â€” Zasco Productions (Chicopee, MA), a full service video, audio, lighting, rental, staging and multimedia production company, recently invested in Panasonicâ€™s AV-HS400 multi-format video switcher to serve its event, corporate and broadcast clients. Since purchasing the HS400 this spring, Zasco has used the switcher for live I-MAG at three Gloria Estefan concerts celebrating the opening of the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Casino (Mashantucket, CT), as well as an appearance of the Wiggles, the â€œworldâ€™s biggest pre-school band,â€? at the Six Flags New England (Agawam, MA).
This September, Zasco will utilize the switcher to support WGGB-TVâ€™s (the ABC affiliate in Springfield, MA) local coverage of the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon.
The high-performance HS400 easily integrates into existing HD/SD workflows, flawlessly mixing HD and SD video sources. The switcher includes a built-in MultiViewer for multi-image preview, an expandable HD/SD architecture with full 10-bit HD processing, 3D digital effects, chroma key, an independent aux bus, PIP, and a multitude of other advanced features.
â€œThis is the switcher Iâ€™ve been waiting for,â€? said Michael Zaskey, Zascoâ€™s President/Owner. â€œItâ€™s a convergence product that delivers seamless switching for both live events and broadcast video. The HS400 has represented tremendous savings for us in terms of time, space and energy.â€?
â€œThe HS400 is versatile and easy to use,â€? said Zaskey, who served as chief video engineer of the Estefan shows. â€œYou can mix many signal types, the switcher accepts SD, HD and computer inputs, and you can output virtually anything for projection or broadcast.â€?
â€œThe HS400 is fully-digital, with frame-synchronizers that can eliminate the need for traditional genlock and timing adjustments, a big time-saver,â€? he continued. â€œYou turn it on, and no other set-up is required other than white balancing the cameras.â€?
Zaskey said the switcherâ€™s built-in MultiViewer function had dramatically reduced the size of the equipment packages he needs to bring to assignments. With the MultiViewer, users can output four, six, or 10 images from different sources to a single high-resolution display, eliminating the need for multiple HD source and Preview monitors.
â€œWe now feed up to eight inputs from our cameras to one 42-inch plasma for the director,â€? Zaskey explained. â€œThis means weâ€™ve been able to eliminate four racks of CRT monitors, and traditional terminal gear representing up to 1,500 pounds and sizeable power consumption. Now, we simply travel with one or two camera control racks and a second plasma display for the engineer.â€?
Zaskey said that for the Wiggles show at Six Flags New England, where Zasco was a subcontractor to Capron Lighting & Sound of Needham, MA, he was able to employ one of the HS400â€™s frame memories to store the Six Flags logo. â€œThe upshot was that we didnâ€™t need a separate computer to feed the logo. Anything you can do to reduce gear and cabling is a bonus.â€?
â€œWe anticipate that the HS400 will provide excellent support to our broadcast clients,â€? Zaskey added. â€œWGGB, for instance, has no mobile production truck, but with four cameras and a switcher, weâ€™ll be able to handle all the stationâ€™s local cut-ins during the MDA Telethon.â€?
â€œThe switcherâ€™s ability to route physical inputs to any input number has proved very desirable,â€? he said. â€œIt may seem like a small matter, but Iâ€™ve had experience with touring video directors who stipulate specific numbers assigned to inputs, and Iâ€™ve been able to accommodate their requests. Also, for corporate work, we appreciate being able to intercut PowerPoint presentations with live video while preserving the high resolution being output by the computer.â€?
Zasco purchased the HS400 from The Camera Company (Norwood, MA). For more information about Zasco Productions, visit
About the AV-HS400
Designed for use in studio or mobile production systems worldwide, the all-in-one HS400 supports these HD and SD formats — 1080/59.94i, 1080/50i, 720/59.94p, 720/50p, 480/59.94i, and 576/50i; and accepts optional boards for up-conversion of standard definition and DVI signals to high definition. Full ten-bit HD processing is used throughout the HS400 to provide the highest quality ever available in a single chasis switcher. For enhanced creativity, the HS400 features 3D effects including page turn, an independent aux bus, PIP, DSK, and a high-quality chroma key that provides clean, production-quality composite images for professional applications such as green screen, news, and weather. The compact includes four standard HD/SD-SDI inputs and four standard HD/SD-SDI outputs. The switcher may be expanded to support up to eight inputs and eight outputs using optional I/O boards. For more information about the AV-HS400 system, please visit
About Panasonic Broadcast
Panasonic Broadcast & Television Systems Co. is a leading supplier of broadcast and professional video products and systems. Panasonic Broadcast is a unit company of Panasonic Corporation of North America. The company is the North American headquarters of Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd. (NYSE: MC) of Japan, and the hub of its U.S. marketing, sales, service and R&D operations. For more information on Panasonic Broadcast products, visit
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Stacy Moore or Pat Lamb
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