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Buyers Guide: Portable Switchers

Flexibility and power in compact spaces


Targeted at schools, government and corporate meetings, seminars, theatrical events and houses of worship, the Blackmagic Design Atem is a high-definition production switcher with both HD-SDI and HDMI inputs. It can be by a computer using the included control software, or from an optional dedicated control panel.

Featuring six inputs and a multiviewer output for ease of monitoring, the Atem includes an audio mixer, titler with graphical storage and Photoshop interface, multiple keyers including a chromakeyer, and both SDI and HDMI outputs. The unit’s small size—it’s 1RU tall and about an inch deep— lets it fit almost anywhere.

FOR-A HVS-100/110

The For-A HVS-100 and HVS-110 are similar units, with the HVS-100 having a separate electronics chassis and control panel, while the HVS-110 has a control panel integrated with the electronics chassis (pictured). They feature mixed HD/SD inputs, frame synchronizing, re-sizing capability, 2.5D wipe effects, DVE, chromakeyer and downstream keyer. The HVS-100 and HVS-110 also have a built-in web server that lets you change settings from a PC or a tablet.

These two For-A switcher also boast a clip memory feature to support playback of video or animations. The units also will do wipes on character generator graphics, and there is a multiviewer output that enables all inputs to be displayed on a single large-screen monitor.


The Grass Valley GV Director nonlinear production system is a multipurpose tool for live production. Integrating video switching, multilayer effects, animated graphics and multiviewer monitoring in a single system, the unit has eight SDI inputs, two HDMI inputs and four SDI outputs. The multiviewer output is on a DVI connector, and it supports an option touchscreen interface.

The sleek form-factor includes the switcher, clipstore for video clips and graphics, and a real-time graphics engine for creating, recalling and keying graphics. The GV Director supports embedded audio with up to 16 tracks.


The Panasonic AV-HS410 is a nine input production switcher that is expandable to a maximum of 13 HD/SD switchable signal inputs. The unit has five HD-SDI and one DVI-D outputs are standard with an option enabling expansion to a maximum of 10 outputs. Four Aux busses are provided, with mix transitions available on Aux1. An upstream keyer with 3D flying key and Primatte chromakey capabilities is also provided.

The HS410’s interface is distinguished by its 7-inch color LCD monitor that, in addition to displaying settings and menus, can show input and output video, waveform monitor readings and even the Multiviewer display. The unit also includes dual-channel video/still clip player/recorders, 100 event memories and Effect Preview for offline viewing of programmed effects.


The Broadcast Pix Roadie is a mobile integrated production system in a compact portable case. It features built-in HD streaming and recording, as well as a four-input switcher with a built-in audio mixer.

The Broadcast Pix Roadie is controlled through its 17-inch touchscreen multiview display, including the eight-channel audio mixer, dual clip players, dual-channel character generator, three keyers (each with picture-in-picture) and chromakeyer. The Roadie works with virtual sets, external camera and device controls, and has both HDMI and SDI inputs and outputs.


The Roland V-40HD multi-format live video production switcher has 12 inputs, including four each of HDMI, component and composite. Signals are fed to three outputs: HDMI, RGB/component and composite. The V-40HD uses internal 4:4:4 10-bit processing to maintain a pristine signal, and it has a single mix/effects bus and downstream keyer.

For maximum flexibility in remote operations, the Roland V-40HD has frame synchronizers and scalers on every input. The preview monitor output is a four-way split screen that shows inputs, preset, program or downstream keyer signals.


The rushworks remo is available with up to 12 HD/SD-SDI video inputs, and also provides for iso capture of inputs for ease in post-production editing. Controlled by and integrated 21-inch touchscreen monitor, the remo can control pan-tilt-zoom cameras with a built-in joystick.

Available with HDMI, component, Y/C, and composite outputs, the rushworks remo can do video transitions, multi-layered graphics and CG overlays and chromakey. The unit is bundled with Adobe Photoshop Elements for graphics production and Adobe Premiere Elements for non-linear editing and DVD burning.

NEWTEK TriCaster Mini

Using the TriCaster Mini, anyone using everyday camcorders can create and publish professional-looking video content in minutes. It can also be used to stream live video, and make even the smallest presentations look like network-style TV.

The NewTek TriCaster Mini can connect up to four HDMI camcorders for live action, and it has a built-in audio switcher/mixer and video clipstore. The Mini will capture a computer screen, video call or files from an AirPlay device, mix files and sources in real-time with the included TriCaster Mini software, and output live video to display, project, stream or record. The final production can be saved to disk for later viewing.


The Sony MCS-8M is multi-format compact switcher with a built-in audio mixer and frame synchronizer. The unit switcher has built-in DME wipe patterns, a built-in multiviewer to display all inputs on a single large-screen monitor, an input freeze function for each source, and the ability to import still images via a USB port. It also includes a six-channel audio mixer.

The MCS-8M offers four HD-SDI inputs, three HDMI inputs and one DVI-I input in HD Mode. In SD mode, it has four SD-SDI inputs, three composite inputs, and one DVI-I input are also available. The built-in six-channel audio mixer includes audio delay adjustment with an audio-follow-video feature.