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Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
May 2

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5/2/2008 6:50 AM  RssIcon

NAB2008 gave Crystal Vision its most successful show to date, with visitors flocking to Booth N1311 to see the company‘s new area of speciality - the Picturestore range of HD/SD products based on solid-state fast-writing DRAM and permanent Flash picture storage.


The Picturestore product that most people came to see in Las Vegas was Crystal Vision‘s sophisticated modular logo keyer, MultiLogo - which earns its popularity through a combination of size, graphics storage space and keying features. The variety of NAB applications for this space-saving 100mm x 266mm board included multi-channel broadcasters needing to brand their HD and SD stations, those with virtual studio applications and corporate church programming. MultiLogo provides three layers of keying from a variety of internal and external sources, including a generous 4GB multi-port non-volatile video store that can read six images and write two images all at the same time. It can be used either with graphics that have a separate key signal or with self-keyed graphics, with both additive and multiplicative keying available. Three layer keying allows three still or animated graphics to be independently brought up either from the video store or from external sources. The first external video input is normally dedicated to the main programme because of its relay bypass protection while the other three external feeds are completely flexible and configurable, and could typically be a back-up feed, a character generator for an emergency message and a key signal for that character generator. It is also possible to grab a logo from a live video feed. NAB visitors were able to try out Crystal Vision‘s special drag and drop software which auto-converts images of most common file formats to the format required by the logo keyer before transferring them quickly over 100MBit Ethernet directly from the graphics PC into the board. MultiLogo includes audio capability, runs the uCLinux operating system for sophisticated file handling and stability and features industry standard software protocols to help it to be used with automation systems. Look-ahead preview, finally, has the benefit of allowing sophisticated transitions.


Clip N Key caught the imagination of the booth visitors, with this low-cost clip and sting store being the most convenient way to add extra video sources to a mixer to enhance transitions (without tying up a server port), and NAB applications included playing stings for HD football coverage and video intros. Used by a live operator in conjunction with a video mixer, Clip N Key allows a special clip or sting with optional associated key signal and audio to be played repeatedly - for example, the same moving image each time a team scores a goal. Clip N Key can store 30 seconds of moving HD video (15 seconds if it includes a key signal) or six times that length in SD. A number of different clips can be stored, dependent on the total length of time used.


The affordable Playback instant replay device created interest on Booth N1311 for a diverse range of applications - from college football to replaying explosions. Playback features industry standard software protocols (including VDCP) to allow it to be controlled from any video mixer or third party software, with multiple boards either controlled together or independently. Playback will continuously record (and overwrite) until something of interest happens at which point the operator will press Stop. The last 30 seconds of recorded HD video (or 155 seconds of SD) is then available for replay, with flexible playback options available. Pressing Play jumps to the start of the recorded video and plays from there at normal speed, while the other available controls are Still (freezes playback at the current frame), Continue (plays at normal speed from the current frame), Jog (jumps a number of frames forwards or backwards and freezes there) and Vari Play (variable speed forward or reverse playback). When they have finished reviewing the footage, the operator presses Record again which overwrites the stored video. Recording the live output of a camera, Playback allows people to replay a shot from many different angles for the first time - simply by putting one on every camera.


Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK, Crystal Vision provides digital keyers and a full range of digital and analogue interface equipment including converters, decoders, encoders, aspect ratio converters and audio embedders to the professional broadcasting industry worldwide.

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