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Review: Roland V-1SDI 3G-SDI Video Switcher

Roland punches above its weight class with the diminutive but feature-packed Roland V-1SDI all-in-one hardware audio and video switcher.

Switching With the V-1SDI

With a dedicated button for each of the four inputs on the A or Program Bus and the B or Preview Bus, switching on the V-1SDI is easy and intuitive. I tend to either straight-cut by punching the next input button on the Program Bus or select Mix and use the T-bar to cross-dissolve between my selections on the PST (Preview) and PGM (Program) Busses. Of course, I can also press the Auto take button to transition with a consistent and programmable duration, but having a physical T-bar is such a treat that I’m sure I use it more just because I have one than that I have a need to constantly adjust my transitions according to the feel of the programming that I am switching.


As for outputs, the V-1SDI has three video outputs total (Figure 3, below). This is one more than does the V-1HD, which as an HDMI Multiview and an HDMI Program output. On the V-1SDI, the Multiview remains an HDMI output, and the program and preview outputs are HD-SDI.

Figure 3. I/O on the V-1SDI. Click the image to see it at full size.

The outputs can be re-assigned in case you want an HD-SDI Multiview and an HDMI program output but what I really like about having a dedicated preview output, is that it can be used as an Aux bus if you need two different program outputs. Using the switcher in this mode is great for when you need to provide one feed for IMAG and a different one for a webcast or archive recording (Figure 4, below). The caveat in this application is that both outputs are then cut with straight-cuts only.

Figure 4. The V-1SDI sending multiple outputs. Click the image to see it at full size.

The final major difference between the two models is that the V-1HD retains some video DJ features that first gained Roland attention in this market with their legacy 2004 Standard Definition Roland/(Edirol) V-4, that the V-1SDI doesn’t sport. The new feature set includes a BPM (beat per minute) button and Transformer effects including negative, emboss, colorize, colorpass, posterize, silhouette, monocolor, findedge, and flip.

So why only a TKO and what would have resulted in me awarding the Roland V-1SDI with a knockout victory over it’s heavyweight competition? Simply put, the V-1SDI lacks some heavyweight features that I need in my varied video switch workflows. I often need more than 4 video inputs, I prefer XLR audio inputs, I don’t always want to give-up my ability to cross-dissolve on my program output when I use an aux output, and I prefer having multiple dedicated aux outputs.

Still, I can overlook most of the features, and the lack of internal recording or webcasting capabilities (especially at this price point) because most of these limitations can be solved by adding additional hardware to the workflow (like an external HD recorder, a soundboard, a webcast encoder, and even a second Roland video switcher to add additional video inputs if needed--see Figure 5, below).

Figure 5. The V-1SDI configured for live production with additional hardware. Click the image to see it at full size.

Most other video switchers require additional hardware to complete a workflow and cost way more than the Roland V-1SDI to begin with.

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