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The above features aren’t anything new and have been around since the fi rst vision mixers came out. There’s naturally been progression and improvements to vision mixers and we’ve seen the obvious transitions from analogue to digital, SD to HD, and now 4K (and even 8K!). But the last few years have seen some greater developments in the world of vision mixers. The two key defi ning aspects of the changing face of vision mixers are the new concepts of multi-use and multi-functionality, and the connectivity standards, i.e. moving from baseband video to fi bre and IP. One big change, and what has helped the progression of the concept of vision mixers being ’multi- use’, began when manufacturers started including built-in multi- viewers. This proved a huge benefi t to the compact vision mixers, transforming the operation of small studios and outside broadcasts. The introduction of internal video clip stores and integration with video servers has also been a big step forward in effi ciently streamlining workfl ows. For smaller studios – like shopping channels and in-house corporate studios – keeping head counts down is a key factor in their operating model. So ‘all-in-one’ vision mixers and multi-function vision mixers are the way forward. Ross’s range of vision mixers, combined with their Dashboard software are quite elegant, with integration with their other product ranges including their video routers, servers, graphics systems and robotic camera systems. With increasing inputs and outputs being squeezed into smaller frames, vision mixers are essentially video matrices these days. For smaller installations, the need for a separate video router may not be needed. The introduction of 4K production has highlighted the issues surrounding data and bandwidth. 4K and indeed 8K are forcing our hand to develop IP broadcast faster, as moving 4K video around isn’t as easy as HD video. In the world of vision mixers, quad link isn’t that practical. Some vision mixer manufacturers have introduced updates and modifi cations to their existing HD vision mixers to allow them to handle 4K, but it feels like a workaround. Manufacturers like Blackmagic Design have fi rmly adopted the single link standards of 6G and 12G, meaning their 4K ATEM vision mixers are both powerful and user friendly. The other options over SDI are either fi bre or IP. Wide-spread adoption of fi bre IO in vision mixers hasn’t taken off, but there are some manufacturers like Snell who are doing it well. But is IP the future – to help combat the 4K data conundrum – for vision mixers? The issue is that however central and integral the vision mixer is to any multi-camera production, it is essentially only one part of bigger chain – so development of any broadcast system equipment, be it vision mixers, or cameras, video routers and video servers, are tethered to each other. One device can’t change their standards and connectivity without the other – the whole production workfl ow has to be integrated. Sony has been quick to recognise this and are busy behind the scenes working on what they call their ‘IP Live Production’ solution. All the other big manufacturers like Snell, Grass Valley and Evertz are also developing new ranges of IP broadcast equipment. But it’s a slow burn… KITPLUS - THE TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 104 AUGUST 2015 | 59