlay.
Circuit bent video title generators are a bit harder to find than standard video enhancers or colour correctors, and they are a bit more of a pain to bend and put together. This one has been hot glued in place to make sure that it is semi reliable, and as a result, I would highly recommend not opening up the unit, no matter how curious you are. This isn’t because I have any real secrets or want to hide the bend points… it’s purely because if you do take the back off then there’s a good chance you’ll never get the damn thing back together and working again. Trust me. Please. (If you are interested in some of the bend points I’ve used, check out this post).
I have recorded a video of the first VTG 228 title generator that I circuit bent some time ago to give you an idea of the kind of thing that you might be able to achieve. However, please be aware that this is a different revision, and the specific bends vary on this one (some less interesting…).
Please note that the following important things:
- This is a PAL unit. As such, you will potentially need a PAL to NTSC adapter box if you wish to use it in an NTSC region.
- Glitchy video processing units work best with analogue CRT TVs. If you want to use these with a digital TV, projector, or capture card, you will most likely experience drop-outs in the signal. This is normal and expected. You may wish to investigate a Time Base Corrector (TBC) to compensate for this.
- The audio loop portion of this unit (2x RCA pairs for input and output) may function correctly, but it has not been tested. It should be treated as non working.
- This device has been modified by me, and is to be considered as experimental b-stock… I provide no warranty or guarantee over any part of this, especially not if it blows anything up!
- There is an internal battery with these things that dies over time, meaning that text will eventually not be saved between power cycles. I wouldn’t recommend trying to replace it, given the fragility of the other bends.
- All analogue video art devices produce results that vary wildly depending on the input and output. As a result, any example pictures of the art shown will almost certainly differ to what you get. The key is to experiment! This is especially true with video title generators – combining them with other circuit bent devices or video mixers will result in really cool results.
Again, this is an experimental b-stock unit. It’s a bit battered, and the text generation no longer functions fully or correctly. Please read and understand this before you buy!
I have been modifying and using video enhancer devices for my own artwork for around about a year. This is the eleventh unit that I’ve put together, and I am selling it on cheaply to free up some room in my chaotic flat, but also to fund the purchase of other base units to modify and experiment with. Any questions please fire me a message at email@example.com.
Postage costs are calculated at checkout. I will send the item out tracked, no matter what option is picked. For non-UK buyers, I know that the cost of shipping is high, but unfortunately this is the reality. I have subsidised the cost by 20% to make it more affordable.