Saville Audio Visual choose Roland VR-5’s for webcasting and moreSaville Audio Visual, the UK's largest specialist supplier of audio visual, multimedia and videoconferencing technology, have recently taken delivery of two Roland VR-5 AV Mixer & Recorders, supplied by Cheshire based Visual Impact Northern Ltd. Gareth Lloyd Digital Events Services manager from Saville had been fortunate to see the VR-5 in action at Broadcast Video Expo in 2011 and had recognised that the feature set would provide a solution not only for their own webcasting requirement, but also for one of the branches of Saville who needed a compact unit for live action camera relay work at smaller conferences.
The webcast VR-5 is being used primarily to feed the Mediasite webcasting platform from Sonic Foundry but Gareth explained that they also use the USB out to PC function of the mixer regularly. Connecting a PC to the RGB connector of the VR-5 for various applications such as PowerPoint presentations, slide shows and movie playback enables them to be recorded directly to the VR-5.
‘For our purposes, the VR-5 has just the right number of inputs – 3 in total being used for cameras – but we can also bring in the PC input and put that into a video feed. This is great because we work with a lot of Powerpoint so we can capture the Powerpoint separately from the webcasting platform. Usually the Powerpoints have video in them so now we can bring the video through the mixer.’
The VR-5’s “all-in-one” solution greatly simplifies production, recording and streaming of any live event as the design incorporates a video switcher, audio mixer, video playback, recorder, preview monitors and output for web streaming all in a single unit. As a USB Video/Audio class device, web streaming is effortless by simply connecting to a computer running a live streaming service such as USTREAM as well as any video call service such as Skype and iChat. The reduction in hardware equipment, setup time and connection complexity makes the VR-5 a popular solution for companies such as Saville.
‘The compact size and the fact that you don’t need any extra hardware is also attractive making it easily portable , ideal when Saville are undertaking a lot of international work which requires getting on a plane,” explained Gareth. The two outputs are also just right as we don’t need any extra distribution amplifiers. With the audio input, we have no need for a separate mixer to get the audio and send it to the recorders and we have enough bass and treble within the mixer to sort out the feed from the in house audio. The built in touchscreens are great because no external monitors are needed’
The built-in recorder can record the final output of the VR-5 to SD memory card and the VR-5 can also playback video, still images and audio files from an SD card. The record to SD memory has also come in extremely useful right from the start for Saville. As there is always a chance of a problem with the webcast, the fact that the whole thing can be recorded at high quality to disk means that there is always a back up. The webcast video mixed via the VR-5 is usually highly compressed video which doesn’t lend itself to all applications, so the ability to simultaneoulsy record in high bit rate MPEG-4 format on the SD card enables easy re-purposing of the recorded video. In fact the SD card came in very useful when a presenter could not get a video in her presentation to work from her laptop. “We were able to save the day by recording to the SD card and playing the video from the vision mixer right on cue!” explained Gareth.