Video mixers combine two or more video signals, either creating a single continuous video or multiple videos superimposed or overlapping each other. A typical video mixer connects to one or more video sources and synchronizes the signals. This process, known as genlock, converts signals from different sources into a uniform format for easier editing. Most video mixers can also add special effects and transitions, such as wipes, dissolves, and fades. Some high-end models may be integrated into special effects generators.
Types of Video Mixers
Kinds of Video Mixers include the following:
Analog video mixers
Analog video mixers obtain signals from analog or traditional sources, such as video cassettes and analog camcorders. They usually work with component video and S-video inputs. Some models connect to computers, where the videos are converted to digital format before mixing or editing. Digital video mixers
Digital video mixers are designed to work with digital video sources like DV camcorders, although most models also recognize analog devices. They accept more file formats than analog mixers, including serial digital interface (SDI), digital component video, and DVD. They also have advanced computer connectivity, with newer mixers fitted with FireWire and even wireless connections.
Choosing Video Mixers (Buying tips)
Synchronization: Choose a video mixer with both a built-in frame-sync and external synchronization. Make sure it can synchronize several video signals. Most digital mixers accept up to three simultaneous feeds. If you work with a wide range of video sources, consider getting a separate synchronizer.
Compatibility: Make sure your video mixer has connectors for all commonly used devices, from videocassette recorders to DVD camcorder. If you are getting a digital mixer, make sure it is backward-compatible, which means that it accepts all older file formats.