Larry Templeton
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  Larry Templeton  

Larry's extraordinary creativity as an electronics designer was impressively demonstrated in the Templeton Video Mixer.  Larry was serving as a consulting engineer to KQED-TV in 1970, when Paul and Anna Turner, thinking that Larry might be interested in the goings-on at the Natrional Center, suggested that he visit and explore a possible relationship there.  He readily realized the severe limitations of the equipment being used, and after meeting and consulting with the staff and artists, proceeded to develop a concept for what became the Templeton Mixer.

Larry was offered a fellowship at NCET under which he pursued the design and construction of the original mixer console.  The equipment proved so wonderfully successful that Larry decided to market it through his own company Vista Systems. The Templeton Mixer was one of the core tools used by almost all of the center's video artists throughout the life of the National Center.

It consisted of three modules: the multi-level keyer (or quantizer), the colorizer, and the mixing module proper.  It was capable of producing truly remarkable imagery, and its possibilities seemed almost endless.  Outside of the works produced through Stephen Beck's Direct Video Synthesizer, almost all NCET's art output involved, in some way, Larry's mixer.

This module (the colorizer) was one unit in the two complete mixer sets later produced by Rick Davis for Larry's company.  One set, at least, seems to still be in existence and in operating condition (for current [2008] photos of the mixer and its output, see the Templeton Mixer page).


Larry's handiwork was very much responsible for our being able to do the things we did.  Even the broadcast equipment that Boston and New York were working with wasn't a greater advantage.  In fact, broadcast gear was not really intended for use in creating art, so those folks actually had to devise ways to defeat the relative inflexibilities which were designed into that equipment - whereas, to Larry's lasting credit, we at NCET had the great good fortune to be able to work with gear which was made specifically for our needs (even though we might never have been able to know what our needs were without his lead).  That Larry and we came together in that time and place was one of those unforeseeable cosmic convergences I'd guess. The rich capabilities and output of the mixer was an inestimable blessing for us, and in many ways made us the envy of multitudes of video artists from across the U.S. and around the world.  Judging from subsequent testimonials of other NCET artists, the mixer was a huge influence in making our time there in the '70s a watershed experience.   D.H.

For more detailed information on the mixing modules and their operation, as well as examples of its output, visit the Templeton Mixer page.  And to read Larry's original product descriptions see the Vista Systems Adobe Acrobat file.

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