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Review: Cerevo LiveWedge FullHD Video Switcher

At the bare-bones, sub-$1000 level, there are very few HD mixers that combine the mixing, recording, and streaming capabilities that the Cerevo LiveWedge offers, although this device does come with a few caveats.

The Control Surface

In Cut mode, tapping one of the four source buttons immediately brings up that source to program out (Figure 5, below). The buttons for each source are slightly recessed and concave. They seem a bit sticky, so there's not a reliable click or some tactile feedback to let you know it was pushed hard enough. But they did the job.

Figure 5. The recessed buttons that you use to switch sources can be a bit sticky. Click the image to see it at full size.

In Mix or Wipe mode, tapping a different source once, brings it to the "ready" and that second source gets a green-colored rectangle around it on the quad-split preview display. Tapping that source a second time executes the Mix and after a second (or however long you have it set for) that second source is now the primary output.

To the right of the source buttons is a circular scroll wheel that’s reminiscent of the first iPod (Figure 6, below). It's very big and has raised lines on it, perhaps for increased "grip." But even so, I found it hard to reliably rotate it to get to what I wanted. It either didn't want to move, or zipped right past where I wanted it to go. A button in the center selects what I want. A smaller button outside the scroll wheel exits back up one level in the menu system.

Figure 6. The jog dial looks a bit like the one on the first iPod. Click the image to see it at full size.

Thankfully, I didn't have to deal much with the cludgy scroll wheel because Cerevo makes a LiveWedge app for Android and iOS. I used the Android version on an 18" Samsung tablet. Cerevo recommends a 7" tablet and it's clear that the app doesn't understand how to make use of a larger screen. My LiveWedge video shows how part of the non-resizable interface stuck to the top left of the display, and the other part of the interface stuck to the top right of the display. A big swath of black made up the rest of the interface of the LiveWedge app.

The LiveWedge App

Cerevo has crafted a nice app. Aside from the preferred 7" screen size, it's laid out nicely and easy to use with my finger. It is very responsive when moving between video mixing, audio mixing, and various other settings. Moreover, when it lost connection to the hardware, it would prompt and reconnect very quickly, minimizing down time. Mostly this was because the tablet would go to sleep, or because I was changing WiFi settings on the LiveWedge.

The video section has a four-window preview and four sliders below so you can Mix in any particular source you want without having to "ready" it first as with a traditional mixer (Figure 7, below). This is a nice interface touch. Also, the areas where the source video is shown are active as well, so you can just tap the video and the LiveWedge cuts to it. In mix mode, I tap twice- once to "ready," a second tap to "take" it.

Figure 7. The LiveWedge app’s four-window preview. Click the image to see it at full size.

Also available on the video screen is a master audio fader, the ability to toggle each of the five audio sources (four HDMI and the analog Aux in), buttons to select between Mix, Cut, Fade to Black, and five additional buttons you can customize to be a Picture in Picture, Chroma Key, Mix, Wipe, and Dip. I used both the PIP and the Chroma Key (Figure 8, below). The others don't need presets in my opinion.

Figure 8. Selection buttons in the LiveWedge app with Picture-in-Picture (PinP) selected. Click the image to see it at full size.

With the chroma key, I can choose the color and then tweak how precise it is. There is no softening of the edge, no trim, no shadow. It's very basic, but usable with animations I built in OpenOffice's slide Presenter app. If you have a better graphics program, you can use that, but there is no Alpha channel support. Just this basic key, and it takes one of your four sources to do it (Figure 9, below).

Figure 9. Chroma key output. Click the image to see it at full size.

I also leveraged the LiveWedge's ability to do a PIP. I put my close-up camera in the corner and the wide camera was behind it. This way I could talk to viewers in the wide shot and show them a detail shot of what I was talking about with the PIP. In building it, I could set the PIP size, position, and a border color and thickness. But there's no shadow or crop in the PIP. I found it to be useful for my needs and the PIP was high-quality, not a poor-resolution version of the source. It was also nice to be able to dynamically set the size and position with my fingers on the tablet's touch screen, and not be limited to one or two sizes or positions on the screen.

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