A Look at the Datavideo SE-2000 and HS-2000 Video Switchers/Mixers

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Mixing video is an art. Cutting at exactly the right time to maximize impact, pacing the length of each shot, choosing the best footage or angles to show-- it's about finding the right cadence and rhythm for the audio and visuals.

Finding the right rhythm when mixing a live performance becomes even more critical, because you don't get any second chances.

There's no time for second-guessing yourself. You make your choices, and they're instantly out there for the world to judge.Much like a musician needs the right instruments to play at his best, if you're going to be mixing video, you're going to want to have the right tools at your disposal.

A good video mixer will allow you to switch seamlessly between multiple HD sources, apply transitions and other effects in real time, and have a bank of logos and titles that can be called up at a moment's notice.

Today, we'll be taking a look at two portable 5-channel 1080i/720p video and audio mixers from Datavideo; The SE-2000 HD Digital Video Switcher and the HS-2000 HD Mobile Studio.

SE-2000 HD Digital Video Switcher

Designed for the HD production environment, the SE-2000 is a rugged, portable switcher for mixing high-definition video as well as audio. It can mix and blend from up to 5 video sources, and it has 4 HD-SDI and 1 DVI-D inputs (or alternatively, 3 HD-SDI and 2 DVI-D inputs), and it can output full HD, HD-SDI, and HD-YUV through PGM outputs, and DVI-D through PVW outputs.

The four HD-SDI sources can be cameras or tape decks with video footage. The DVI inputs can be used to connect the system to a computer for advanced titling, additional logos (or to edit the logos stored in the system memory) and more complex keying. It's compatible with Microsoft PowerPoint for creating key-able titles on the fly.

The SE-2000 gives you a lot of control over how transitions are handled. It has 13 transition effects including 12 different wipes (really, it's 6 wipes, and then those same 6 wipes in reverse) and a mix/fade option. It has a T-Bar to allow you to manually control the speed of the transition, or if you prefer a more automated approach, there are 5 transition speeds that you can use for each of the available transitions. And switching between sources is seamless, thanks to the SE-2000's built in TBC and frame synchronizer that synchs all the inputs without requiring you to externally genlock the cameras.

The system also allows you to store up to 14 logos that can be keyed into your footage instantly. And if you are using a computer attached via DVI, you can have access to many more logos and bumpers.

For monitoring, you can attach a 19" to 24" LCD monitor with a DVI-D cable. When you plug in the monitor, you see 8 video windows. A preview window, where you can preview the footage you wish to transition to, a program window, which shows the footage that is currently being output as your main source, the five source videos, and a picture in picture window, where you can select one of your five sources to be PIP (you have full control over the placement and size of the PIP box).

The system also has Luma settings to easily key out whatever greyscale luma value you choose. This is great to key out black backgrounds in logos and titles so that they seem to hover over your footage.

The SE-2000 has 4 XLR Balanced Audio Input Channels with 48v phantom power and allows you to mix all the audio channels seamlessly with the video. It also has 2 XLR audio outputs and line audio input.

If you are looking to upgrade your current mixing setup to be compatible with HD video sources, or are looking for a relatively inexpensive HD video switcher, you can't go wrong taking a look at the SE-2000.

HS-2000 Mobile Studio.

If you're looking for more of an all-in-one package, you might want to take a look at the HS-2000 Hand Carried Mobile Studio. Great for bringing your video mixing on the road, this rugged studio folds in half to become its own convenient carrying case. It's a quick and easy pack and unpack.

The main interface of the HS-2000 is very similar to the SE-2000 and it has a lot of the same features the SE does: 10 bit 1080i or 720p video, 4 HD-SDI and 1 DVI input (or 3 HD-SDI and 2 DVIs), 2 HD-SDI and 1 HD-YUV outputs, built in digital clock, Lumakey for text overlay, 4 XLR audio inputs and line audio input.

But then, the HS-2000 has so much more. Designed specifically to allow you to control all aspects of the production, the HS-2000 is really everything you need in a portable studio. It has a built in 17 inch rugged LED backlit multi-image video monitor to see all your sources simultaneously. No need for external monitors here. It has a built in power distribution center, so instead of having a bunch of separate power supplies for all your integrated equipment, everything can be run through the HS-2000 from a single power socket.

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What's really cool about the HS-2000 is that it also comes with a built in 5-way intercom system and 5 cameraman belt packs, so you can communicate with all five sources with ease. You can direct all five cameras from behind the mixer. Using the intercom, you can choose to talk to just one cameraman, or multiple cameramen just by pushing buttons on the console. And these beltpacks include red and yellow tally lights.

All these integrated features really help the HS-2000 stand out from the pack. If you're often mixing on location, traveling around a lot with your mixer, or are looking for an integrated all-in-one mobile studio, you should definitely consider the Datavideo HS-2000.

Both of these mixers can be an excellent addition to your production studio.