Broadcast Pix has started shipping Mica, a new, cost-effective, live switcher that is claimed to include everything needed for a single operator to control a live production, writes David Fox.
The 1M/E switcher is powered by HD technology from Broadcast Pix' Granite systems and its Fluent software offering tight integration of video and file-based content, and costs from $16,900.
“With Mica, you pay for a switcher and get an HD control room. Our system is so well integrated that a solo operator can combine cameras, clips, and graphics to create compelling live video,” claimed Ken Swanton, president of Broadcast Pix. “Mica was a big hit with international audiences when we introduced it at IBC in Amsterdam," and the first units are being shipped to US customers.
One of the first is Tualatin Valley Community TV (TVCTV), which manages the public, educational, and governmental access channels that serve 14 communities near Beaverton, Oregon. It produces more than 400 programmes a year, and is transitioning to HD in its new facility. Its two new Mica systems will provide the same production platform in both control rooms.
“We’re very excited about Mica. It allows us to expand, but keeps us within budget. Ultimately, it will save us money,” explained Thaddeus Girard, TVCTV's production services manager. “With so many tools in one system, Mica will allow us to create more powerful videos with smaller crews. For one person to control this whole operation is huge. Producers can fire off high-quality, dynamic shows using macros and easily add production value.”
The 4RU Mica includes a multi-definition switcher that can mix eight HD/SD-SDI inputs with seven channels of internal clips, animations, and graphics. It also supports up to six keyers and DVEs, six HD/SD-SDI outputs, and two DVI outputs, and comes with a 30-hour clip store and a Harris Inscriber TitleMotion GS CG or optional Chyron Lyric Pro 8 character generator - an RSS or XML feed can automatically update multiple graphics and fields for live updates.
It also offers full control over robotic cameras (including camera moves as part of the Fluent macros), AJA Ki Pro recorders, ViewCast streamers, audio mixers, and servers (360 Systems, Harris and Omneon) from the panel.
Four Mica models are available. Mica Desktop ($16,900 in the US or $17,900 international pricing) is controlled through a touch screen or mouse interface, while Mica 500 ($19,900/$21,500) includes a control surface with a patented device control section. Mica 1000 and Mica 2000, with larger and more powerful control panels have buttons that dynamically display sources, devices and even file names.
The systems can be upgraded to the larger Granite spec, which can support 2M/E productions and offers more I/O, redundancy, and performance options.