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Roland V-1600HD

PLSN Staff • Product Spotlight • October 19, 2010

In the realm of professional video, it's fair to say that the video production switcher is the heart of the show, whether it's a live event, a newscast or even a corporate gig. On a typical show, you've got a variety of devices in various video formats and resolutions on the switcher's input side. These range from cameras to servers to character generators and PCs, and all need to be cut, mixed and keyed with ease.


Similarly, on the switcher's output side, you've typically got a variety of display, monitoring and transmission methods, also at various formats and resolutions. These range from standard monitors to projection and LED, all of which need to be fed signals from the switcher.


The switcher itself sits squarely in the middle of the video flow, orchestrating all of these inputs and outputs. But the real question is – how do you handle all this format complexity without a trip to Fort Knox?


An All-in-One Solution


Way back in the beginning, when Philo T. Farnsworth invented television, things were very, very simple. You had a choice of formats – analog, or analog. But engineers being engineers, along came component, S-video, SDI, DVI, Blu-ray and even more each day – and suddenly, simple productions got very complex from a format standpoint. And naturally, clients brought boxes full of every format imaginable to the venue, with high expectations that you, the producer/director, could switch and mix them all.


As an option, you could purchase a single-format video switcher and add as many external converters as needed – but why not combine it all into one, at an economical price? Which brings us to the V-1600HD, a new compact video production switcher from Roland Systems Group. Designed for live event switching, the V-1600HD packs loads of features into a single control panel that includes both input and output format conversion, and many extras.


Billed as a multi-format live video switcher, the V-1600HD handles HD-SDI, but it also processes SD-SDI, DVI-D, RGB, component and composite, S-Video, and even HDMI and bitmap stills. The main switch row has 14 inputs, eight of which are reserved for HD-SDI or SD-SDI, while the remaining six are available for alternate video formats.


Backlit legends on the panel indicate the alternate format. Scalers are included in the unit, and there's no need to purchase options – it's all there, including a built-in 8.5-inch high-resolution LCD preview monitor at the top corner of the panel. This preview monitor also doubles as a menu display for various switcher setup functions.


There's rarely a corporate or industrial presentation that doesn't include one or more PCs or Macs in addition to the video cameras, and for this task, the V-1600HD is ready to go with analog RGB and DVI-D inputs for direct PC or Mac connections.


Outputs, Effects and More


In addition to multi-format scaling, the V-1600HD includes the ability to key using chroma, luminance or linear key types, plus a built-in downstream keyer. This feature is ideal for keying corporate logos, text, or simply "names and titles" on screen. The switcher also provides "PinP" (picture-in-picture) capability, plus 64 memory registers for storage and instant recall of switcher setups.


As standard, the V-1600HD outputs two HD/SD-SDI signals, but it also down/cross-converts to other resolutions at the same time: two DVI-D/HDMI outputs, two RGB/component outputs, and two SD outputs. This flexibility, for example, enables the switcher to feed primary and secondary screens, or screens at different resolutions, or a primary HD screen plus an SD record feed. Many combinations are possible.


Additional effects include the ability to spread the switcher's output across two screens including an edge-blend, and a feature called "multi-zoom" which (via daisy-chaining and scaling inputs) creates a "virtual" multi-camera environment from a single camera. To round out the effects, a feature called "Dual" mode enables independent switching of two inputs, and the "Split" mode allows two video inputs to be shown on one display.


Transitions, Tally and Control


The V-1600HD includes a standard T-bar for manual transitions, plus a TAKE button and "flip-flop" operations on the main switch row. A small array of nine wipe patterns are provided, and several "mix" modes are also offered, including non-additive and full-additive mixes. On the rear panel, convenient loop connections are provided for all inputs, for easy connection to external monitors.


A tally output is provided for cameras or external monitors, along with a "black burst" reference input for synchronizing the system. In terms of remote control, the V-1600HD has many choices, including an RS-422 "Remote" connector and a MIDI connector support V-LINK. Embedded audio is not available.


Although the system is truly multi-featured, the V-1600HD isn't a "fully" featured production switcher, and there are several caveats, particularly with special effects. For example, when certain modes (such as "Dual" and "Split") are enabled, other special effect modes aren't available for use. Regardless of these points, the limitations are certainly offset by the list price of $16,995, making the V-1600HD a system that gives you just about everything you'd need to switch a small live event or corporate production, in full HD, with multi-format flexibility. 



Roland V-1600HD

What It Is: A new compact multi-format video production switcher.

Who It's For: Crew members responsible for live event video switching.

Pros: Lots of features into a single control panel that includes both input and output format conversion and many extras at a relatively affordable price.

Cons: Not "fully-featured," but "multi-featured" (and priced accordingly).

How Much: $16,995 (MSRP).



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