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Which video mixer would you choose?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Video Synthesis  
Author Which video mixer would you choose?
Addy Bart
New member here, in need of advice on which video mixer to go for. I'm after something to use with my liquid light experiments. Chromakey and feedback are the things I like most.

There are three mixers for sale locally, all about the same price:

Edirol v4
Datavideo SE-800
Focus Enhancements MX-4 DV (which looks identical to the Videonics MX-4)

I've read on here that Videonics build quality is a bit poor... whilst the Edirol v4 is popular. I can't really find much info about the Datavideo SE-800, but it looks quite 'pro', if that means anything.

Any opinions would be really helpful. Thank you.
They all have different sets of features, so simple direct comparisons are not really possible. E.g. the MX-4 has analogue and DV inputs while the SE-800 has analogue and SDI outputs, and the V-4 has extensive MIDI control.

So, if you use cameras with DV outputs, the MX-4 may be a winner. However, I don't know if there are any cameras with DV out and sync in, and syncing multiple cameras will be really important.

If you record via SDI, SE-800's SDI output could be used.

I hope this helps. I can't comment on any other features as I only have experience of 1 of those 3 mixers (the V-4).
Addy Bart
Thanks for your thoughts, nerdware. Unless I'm mistaken, the SE-800 and MX-4 are similar, input and output wise, except the SE-800 has SDI out.

I think SDI is a better resolution than the other outputs, but maybe I'm wrong... and maybe it doesn't matter as I'm looking to eventually convert it to hdmi, as that's all my projector can take.

I'm still a bit tempted by the Edirol v4 (it looks a bit more fun and compact than the others) but I read the comment here from user evanh41
that there's lot of dropouts, even with adjustment of the video sync.

Is that a common problem with the v4? I ask because I haven't really found many negative opinions about the Edirol... and I'm wondering if evanh41 was just a bit unlucky with his unit.

Any input is much appreaciated. Cheers.
You'd be converting from analoge to HDMI or from SDI to HDMI. The latter will be digital to digital, so may be better quality. (Blackmagic have a very low cost SDI to HDMI converter, so you might save money there.)

I've had no dropouts with my V-4. However, it was ex-demo and in very good condition when I bought it a few years ago. Another V-4 might not work so well, but the same is true for any "pre-used" mixer.

Regarding my earlier comment on syncing: out-of-sync feedback can also be useful, of course. I just don't see so many videos using it, so I guess it doesn't get used so much. Most of my feedback is synced, with delay in whole frames. So no scrolling. Horizontal and/or vertical scrolling feedback can be fun too, of course, but you might not always want that.
From my experience:

V4 is a really nice solution: the design, size, and weight are perfect for live performance, it has all needed basic features, despite the simplicity it's quite deep (you can control nearly everything via midi and program it from the menu, there're a lot of options and it has just the right amount of transitions and effects inside ).

The resolution is ok for live projections feat. video synthesis and liquid light shows. Feedback can be a bit tricky to get, but possible. I use analog feedback methods with another camera pointed at the screen or just input to output thru some external processing. It works fine. Chroma and Luminance keys are great on V4.

If you don't need HDMI and work in analog domain (which is quite reasonable since prices of analog gear are amazing now... I guess you can find V4 for 150$ and recorders, analog pro cameras are even cheaper ) it's a good mixer. Never had dropouts... so not sure if it's common for V4 but mine is still like new.

I also used a few old Panasonic mixers live (circuit bent versions ). I can say they are not as good for real-time video art action due to the interface, and for liquid light, glitches aren't so suitable. I guess "Pro" models are more for TV/Studio which is not what we need for video art, different interface, a lot of useless features...

I would recommend another way, which is very nice for liquid light technique. Get a nice modern webcam (top Logitech 1920x1080 ) and use Resolume or another VJ software for live mixing and processing. Of course, you will need a fast laptop, a midi controller (I use Korg Nanostudio ), but it's a totally different world of possibilities. The resolution is mindblowing, features are endless, everything is very solid. If you are on Mac you can use Lumen app, which is unreal together with liquid light. You can easily record the output via Syphon, so no need in an external recorder. And many other advantages.

I use both techniques (analog and digital ) for live video art and liquid light shows as well, depending on the situation. Both are fun and nice.

Hope it helps! Also would love to see your liquid light experiments, let's keep in touch wink
Addy Bart
Thanks to you both for your advice! I really appreciate such detailed replies, and it's certainly helped clarify things. For the liquid light stuff, I guess high definition is important... I looked at the Roland v4ex but the demos on YouTube are frustratingly short and don't cover the internal effects. It's also very expensive.

Resolume on the other hand, looks fun, and I've tried a few things with just the internal camera on my laptop. Hopefully I can connect my Canon DSLR - I think it is possible with the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle, otherwise I'll pick up a webcam and get started. Great idea, Tajnost!

I might get that Edirol v4 too, if it's still for sale. I'd like to have some hardware to mess about with. Plus maybe try my hand at something DIY to add later. I'm new to the modular synth world, but have made quite a few effects pedals for guitar.

Anyway, thanks again! :-)
if you buy a v4 secondhand, make sure you test the input and output RCA connectors.
They are very poor. (they break )

It would have been so much better if they would have used panel mounted BNC
or even panel mounted RCA.
I have a Panasonic AG-MX70 that I got for super cheap, and it is quite good. The video feedback experiments have been really neat, and the ability to smoothly delay frames is very useful.

Also I have a Sima SFX-9, and I found that the TBC is incredibly solid. It played very well with circuit bent gear. The drawback is that there are limited effects built in, but in combination with the MX-70 it is fantastic.
Addy Bart
FetidEye wrote:
if you buy a v4 secondhand, make sure you test the input and output RCA connectors.
They are very poor. (they break )

It would have been so much better if they would have used panel mounted BNC
or even panel mounted RCA.

Thanks, FetidEye. I'll take an old camcorder and projector to test everything works before I buy.

Looking into the Sima SFX-9, I've just discovered the Big Pauper site. Wow, there's some nice stuff there smile
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