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.
Next, the E refers to Effects. In a switcher Effects mainly relate to transitions or how you mix them. Some effects are referred to as a Cut which is a simple changing of sources for your visual. This could mean switching from one camera source to a second camera or from a camera source to media. You can then mix a gradual change or dissolve between the two sources or even apply a quick wipe or shape movement between sources. You could also use a DVE, which we will get to in another article, or use a Fade which is a transition to or from black.
Lastly, Bus is a term borrowed from audio. We can think of it as a funnel or pathway for video. So, in essence the Mix Effects Bus is the place where you make choices on video camera or graphics sources by using effects.
Do I have a 5 ME switcher? Most likely not. Switchers usually come in 1, 2, 4 ME flavors.
Enjoy this new terminology and we hope it helps you get to know your switcher. Ryan, Lambda’s owner, came from a broadcast video background at PBS. When he was being trained on video switchers, he had to complete a test that required him to use only ME’s and internal switcher feature to build a mostly complete American flag in the switcher without the use of any graphic sources. Think you can do it? Tell us how you did it on your switcher and maybe there is a free t-shirt in it for you!
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