"The Original OVC built 1973-1978
Input devices (original system)
multi-touch keyboard using capacitance switches to support something similar to electronic finger painting,
as well as large numbers of switches, faders etc to control signal processing, 7 foot-pedals
Signal processing (original system)
signals processed by about 5000 separate TTL digital logic packages (DID YOU SAY 5000 BILL!) to build patterns, implement sequencers, and otherwise expand upon the multi-touch input. Total latency through processing system < 10 msecs, so that responses were as immediate as audio musical instruments, phase-controlled firing of projector lamps
above is a pic of 1 of 6 wire wrap boards, each with about 750 ICs.!
12 foot diameter hexagonal display curved as if looking at 10% of the inside of a sphere
rear projection using 3 primary filtered lamps per segment. 91 segments.
high contrast: performed in optically controlled environments (absolutely no light other than display) so that sections of performances were done in scotopic range (where luminance is too low for retina cones to function), so that we could explore the bottom threshold of visual perception. Concerts usually began at those levels and remained there long enough for the photoreceptor chemicals to adjust for maximum sensitivity, so that when we moved up to higher brightness levels, colors were generated that are not possible under normal lighting conditions
"Funniest moment in that process was once when we had a short between ground and VCC, which could be anywhere on board.Couldn't find it after half a day of searching. So we took the VCC & ground (no ICs were installed at this point) and plugged into 110VAC. Got a nice 'POP' and then had to do 1/2 hour of cleanup repair." (brilliant!)
Real-time video synthesis experiments 1980-1985
used original OVC, but played with only 1 hand, as 2nd hand used control video equipment
video control system that allowed controlling cameras, optical effects, etc. with 1 hand
mouth controller that controlled 18x3 channel RGB mixing board using something like a 3D harmonica
Signal processing (video synthesis experiments) - added to the orignal OVC system:
The other low-level source is a line generator.It doesn't make a good dancer, but worked well with the kaleidoscope processor to provide a nice background texture to counterbalance the blobs."
To add a short extra interesting bit of information to this story the OVC was primarily if not exclusively used with the amazing Sun Ra and his Arkestra (can you think of a better partner for these visuals)