Companies reduce barriers to school video production

The VR-5 incorporates a video switcher, audio mixer, video playback, recorder, preview monitors, and output for web streaming—all in a single unit. It includes three audio or video inputs, an SD card slot for saving or playing back video or images, and a USB port for connecting to a computer.

Higher-end products

Also at InfoComm 2011, Broadcast Pix of Billerica, Mass., demonstrated two mobile apps for controlling its Slate line of video production systems from an iPad or iPhone device.

One of the apps, iPixPanel, recreates a classic switcher layout and is able to control every aspect of a video production, including switching cameras, adding graphics and clips, controlling robotic cameras, and creating special effects (such as an interview with dual picture-in-picture).

The other app, iPixPad, replicates the company’s PixPad feature on an iPhone or iPod touch. PixPad is a clear display of all available on-screen options that lets users select any clip, camera angle, or graphic in an instant. This allows for quick transitions and avoids the necessity of scrolling through various options, Broadcast Pix says.

The Slate 100, the company’s entry-level video production system, is priced at nearly $11,000 for a complete system. While that’s much more expensive than Blackmagic’s or Roland’s video switchers and mixers, it also includes storage of up to 120 hours of video clips, as well as an array of graphics and special effects.

As schools move toward high-definition video production, the Hitachi Z-HD5000 HDTV camera has become a mainstay in state-of-the-art school and college studios, with its 14-bit analog-to-digital conversion and advanced digital signal processing that has proven to be energy-efficient, the company says.

The HDTV camera can be used for both studio and field use, and it reproduces dark and unexposed areas with specialized luminance settings, the company says.