PTZOptics Cameras & Roland Video Switchers: Tutorial

Welcome to this tutorial on how to use Roland's video switchers with PTZOptics cameras. Big thanks to Broadfield Distributing Inc for lending us these units for testing.


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Today we tested out the compact and portable Roland V-1HD and V-1SDI four-channel video mixers with PTZOptics Pan, Tilt, and Zoom cameras. These Roland video mixers are ideal for live video production with their ability to mix multiple video sources, provide live multi-view video outputs and output the entire production at resolutions up to 1080p at 60 frames per second. These Roland video switcher can be used to cut, fade and apply effects to multiple video sources. The switcher offers a wide variety of ways to produce your production, including hands-on buttons, a T-Bar, and remote control from a tablet, phone or computer on your network. Today we will just be covering hands-on control as we set up our Roland video mixers with multiple PTZOptics cameras. Each PTZOptics camera will be connected to the video switchers via HDMI or SDI and also connected to the HC-JOY serial joystick controller for pan, tilt and zoom camera control.

The first step in setting up this switcher is to plug in the included power supply and power the unit on using the black power button next to the power cable input.

Each Roland video switcher has 4 inputs and 2 outputs, one of these outputs is designed to preview your shots and the other can be used to output your video production to a live streaming encoder such as OBS or a large screen display system. In this example, we will take the HDMI program output from the Roland V-1HD and connect it to our computer using an HDMI to USB capture card. In this way, we can use the free and open source OBS Studio software to live stream our content to websites such as YouTube or Facebook Live. Note: You can also install the PTZOptics Camera Control Plugin for OBS to control your cameras inside of OBS. Check out our video here to learn more about PTZ camera controls inside of OBS.

Note: The Roland V-1SDI features SDI program and preview outputs. So you may need an SDI to USB capture card to bring the video feed into a computer encoder.

Now that we have set up our video output, we can also set up our video preview to see a live multi-view screen of all of your cameras. The Roland V-1HD is Rolands HDMI Switcher. For this switcher, we will plugin HDMI inputs. If you are using the Roland V-1SDI you can connect your cameras via SDI and still have extra inputs for HDMI to be used for computers or other HDMI devices. SDI cabling is generally used for long cable runs to remote cameras. The locking SDI connectors ensure a secure connection preferred by most professionals. Luckily, PTZOptics 12X, 20X, and 30X SDI camera models all include both HDMI and SDI. Besides the cable type, setup is the same for both video switchers.

You can now begin adding your inputs. Today we will be using 2 PTZOptics cameras 12X and 20X SDI cameras for our inputs, however, there are 4 input slots if needed. The Roland V-1HD feature 4 HDMI inputs and the Roland V-1SDI features 3 SDI inputs and 1 HDMI input. PTZOptics cameras can output 16 different resolutions and frame rates which can be set with the yellow resolution dial on the back of the camera. We tested each of the resolutions for compatibility with the V-1SDI and V-1HD for compatibility.

Note: If you are are using the V-1HD there is a switch on the back panel to set the switcher up for either 1080p, 1080i, or 720p. Make sure to set this switch to the resolution type you are going to be using before setup.

Note: The Roland V-1SDI supports both Level A and Level B SDI inputs. PTZOptics cameras out SDI Level A. Therefore you should navigate to the to Roland V-1SDI menu by holding down the Menu Button for 2 seconds. You can then use the DSK and Auto buttons to navigate through the menu and use the T-Bar to switch the settings. You may also want to change your frame rate settings in this area as well. After making any settings changes you will need to restart your switcher.

After testing all the available resolutions and frame rates for the PTZOptics cameras and Roland V-1HD and V-1SDI we have found that following resolutions are compatible. You can reference these charts on our included blog post linked below.

Once your inputs are in place we use an HC-JOY joystick controller to set up our shots. PTZOptics cameras can store hundreds of camera presets which can be recalled with a single button on a joystick controller or inside software like Wirecast, OBS, or vMix. These PTZ presets can be set up to view locations on a stage for performers and then quickly re-positioned to other locations providing your team with multiple camera angles using a single joystick operator. You can then use the various switching functions on the V-1HD or V-1SDI to switch between cameras and also add video effects.

You will notice 8 square white silicone buttons in the center of these video switchers. These buttons can be thought of as our input matrix. The bottom 4 buttons are used to select the input you would like to switch to next, while the top 4 switch inputs immediately. Therefore the bottom buttons queue up your preview screen and the top for buttons control the program output.

When an input is selected it will turn Green, this means the input is in preview. Red means the input is live.

There are many ways to cut between video inputs with these Roland switchers. There is also a built-in T-Bar used to fade in-between your preview and program inputs. Remember that fade transitions are usually reserved for artistic shots popular for introductions and endings of a production. But the cut function is generally the workhorse of most live productions. The 2 rectangular silicone cut buttons on the far right-hand side of the device will like be your go to buttons. You will notice multiple cut transition option next to the T-Bar. The rectangular one push cut buttons will immediately cut to whatever input is selected in preview.

The T-Bar slider can be customized in the Roland settings to optimize your video production. There are also effects knobs and toggle buttons to the left of the input matrix used for adjusting effects.

The knob and buttons to the far left of the Roland video mixer control output fade as well as options like freeze and BPM sync.

As you can see these affordable and portable video mixers are a great way to create powerful video production on a budget, especially when paired with a couple of PTZOptics cameras capable of capturing multiple PTZ positions for your next event.

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