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11.2
WhatSwitchersDo
This gives a brief overview of analog and digi-
tal switcht'fs and switching software. Virtuall y all new
are digitalindesi gn andpartially or full ycom-
puter-d riven.Withthepredominanceofcomponent video
recorders, the eleclronicdesignofswilchers haschanged
d(cordingly.
.... SWITCHER TYP ES AND FUN CTIONS
Production and pmlprodu(liOI1 lI'"l{cherJ, maslerconr rQl
swirr:hers, and roullng swilchers
.... El ECTRONIC DSIGNS
Compos/Ie oodcompOflenr jwiu/1e,$, ooo/oq ond dlgilol
5wilchers.ond SWJlChtrs
SWITCHER TYPES AND FUNCTIONS
\\1hen looki ng morecarefull yat switchcrs, andesp"'cially
when youbegintooperatethem,yOu will noti ce(halthey
are designed to fulfill specific production functi ons. The
major t)'P('S ofswi tchers are: ( I) I'roduO::lion switchers,
(2)postproductionswilchers,(3 ) mastercontrolswitche rs,
and(<I ) roul ingswitchers.Mostswitchersarebuilttnfulfill
both production andpostproductionfunctions.
PRODUCTION SWITCHERS
Production are used in multi camera SlUdi o or
fi eld producti ons. You Iv) Ufind them in studi o control
254
rooms and remote tr ucks. Their primary purpose is \0
select videosources to goon the air; toconnect
the selected video through cuts, dissulves,or wipes; Cl nd
to create and .tpply keys and other effects. Production
switchcrs must let yo u perform tasks reliably and
with relarive ease. When switchi nga live football game,
therE' isno rOOm forerror.
Product iOn swi tchers must offer enough inputs 10
accommoda te the various sources al'ailable. Even
asmall studio production mayrequire inpulsfrom th ree
cameras, a e.G., hila or three VTRs,an E55 (el ectronic
still store) system, and two orthree remote feeds (such
as a mobile E.NG truck, network program,or satell ite
hookup). Becau$(.' each bUllon on a switchercan handl e
only a single inpul, Ihi!S produClion \yould requi re a bus
withaminimumoften bunoos,countingtheBLKbullon
as a black video input. Despitethe raet thatlarge produc-
tionswitchcrs have thir tyormore inputs,there areocca-
sions when a TO (t ecllnical director) feels st rapped for
more,espedall yduringlivecoverageofinternationalnews
or largesportingevcnl S. Youmay t hen have10 press iuto
serviceanadditionalswit cher Ihalcan takeoveraspific
assignment ,suchas thcinstant replays.
Yet in many cases you don' t need alarge thirty- input
switcher and a remote truck to do a live orli ve-an- tape
pickupofava ri etyofmulli cameraevents,such asawed-
ding, basketball game, rock show, dassical conccrt, or
graduati on('remony. Forexample, the Pi xUox(eaturesa
completE' audi o/videoSwi TchingsyStem,includingavariely
oftransiti onsand special effects-'lll packed into a
suitcase.Youcanconnectuptolenvideoinputs- anyfour
ofwhi chareswi tchable-andanumberofstereolin,,- and
mic-l evelaudi osources. Ital sohascfncienltwowayint er-
comand tall ylight systems. Muchlikea laptopcomput er,
theli dofrhe servesas mOJlitorsandthe
larger previewandli nemonitor pair. 51.111 .12
Altho ugh th e primar y fU tlct ion of p rod ucti o n
switchers is 10 fac ilitate inst ant aneous editing- select-
ing vari ous video sources and sequencing them thro ugh
transiti onS-Iheyareexpected \0performmoreandmore
Ulmplex effects that ri val those of postproduction edit -
ing. Are sucheffeclS necessaryor even appropriat( \\'hel1
switchi ng a li ve or live-on-Iape show? Isn't th ' prima ry
task of li ve switching to select shots and sequence them
properl ythroughavarietyoft ransitions?Yes. But because
audienceshavehecomesoaccustomed10 thevisual razzle-
dazzleofpostproductioneffects.li ve shows(s uchas neh'S
iJndspon s)cannotaffordtolookan}' I 'ss exciting.Atleas.t
sogoesIheargument.
Vldl'O ami
audio inputs
Section 11.2 Whot Switcher s Do
previews
l ir.e monitor
Video
alldioCl/rJlUts
\ Swilcllef "';111 fffh
11. 12 PORTABLE SWITCHING SYSTEM
This portable production system (pidJox2) is desi gned for mul(tcamera Jive and live-ontape productions. It ha s er ght
video and si x audio inputs, a tany light an intercom hookup, and 3 rich lIansiliQn menu. The LCD panel an video inputs
and simulate) 11 larger preview and line fllOfIitof. AU thiS te<hnology is contained in a relati vely smll 11 suitcase.
A more argument th at switch -
ers cilnnot be limited to the few live or live-on-tape pro-
ductions done in most tel evision stati ons; they must be
able to perform the more complex postproduCi ion tasks
as weil. FOrlunately, aI/ producti on switchers have a con-
siderable number or di gital effects built-in, and they can
be easil y hooked up to compll.'x digi tal effects equi pment
to be used as postproduction switchers. switch-
ers are basicall y computer-dri ven, the), aHow you to store
a great number of preproduced special ecfecls and recall
them inslantlyby pressing a single butt on, without having
to climb all over the pa nel to r{'am the necessa ry buttuns
and
POSTPRODUCTION SWITCHERS
The switcher in postproduction is used for instantaneous
editing ratll er than for creati ng transitions and special ef
fem. A good postproduction 5witcller is not necessarily tile
one ""'ith the most video inputs but rat her the one that of-
fer!' the greatest number of key effects and ot her multilevel
equipment that can build, ,; tep-by-step, a highly complex
efft.>Ct. For exampl e, the small postproduction swi tcher
figure \1 . 13 Cdn produce 1,600 different effects-more than
e!lough (or even the most ardent special-efte(ls fa nali c.
And JU St in case you want even more effe<ts, you ca n hook
up via USB or FireWi re Qlh/e to a computer with spccial-
cf(ects softwa re. SEE 11.13
Sume postproduction swi tchcrs have a small audio
mL'l:Cr built-in, which for routine audio postproduction
jobs makes pa tching to an exte rnal mixer unnecessary.
Postproduction switchers are basicaUy menu-driven:
you a"ivate the major functions not hy pressing buttons on
t he switcher panel but by choosing options on pull-down
menus in a soCtware program. The computer res!-,onch
( 0 the (ommands, act ivating the switcher buttons and,
if el'rYlhing goes ri ght, deli vering the specifil:':(\ eff;;>ct
or transitio n.
Because such swit chers aTe comput er-driven, couldn't
we do a\vay with Ihe actual switcher and si mpl )' use com-
puter software \0 execute the various There
255




256 Chapler II SWITCHING, OR INSTANTA NEOUS EDITING
11. 13 SMALL DIGIJAL

(ontfol
PRDDUGION SWIJ(HER
/
This postprod uct ion
(Panasonic AG-MX70) can cre-
ate 600 effect s. which, with a
spedal -effec ts board, can be
expanded to 1,600 two- and
three-dimensional effects.
It has a buill -in audio m' )(er .00
wit h si ,,; i nputs. l u large con-
0 00
. 00
trol p<l nel displaysoperal ion

a
and monitoring information.
and, like all postpioduclion


switchers. it can also be
for simple live switching. II


II I
I
Mixbusl'S
rader bar
arc sam"are programs for both Windows and Mdcmtosh
platforms that function as basic switchers. Jnsle-ad of press-
ing a buttOll, yOll clkk a mOllse. SEI! I ' .14 There are also
computer programs that have a whol e switchi ng sequence
programmed for hi ghly pn:dictabk show formats, such as
it single-anchor l1eh'S or weamer program. Such software
not only takes care of the switching irom call1era to camera
but also teUs the rob<uic call1eras whallO do.
Computer technology notwithst anding, the swit cher
as you know it will have its place (or some rime. Even the
most sophisti cated computer switchers are simply not as
flexible and functi onal as the actual switcher panel its
bunons and levers. A TD pressing bUIl Of\5 on a switcher
panel is still the most effective means of instant aneous
edi ting. provided heor she presses the ri ght buttons at the
right ti me.
MASTER CONTROL SWITC.HER5
Computer-assisted switching is especiall y helpful in master
control. In fa ct, the computer is so important in master
control opera ti on that often the engineer the com-
puter rather tha.n tlle ot her way aro und. The computerizt'd
/II(uler control switcher retrieves aU the progra m material
stored in the progra m server (an cxtralarge computer stor-
age device) according 10 the program log li me line; it cues,
roll s, and stops VTRs and video carr machines; it calls up
any number of still shot s from the ESS system; il activates
.my number of transit ion sequences; and il switches auto-
mati callr to remote feeds, such as a network program or
live event. su 11 . 15
ROUTING 5WITCHER5
RQut;'lg 5w;lchers route video signals to specific destina-
tions. For exa mple, you should use a routing switcher to
reed V' .uious monit ors with the line-out video, then swit ch
to the previeh' video, and then to the satellite video. Or you
may OlssigtL the li ne-out signal to the video server instead of
VIR 2 because VTR 2 is involved in editing. The buttons
on a rout ing switcher afe usually arranged in WI.,S that look
very much like the program bus on a production swi tcher
or par t of a computer-controlled system.
ElEORONIC DESIGNS
Although the abi li ty to operate" sNitcher does not hinge on
an intimate knov.'kd ge of il :'> e1ec tronic design, you should
haw W ille idea of the major electronic characteristi cs of
switchers: ( I) composite and component, (2) analog and
digital, and (3) audio-follow-video.
COMPOSITE AND COMPONENT 5WITCH.ERS
The ('ompr)sirc sw;/cl1er is buil t to transport and process the
N-rSe signn/ that combines the luminance (Y) and color
(C) \' id('O signal s into a single one. Composite switchers
need onl y a single wire to transport lhevideo signal. If you
use the s, \' itcher st rictly for multi came ra live swi tching,
" , c . U E ' J ! l e W O m e S . 1 ) 1 n o s O l p n e P V I ! ' 0 9 p ! A s . i 4 J l ! M S l a t j J \ l M S / O I l U O ) p a l ! J i U n d W O ) a t u .
M 1 H ) 1 I M S l O M I N O ) m s v w S L ' L L
" l ( J O M u o ! p n p o J d l s o d , 0
6 U ! 4 ) 1 ! . . . . . . S , ) / 1 1 1 J O I O I Q U \ ' J
J i l I ! J I ! M S S ! 4 1 " " j O S U O ) O ! p n \ '
l P \ " I ! I I O U l e S I ! I l i I M S I ! ' ' 1 1 , 1 , ) . . . . .
- < I ! n b O l p U I I S , ) }
U ! - } I ! 0 q J O , ( \ ' J J f 6 U I l I ! W I ! u r
5 1 ! 4 I I " S U O I D u n j ' " 4 ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' ' u O I I
- l n p o , d } s o d p U I ! U O I 1 ) n p o J d
) ! s l ! q I I I ! S i I } t ' A ! I J I ! p U I ! s . ( e j d s l P
( " ) . 1 . 1 \ , i l I o P I ! M S , ) 4 1
J O u U ! J 5 0 J d . u e M l ; j o s S ! 4 1
m J m N I H 3 H l l i M S
H 3 1 0 d W O l " L ' L L
,

L S I :
l " / / U O / l ) i l 5
4
258 Chap t er II
such as a srudi o show or a sports remote, the composite
switcher is perfectly adequate you deal onl y with
NTSC signals. For high-qualit y postproduction. hm,,cver.
you need a switcher that allows Y/ C component, Y/color
differellce component , or RGB component signal process-
ing (see figures 12. 1-1 2.4 ).
OJmponellt $wircilcr$ process the video signal in either
the VI C or the Y/ color di fference configurati on. In the Y/C
component ,Wilcher. the luminance and color information
are processed separatel y and transported via I h'O wires. 1n
the Y/mlor difference componenl switcher, three signals
(a luminance and two color signal s, or RGB) aTe trans-
ported separately by three \ .... ircs throughoUl the switcher
and processed Most di git al switchers are built
to adapt to either composite or component signals or to
accept either con fi gurat ion. (These systems are
in depth in chapter 12. )
ANALOG AND DIGITAL 5WITCHER5
Alt hough mOSt allalog slI'ilchen have a d igit;ll device for
digi/al video effecls (DVE) or the storage of such effects,
they basically process the analog video signals as supplied
by analog ca meras or VTRs in thei r original analog form.
Digital on the other hand, process all incoming
video signals digi tally. Most digital switchers are compo-
nent systems, but they lei you change from the component
10 the composil e configuralion.
Olle advantage of digital switchers is that you can usc
as the video source signals that come directl y from digital
equipment, such as digital cameras, digital editing systems,
servers, computer hard drives, read/write opt ical discs, and
any number of digital storage
Fortunately, digital switchers han' maintained the
architecture of their anal og cousins, which for our pur
poses means that the digital switcher panel still has lVI/E,
program, preview/preset, and key buses and fader bars
much !ike an analog switcher. 1n fact, the appea rance of
a switcher alone will not tell you whether it is ana log or
digital. More important, there is much simlla ri ty in the
operation of the two types. SEE 11 .16
AUDI.O- FO.LLOW- VIDE:O 5WITCHERS
Audio-follow-video switchers switch the audio \.. ith the
pictures that go with it. For example, when switching a
scene in which two people are talking on phon e, a
telephone-quillityaudio fi.l ler cuts in every time you switch
SWITCHING, OR INSTANTANEOUS EDITING
GV Model 11O..HD diCjit.i1
GV Model 100 dnaloCj
11.16 ANALOG ANO OIGITAL SWITCHERS
The appear3nce and opefiltional functions of the digital
switcher afe very similar to those of iTS analog cousin.
to rhe person on the far end of the COOl'ersat ioll. When
switching hack to the "close" person, the switcher cuts out
the audio filter and you hear the regular audio.
MaSler control switchers are a udio-follow-video
ilutomatiC<llly change the accompanying
audjo along with the video source.
Sec / ion 11. 2
ProductionswitchersMe tofiKilllllteinS{Clnt.meous
editingduring multicClme rCl productions,Theymusthave
enoughvid@Olnputs toiKcommodatethenumberofvideo
sourcesuiedduringtheproduction.
PostproduClion areusedprimarily(orCl eating
trClnslli omandspecial eHectsratherthanforinstantaneous
editi ng.
Master coollolswilChersafe computer-drIVen.Theynot
only switchfromoneprogramsoulCe10 thenextbUIalso
roll VTRsandvideoCClft machinesandc,,11 upDVE(digi tal
videoeffect s), ESS (electroniCsl ill slore)video,ormater ial
storedonvideoservers,
RoutingswitchelssimplydlleciavideoSignal10aspedfic
deslinatiQn.
Composit e <He builttotransportandprocess
NTSC videoSignals.
Componentswi{chersafebuilt10handleVIC component ,
Vl color difference, or RGBvideosignal s. Mostdigital
switchers can handlebolhcomposit eandcomponent
Signals.
Analogswitchersprocessanalogvideoinputsthroughout
thew.. itchingoperati on.althoughtheyoftentreatspec-Ial
effectsdigit all y.
Digitalswitchefsare mainl ycomponentswitchers, pro-
cessingthevideoinpuue)(ciusivelyindigi talform.They
normallymaintainthe ,uchitecture(switching
logicandthearrangementandfunClions ofbuses)ina
Similarway toanalog5wllchers.
Audio-follow-videoswitchefS5wl1(htheaudiowiththe
thaIgowithit.
What Swi t cher! Do

Foryourreference.ortotrackyourwork, eachVideo-
Lab programcueintill Schapteris li stedhereWith it s
correspondingpagenumber.
Switching
sele<tlconnect 244
B!ID programbusI
preVi ewbusImixbusesIfader barautomatic
hansilionItryil 247
fED Switchi ng
transitionsI createeffects 248
B!l!) (uII
milt/dissolveI Wl peIfadeI tryit 2S1
f3!m keysIkeytypesI
downstreamkeyer Ispecialeffect s 2SI
259