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Almost Live with Streaming Media: Roland Systems VR-50HD All-in-One A/V Mixer

Shawn Lam and Roland's Doug Schouten discuss key features of Roland's VR-50HD an audio/video mixer/switcher with a multi-viewer touchscreen and integrated USB 3.0 output for live streaming.

[Note: This sponsored interview was recorded at NAB 2014.]

Roland Systems describes its VR-50HD as an "all-in-one" mixer, and with good reason: not only can it switch and mix four channels of audio and video feeds via 12 on-board inputs, it can mix video feeds in multiple formats, from a range of sources--both digital and analog--and also scale the sources, add picture-in-picture, and do keying, and it also features USB 3.0 out for streaming to a range of platorms, and an HD multiview monitor. It allows a single operator to composite four layers of inputs using faders, buttons, and a sizeable touchscreen.

Streaming Media Producer contributing editor Shawn Lam caught up with Roland Systems Sales Engineer Doug Schouten at NAB 2014 for a close-up look at the VR-50HD and a walk-though of its key features for live-switched/mixed production and streaming. Among the elements Schouten highlighted were the unit's flexibility and versatility with different types of inputs, its ease of setup and use, and the wealth of monitoring and capture-to-switch-to-stream mobile production capabilities it puts in its operator's hands.

"Especially in the corporate world," Schouten remarks, "you can get hit with all different kinds of formats, all different kinds of computers and sources, and this takes care of pretty much anything you can hit it with."

Shawn: It’s Shawn Lam here for Streaming Media Producer. I'm joined by Doug Schouten from Roland, and we’ll be talking about the Roland VR-50HD video switcher. What can you tell us about it?

Doug: The VR-50HD is the newest product in our VR line. And some of the traits of the VR line are they’re all-in-one, audio and video mixing, and they also incorporate a USB output for streaming. The USB is really open-ended because you can stream and you can capture to multiple different streaming services.

Some of the main points here are that you have an audio section and a video section. The basic idea is that you're going to take in XLR type or line-level inputs and then you can also mix HDMI and SDI sources that might have audio as well. You have a four-channel video mixer and you actually have four layers of composition. So you can add picture-in-picture, another picture-in-picture, and a still key. There’s a great big touchscreen built right in, so you can switch your sources right on board.

With the USB output, we followed the class-compliant device of USB standard. Without a driver I can use a really wide variety of different services. I can stream it. I can use Skype or GoToMeeting or something like that. And I can even actually capture even to as simple as QuickTime or to software that we offer for free from our website. Mac or PC, it doesn't matter--there's no driver needed. It’s really simple to get up running and have a very mobile production.

Shawn: From video switching to webcasting, this is an all-in-one unit that handles the audio and the video as well. It pushes out a USB class-compliant stream for Ustream, Livestream, Wirecast, and those types of services, right?

Doug: Yes. It’s wide open-ended.


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