SKAARHOJ is a Danish-based producer of radically customized control solutions for the broadcast market. Their universal broadcast controllers provide a stunning level of complexity. Whether you need PTZ controlling, camera shading, live switching, routing & utility, broadcast audio or replay, these products have you covered.
Master Key 36: an exceptional control panel that features industry standard NKK buttons plus with an uncompromising use of OLED displays that creates a flexible, modular universal switcher surface suitable for high end studios.
Rack Fly Duo: this control unit provides raw power with programmable four-way buttons and RGB color coding that's perfect for universal control of video routers, VSM systems and AUX bus systems.
XC8: this replay controller creates events on the fly with precise speed control and IP connectivity. Features include a job wheel, a hall effect replay speed T-bar and a crisp OLED display that shows monitor timecodes and system info.
Designing broadcast controllers since 2012, Skaarhoj is a trusted name with a base in the Copenhagen area in Denmark. They have spent more than 15 years dedicating their service to quality, innovation, and open source technologies.
Skaarhoj aims to make broadcast operations easier for those who make live videos, with cutting-edge hardware engineered for evolving needs.
The company is backed by a tradition of innovation and dedication, thanks to Kasper Skaarhoj's exemplary career in the international open-source community. When it comes to bespoke control solutions for the broadcast industry, Skaarhoj is a name you can trust.
They focus on designing and manufacturing broadcast controllers. With Skaarhoj controllers, you can now take full control of your camera control via a user-friendly hardware panel.
The control panel allows you to easily operate the buttons on the panel and its many multifunction displays. Using Skaarhoj hardware gives you seamless control of multiple devices using a single piece of hardware.
Skaarhoj creates a series of miniature controllers—yet they are perfect for any outside broadcast (OB) van, master control room, or board room. An untrained operator can even use Skaarhoj products. Their controllers are intuitive enough for who needs to monitor, adjust, activate, and operate audio-video (AV) and broadcast gear.
Considered as the world's smallest, wired, all-included Ethernet controller series, Skaarhoj products can let you connect to only a single Ethernet cable for both power and communication.
Part of their Master Key Series, Skaarhoj's Master Key 36 offers an amazing control panel featuring top-of-the-line NKK buttons packed with organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display. This creates a flexible, modular universal switcher surface perfect for high-end studios. The synergy of NKK buttons and Skaarhoj's bespoke molded elastomer with 4-way buttons creates a powerful switcher surface for high-end studios.
Their Rack Fly series offers all programmable four-way buttons, which are color-coded into red, green, blue (RGB) coding. The Rack Fly Duo is perfect for universal control of video routers, auxiliary (AUX) bus systems, and even Virtual Studio Manager (VSM) systems. It offers 24 RGB multi level metering LEDs as well, with a compact form factor. It also works with Unisketch OS.
If you are looking for a replay controller with speed control and internet protocol (IP) connectivity, then the XC8 is the right product for you. Interfaced with modern replay solutions, this replay controller helps you create events on the fly using replays from Softron and built-in engine in vMix.
The product features a bespoke jog-shuttle wheel, a hall effect replay speed T-bar, and even a copy-and-paste section for clip banks. You can monitor the timecode and system info with the help of a crisp OLED display.
Introducing our top 3 highly recommended Skaarhoj products.
Master Key 36 - If you are looking for a truly exceptional control panel, Master Key 36 will not disappoint. You can enjoy a powerful fusion of industry-standard NKK buttons paired with Skaarhoj's bespoke molded elastomer graced with four-way buttons. It works with a wide variety of device cores using its UniSketch OS. Its subdivided color-coded sections allow you to view section titles and labels.
Rack Fly Duo - Perfect for creating live videos, Rack Fly duo is a tough product that works with various device cores. Using this product gives you an intuitive experience that gives you the confidence to know what you are doing. It gives you options to customize by adding variations of general-purpose, opto-isolated inputs and outputs. Its compact form factor makes it a solid choice for your universal control needs.
XC8 - If you are looking for a device that controls a variety of devices, then you are on the right track. The XC8 can control switches, recorders, PTX cameras, and even slow-motion playback decks. It also has a large OLED screen that displays real-time information. You can monitor the timecode and system info. The right side of the devices connects to a master unit or other capacitive reactance (XC) units. The left side can connect to XC units for the purpose of expanding the control surface. You can take advantage of a short DB-9 cable, so you can separate an XV unit chain for a second user.
The primary role of video switchers is to let you mix several different video feeds together. You can also use video switchers to create transitions and other effects.
Usually in live videos, you will use different cameras and all of them should have lots of compatible ports. It's not just about having video ports but the device should have audio ports as well.
Below are key controls you should remember:
Program bus - This is the source of the video that is visible to the audience. What you see on this screen is exactly what the audience is seeing. You will know which part of the video is currently playing and how many minutes left before loading the next shot.
Preview bus - This allows you to select the shot that you want the audience to see next. It gives you an idea which shot to show and which graphics and titles to load for the next program. You will have the chance to frame the shot the way you want to before the audience sees it.
Take button - This button helps you toggle between the preview and program screen. It acts as a direct cut if you need to get to the next shot.
The T-bar - This is where the actual switching happens. This bar allows you to switch between different cameras at your disposal. You control everything from the T-bar, ranging from the transition speed and any special effects you want to add. It is important that you practice switching before the actual start of the shoot.
The Monitor - You need to adjust the monitor settings so your switching will be successful. Either you make the adjustments manually or use vectorscope. What matters is you have the brightness, contrast, tint and color dials centered when you start.
Auto button - This works as an alternative to the T-bar. You will always have a consistent transition when using this button compared to the T-bar.
Fade to black - Considered as one of the most popular transitions in videos, fade to black is ideal right before starting a program. You can start a countdown, press the record button and press the black button again so the image will fade up. Towards the end, you can press fade out.
After learning the basic controls, you can now focus on operating the switcher. Remember that while the final program looks smooth, everything is different inside the control room.
To make things easier and choose the right button to select, you can label each with their corresponding camera number. You can do this using a tape and permanent markers.
Make sure to set things up correctly. If you have a good set-up, you will have a more efficient shooting experience. Know the location of the shoot beforehand and get there days before the event to prepare. This gives you ample time to prepare your board or save your desired settings as a preset if your board allows it. You can also use this time to load your graphics.
Know your cables
To get the best sound, make sure you know where your cables go. The more crew running the cable, the quicker will be your setup and everyone will have enough time to relax before its time to start shooting. The key here is to work hand in hand with everyone to make things easier. Most importantly, make sure that all connections should have the right cables.
Camera location matters
Cameras should be located at predetermined spots. Each camera must have a reference signal from the switcher. This will allow you to synchronize shots with a master video signal. The signal is usually in the form of Blackburst (BB) and it carries the sync information from your switcher all the way down to the external devices.
Ideally, you should have multiple Blackburst connectors on the back of the switcher for each camera. If you don't have enough, then it's safe to have a Video Distribution Amplifier (VDA). This allows you to multiply a single video input into several outputs.
You will often see video switchers in film and video production environments. Some are also used in real-time video broadcasting or recording. Either way, a video switcher is handy in creating various visual effects. These effects may be simple mixes and wipes or elaborate effects, depending on the director’s taste.
Just like audio switchers, you can use multiple input sources in video switchers and apply the desired effect. As a result, you can produce one or more outputs as creatively as possible.
Modern video switchers are packed with additional features, which allow you to store a complex mixer configuration and serial communications. You can also use exclusive communication protocols.
These days, video switchers are seldom used since computer-based, non-linear editing systems already exist. However, they are still very much useful in creating a master output for live video broadcasts and recordings.
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