Need a little guidance on IMAG switcher unit - Datavideo, Blackmagic, Roland?
I've scoured this forum and other searches trying to finalize a live switcher purchase for IMAG events and would love to get comments.
Here's my live typical event details:
- (3) Live HD-SDI cameras WITHOUT Genlock (JVC GY-HM700). Preferably set at 1080i or p. No need for 4K anytime soon.
- Output will need to be HD-SDI or HDMI (I do have an external HD-SDI to HDMI converter, not sure of latency added by that)
- At one point during event, there will be a pre-recorded video (w/sound) to be played on screen
- With the exception of video mentioned above, live sound of live performers will NOT go through my system. Live sound will be via the house PA system (to which I will feed my pre-recorded video sound).
- A handful of lower thirds (presenters' names, etc). NO PiP or any other special effects needed.
- A handful of stills.
- No need for fancy transitions. Cross fade or hard cut is pretty much all I use (most others seem cheesy to me).
- Possibly need to project a live website and/or Powerpoint (cough, cough), i.e. a computer.
- My Program output will go to all screens the same, so I don't have to worry about assigning different outputs.
My biggest worry is latency (again, NO genlock here). Last time I did this event, I used a software based video processing switcher (Livestream HD31) and to my shock and horror, as well as all in attendance at this event, the latency was horrible - about 1/4 second. I didn't do my homework. Lesson learned. I am doing the same event and all eyes will be on my video program, literally and figuratively. I've been looking at the following units. Please comment on any preference or if I'm missing anything. Functionality for my specs above and low latency are my big concerns. I will be personally operating the unit at the event.
- Datavideo SE-2200. Specs say latency less than 1 frame, but I'm assuming that's with genlock. Side question, what's the difference between this and SE-1200? I couldn't find major difference?
- Blackmagic ATEM. Elsewhere on this forum, I read that without genlock cams, latency is not acceptable for IMAG application?
- Roland V-60HD. Elsewhere, I read audio out quality not so good (Oddly, I always thought of Roland as an audio-centric company).
All three above are about the same price and around my budget.
Any direction on the about would be greatly appreciated. Any other brand/product recommendations?
Software-based will always add huge amounts of latency.
I own a SE-1200 and love it. I have not officially spec'd the latency but around 1 frame. Most times latency is not crippling below 3-4 frames. The SE-2200 also acts like a matrix switcher for feeding multiple outputs. I can't speak for the other gear, but any convertor such as HDMI>SDI will add up to 1 frame, then 1 frame in the switcher, and possible 1 frame if sending SDI to projector and converting back to HDMI and if the projectors/walls are displaying non-native resolutions, you might be adding 1 more. So there's possible a 4-frame delay in this setup. I also read that PTZ cameras may have 1-2 frame delay even if using their SDI. You may save a partial frame with a genlocked system. The key is to look at your entire system and quality of the components. Sometimes we'll put in a consumer camcorder for a wide shot thru an HDMI>SDI convertor because any latency is undetectable. I don't believe any of the switchers you mention are scalers, so all inputs need to be the same flavor.
The SE-1200 has 2 SDI outs, each selectable source, typically SDI1 is to my master record, SDI2 through a DA to multiple screens. 2 HDMI outs, 1 is selectable but typically preview multiview, 2 is only PGM out. (That may change with a firmware update.) So how many differing video outputs do you need?
I do feed the master audio mix back to the switcher so my master record has a completely switched program. You can choose which video outputs contain the embedded signal so you don't accidentally send sound to a projector. The SE-1200 has 2x XLR in, no audio outputs.
For video playback, I use PlaybackPro on a mac via HDMI. For sound I convert the headphone to TRS for sound. Typically the audio mixer is on the same table.
And, of course, either a PC or MAC via HDMI for presentation slides.
All great info. I think going to the hardware based switcher is the biggest key (with the software based version, I was getting the big delay just capturing a single camera, before I adding anything else!) With a hardware switcher, I'll try to minimize those few other frames. I'll plan on native all the way through where I can.
>>>"So how many differing video outputs do you need? "
I'm only having one program out needed to two projectors.
If the multiple outputs is the only difference between the 1200 and 2200, I may just need the 1200. Although...
>>>"The SE-1200 has 2x XLR in, no audio outputs."
Apparently, the 2200 has 4 in, 2 out.
Thanks for your workflow setup. I've never used PlaybackPro, but will look into it. I was just planning on playing the video via my computer's Quicktime player with enough leader and quick hands.
If you're a PC guy, Datavideo has a free video playout util, I haven't tried it yet.
I personally wouldn't use the SE2200 additional audio ins, but the outs could be nice. I imagine you could route de-embedded audio to a mixer. Example, you could take ambient sound (or a mic plugged into a camera) from a remote camera location, pull it from the SDI signal and route it to an audio out. No need for a separate de-embedder. Hmm, that's may be worthy of looking into. Also SDI can pass 12 channels of audio. I record on an Atomos Samuri Blade via SDI and could record the 4 audio ins individually right off the switcher; gives more flexibility in post. Although I record multitrack right on the mixer for that purpose. These setups can get crazy-flexible with some thought! I'm always about backup to the backup. I do more recording than IMAG without recording. I'm a fan of the Apollo recorder for multicam recording, otherwise is ISO record in each camera. This is actually a cool switcher too, but too much latency for LIVE use.
I love the Blackmagic ATEM products. As far as latency, any production switcher that has frame synchronizers will give you latency. You have to genlock all your sources to minimize this.
As far as titles, I would go with the SimpleSupers.com app. This let's you use PowerPoint as a character generator with key and fill. It generates an alpha channel. You can use it with any production switcher that accepts key and fill. No need for green or blue screens behind your slides.
If your design/animations are good, no one knows its PowerPoint. Plus you can even use it to play out videos. And you're already set up for the large base of PowerPoint users out there. (Of course you may have to re-format their presentations to 16:9, ugh.)
I use it every week at our church. PowerPoint plays out our intro video, then I key up Lower Thirds with peoples names, worship songs, scripture, etc using DSK 1 on the ATEM Production Studio 4k (all inputs are 1080i59.94). The DSK fill is my Laptop Display 2, and the DSK key is my Laptop Display 3.