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Tutorial: Mixing, Switching, and Streaming Live with the Roland VR-3EX All-in-One A/V Mixer

In this tutorial we'll explore the robust audio and video mixing, switching, and live-delivery feature set of Roland's versatile next-generation 4-input VR-3EX, HDMI-capable A/V mixer.

Video Console Features

Now let’s have a look at the video side of this A/V console. The touchscreen monitor on the Roland VR-3EX can be set up as a quad-view input monitor (Figure 4, below), as well as a program monitor that shows only the program output, or an input-and-output monitor that shows the 4 video inputs as well as the output in the center.

Figure 4. The touchscreen monitor in INPUT mode displaying all four video inputs and audio level meters for all inputs and outputs.

To select between the inputs, you can push the 4 buttons at the bottom. You can also use the touchscreen at the top. In addition to the 4 channels that are currently set up for input, if we go into the IN+OUT setup menu (Figure 5, below), we can route additional inputs that are located on the back of the unit, but may not be utilized right now, into the channel path.

Figure 5. The IN/OUT SETUP menu controls input routing, extending the VR-3EX into a 9-input video switcher with 5 assignable outputs.

The HDMI preview output can be programmed to be either a preview output or an additional send of the program (Figure 6, below). 

Figure 6. The touchscreen monitor set to IN+OUT mode showing the program output stacked on all four inputs.

The RCA output can either be a program output or an AUX send of channel 2. The program output on the VGA and HDMI are always going to be the program output, but the USB output can either be the program output or an AUX send of channel 4. Having AUX sends is really important when you want to have more than one program output. A lot of times you have to send a feed to a projector, which can be the VGA output, and the webcast can be a different feed than the program output, for times when you might want to send a slightly different signal to a different audience, and the Roland VR-3EX allows you to do that (Figure 7, below).

Figure 7. The back of the Roland VR-3EX console with a variety of audio and video inputs and outputs, including HDMI.

Wipes and Mixes

There are 3 different mixes you can select from, and 99 different wipes. To access the different wipes and mixes, you go to the Transitions Setup menu (Figure 8, below), choose Wipes, and you can toggle between them. The previews will appear in the monitor in black and white.

Figure 8. You can choose between 99 different wipe effects and 3 mix effects on the touchscreen monitor by selecting the TRANSITION SETUP menu.  The duration of the effect can be adjusted by the transition duration dial.

The same goes for the mix—you can choose among 3 different options as well. To execute them, simply select a different input, and you can see the effect as the VR-3EX switches from one input to another.

Figure 9. There are three different transition options and three different composition options available at the touch of a button. Video inputs can be selected or composited by pressing one of the video select buttons.

Output Controls

The VR-3EX has three different output controls that you’re going to want to know about. The first is the Freeze button that allows you to hold your current frame. The second is a fade to black or a fade to white dial.

Composition Options

There are 3 different Composition options. The first is picture-in-picture. When I click the Picture-in-Picture button, the VR-3EX prompts me to select the input source of the picture-in-picture (PiP). By default, the PiP appears in the bottom-right corner. You can also change that to a split-screen, or choose a quad view that allows you to show all of your inputs at once.

Keying

My input in the bottom-right corner is my laptop input that I’ve been saving for the final demonstration, which is keying. If I want to add a title onto this screen, I hit the Key button. I’ve already got my key set up on the Luma side, for keying out the black background behind my white text.

I can also key green or blue using the chroma key as well as black or white using the luma key. The key levels are adjustable using the Key Level knob to refine the edges.

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