As a high school digital media instructor, I am constantly looking for ways to create a network style production on a tiny budget.
A few of the considerations that go into the purchase of a piece of equipment are functionality, portability, value, and of course, cost. The Roland Corporation has created a switcher that meets all of those expectations and more. The recently released, V-1HD comes in at under $1000, but has many features found on much more expensive units and software systems.
A quick summary from the Roland website states, “The V-1HD makes it easy to connect and switch video cameras, smart phones, computers, tablets, Blu-ray players and other HDMI video sources with a simple push of a button or slide of the T-Fader. It supports professional compositing effects such as picture-in-picture and keying allowing for graphic insets, titling or even “green screen” ideal for news broadcast or corporate training productions.”
When we received the unit, we were first surprised by its tiny size. We took it out of the box and had it up and running in under 10 minutes. I glanced through the manual, but was more curious to see how fast a student could sit down and figure it out. We plugged in a few cameras and hooked up the multi-view output to a large 80” television. The student director jumped into the menus and started setting up the switcher to work best for our “show”. We could see the cameras and they all synced instantly. The student was fully functional and able to direct the show in just a few minutes.
The 4 HDMI inputs on the V-1HD Switcher support resolutions up to Full HD 1080p. This includes tablets, smart phones, and just about any other device that has an HDMI output. While the interface is easy to use, the built in menus are full of customizable settings, effects, and even a 12 channel audio mixer. Roland has also developed a software control that works on Mac, PC and iPad. This software works very similar to other programs already on the market and is easy to use.
We put the switcher through the ultimate high school student test at the Tennessee State SkillsUSA Broadcast News Competition. Six groups of students were required to create a 3 camera, 3 minute newscast. I gave each group a quick 60 second overview of the switcher and they picked it up and ran with it. The students from schools across the state had no problem figuring out the switcher and even commented on the lack of learning curve to use the equipment. It allowed them to focus more on content and less on equipment.
During my 20+ years of work in the broadcast industry, I haven’t seen a more functional and flexible switcher for the price. The Roland V-1HD is a great entry level switcher for schools ready to use a hard surface control, but it also has the capabilities to function in a complex and fast paced advanced school control room. You won’t find a more portable or better value professional level switcher on the market today.
For more information on the Roland V-1 visit: http://proav.roland.com/promos/v-1hd/