A video switcher is an important piece of equipment used in video production, displaying of videos, and live streaming. If you are searching for a trustworthy shop to purchase a video switcher, you came to the right place. Here at Enhanced View Services, we offer a wide range of audio and video equipment. We will be sharing an article discussing what features to look for when purchasing a video switcher. If you want to know more information we encourage you to keep reading below! 

What is a Video Switcher?

A video switcher is a piece of equipment responsible for switching video or audio resources. It is an essential part of video production and live streaming, which makes it a valuable tool for videographers, vloggers, and online content creators. It is also known as a video mixer or production switcher. A video switcher is responsible for choosing the different sources of video or audio. It can also be used for mixing videos, adding different video footage scenes, attaching graphic designs or special effects on a different source, or setting different compositions, etc. 

How Does a Video Switcher Work?

A video switcher can select among different incoming video and audio signals from different sources, whether a presentation or a PowerPoint feed, or a video camera. It will then direct the specific signal to a single output, which can either be a video recorder, streaming equipment, or display devices like a screen or monitor. Video switchers are also capable of generating visual effects that may range from mixes or transitions or any detailed and complex special effects. It can be used to carry out coordinating operations, such as producing color signals.

In video production, a technical director is in charge of controlling the video switcher, looking over the different incoming videos from the different camera angles, and choosing the best shot to send to a single output. The technical director is a part of the production team who is responsible for operating the video production switcher; they select or mix a program output from the different video inputs that are available. A video switcher is available in different ranges like those cost-effective two-input versions that do not have any other features or those huge powerhouse studio consoles that can be more expensive than a car. 

The video quality of older versions of analog video switchers varies so much compared to the modern versions that are being used these days. Digital video switchers can also output the same video signals as input signals when mixes or effects have not yet been applied. 

What Features Should You Look For and Consider When Purchasing a Video Switcher?

Durability

You must look for a video switcher that will not break easily. You can check for reviews or ask your friends who own video switchers for their recommendations so that you will have an idea of which console performs best and has worked well and lasted longer for them. You can also check stores or shops that offer video switchers and test it out in person. 

Build

The video switcher is commonly encased in a rack mount case or inside a computer, while other companies have integrated both the control panel and video switcher. In some cases, the control panel is a software computer interface or a hardware control panel, while both components are attached with an Ethernet cable. While both versions work efficiently, it will be up to you to decide which one you prefer to use. 

Hardware solutions are portable and compact compared to individual components, so this can be handy if you are always traveling. You must also consider that the cables that are assembled on the video switcher are not easily concealed and that the imprint on the tech table is bigger. 

Inputs

Before purchasing a video switcher, you must first consider how many inputs you will need. If you will be using it in small video production projects, you will most likely only use two or three inputs. If you will be using them for large video productions, then you will need more than three. 

If you have mixed connection and format resolutions, you may have to consider purchasing a scaling switcher. A scaling video switcher works by getting all the connections and processing them into a standard output. But keep in mind that a video switcher with scaling capabilities is more expensive and some have obvious latency problems. So you should use HD signals instead of going for a scaling switcher. 

SDI connections in video switchers are favored by most users over consoles that use the HDMI connection. You must go for a console that offers both or just SDI. HDMI connections work well with computers but not as good with other equipment and devices. HD-SDI is the best standard in video switchers because this type of cable is more durable than the typical consumer HDMI standard. The HD-SDI cable that is also known as the BNC cable comes with a bayonet connector, which makes it lock on to its connections securely when connected and will not be easily pulled out. 

Cameras usually do not have the HD-SDI output and use other cables like HDMI, VGA, or DVI, so you should have a native computer input on your chosen video switcher. 

Outputs

A video switcher must have a preview output for every video input it receives. While HD-SDI cables are preferred for video switchers, HDMI cables are more popular for preview monitors because they are more cost-effective, and the available HDTVs and monitors commonly use HDMI inputs.

A webcast encoder must also have a program output unless the video switcher that you will be purchasing is enclosed in a computer. Video switchers sometimes allow more connection for outputs like SD output or auxiliary output. The auxiliary output is usually programmed to work on duplicating the inputs, previews, program the outputs, or additional program outputs that can be used in archive recording of the inputs. 

Audio Capacity

Audio mixing consoles are sometimes built-in into some video switchers that allow them to have multiple audio inputs which can be quite beneficial if you are searching for a video switcher with multiple audio inputs. While some brands have pair of audio inputs through their soundboard, others will need an external audio soundboard. 

If you will use your video switcher for online streaming, you may either need embedded or external audio, and it can depend on the available inputs on the webcast encoder. Keep in mind that embedded audio has its benefits when you need easy distribution amplification if you need extra video outputs that will be necessary for instances like archive recording. 

Quality of Video Output

If you are going to use a video switcher to create live videos for your clients, you must consider the video output quality. You must do your research or test the equipment in person before purchasing it. You must also consider the latency issues that you may experience. This can affect how fast the switching will be from different input sources, so you have to choose a console that has the lowest latency. 

Input Frame Rates and Scaling Effects

You must also consider the input frame rates if scaling is available on the video switcher, as it may come in handy when you are working with computer inputs. Frame and refresh rates may vary when using computer inputs. Most video switchers in the market are capable of working by internally converting the frame rates and scaling the video inputs accordingly. If it is not available, then you may have to purchase a separate external scaler or converter. 

Special Effects

Effects on videos are important for audio-video technicians and musicians. If a video switcher has a lot of effects, it can be more expensive to purchase. Using effects on videos may depend on how you planned to use your video switcher. Musicians, hip-hop artists, and performers make use of effects like beats per minute that enable transitions and special effects to be synchronous with the beats of their music.

If you will need a beats per minute function, then you need to go for a video switcher that has this feature Some video switchers have built-in MIDI-input that is responsible for controlling the video by using electronic instruments. Live performers, singers, and artists can benefit from using video switchers that come with a function like a MIDI input. 

Price Range

The price of a video switcher must be considered if you have a limited budget. For example, if your church, music production, or small theater will be using a video switcher you may have to go for a simple console.

You do not have to pay more to get one that will suit your needs. When you are searching for a video switcher to purchase, you must consider how you will be using it. Most of the time, you will not be using certain functions so you do not have to purchase an extravagant console that comes with different functions. 

Ergonomics and Ease of Use

If you are a beginner user of the video switcher, then you may want to use a simple one so you will know the basics. You can go for a user-friendly console so that you can easily learn the basics with ease. If you will be the primary user of the video switcher, you can just base your purchasing decision on the amount of time you will need to learn how to use it. 

Flexibility or Versatility

You must consider if the video switcher can perform functions that focus on audio as well. Does it have the features that you will need in your line of work? If you are an artist, you will benefit from using a console that has MIDI-input or BPM function.

Just make sure not to go for a fully decked-out console if you will not be using the extra features that it comes with, this will help you decide which one to go for and can also help you save a lot of money in the process. You can check out the following video switchers here at Enhanced View Services. 

If you have any questions or inquiries regarding the products that we offer please let us know. Here at Enhanced View Services, we are offering preowned and brand-new professional audio and video equipment. We locate, test, and check the quality of our products before we sell them to potential clients and customers.

If you need help in finding the right audio or video equipment for your needs, we are happy to assist and help you. Please contact us as soon as possible! You can call us at 305-971-2916 or send an email at [email protected] Our shop is located at 12080 SW 127th Ave STE B1-130 Miami FL 33186 USA. What are you waiting for? Contact us today! If you have any questions regarding the products that we offer please do not hesitate to reach out and we’ll be more than happy to get back to you.