Vaddio’s ProductionVIEW HD

I had the opportunity this week to get a real close look at Vaddio's ProductionVIEW HD system this week at a dealer show here in Toronto. It was an event that allowed me to get a close look at the system and "kick the tires" as the saying goes. The intended application for the technology will be in Ryerson's SPIRIT (Student Produced Internet Radio and Interactive Technologies) internet radio station. Internet Radio is quite interesting. The station currently employs a traditional radio station DJ set-up, an automated radio station package and several security video camera's connected to a small switcher to add video to the stations Internet stream. We're in the process of relocating the station to a new part of the Rogers Communications Centre at Ryerson so we're modernizing it with the move.

In a nutshell Vaddio’s ProductionVIEW HD system has been designed for simple one handed operation and control of remotely controlled cameras. In addition to Pan-Tilt-Zoom (PTZ) control, its console provides for switching video –up to 1080p!!!– between cameras or computer graphic sources. Its video mixer provides for six inputs and switching functions includes cuts, dissolves, basic wipes, picture-in-picture and graphic/computer display integration. As a system it can deliver and receive all signaling between its control console and cameras up to 500 feet away using Cat 5 cable.

Signaling includes the camera PTZ control, HDTV quality video and power. The delivery of power is a great feature of this system as it greatly simplifies installation of the cameras. The system also employs Camera Control Units (CCU’s) that provides two important functions. First the unit has the required painting controls so one can colour match the various camera’s and provides the capability to store two video presets. Secondly PTZ camera’s lose their colour set-up when they power down. Because the CCU stores the set-up, the system can quickly become operable at a very high quality.

The unit we looked at was equipped with a single Sony BRC-H700 high definition pan/tilt/zoom camera and a Mac laptop. The Sony BRC-H700 camera employs three CCD sensors and has a 12x optical zoom lens and I believe is widely considered SONY’s best PTZ camera. The camera when on its own and when mixed with the computer images produced gorgeous High Definition images on the ProductionVIEW HD’s output screen.

While the camera and images really shone I thought the real star of the show was the layout ProductionVIEW HD console. As I mentioned earlier, the console been designed for simple one handed operation which is important in the SPIRIT environment where the talent is usually the operator. According to Vaddio’s Jesi Wytonick the company took a lot of input from users in the field and employed it in the design of the layout of the ProductionVIEW HD console. All of the operable controls were brought to the surface so operators wont have to go digging through menus. These show up in terms of switch selectors, knobs and buttons to quickly activate the desired function.

A first look at the console shows (click on all pictures for full rez images) how the design was implemented. Each function on the operator panels surface is divided into quickly digestable operator controls. A closer look at each of these functions reveals how Vaddio incorporated their design strategy to create usable operator controls. You can download the PDF on the product that explains it in terms of Vaddio’s marketing but basically the features are as follows;

Camera Controls

Six Camera Control Selectors with each allowing for 12 camera presets

A top quality joystick camera PTZ control that allows for very fine camera movement. Outboard Pan, Tilt, Zoom Speed Controls. Button on top of joystick that returns selected camera to "Home" position.

Focus and Iris controls that can be set to Auto or operated under manual control

Focus and Iris controls that can be set to Auto or operated under manual control

Switching Controls

ProductionVIEW HD contains a traditional Program/Preview switcher bus arrangement with two individual outputs each for Program and Preview on the back of the console

The output resolution to both preview and program outputs can be set independent to any resolution meaning that an operator could simultaneously switch both busses and provide an HD output from the Program output and a standard definition feed from the Preview output

Vaddio’s switcher operates in the traditional manner where typical cut switching can be accomplished directly on the Program or Preview busses. Wipes, dissolves as well as cuts between Program and Preview busses can be selected and accomplished with the Take button and associated selector controls. To keep the interface simple the ProductionVIEW HD has a modest selection of wipe patterns and positioning options

Another option on the switcher is the ability to put Picture In Picture. Once again the unit limits the positioning to four screen locations but the unit does provide for small, medium and large window sizes

The unit does not “key” in the manner that a standard broadcast production switcher does but the unit will place the lower third of a computer screen –such as a PowerPoint or Keynote slide— overtop of a live camera

In addition the ProductionVIEW HD offers several levels of transparency for overlaid graphics that assists greatly in reducing the “look” of harshness

The ProductionVIEW HD includes the ability to accept computer inputs of resolutions and has graphic capabilities by making use of computer inputs. The unit allows for full computer outputs to become a source with the same mixing, wiping and picture-in-picture functions as live cameras

Building Vaddio’s ProductionVIEW HD system has been designed to be as simple as possible. One thing that system designers need to take into account is frame delay. While the Vaddio ProductionVIEW HD console introduces only one frame of delay, on the system we viewed the Sony BRC-2700 camera adds an additional 3 frames of delay. So in our installation we’ll have to add at least four frames of audio delay to the audio feeds emanating from SPIRIT’s audio board prior to distribution to the Internet and HDTV programs that will appear on Ryerson University’s in house TV station RUTV and globally via the Open Student Television Network.

As mentioned earlier another strength of this system is the ability to run to run three Cat 5 cables to each camera location. To accomplish this each camera connects to its own CCU. As mentioned earlier the CCU’s provide painting controls and the capability to store two video presets. In addition the CCU contains a connection for a preview monitor and takes the unit accepts the input for the camera tally. It’s actually from the CCU that the three Cat-5 cables are run to each camera location. The maximum cable run from the CCU to the camera location is specified at 500 ft. At each camera location the three Cat-5 cables are inserted into a small breakout box and camera specific breakout cables that connects to each camera.

To make ordering simple Vaddio offers various WallVIEW packages that combines the appropriate camera, camera wallmount, breakoutbox/cabling and CCU. All one really needs to do in this scenario is just add mount the cameras, run the CAT-5 cables, mount the CCU’s and displays, connect everything together and provide power. It is quite the simple yet powerful system.



InfoComm 2008 – Neat and New Technology

VBrick InfoCaster Partnership

From our perspective it was great to see that Harris and VBrick got together around digital signage by announcing a strategic partnership where VBricks technology is being designed to interoperate with Harris’s InfoCaster product. VBrick will provide the encoding hardware that will interoperate with InfoCaster to deliver live video streams on a digital signage network. VBrick also announced its H264 Appliance that will allow for High Definition streaming using their technology.

GefenTV Ethernet

Gefen was demonstrating two Ethernet extenders: the GefenTV Ethernet over Power Line and the GefenTV Ethernet over Coax Extenders. The technology delivers a plug and play method of Ethernet delivery using the existing cabling infrastructure. Both systems use small sender and receiver units where receivers are equipped with four Ethernet 10/100M ports to accommodate multiple connections, each capable of supporting up to a 200Mbps transmission for instant data delivery.

The GefenTV Ethernet over Power Line solution allows users to tap into any standard wall jack to deliver the Ethernet to any room with a power outlet. Likewise the GefenTV Ethernet over Coax extender uses standard coaxial cable to deliver Ethernet data throughout the home or office.

Roland’s Video Switching and Conversion Technology

Roland was showing their new F-1 Field Video Recorder.  The unit employs a shock-resistant floating HDD, two channels of additional audio inputs, multiple power supply options, remote control via LAN, on-site review of clips, unlimited file size, and a number of additional functions including HDV and DV capture, additional 2 channels of balanced audio, removable HDD, RGB output and utility software for previewing, file management and basic editing.

We were looking at Roland because we were interested in their line of Vision Mixers that incorporate computer feeds as well as traditional cameras. We looked at their V8 switcher for standard definition and their V-440HD that has the capability to input 4 SD video sources and 4 HD or RGB video sources. They also have a small V-44SW switcher that is a rack mount HD switcher similar to the V-440HD. We also took a look at the VC-300HD video converter that does format conversion of Digital/Analog, HD/SD or compressed/uncompressed signals as well as direct connections from computer RGB sources.

Vaddio HD Production Switcher

The ProductionVIEW HD from Vaddio is multi-camera control system is designed for live broadcast events. It integrates PTZ camera control and multi-format HD/SD live switching with real-time graphics and effects into one console. The surface gives system users real-time knobs and buttons to control functions and produces only one frame of delay — a critical requirement for broadcast.

The unit features six inputs of any combination of component HD, RGBHV or SD Video, focus and iris knobs on control surface for making manual adjustments, six discrete auto-sensing RS-232 camera control ports, lower Screen Graphics Over-lay mode, selectable cut, fade and wipe transitions, 3-axis hall effect joystick, adjustable pan, tilt and zoom speed knobs, 12 camera presets, transition speed adjustment and it is compatible with Vaddio, Sony and Canon PTZ Camera Systems.

TrackVIEW System

Another great product Vaddio is showing is a product they call the TrackVIEW System Next Generation. It’s used where hands-free camera tracking and broadcast style preset camera control are required. The system is not well described on their website but it has the capability to follow the activity of a classroom situation through camera presets based on floorpads, following the teacher around a classroom using image recognition and switching to students asking questions at desks by sensing the closest microphone to the student speaking. Ifound a video of the system in action on YouTube that shows the basics. It’s lacking the features that have been added to the system for interaction with students at the desks;


FogScreen™ projection screen, produces a thin curtain of “dry” fog that serves as a translucent projection screen.The system uses tap water and ultrasonic waves to create a smooth foggy airflow that captures images just like a screen. You can walk right through a FogScreen projection screen without getting wet as the microscopic fog droplets actually feel dry to the touch, just like air. Below is a YouTube video on the medium;

Other Products Of Note That We Saw In This Category

Ansmann Rechargeable Batteries

Ansmann Rechargeable Batteries

Data Reels - AMETEK Hunter Spring Products

Data Reels - AMETEK Hunter Spring Products

Z-Band High Definition TV over CAT cable

Z-Band High Definition TV over CAT cable

Arrive.Infopoint - Room Scheduling Appliance

Arrive.Infopoint - Room Scheduling Appliance

NAB 2008 – “TV Studio’s In A Box” Solutions Report

TV Studio In A Box Solutions At NAB

This year NAB featured a number of manufacturers showing “TV Studio’s in a Box” type hardware. Amongst them the Grass Valley™ Indigo audio/video (AV) mixer, the REMO from Rushworks Media Systems, Vaddio’s Quick-Connect CCU system and Panasonic’s AV-HS400 Multi-Format HD/SD Switcher with MultiViewer. Below is a video of Panasoics AV-HS400 at NAB 2008.

One last device of note is the XENO Total Internet Broadcasting System. XENO is an All-in-one portable Internet broadcasting device that can act as both a live Internet and local broadcast device. It has a broadcast scheduling program , remotly controls devices –Camera, Video Player– and even has DRM capability.