The last form of Keying we wanted to highlight is Linear or alpha keying. Linear or Alpha keying is the evolution of the Luminance key and Pattern keying (read HERE). Linear keying becomes a basis for where we can build almost all advanced keying. It typically requires special hardware and software but gets you great results.
Linear keying is made from two separate signals. The first signal is called the Cut Signal. The Cut Signal is a luma-based signal of white, black, and grayscale that tells the switcher what is opaque (black) and where to put a GFX signal (white). The second signal is the Fill Signal or the actual GFX or colors. (Pictured above) The switcher uses the Cut Signal as the pattern shape, which allows the benefits of a luma key while eliminating the con of not being able to have things like a black outline. This is because the switcher is using one signal to say where things are opaque and another for what the actual content will be.
Introducing a new favorite on the market: The Blackmagic ATEM Mini Extreme ISO! This a low-cost, multi-camera, live production with advanced broadcast features, compact switcher. ATEM Mini switchers (Atem Mini and ATEM Extreme pictured above) make it easy to create a professional multi camera production for live stream, business presentations, or podcasts. You might already know that the ATEM Mini models have a USB so you can use any streaming software, but the ATEM Mini Extreme also adds live streaming and recording to USB disks. It also has an additional 8 HDMI inputs, 2 separate HDMI outputs and a Multiview with up to 16 views.
Luminance and Pattern Keys
Keying is a powerful and essential feature on your video switchers. It's important to know the basics behind keying so you can really understand what is happening on your switcher when you use these features. We've talked about Chroma Keys, HERE, so now we want to highlight another similar switcher key: Luminance Keys.
Running from the Constellation we have 2 eight lane fibers, one going to the Broadcast room and one to the video studio. With fiber, there is no need to worry about any issues with the length of your run, as you might have to think about with SDI and HDMI. Fiber is also able to support 4k 60/12G making it a great option for making sure your system is future proof. These lines are run through Blackmagic fiber converters to convert the signal to SDI, giving four inputs and four outputs to and from the switcher in both the broadcast room and studio. One of the greatest features of the Constellation is that all the outputs on the switcher are fully routable Auxs’. That means that outputs from the switcher to the broadcast room and the studio can be used to send multi-view, program, graphics inputs, camera control, or any other content that needs to be fed to the switcher. MSC already had 4 BMD Broadcast cameras so with 4 inputs in the studio all of them can be utilized at the same time if the situation calls for it.
With the studio, we also built out an entirely separate audio system that also had some integration into the sanctuary. In an effort to make onboarding and training new volunteers simple, MSC had already made the decision that they were going to have all of their audio systems, other than the main auditorium, be by Allen & Heath. In the broadcast suite, we put an A&H SQ5 and paired it with an A&H AR2412 digital stage box in the video studio. This gives them very flexible I/O and even the ability to do a full band in the studio space if necessary. Also, in the studio are 4 Shure BLX mics, both lavalier, and handheld. For the last piece, for monitoring in the broadcast suite, we put a pair of Presonus E44 studio monitors at the audio desk and a pair of Presonus Eris E3.5 for the video desk.
Between the first install at MSC and the studio build, MSC has a lot more room and capability to create more professional video content for their growing online needs! Not only does their new set up help them successfully produce content now, but offers further options for them to continue to expand in the future.
If you, like many over this last year, are new to pro video switchers, their terminology, and features you may be wondering about ME’s. ME’s are where the magic happens in video switchers and are comprised of controls each with a row of buttons for Preview and Program. Program is the video source you are sending out and Preview refers to the video source you are intending to transition into next.
Let’s start by talking about what ME stands for. An ME stands for Mix Effects Bus. To understand what this is we will break down each word. First, we can start with M or Mix. Mixing is the combination of two or more elements. At its most basic function, a video switcher does just this by mixing different sources such as multiple cameras or a GFX source.
Easter is just around the corner and it’s a good time to talk about making AV Goals. Audio Visual systems are an investment for your business, but sometimes it can be hard to make the final decision on when or how to invest in new equipment. How do you know which areas to invest in your AV system and what things can wait? This is where a little careful planning can take you a long way.
In the middle of the pandemic, we all suddenly learned how good our video systems were or, in a lot of cases, were not. For New Life Church, a large multi-site church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the video demands of a pandemic were high. A church of five separate locations citywide, with a moderate streaming presence, suddenly became a church with one location broadcasting five services. Along with the five services and all their other events turned virtual, they were broadcasting almost around the clock.
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