Grass Valley [Zodiak] Switching - Basic Questions
I recently started working at a station with a Grass Valley Zodiak 2.5 ME switcher. I learned how to TD on a Ross Synergy 4.
I know many people love their Grass Valley switchers. And yes, all of the basic switching philosophy carried over quite well. Where my problem comes in is in the documentation. You see, I've not only dug (deeply) through the 500-page manual in hopes of answering some of my basic questions, I've scoured the internet for anything that might help me too; and to no avail.
I'm hoping somebody well trained in the Grass Valley system might be able to help me understand the "Grass Valley way" to do a few things. Here's a sample of my problems:
1) When learning an E-MEM, how do I assign an actual name to the learned register? The manual refers to the 16-character LED display in each E-MEM recall area that can supposedly display the name of your saved register, but no keyboard pops up on the panel monitor for me to name the register, and there is no button that would make naming the register obvious.
2) What's the philosophy with the master E-MEM panel? What would I use that for? And what's the difference between a sequence (which can be done in any ME) and key framing (which it seems can only be done in the master E-MEM)? When would I use one or the other?
3) Is it possible to create a Macro sequence that loops continuously? I'm not saying it's the smartest idea in the world, but one example would be to have it continuously punch up cameras 1 - 4 in order, acting as an extremely expensive security monitoring system. Not a real world use case, of course, but something I could find plenty of use for.
4) The Ross systems let you insert a "Hold" in addition to a delay between macro button pushes. The hold insert works like a delay or pause, but it stops the macro sequence and waits for you to once again press the macro button before resuming in sequence rather than pausing for a given amount of time. Another nice thing about the Ross system is that you can not only append recording before and after the macro, but you can go into the macro itself and delete errors and insert append in the middle of the macro sequence. Doing this looks to be similar to the keyframe editor in the master E-MEM. Is there any way to do this with macros on the Grass Valley system?
5) The manuals try (but fail) to adequately explain attachment of macros, specifically to Emem recalls or something of that nature. Is that a master E-MEM thing only or can it be done in each ME? I don't understand how this works at all, or why I'd use the functionality.
I don't expect anybody to be able to answer all of these questions. I feel horrible for not knowing more of the answers to these questions, but like I said, I did what I could to search the internet for it and read the switcher's manual, but to no avail.
I know most would pay thousands of dollars for switcher training from the Grass Valley Group themselves, but in our modern age that not only seems ridiculous, but also is cost ineffective. You'd think a user manual would actually try to help you understand its switcher!
"I know most would pay thousands of dollars for switcher training from the Grass Valley Group themselves, but in our modern age that not only seems ridiculous, but also is cost ineffective." - Phillip Platz
What do you mean by modern age? Your sadly mistaken if you're comparing broadcast to post production. This isn't FCP or Adobe Premiere where you're competing with high school kids using hacked software and doing the work for free. I know a lot of TD's that don't have a problem paying for the classes because for them it's very cost effective, they see the return on the investment. They also pay to cross train, moving from Grass Valley to Sony, etc.
Your best bet is to find a TD that knows Grass Valley switchers that would be willing to work with you on training. Considering Zodiak is an EOL product I don't think Grass Valley even offers training on that panel.
Didn't mean to ruffle any feathers with that remark, and I suppose it does sound pompous upon re-reading.
My main frustration remains: why aren't the answers to these questions (for the most part) in the user manual? The manual does a great job disussing switcher 101 and even explaining the technical engineer-y aspects of the video signal flow, but then is completely lacking on some of the details you'd need if you wanted to feel like you had any idea how to punch on this partiular board.
That's where the comment on modern day comes into play. I don't mean to diss people who make a profession out of technical directing, nor sound like I'm entitled to anything (I'm not). But for the entry level director who wants to get more out of his board, taking a low-paying job because [broadcast] television is a passion, thousand dollar classes and flights to Switcher conferences just aren't happening. We're not all free lancers, you know?
I really just want to get the most I can out of the board I have to work with (and will be stuck working with for some time). That's why I came to Creative Cow - a place of like [and better] talent with answers and experience. :) It seems that the modern day convenience of a virtual trade show that's in session 24/7 can't be beat!
Did you download your user manual from the page below?
I took a quick look at the Zodiak manual and it appears to address all of the questions in your first post.
FWIW, here's a forum used by TD's:
Thanks for the tip. I have tried these manuals, and as you said, they do appear as if they'd answer my questions -- but as I've stated, they allude to answers but aren't very good at answering!
Thanks for the lead on the forum. I'll definitely have to dig there. :)
It has been over a decade since I had to use a switcher on a daily basis, and that was in our online bay. What I do recall is what you said - manuals have lots of engineering schematics and confusing directions written by folks who speak Japanese better than English.
Grass switchers used to use the knobs for setting the LED displays, selecting colors, etc. not sure they have knobs at all but i would imagine there is a dial or set of buttons that cycles through the alphabet for setting labels.
We used to use a macro for setting up input timing, like you described. I won't even try to guess at this because there were no digital switchers in my day.
Perhaps your Grass Valley rep can give you the name of another user in your area you could make friends with. I will ask around.
Medical Education / Multimedia Producer