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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Digital Cinema Forum   » Recommendations for "all-in-one" switcher/audio processor

Author Topic: Recommendations for "all-in-one" switcher/audio processor
John Hogan
Film Handler

Posts: 1
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Registered: Sep 2017

 - posted 11-07-2017 03:53 PM      Profile for John Hogan   Email John Hogan   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Greetings from a long-time lurker, first-time poster.

My venue is located in a small museum, where we display just about any kind of content short of 70mm. A given day could have a lecture with a speaker showing a PowerPoint, a film festival featuring shorts shot on VHS, a vintage 35mm print, or, of course, DCP on the media block.

For the past few years we've used a Christie SKA-3D as a catch-all interface for various playback devices (16/35mm audio is routed to a Dolby CP 650).

The SKA-3D allowed easy switching between various audio and video signals for output to our audio amps and digital projector. The device has a bunch of other qualities but we purchased it mainly for switching.

Christie has discontinued the SKA-3D, and no longer supports it, nor does the actual manufacturer, Gefen. Recent upgrades to other components in our system have begun to cause issues with the SKA, so we'd like to investigate other options for a similar device.

We do not need scaling, color adjustments, or any other type of "sophisticated" processing.

What we *do* need is a reliable switch for various types of audio and video signals, hopefully something that still has factory support...

Does anyone here have suggestions for a solution?

All comments are welcome.

I'm happy to provide more info if it would help.

Thank you.

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Steve Guttag
We forgot the crackers Gromit!!!

Posts: 12213
From: Annapolis, MD
Registered: Dec 1999

 - posted 11-07-2017 06:22 PM      Profile for Steve Guttag   Email Steve Guttag   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I think, given the variety of sources you want to support that you really need to think of image and sound as separate entities and work with them as such.

You mention VHS, which normaly outputs as composite yet the SKA didn't do composite. So one would think you have some form of scaling involved. Odds are, you need to get non-DCP sources into a TMDS type signal (HDMI, DVI, Displayport). If you are going as low as standard defininition (VHS) then you need a means of getting that sized properly on screen.

I can say that I've taken the approach of getting all sources into an HDMI type form and then switching them from there, send it to the projector and to a sound decoder. Some have taken a similar approach but let SDI be the transport medium (both SDI and HDMI can move both video and audio together so they need only be split at the end to decode the audio. However, the only way one can standardize on SDI is to break the HDCP copy protection of HDMI. That may trip you up as things migrate to HDCP 2.2 and HDMI 2.

I've used Crestron (DM series equipment) as the transport system and user interface. It is, by FAR the most flexible but it also requires the most amount of effort. If you have a blank canvas, it is up to you to paint it.

I think another way to approach it is using something like Q-SYS to handle audio decoding as well as your user interface to control external switchers. It is current, supported and effectively can grow with you with an effective unlimited amount of inputs/outputs. It can control other devices via Ethernet and RS232 (and contact closure). So, if you want to add in one or more switchers to handle the various formats you deal with, the UI can be set up to make that all seamless to the user.

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Dave Macaulay
Film God

Posts: 2138
From: Toronto, Canada
Registered: Apr 2001

 - posted 11-08-2017 04:47 PM      Profile for Dave Macaulay   Email Dave Macaulay   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Maybe too simple for your venue, but I have put in a bunch of Kramer switcher/scaler units for alternative content. Usually the VP728 IIRC, with HDMI and multiformat inputs - composite or component video plus stereo audio. They do not have locked sync switching so are unsuitable for production switching but for cinema use a glitch doesn't hurt. Can be controlled via RS232. Kramer probably has other models with more inputs, this one has been enough for our cinema clients that want DVD/BD capabilty for rentals, some use the composite inputs for VHS or whatever.

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