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Event Production Rack help

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Aaron Tank
Event Production Rack help
on Apr 17, 2010 at 8:41:20 am

Hi, I am the general manager of a college tv station, and I am looking at putting together a rack-mount system for event production to allow us to more easily produce video for concerts, events, etc. I have looked at a few similar systems and pulled together some components which I think would work for us, however I have several questions, specifically regarding a) whether I am even on the right track, b) what sort of recording solution to use, whether it be to a dv deck or mediapac, hdd-ish thingum or straight to a computer, or whatever. c) how to run power. All the racks I have looked at have some kind of hardcore power distribution setup, and I have no clue how to choose that or connect it or any such thing. I have looked at the Monster-Power HTPS 7000, but have no idea if that is even remotely what we need or want. So, if there are any "How To Build A Video Production Rack" guides out there, or somebody can point me in some good directions, I would be very appreciative. The components we are looking at right now are:
Gator 12- or 16-U Rack Case (
Panasonic AVHS300G switcher and RAK-300 rack mount ( and
Raxxess rear connector panels for cable management (
BNC and XLR feedthroughs for above connector panels (
DataVideo DV Recorder (possibly, maybe...) (
Marshall V-R43P for Source monitors (
Delvcam dual 7" Monitors for Program/Preview (
Whirlwind 4x4 Matrix Mixer for audio (
Also considering the Australian Monitor MX883 (

Again, I really have no idea what I'm doing here; this is a project that was sort of thrown at me by people that have even less idea of what they're doing, and I am in need of some guidance. I thought about about having two cases, one for audio and one for video, or a larger combo case, or something... anyways, I would much appreciate any advice/feedback/expertise/criticism/Elvis sightings you would care to share. Thanks,

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Kerry Brown
Re: Event Production Rack help
on Apr 19, 2010 at 3:57:40 am

Check out the Slate Portable


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Mark Suszko
Re: Event Production Rack help
on Apr 19, 2010 at 2:13:49 pm

That Broadcast Pix Slate unit looks pretty good, like a competitor to the Newtek Video Toaster or Tricaster. Reminds me of the ahead-of-its -time Pinnacle Stream Genie. One of those all-in-one turn-key solutions that does pretty much everything. I would say if you get one like those, spend the extra for a physical button interface for actual switching. While you *can* do it with the PC keyboards, this is not IMO optimal. And while touch-screen interface for a switcher sounds cool, I would be skeptical about how comfortable it is to use over long periods of time and how accurate you can be in using that for complicated switching over a long period. There is something about the haptic interface of physical buttons that you just can't beat for certain applications, and I think this is one of those times.

Audio is usually a stepchild on these systems, consider a second, sister workstation dedicated to an audio person/ graphics/ tape op and camera shader artist.

You should be able to rent a live switch setup for one of these events, with enough planning ahead, and I recommend you try that route once before you buy and build your own.

Operationally, the reasons for live switching to a recording are mostly to get the main part of the job done quickly so as to avoid a lot of multicam editing, which could take days just to digitize and lots of storage space. Instead, your edit is just to clean up any blown live cuts or go abck and enhance shots you didn't anticipate, using only specific clips of iso footage from the individual cams.

The simplest setup for this could be a cheap switcher like the Edirol or Datatvideo, feeding into a DVD recorder (great as a backup too) and either a videotape deck or a hard disk recorder, which depends on your postproduction workflow and budget specifics. The cheapest thing of all is to just ingest the master DVD into your edit system converting thru MPEG Streamclip, which works really well on my octocore mac tower. Very fast, very clean. A 2-hour mpeg 2 recording ready to edit on the timeline in about 4 minutes. Woot. Not saying this is the BEST way, but it is a fast and inexpensive way, which can still deliver pertty good SD quality (subjectively speaking). You will need some monitors for your sources, preview and master view. These days I think the preferred way to go is a large LCD screen and a multiview adaptor box (that part is often built into the switcher these days) to put each source on an independent PIP window on the one monitor. The down side of that setup is the one monitor is a single-point-failure point that stops the whole production if it goes down. So at least one other monitor on location would be good insurance.

Sometimes you get to do two jobs at once: IMAG screen work in the location for the live audience, as well as the live-switch for a later master recording. The problem there is that you really use very different switching techniques and directorial approaches for pure IMAG versus a live switch for recording. To try to do both at the same time generally doesn't satisfy either audience.

IMAG is there to really make the stuff on the stage visible to the folks in the cheap seats, and it generally means long static shots that rarely change, so as to enhance but not distract from the live stage action. It donesn't require as fancy of a switcher or directing. (A generalization but mostly true)

If you are forced to try and do both at once, make one of your cameras the designated IMAG camera, have that operator work as if he is going to be live at all times, (because he is) and just feed his iso to the projectors direct, with a spliiter sending him also to your switcher input, occasionally using him as a cut-away for the live recording gig, but not directing him.

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Chuck Pullen
Re: Event Production Rack help
on Apr 19, 2010 at 6:23:04 pm

Check out Since you already have the equipment, try and find a local custom rack company to make you something similar to their racks customized to your unique specs. I just finished a flypack using based on their 400-AN design and it works great!

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