Need inexpensive digital Video/Audio Mixer

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    • #72326
      AvatarActingCoach
      Participant

      Greetings,

       

      I run a Film/TV acting training facility and I’m looking for some advice.

       

      I currently have 3 older camcorders mounted on rolling tripods for a 3 camera set. The 3 video feeds are all plugged into a Videonics MX-1 Video Mixer, which we use to live switch while recording onto a VHS tape deck. Audio is handled thru an overhead mic or boom, and mixed in. When we are done recording, we do playbacks and critiques, showing the scenes on a ceiling mounted electric screen that comes down. The system has worked well for us, but it’s definitely time to update!

       

      1. Any recommendations for a new, inexpensive Video /audio mixer? A standard def or HD mixer would work. It can certainly be used and a few years old.

       

      On ebay, I saw a Focus Enhancements MX-4 and a Sony BKDS-2010 Digital Video Switcher Mixer board. Both of these were under $300. Would either of these work?

       

      2. Would a standard def mixer accept input from consumer HD camcorders? Costco has JVC HD camcorders with a flip out viewer for $99 each. I would need 3.

       

      3. What do you suggest we record the digital content onto? A DVR? PC? Notebook?

       

      4. What about a software interface? Would we need additional software for the video mixer?

       

      Any input would be greatly appreciated… Thanks!

       

    • #209686
      AvatarJKnight
      Member

      What are you doing that requires that kind of setup, and is it live and through what services?

       

      -Jknight

      video production syracuse ny

    • #209696
      AvatarActingCoach
      Participant

      Thanks for your response Joshua. I train actors that go on to work in film and TV – mainly in Los Angeles. The 3 camera setup is for 1 master and 2 close-ups. We switch live between cameras while shooting the scenework. Then we do playbacks and critiques. This is the main purpose. With a digital setup, we may also help more with actor film reels or uploading an audition for a casting. Hope that answers your question! 

    • #209697
      AvatarFX1shooter
      Member

      inexpensive?

       

      what is your budget??

    • #209698
      AvatarActingCoach
      Participant

      I don’t have a set budget in mind, as I’m not sure how many pieces I will need to buy. But something on the lower end, as the result is not for broadcast and does not need the highest production value.

       

      New or even used HD video switcher/mixers appear to be pretty expensive, so these are probably out. So maybe going used standard def would work. It doesn’t have to be HD for our purposes.

       

      Also need to figure out if it is best to get a used video switcher/mixer and handle the audio separately, or look for an audio/video mixer that handles the audio input as well. Thanks!

    • #301540
      AvatarActingCoach
      Participant

      I don’t have a set budget in mind, as I’m not sure how many pieces I will need to buy. But something on the lower end, as the result is not for broadcast and does not need the highest production value.

       

      New or even used HD video switcher/mixers appear to be pretty expensive, so these are probably out. So maybe going used standard def would work. It doesn’t have to be HD for our purposes.

       

      Also need to figure out if it is best to get a used video switcher/mixer and handle the audio separately, or look for an audio/video mixer that handles the audio input as well. Thanks!

    • #209703
      AvatarFX1shooter
      Member

      Very hard for us to recommend without a $ figure. Your best bet is to look on ebay to see if any thing caches your eye…

       

      if you don't have many mics to handle i would go with a video mixer that handles audio also….

       

      My set up is an 8 input video switcher and a 16 input soundboard… All ourputs to a degital recorder

       

      Regards

      Robert

       

       

    • #209710
      AvatarActingCoach
      Participant

      Let's say a budget of ideally under $1,000. I was looking on ebay at used Focus Enhancements MX-4, one of the Panasonics, or a used 4-input Roland. Would you recommend any of these for my purposes? Or anything else you would recommend? Thanks, Gregg

       

    • #209712
      AvatarFX1shooter
      Member

      I still have my Rolland V4 and use it depending on the events I have going. its a workhorse as far as I'm concerned.

       

      I use it during video conferences I hold, together with my PTZ (Pan Tilt and Zoom) cameras. I program the cameras (4) movement on my controller & mix accordingly.

       

      regards, 

      Robert

    • #209724
      AvatarActingCoach
      Participant

      Thanks Robert. So would you recommend a Roland over say the MX-4 or one of the Panasonics?

       

      I see a new Roland VR-3 going for about $1,500. Then I see used Edirol Roland V-4s going for under $1,000. Any particular Roland model you would recommend for my purposes?

       

      Thanks,

      Gregg

    • #209732
      AvatarFX1shooter
      Member

      Gregg,

       

      I have not used the other models (MX-4 or any Panasonic) so I can't comment on those…

       

      looking at video reviews for the vr-3 it seems like an interesting unit… for the price difference between v-4 and vr-3, I would probably go with the vr-3 . it all depends on the overall application…

       

      keep in mind that it may be difficult for one operator to handle the Audio and the video switching…

       

      if your application is to set the Audio and leave it, then yes I think its a valid and interesting product.

       

      my personnal preference is to be able to use the "broom" to manually switch video inputs. that way it enables me to vary the speed of the switch based on the mood of the event…

       

      As a guy that does live events my preferred solution would be the Tricaster but I don't have that kind of budget yet…

       

      Regards

       

      Robert

    • #209742
      Avatarslewisma
      Participant

      I tried the free trial of Telestream's Wirecast not too long ago and was intrigued by what it offered. It is a software solution that requires an appropriate interface card or box (Thunderbolt connected unit, for example) for the cameras (HDMI or SDI connections). It is far less expensive than a Tricaster but more than some of the low-end / used ideas discussed here so far. I use a Tricaster in the studio and an older Roland for remotes when I work with the local cable access station. My own work is all edited after the fact so I just record on-camera and then multicam edit back in my personal studio but I've been thinking of adding a live streaming and or post-event fast turnaround video service. Even though I don't do weddings, the best way to expain what I mean is to shoot a wedding multi-cam and run it like a live broadcast so you have a rough cut edit to show during the reception. 

      Most of the live stream types of setups also record to disk. If I needed to update a setup like is described in this thread I'd look at a small mixer for audio, 3 prosumer or consumer camcorders that have at least HDMI live outputs (PTZ remote controlled cameras would be even better but more $$) and a setup like the second one listed in the Wirecast example setups: http://www.telestream.net/wirecast/resources.htm#setups

      You can upgrade over time to better cameras, a higher-end input card / box, remote controlled cameras, etc. without learning a new system. 

      Note that I've only played with the trial version, I have not used this in a must-get-it-right production. I like what it appears to do but I can't vouch for performance, reliability and usability in a real production. With titles, lots of layers of compositing, chroma key, virtual sets, watermarking, transitions, computer input (ie. slides or recorded video) and more it sounds like a good value. It will require a fast computer and good interface gear (essentially you're building a Roland or Tricaster instead of buying one). 

    • #209748
      Avatarvcrdoctor9
      Participant

      Try the Panasonic switchers. They offer 3 video inputs and some limited audio. The best feature is that the video inputs are "gen-locked", meaning that you can switch, fade and wipe while not losing video sync. The video will be smooth. And it will allow you to mix a vcr with cameras or another vcr with no loss of sync.  I've seen them on E-bay. The MX-10 or 12 are old but work well and should cost well under your budget. They will do S-video and have some special effect too. It sounds like it's a great fit for your set up and needs.

    • #209758
      AvatarActingCoach
      Participant

      Robert – Thanks for the Roland input. I agree the VR-3 is an interesting unit. I like the LCD preview monitor and USB Output for Web Streaming capability. You never know when this may come in handy! I am now also looking at the Roland V-4EX video mixer, as this offers HDMI in/out, plus the USB web streaming and built-in preview monitor.

       

      Slewisma – Thanks for the Telestream's Wirecast info. I was not at all familiar with this software solution. The second one listed in the Wirecast examples does look like it would fit the bill. I will look into the trial version. If I don’t get a combo AV mixer, I will definitely be looking for a small mixer for audio. The 3 prosumer or consumer camcorders with HDMI outputs sounds good. It would be nice, but I don’t think I need the PTZ, as the cameras are mounted on dollies and manned by 3 of the students.

       

      Vcrdoctor9 – thanks for the Panasonic switcher suggestion. I agree the “gen-locked" feature is a good one and definitely an important aspect when deciding on a solution.

       

      Cheers,

       

      Gregg

    • #209782
      AvatarProPhotog1
      Participant

      Personally I would say your best bet would be solutions offered by Black Magic Design. With capabilities to live stream, record and switch, through a very robust software that is free, I dont think there is a better solution that would offer as much versatiltiy and portability. And within your budget! If you are Thuderbolt ready, even better. Check out BMD's website before you amke any decision. Good Luck!

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