Fairlight Computer Video Instrument
By James Grahame
Australian company Fairlight is well known for introducing the Fairlight CMI, one of the first digital sampling keyboards. In 1984 they unleashed the $6500 Computer Video Instrument. The hybrid digital/analog device accepted two composite/component inputs and had one output. Parameters for the 100 presets were controlled using an incredibly responsive bank of 10 sliders on the front panel, much like mixing audio. In case you had the urge to create some titles, the unit also includes a drawing pad.
The CVI has the ability to record a sequence of actions for later "performance," and these could be stored on videotape (the same way that early 1980s computers used cassette tapes for program storage).
The CVI was one of very few options available to video artists in the mid-1980s and many of its presets and effects were incredibly overused in videos and commercials. As their brochure says, "A new generation of visual imagery by Fairlight." Indeed.
Fairlight CVI info and preset shots (audiovisualizers.com)