Church Production

First Impression: Ross Video Vision Tritium 3 MLE Production Switcher

Why would a church need three ME's? If you consider it a building-wide solution it may make a lot more sense.

By Mark Hanna
September 25, 2013 12:35 pm EST

Topics: Video,
Tags: broadcast, IMAG, streaming, video,

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When I was first asked to look at this product for Church Production Magazine, I really had to question if there was use for a 3ME switcher in the church market. A year ago, I might have said no church needs that much hardware, but after six months of using the smaller Carbonite switcher in our church I decided it may not be as out of the question as I first thought. Based on information in the initial product announcement, I think there are several factors that actually make the new Tritium switcher a viable option in the church market including; the number of outputs, the extra ME, the device control, the control surfaces. All of these features make this a really great video distribution product for a building rather then just a main auditorium switcher.

The Details

The spec sheet for the Tritium is really long, so I am going to hit some of the high points. The entry-level model has 48 multi-definition serial digital inputs, and 32 Multi-Definition Serial Digital Outputs. The outputs can be configured to six FlexiClean assignable clean feed outputs (2 per MLE). It has multi-definition support for any of the following formats: 525, 625, 1080i 50, 1080i 59.94, 720P 50, 720P 59.94, 1080P 24, 1080PSF 24, 1080PSF 23.98. That covers the basic in and out, but one of the really great things about production switchers is what you can do with the video. The Tritium has six channels of 3D Digital Video Effects (DVE) with position, rotation, crop, advanced positioning, key combiner, dynamic borders, preprocessor effects and DVE Timelines. When you combine that with the Ross AuxKeys – mixer/keyers on aux bus outputs, MultiDSK (eight keys on program/preview MLE) and the six UltraChrome chroma keyers with super fine keying quality (two per MLE) there are lots of options for affecting video feeds going out of this product.

If that isn’t enough, since the Tritium is a Vision series switcher, you have some built in future proofing because you can upgrade to all of Ross Video’s Octane options later. For example, you can add more inputs, more outputs, more control surfaces, more MEs as needed. You can also convert your entire Tritium to a full Vision Octane 3G system by replacing the main video processing modules for full 1080p operation at a later date.

The Concept

Despite all the details, there are going to be lots of churches that just don’t need this much hardware. However, as I stated before if you look at this as a holistic solution for an entire building it actually makes sense. Let’s assume that you have an auditorium with two side screens and a center screen set up. The Tritium allows you total control of the side screens and total control of the center screen with an entire ME to spare. That third ME could easily be used for a full broadcast/streaming mix and have no effect on the congregation in the room.

Beyond that, you could drive other rooms in your building with the auxes. Imagine, if you will, that you have three kids’ rooms and an overflow room. Provided you had it wired properly, each room could have its own computer attached to the network with the switcher. This would allow you to use the Panel Builder to make custom graphical user interfaces (GUIs) for each of the kids’ rooms and make an entirely different one for the overflow room. The kids’ room could have a control panel that had three options, and three options only, like; local (computer in the room), auditorium (main program feed) and TV (cable). This makes controlling this room as a volunteer as friendly and flexible as you could need it. However, since it is going through the Tritium if there ever was an issue, you could fix it from the switcher.

While the price point of the Tritium will certainly be out of the range of many churches, there are some that spent more than the $117,000 price tag in their main auditorium and their building wide distribution. While it is a viable solution, I don’t expect the Tritium to receive the same accolades that the Carbonite is receiving the in the house-of-worship market. That said, I think if you are building a big new building with lots of rooms you might be doing yourself a disservice by not checking this product out as an option.


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