Have Switcher, Will Travel

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, VIDEOFORCE is a company with modern ideas and a fresh outlook. We started in 1999 in Linköping, and in January, 2010, we opened the Stockholm office. It specializes in video for events; providing technical equipment such as cameras, flightpacks, LED displays, projectors, screens, video switcher and converters, plus personnel.

Large 3D events are a VIDEOFORCE specialty. In most cases our output drives the big screens, which VIDEOFORCE also supplies. Generally we must get the best, most competent and affordable equipment that fits our needs. In the case of video switchers, we are always on the move, so our chosen product needs to be reliable, powerful and able to fit into and operated in a small flightpack. It needs to be HD, but SD inputs could also be required. The video switcher control panel should have an easy-to-use and conventional layout, so freelancers can quickly learn it. The unit must also be capable of being expanded at a reasonable price.

We have found all this in our FOR-A HVS-350HS 1.5 ME and HVS-300HS 1ME video switchers supplied by Protel, FOR-A’s dealer in Sweden. Both switchers have a stable platform with high reliability.

Set-up on event locations is always very busy so we are glad that the switchers’ rack frame includes many built-in features beyond the traditional mixer equipment. The video inputs include switchable frame synchronizers and can accept SD and HD as well as computer signals (with optional cards). On the output, the 4-, 10-, or 16-split multi-viewers reduce the need for video monitors and the control panel is connected by a single coax.

As with any major new equipment purchase, we must be prepared and already be thinking about future requirements. And one ‘future’ has already become real: there is a considerable amount of pressure and demand for 3D production from our customers.

What we mainly see is that the demand for 3D at events and screenings continues to grow stronger. For example, on May 28, 2011, in Gothenburg, VIDEOFORCE and Viasat set a Guinness World Record for achieving the world’s largest 3D LED display. The screen measured 7.11 m (23 ft 3.92 in) diagonally and the display area is 6.192 m (20 ft 3.78 in) x 3.483 m (11 ft 5.13 in).

We used our FOR-A HVS-350 video switcher during this job. It fits very well into our workflow. It is a simple and robust switcher with the best features, and we can use it in our flightpacks. All told, we were able to buy a video switcher mixer with all the capabilities we wanted, including 3D, at a reasonable price.

On top of that, the built-in video input processing accepts asynchronous SD, HD and PC signals. Along with the multiviewer outputs, this means there is a lot less equipment on site. This is better for everyone, and saves more money. We also have more flexibility as we can easily site the control panel as far as 100 meters away from the main unit.

When it comes to the bottom line, we have been saving money in the purchase and operations of our FOR-A switcher, while being able to provide a better service to our customers.

Ulric Flood is VIDEOFORCE’s MD. He has a long and strong background in television equipment hire, events and operations and joined VIDEOFORCE in 2010. See www.videoforce.se