Vision Mixers/Switchers

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Vision Mixers (or Vision Switchers as they are known in North America) are the key component for video production. 

The below videos give a great insight to some of the terms used when referring to the functions of a vision mixer.

Production Switcher – Basic Concepts & Overview

TheTrauger – 25m 23s

Production Switcher (Part 2 – Advanced Features)

TheTrauger – 29m 57s

Behind the Scenes : The Broadcast

TheTrauger – 15m 23s

Simple split screen recording of a news broadcast behind the scenes at  Ocean City High School in the US. This is the same location where the above vision switcher tutorials were made so features many of the effects discussed in those videos.

Here’s a short video produced by BBC Academy that focuses on the operational role of being a vision mixer (i.e. the operator not the hardware!). This role is known as Technical Director in North America

How to be a vision mixer

BBC Academy: Production – 3m 29s

How to be a vision mixer

BBC Academy: Production – 3m 29s

And a bit of nostalgia to finish this article! Grass Valley has been a major name in broadcast video production for many years – this promotional video from 1979 highlights their GVG 300 production mixer (you may recognise it from it’s came as a control panel in Star Wars when a move of its T-bar resulted in the Death Start destroying a planet!).

GVG 300 Switcher Sales Tape – Circa 1979

BedfordTV – 9m 34s

This is a sales tape for the Grass Valley Group model 300 switcher. The 300 switcher was introduced in 1979 and was the industry standard at broadcast networks and local stations for the next decade. It is notable for introducing E-MEM (Effects Memory), a method of creating transitions and effects off-line, storing them in disk memory, and subsequently recalling the effects during a production. The GVG Mk-II DVE (Mark Two digital video effects) system was often integrated with the 300 switcher.

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