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Churchill College gives Roland mixer the nod

The Roland VR-50HD Multi Format AV Mixer has been chosen by Churchill College, Cambridge, UK, as the AV hub for its main lecture theatre.

The 300-seat theatre is used for academic lectures and college events as well as for commercial conferences and presentations. It required a front-end solution for lecture capture, live streaming and recording. AV Manager Tim Cooper selected the VR-50HD, which was supplied by Hemel Hempstead-based ProActive, on account of its all-in-one design and its ability to be operated by a single user.

The VR-50HD is used as a standalone hub to connect cameras, live stream to ‘virtual’ delegates and record in HD for the college archive, while simultaneously processing presentation content and displaying to a screen via a projector connected to the RGB output. The RGB input runs and scales PowerPoint presentations.

The ability of the VR-50HD to deal with a variety of analogue or digital input devices (such as cameras, computers, iPads) and the different formats they output without the need for auxiliary equipment was an important factor in the specification. Two Panasonic AGAC160 cameras are connected via HD-SDI, one camera is set to record a wide shot of the theatre whilst the other records a close up of the presenter.

The HD-SDI and HDMI output for HD recording equipment and USB 3.0 output allows connection to a computer to perform live streaming and recording. Students at the university can access live content via the UStream web-based platform or over the college network. Video can also be relayed simultaneously to other rooms on site. The recorded content needs to be high resolution video for the archive and this is achievable due to the HD quality of the VR-50HD. Audio is supplied by the in house PA system and the gate.

“We were looking for a HD vision mixer that could also do streaming and the VR-50HD fitted our specification perfectly,” commented Cooper. “Being able to stream directly from the VR-50HD has saved us money as we don’t need extra gear – the USB3.0 is super-fast and has worked beautifully. The composite inputs are also extremely useful as it means the VR-50HD is compatible with our older equipment such as cameras as well’

On the VR-50HD, users can assign a still image (which can be imported from a USB flash drive) to the ‘Video Input’ button and work with it in the same way as video. Recording is done directly to an Atomos Samurai Blade via HDMI.