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Tutorial: Producing Live-Streamed Events with the Roland V-02HD MK II

In this article, I'll detail how to plan, configure, and produce a live event using Roland's two-input HDMI mixer, the V-O2HD MK II. I'll cover the high-level planning and execution issues generically, but show configuration options using the V-02HD.

There’s a first time for everything, and occasionally a useful thing for your first time. If you’re about to produce your first live event with a video mixer, this article is your useful thing. I’ll detail how to plan, configure, and produce a live event using Roland’s two-input HDMI mixer, the V-O2HD MK II. I’ll cover the high-level planning and execution issues generically, but show configuration options using the V-02HD. So long as you’re using a similar entry-level system, you’ll find the discussion useful.

Project Description

My project is a simple two-input tutorial that’s diagramed out in Figure 1 (below). In this case, I’ve got a presentation coming in from a notebook and a talking head coming from a camcorder, both via HDMI. I’ll use the V-02HD to mix the two into a picture-in-picture presentation which I’ll send to a second computer running Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) which will stream the video to YouTube Live and store an archival copy.

Figure 1. Here’s a simple diagram showing the connections and signal flow.

In terms of planning, here are the questions that I’m answering before I take any gear out of the case.

  1. What’s the video flow? As described, in this case, it’s PowerPoint coming in from a notebook and talking-head video from a camcorder presented in a picture-in-picture. This type of workflow is really simple now that many notebooks have HDMI outputs. If yours doesn’t, you’ll either need a mixer that supports the output or some kind of converter dongle.

  2. What’s the audio flow? This will be different for all project types and equipment. For example, the V-02HD can accept audio input from the two HDMI inputs plus two 3.5mm connectors. For this project, I want to use an XLR microphone, which my camcorder does support and the V-02HD doesn’t. So, the simplest workflow is to connect the mic to the camcorder, input the audio with the HDMI camera input, and mute all other inputs.

    Of course, this is a one-person shoot. If you have two speakers you might route their respective audio through each camera, or use a single audio mixer with 3.5 mm output. With two or more audio sources you also have to determine whether all sources will remain live at all times or if the audio will “follow” the video, so the audio from input 1 is only live when input 1 is live. More on this below.

  3. What’s the project resolution? This is the resolution set in the video mixer for the project. Note that you can always scale smaller for streaming, so you can produce at 1080p, send a 1080p output to your encoding workstation, which can stream at 720p and archive at 1080p. Most inexpensive mixers like the V-02HD are 1080p only, so if you have 4K aspirations you’ll need a different mixer.

  4. What monitors do I connect to the mixer? Again, this is mixer- and project-dependent. Many inexpensive mixers offer a “multi-view” monitor that displays all inputs plus the preview and program (output) feeds. The V-02HD doesn’t offer this but has preview and program outputs, the former to configure your inputs and the latter for local display or streaming/capture via an HDMI recorder. For this project, I’ve attached an HDMI monitor to the preview output to configure the project. I’ll use the output feed in OBS to monitor the output.

  5. How do I stream? The V-02HD can’t connect to a streaming service directly and offers two alternatives. The first, shown in Figure 1 [LINK], is to output a USB feed that you input into a computer to stream via a program like OBS. Alternatively, you could send the program HDMI output to a simple H.264/HEVC encoder with an HDMI input port. Some mixers in this class can stream directly; if so, you probably would use that function.

  6. How do I record the event? Most producers like to archive a copy of the presentation for later editing and uploading for on-demand viewing. The V-O2HD MK II can’t record directly, so you have multiple options. One is to connect the HDMI output port to an HDMI recorder like the Atomos Ninja V, which costs around $650 at B&H. The other alternative is to record the USB signal on your streaming workstation, which is what I’m doing.

  7. What about graphics and overlays? Most sub-$1,000 video mixers have very limited and inflexible graphic overlay capabilities. For example, the V-02HD can capture a single image at a time and deploy that over your video. If you’ll be streaming via OBS or another program like Wirecast or Vmix, you can add titles there, but that’s tough to do if you’re both the producer and the talent.

Once you have answered these questions you can start setup and configuration.

Connecting and Configuring the Inputs 

Now that we have a plan let’s start connecting and configuring beginning with the video. As shown in Figure 2 (below), the back of the V-02HD has most of the inputs; the 3.5” audio inputs and headphone jack are on the right side. Note that the Scaler designation atop the inputs and outputs means that the input ports can scale the video on the way in to match the selected project resolution and on the way out to match the resolution of the output device.

Figure 2. Most video I/O is on the back of the V-02HD.

To test this on the V-02HD, I set the resolution of my notebook to 1366x768 and connected the HDMI output to input 2. The V-02HD automatically scaled the incoming signal to the 1080p project resolution with no visible artifacts. So, if you’re working with a device that can’t output perfect 1080p resolution, the V-02HD should handle it.

While we’re looking at the back of the V-02HD, note the CTL/EXP port, which allows you to connect a footswitch for switching between the video inputs. You also see the USB 3.0 connector that I’ll connect to a computer for streaming and recording.

In most instances, you’ll set exposure on the camera itself. But, if you’re working with a consumer camcorder with poor exposure controls, or need to adjust the feed coming in from the notebook, the V-2HD offers brightness, contrast, saturation, and red/green/blue adjustments for both video inputs. You access these from the setup menu shown on the upper right in Figure 3 (below).

Figure 3. Here’s where you drive the V-02HD. 

Audio for this project is simple; I’ve connected an XLR microphone to the camcorder and am inputting that audio with the HDMI input. One very useful V-02HD feature is the ability to add audio compression to an input or output, which you also access via the Setup controls. Audio compression makes my voice clearer and more robust, improving comprehension, particularly when recording late in the day.

Other audio filters that I didn’t try include a high-pass filter, noise gate, de-esser, equalizer, voice changer, and reverb. You can also modify the timing of the audio which might be useful to help maintain audio/video sync in some production scenarios.

Like most mixers, the V-02HD offers “follow” controls that let you switch audio to match the incoming camera feed. You can even configure the 3.5 mm inputs to follow HDMI input 1 or 2. This might prove useful in some instances, but for most productions, you probably don’t want to switch off the audio from one camera when viewing the other.

In terms of monitoring audio, check out the bottom right of the preview monitor shown in Figure 4 (below), which shows all the live audio inputs (for my project only HDMI input 1) and the output. It’s always good to have gauges so you know exactly what’s going on.

Figure 4. The V-02HD’s preview monitor shows the mixer’s highly configurable picture-in-picture controls.

Configuring the Picture-in-Picture

Figure 4 is a picture of the preview monitor attached to the V-02HD and shows the mixer’s picture-in-picture controls which are highly customizable and easy to use. Specifically, where many entry-level mixers limit your configuration options to a handful of position presets, like top, middle, and bottom right, the V-02HD lets you precisely configure size and positioning and crop the incoming video which I’ve done to take the 16:9 image to closer to 4:3.

After configuring the effect, you take the picture-in-picture effect live by taking input 2 (from the notebook) live and then clicking the Effects button on the upper left of the V-02 three times to PinP. This previews the effect in the monitor which you take live using the t-bar controls on the mixer or the foot pedal.

As with audio, the V-02HD offers a number of video filters that you might find interesting, including part mosaic, background mosaic, and full mosaic, as well as wave, RGB replace, colorpass, negative, colorize, posterize, silhouette, emboss, find edges, monocolor, hue offset, saturation offset, and value offset.