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Old June 9th, 2009, 03:38 PM   #16
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To clarify,

I'm looking for a piece of software that will allow me record a multicamera production with several mics, where I am able to switch between two cameras recording in 16:9 HDV, and ideally also a third source, which would be video clips from a computer, and simultaneously record audio output from an audio mixer.
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Old June 11th, 2009, 10:09 AM   #17
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If anybody has had experience with Blackmagic Pro Intensity Cards and the On-air software, or any other possible solution to a multi-camera HD production, please respond!
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Old June 11th, 2009, 11:28 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Natan Pakman View Post
1. Are there any SD switchers that output in 16:9 in the same general price range of 1-3K?
Panasonics AGMX70 is a very good one with 16:9 SD output (SDI out option can be used with Blackmagic card). You can find a used one for under 3K.
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Old June 12th, 2009, 01:42 AM   #19
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Clarification

It seems to me that this thread is suffering the same dilemma of "what camera should I buy" and what mic should I buy" type threads and some clarification would really help here. So with that in mind I would like to ask some questions here. I will note the answers as i perceive them so please correct me if I am wrong.

1. Why are you switching live instead of editing multi-cam? Different switchers serve different needs. Are you outputting live to projectors, live broadcasting, webcasting, trying to provide instant DVDs, avoid editing after the fact, or...

2. What is your budget? (1-3K?) Is renting an option?

3. How many source signals are cameras and what models are you using? (HDR-FX1 noted in thread)

4. What is the purpose of the computer in the chain? Are you feeding in slides like powerpoint or just prerecorded video clips? If only video clips, do you have access to a deck so you could cue the clips from tape?

5. What format are you hoping to output from the mixer? HDV? SD? 4:3? 16:9?

6. Will you be recording tape in the cameras or only recording the master mix?

7. Audio. What kind of audio support do you need? XLR with phantom power for separate mics? Individual audio streams from the cameras? One master audio stream from an audio mixing board or direct box?

I think if you can clarify these points we might be able to help with more targeted responses. Thanks!
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Old June 12th, 2009, 09:25 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by Bryan Daugherty View Post
It seems to me that this thread is suffering the same dilemma of "what camera should I buy" and what mic should I buy" type threads and some clarification would really help here. So with that in mind I would like to ask some questions here. I will note the answers as i perceive them so please correct me if I am wrong.

1. Why are you switching live instead of editing multi-cam? Different switchers serve different needs. Are you outputting live to projectors, live broadcasting, webcasting, trying to provide instant DVDs, avoid editing after the fact, or...

2. What is your budget? (1-3K?) Is renting an option?

3. How many source signals are cameras and what models are you using? (HDR-FX1 noted in thread)

4. What is the purpose of the computer in the chain? Are you feeding in slides like powerpoint or just prerecorded video clips? If only video clips, do you have access to a deck so you could cue the clips from tape?

5. What format are you hoping to output from the mixer? HDV? SD? 4:3? 16:9?

6. Will you be recording tape in the cameras or only recording the master mix?

7. Audio. What kind of audio support do you need? XLR with phantom power for separate mics? Individual audio streams from the cameras? One master audio stream from an audio mixing board or direct box?

I think if you can clarify these points we might be able to help with more targeted responses. Thanks!
Bryan,

1. I am trying to switch and record "live," although the final product will not be shown live. It can be tweaked in post, but editing should be kept to a minimum.

2. The budget is 2-5K.

3. There are 2 cameras in the chain, and both are Sony HDR-FX1 cameras (no genlock).

4. The purpose of the computer is to output prerecorded video clips; I do not have a deck.

5. 16:9 HDV (or theoretically, using On-air, maybe uncompressed HD.

6. This depends on whether the workflow works, or whether we'll have to do editing in post.

7. The audio that will sync with the video will be a master stream output from a mixing board.

I have all but abandoned the idea of doing this with a mixing board, and I'm trying to figure out exactly how On-air, using Blackmagic Intensity pro cards, or another software/hardware solution of this sort, would work.
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Old June 15th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #21
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Here is an article that may be of some interest to you:
Choosing a Video Switcher - From VideoMaker.com - article 12581

I have had limited experience with switchers and have found (for me) it is generally better to rent them because I do not switch live very often. I have worked on a Panasonic switcher (can't remember the model number) and a DataVideo SE-800 but in both cases the mixers operated in SD.

My memory of the FX1 is that it does not have HDMI, is that correct? In order to run 2 of these I am guessing you are planning on running 2 Intensity cards, yes? I have not used an intensity card myself but had a project last year that had me looking at them intently. What i found may not apply to your scenario but I hope it helps... Some issues to take into consideration.

The cards are very finicky about system configuration. For best results do not deviate from the list of supported motherboards and system specs ( Blackmagic Design: Support Detail - from BMD website: support FAQ )

You may have already found this but the user manual can be downloaded (in PDF) from their website at this link: http://www.blackmagic-design.com/dow...sityManual.pdf As best as I can tell, On-Air only supports 2 camera inputs (using 2 intensity cards) which would mean adding all your pre-recorded clips in post. It does allow title overlays on a virtual third input but only 2 video inputs.

The Uncompressed HD is an awesome feature but the file sizes are massive and you need a pretty powerful system to handle it. (The manual has a rough comparison chart of formats and resulting file sizes.)

I had a long chat when I was looking at the intensity with a fellow DVi member who uses it pretty exclusively for live capture and he had some great advice. I will see if I can find that thread for you.
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Old June 15th, 2009, 03:09 PM   #22
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The Sony HDR-FX1 does not have an HDMI output; only component. If you can find the thread that discusses the intensity cards that would be great.

I was recently told that Blackmagic no longer has the On-air software on their products page, and I can't find their contact info to ask about that. Obviously if the On-air software has been discontinued, I need to either get an old version of it or find another software solution.

I've been looking into the Wirecast software, but I am unsure right now as to how professional the results will be. Does anybody have experience with it or other switching software?
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Old June 15th, 2009, 07:01 PM   #23
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I did notice that the website does not mention On-Air anymore, but it is still in the downloadable manual. You can check the website at http://www.blackmagic-design.com .

I am still hunting that thread...if I find it i will post a link...
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Old June 17th, 2009, 11:22 AM   #24
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Having done dozens of these types of shows myself, both as an engineer and TD, if you can rent from a good AV Rental house is the way to go. Getting a switcher and a 'scaler', (often referred to as a video or scan converter) from the rental house, usually a Sony 1024 or an Extron box would be an easy and dependable choice. Add an an audio mixer, voil'a. Explain what you are doing, that's IMPORTANT, if it's a good rental place, you should be well taken care of.

The signal flow goes like this, camera via S-video or component to switcher, computer to Sony or extron box via a vga cable, then out converter box to switcher via S or component cable. All audio to an audio board. Output of board and switcher to video deck. Ask for a switcher that can handle S-video or component, composite video is to be avoided if possible. Also, if the video converter has sizing and position controls, if your computer video is not full screen, those controls can help with that.

There are 'cooler' options, but trying to figure out how/if they'll work, especially on-site can be disastrous. SD video is cheaper for gear rental and is most likely going to be the distribution format anyway. And it's rare that the extra quality/detail of HD will add much to this kind of "Talking Heads w/Legs" kind of show anyway.

A/V rental houses should give you good instructions on set-up and if you need crew, a lot of operators, TD's etc., will know how to work this gear. One caveat, implied by some of the above equipment recommendations-make sure the switcher will internally sync the cameras, they have a 'frame buffer'. That means that neither your switcher or you cameras need external sync. Check with the rental guys to see if your video converter does need sync and where to get it from the switcher(usually 'Black Burst' or 'BB' out).

And make sure you get the cable you need for all your hookups. Long S or component cables for video cameras as well as short cables for the converter. Also, long enough mic cables if you are using your own, and don't forget audio adapters, especially if you are using the house audio feed, to go from XLR, or 1/4" TRS Line or Mic level, or RCA line level to whatever your audio board and/or video record deck needs.

Bit of a list, but that's why you get the big bucks. BTW, the switchers and converters will probably be in the $2-300 range to rent, YMMV. Good Luck
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Old June 17th, 2009, 11:41 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Lagerlof View Post
Having done dozens of these types of shows myself, both as an engineer and TD, if you can rent from a good AV Rental house is the way to go. Getting a switcher and a 'scaler', (often referred to as a video or scan converter) from the rental house, usually a Sony 1024 or an Extron box would be an easy and dependable choice. Add an an audio mixer, voil'a. Explain what you are doing, that's IMPORTANT, if it's a good rental place, you should be well taken care of.

The signal flow goes like this, camera via S-video or component to switcher, computer to Sony or extron box via a vga cable, then out converter box to switcher via S or component cable. All audio to an audio board. Output of board and switcher to video deck. Ask for a switcher that can handle S-video or component, composite video is to be avoided if possible. Also, if the video converter has sizing and position controls, if your computer video is not full screen, those controls can help with that.

There are 'cooler' options, but trying to figure out how/if they'll work, especially on-site can be disastrous. SD video is cheaper for gear rental and is most likely going to be the distribution format anyway. And it's rare that the extra quality/detail of HD will add much to this kind of "Talking Heads w/Legs" kind of show anyway.

A/V rental houses should give you good instructions on set-up and if you need crew, a lot of operators, TD's etc., will know how to work this gear. One caveat, implied by some of the above equipment recommendations-make sure the switcher will internally sync the cameras, they have a 'frame buffer'. That means that neither your switcher or you cameras need external sync. Check with the rental guys to see if your video converter does need sync and where to get it from the switcher(usually 'Black Burst' or 'BB' out).

And make sure you get the cable you need for all your hookups. Long S or component cables for video cameras as well as short cables for the converter. Also, long enough mic cables if you are using your own, and don't forget audio adapters, especially if you are using the house audio feed, to go from XLR, or 1/4" TRS Line or Mic level, or RCA line level to whatever your audio board and/or video record deck needs.

Bit of a list, but that's why you get the big bucks. BTW, the switchers and converters will probably be in the $2-300 range to rent, YMMV. Good Luck
Eric,

Your recommendations and explanations for the equipment involved in an SD live switching production are excellent and well-received. My only quibble is the bit about renting! I am planning on being involved with a production of this sort that will be shot once a week, and at 2-300 a week, in a very short amount of time, buying this equipment would make more sense.

My main requirement for the switcher is that it handle at least 3 sources, and be able to output in 16:9 (but not HD of course, as this thread has convinced me that that is out of my price range).

Could you, or anyone else, recommend switchers and scalers in the 1K-3K range?

One additional question: Even when the switchers have "frame buffers," do the cameras you connect to them have to have black burst out or any such thing (obviously not genlock)? I am using Sony HDR-FX1 cameras.
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Old June 17th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #26
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Frame store synchronizers DON'T require cameras to be genlocked or otherwise sync'd BUT they impart a SLIGHT delay before beginning your transition (whether a cut or dissolve or wipe), which varies from unit to unit. My old Videonics MX-Pro was nearly half a second from hitting "take" or selecting a new output hot on the output buss whereas my Edirol LVS-400 is much quicker. This may cause issues if you don't anticipate the time to sync when directing cameras as one operator may think he/she is clear and move while the transition is still in... um, transition.

As well, 16:9 switching is identical to 4:3 in SD. It's at the display end that you need to worry about it. Preview monitors and display monitors will show images however they are told to. Recording a 16:9 stream switched 4:3 to tape or computer isn't a big deal: just make sure to "tell" the DVD authoring program what aspect the anamorphic footage is.
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Old June 18th, 2009, 12:59 AM   #27
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Didn't realize you wanted to buy... I'm used to a certain level of equipment, not trying to sound snobby, it's just 'where' I work, in big halls. So I'm not familiar with gear in your range, with the exception of the FX1, one of which I own. However, looking around, the Edirol/Roland V8 switcher sounds like a possibly very good choice. Handles both analog video and has a vga input with scaler. You might want to find reviews/user comments on that box. I've never used it. As to 16x9 v 4x3, SD video is 4x3, HD is 16x9 as spec'd. So letterboxing or dialing the fx-1 to DV 4x3 is probably your best bet.

Also, as to Shaun's comment about the lag in switching with 'frame buffer' type switchers... On the cheaper Panasonic and Sony switchers I did indeed find a lag if I switched from one cam to the next -on the same bus. The lag was caused by the frame buffer for that bus trying to re-sync to the new signal. If I switched from bus to bus (and thus, frame buffer to frame buffer), I didn't get the lag. I cannot comment on the Edirol, but it is likely it works the same way.

There are some Kramer, TV One, Knox and other multi-format switchers also in your price range. I don't know if you can do dissolves with all/any of them and some output only hi-res video, not NTSC. So check their specs!
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Old June 18th, 2009, 08:18 AM   #28
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I would not recommend the Sony 1024, there's a 1 sec freeze on the image when you switch from PC to camera. Extron would be much better
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Old June 18th, 2009, 09:10 AM   #29
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I still don't understand the issues regarding aspect ratios.

If I connect 2 Sony HDR-FX1 cameras to the Edirol V8 mixer, or a similar product, do I need to select the DV (in 4:3) mode, which is a huge downgrading of quality on this camera, or can I keep the HDV 16:9 setting, which will be downrezed when output from the mixer, but maintain the aspect ratio?
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Old June 18th, 2009, 10:37 AM   #30
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which is a huge downgrading of quality on this camera
Not if you're switching composite it's not. PLUS you gain 1 to 2 stops of light by doing so. Recording to tape, you see a huge difference. By the time you get to a composite out downconverted, all things are pretty equal. I know, I do this as part of my business model.

16:9 in SD is strictly a pixel aspect ratio change. If you read my above response, you have all the info you need.
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