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Review: Roland V-60HD Multi-Format HD Video Switcher

After testing Roland's new multi-format A/V switcher, the V-60HD, on three live events, I'll be switching over to the V-60HD as my main video switcher for live event production.

Video I/O

The V-60HD has four SDI video inputs and two HDMI video inputs. Both HDMI inputs have built-in scalers that can drive two computer inputs from laptops, desktops, or devices. Of course, you can use the HDMI inputs for cameras, game consoles, and more. The switcher has two SDI outputs, two HDMI outputs, and a dedicated HDMI multi-view output (Figure 5, below). Each of the outputs (except the dedicated HDMI multi-view) can be set to one of three feeds: PGM, PVW, and AUX.

Figure 5. Video I/O on the rear panel of the V-60HD

The switcher console has switch buttons for each SDI (#1-4) and HDMI input (#5-6), as well as two channels (#7 and #8) dedicated to still images (Figure 6, below). You can freeze frames from any input to be used in either channel 7 or 8. You can also load still images from a USB storage drive.

Figure 6. Dedicated video channel selectors

Above each PGM/A channel selector is an AUX/MEMORY button that enables you to select a video input for the AUX feed (if Mode selector is set to AUX) or store the settings into one of the available memory banks (if Mode selector is set to MEMORY). The AUX assignment allows you to push a secondary video signal from one of the SDI and/or HDMI outputs. For example, you might only want to show PowerPoint slides carried on an HDMI channel to the AUX feed going to a projector, but switch between PowerPoint slides and the camera feed of the speaker for a PGM feed used for a webcast.

Composition and Transition Features

The V-60HD can store two different PiP locations that can be directly enabled by buttons on the console. You can also enable a split view that divides the PGM video into two side-by-side video inputs. By default, the V-60HD center-crops the selected feeds.

The console also has two knobs to control the vertical and horizontal position of each PiP, next to the composition buttons (Figure 7, below). If you’re using the split view, these knobs can also control how the source video feeds are cropped and positioned.

Figure 7. Composition controls

The HDMI MultiView display allows you to set the PiP position in the PVW view before pushing it to the PGM feed.

To set the size of the PiP video window, you use the console’s Composition menu settings to choose either 1/4, 1/3, or 1/2 sizes. The PiP menu settings also enable you to set a border color, thickness, and shape (square, circle, heart, diamond), as well as aspect ratio.

For transitions, the V-60HD has dedicated Mix, Wipe 1, and Wipe 2 buttons on the console. You can program the type of mix and wipes used by these button in the menu settings. The duration of transitions can also be directly controlled with the Time knob next to the transition buttons (Figure 8, below).

Figure 8. Transition controls

The Cut and Auto buttons to the right of the PGM/A and PST/B buttons, and the fader control bar, are used to initiate transitions. Cut, as the name implies, uses a hard cut between PGM/A and PST/B, while the Auto button will use the transition selected in the Mix, Wipe 1, Wipe 2 buttons and the value of the Time knob to smoothly transition between the two video feeds. The fader bar uses the transition selected in Mix, Wipe 1, or Wipe. The Time value is ignored as you’re in direct control of the transition duration with the movement of the fader bar.

And More…

It’s beyond the scope of this review to discuss every feature of the V60-HD, but it’s worth more than a mention that the Downstream Keyer (DSK) works very well, especially compared to the V-1SDI. I was able to cleanly position lower-third titles output by Telestream Wirecast with the V-60HD. While many of the DSK setup values are specified in the menu settings, you can control the level and gain of the applied chroma key using knobs in the DSK area of the console.

You can also store settings in memory presets, enabling you to switch settings across multiple areas of the console very quickly for customizations unique to particular venues.

If you think the V-60HD is a good fit for your live video switching needs, I highly recommend going to the proav.roland.com website and reviewing the owner’s manual and reference guide for the V-60HD to learn more about each feature.

Final Thoughts

I’ve been wholly satisfied with the new Roland V-60HD switcher. It’s lived up to nearly every wish-list item I had while working with the V-1SD1. I fully expect that this new switcher will be my primary video switcher for webcast work.

If I could have one feature added to the current console layout, I’d ask for an array of mute buttons below each audio input knob and below each video input control in the PGM/PST area of the console. Muting is available in the menu settings, but it takes time to access each mute setting for the channel(s) you want to silence. Based on the Roland web site’s image of the forthcoming V-60HD RCS desktop application, channel muting is indeed going to be available as a direct onscreen control.

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The new, extremely compact Roland V-02HD can be used to mix multiple sources for live event streaming and/or to output audio/video to in-house projection systems.