Videonics MX-1 Video Mixer Tips and Tricks

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.

Videonics MX-1 Video Mixer Tips and Tricks

#1Postby michaelfish » Sun May 15, 2011 5:01 pm

The Videonics MX-1 video mixer is powerful and useful, yet inexpensive video and audio mixer. The manual's 80+ pages describe many features but few operators take time to read through them all. Although I've used this mixer for years, I just recently found some functions of the mixer did that I was not aware of. These may be of use to others for conferences.

  • Color Bars - very useful in adjusting the color on your monitors and TVs: Press COMPOSE, then press SHIFT and COLOR at the same time. The color bars will be displayed onthe PREVIEW monitor. To display them on the output, press PLAY. Press PLAY again to switch back to the current source. (Setting up a monitor)
  • More Preview Output Options: The Preview Output normally displays 4 video sources at the top 1/4 of the screen and wipe and effects patterns on the bottom. Another useful function of the Preview Output is to display the next video source full-screen so more accurate focus and composition adjustments can be made. To do this: press DISPLAY. The output of the preview will now be selected from the bottom 'next source selector buttons (ABCD)'. Another press of the DISPLAY button changes the output to be the same as the PROGRAM output. A third press of the DISPLAY button will return the output to the normal prewiew wipe and pattern screen.
  • Fully adjustable Picture-in-Picture (PIP): Both the size and position of the smaller picture can be controlled: hold SHIFT as you press ZOOM/P-IN-P. The arrow keys change the location of the rectangle while SHIFT ARROW-UP and SHIFT ARROW-DOWN changes the size of the rectangle. Use PLAY to perform a cut, use the Take T-Handle to perform a dissolve.
  • Hymn Text Overlay: Create with PowerPoint. Copy and paste hymn text from the church on-line library website. Use a black background slide and a couple of lines of white text at the bottom. The standard Arial font will yield good detail on the character edges. A professional looking see-through screen can be added by creating a 5% black fill box with no Line Color behind the text. This will also make the text more readable against bright camera backgrounds. The hymn text overlay is created with the Chroma-Key feature of the mixer: Make sure the Take T-Handle is either fully up or down. Select the main camera the top Take Bar (ABCD) and the PowerPoint video source with the bottom Next Source selector button (ABCD). Press COMPOSE, CHROMA KEY, OK (but allow a split second between button presses). Use the Take T-Handle to insert the hymn text over the main camera. Move the Take T-Handle only partially if you wish to screen the video through the 5% black box or move the Take T-Handle all the way to create a black background behind the text for better readablility over a bright video source. Remember to not change video sources during a chroma key or the PowerPoint overlay will be disabled. Chroma Key can also useful to superimpose a speaker's name and calling.
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#2Postby danpass » Mon May 16, 2011 9:10 am

michaelfish wrote:The Videonics MX-1 video mixer is powerful and useful, yet inexpensive video and audio mixer.


What would be a reasonable price to pay for one of these units on eBay?
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#3Postby michaelfish » Tue May 17, 2011 10:18 pm

danpass wrote:What would be a reasonable price to pay for one of these units on eBay?

Over the past couple of years, used ones go for about $350 but to see how much they've sold for recently, click check out eBay to see what prices they're selling for.
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#4Postby danpass » Wed May 18, 2011 8:01 am

Thank you!
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#5Postby flyboyscott » Tue May 24, 2011 9:24 am

We use the Videonix MX-1 for hymns text. When I use the chroma key I always get some noise at the edge of the screen. I'm setting up the channels the same way as you by selecting the video source in A and then setting the cut to D which is the PowerPoint input. The instructions tell you to just hit the Chroma key at that point which I do and hit ok when the cursor is over the color. After the first ok there is noise at the top and sides of the screen. I then hit shift and the up arrow to fine tune the chroma and the noise goes away and the text is clean. I'm using a grey background and white text.

What I don't like about this is that if I need to go to different cameras, I have to hit the chroma key to kill the chroma effects and then I can go to my other camera inputs. When I need text again for speaker name or hymns, I have to go through the chroma setup again. This can be difficult when you're doing it all on the fly.

Will your method of "Press COMPOSE, CHROMA KEY, OK" save the chroma settings so they will be used next time I need to go to chroma? Will the black background work better than the grey? I would love a copy of your PowerPoint so I can see how you set up your slides. Especially the black background behind the text. I have an online disk at public.me.com/flyboyscott where you could put the PowerPoint.

Greatly appreciate any feedback.

BTW. We picked up our Videonix MX-1 from ebay for $550. There were cheaper ones available but they had issues.
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#6Postby michaelfish » Tue May 24, 2011 4:53 pm

flyboyscott wrote:Will your method of "Press COMPOSE, CHROMA KEY, OK" save the chroma settings so they will be used next time I need to go to chroma?


No. Pressing "COMPOSE, CHROMA KEY, OK" is a simple button sequence to initiate a chroma key. Selecting any new camera angle disables the chroma key settings. A solution would be to use a separate unit to perform a "downstream" key (the ability to key special effect after the output of the MX-1) but that would be an additional device. Professional special effects generators have this feature but there was a limit of how many features they could jam-pack into the $999.95 MSRP of the MX-1.
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Creating a PowerPoint for Chroma Key hints

#7Postby michaelfish » Tue May 24, 2011 5:31 pm

flyboyscott wrote:Will the black background work better than the grey?

I found that the best color to select for MX-1 PowerPoint backgrounds is blue. Note however, if your laptop video border is black, this will decrease the size of the final picture (the black border is superimposed over your live video).

For that reason, I use black background fill for my PowerPoint slides which matched the laptop's black border. Then I use 5% black for the box behind the text and white for the text.

5-24-2011 4-41-37 PM.jpg
5-24-2011 4-41-37 PM.jpg (0 Bytes) Viewed 2765 times


When performing the key, I move the T-Handle Take bar only partially, which allows seeing through video behind the 5% black box.

speaker.jpg
speaker.jpg (0 Bytes) Viewed 2774 times


You may not be able to see it very well with this small photo I uploaded, but if you click on the picture to enlarge it, you'll see the red jacket and flowers are visible through the black text background.
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Videonics MX-1 Video Mixer --- Flashing Video Output

#8Postby JeffTurgeon » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:27 pm

I'm hoping someone out there is familiar with the Videonics MX-1 video mixer and can tell me how to fix a big problem I'm having.

We can transition from camera to camera fine but erratically the video output will flash from intended image to black and keeps doing this. If it did all the time I might be able to figure it out while testing. But of course it only seems to do this when we are doing a live broadcast forcing me to quickly remove all video inputs on the fly attached to the MX-1 and transfer them back to an older mechanical switch.

Has anyone had this happen or know why this is happening so I can correct it?

My Video setup includes:
- Video Camera on input #1
- a computer on input #2
- another computer on input #2

- all video inputs and outputs are composite
- no audio is connected to this mixer (we use a separate sound mixer)


When I use a mechanical switch I can flip from camera to computer and back and forth without any problems. Its when I try to make things look professional, using the MX-1 with nice fades/transitions that I sometimes get the flashing video output from image to black, image to black about every second.
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#9Postby michaelfish » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:30 pm

Yes, I've had this happen. The solution was to disable the Frame Rate Lock to yield more exact frame rates. This is done in Advanced Setup. An explanation from page 25 of the manual explains why...
[INDENT][font=Palatino-Roman][size=84][font=Times New Roman][size=84][font=Times New Roman][size=84][font=Verdana]"Input/Output Frame Rate Lock Disable:[/font][/SIZE][/font]This setting compensates for slight deviations in video frame rate [/SIZE]between the inputs and the output. When it is locked (setting 0), the MX-1 adjusts the frame rate of the output by very small amounts at the end of each video field, to reduce or eliminate the need to repeat or drop video fields. This is the normal setting and is appropriate for most equipment"[/font][/SIZE][/font]
[/INDENT][font=Palatino-Roman]and continuing on page 66...[/font]
[font=Palatino-Roman][font=Palatino-Roman][size=84][font=Palatino-Roman][size=84]
[INDENT]"If you are connected to equipment that requires very exact frame rates, you can change the setting to 1 and the timing of the output will be more exact and fields will be dropped or duplicated as required."
[/INDENT]

[/SIZE][/font][/font][/SIZE][/font][font=Palatino-Roman]To change this setting, go to[/font][font=Palatino-Roman][font=Times New Roman][size=134][font=Times New Roman][size=134][font=Verdana][size=84]Advanced Setup [/SIZE][/font][/SIZE][/font](Page 24) [/font][/SIZE][/font]
[INDENT][font=Palatino-Roman]Press the SHIFT and SETUP buttons simultaneously to alter the advanced settings. Arrow over to the lock icon and use the arrow up to change the value to 1. Press OK or PLAY when done.[/font]
[/INDENT]The source of your problem may be the unstable sync conversion of the computer image to composite sync signals. If your computer has a composite video output, try different Screen Refresh Rates (under display settings, settings, advanced, monitor). 60 Hz is what standard composite video uses.

If you are using a scan converter, experiment with the settings there. I'd look for and make adjustments to flicker, brightness and contrast. I've noticed a more stable picture coming off the scan converter when I adjust the brightness all the way down and contrast up a little more than default. Yours will be different, I'm sure.


With all that said, run a lot of tests before your next conference and try to make your test set up as close to actual as possible. We always run tests a week before the conference to iron out bugs such as what you mentioned.

Please let me know if this fixes your problem.
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Sample PowerPoint Template for Hymns and Text

#10Postby michaelfish » Thu Feb 02, 2012 9:10 am

If you're looking for a PowerPoint 2007 template for superimposing (keying) text and hymns with the Videonics MX-1 (and others), here is one we used from our last conference.

The file contains most everything needed for a conference overlay including:
  • Color bars to adjust monitors, TVs and projectors (see this link for instructions)
  • A few hymns (one verse) with dissolve between slides
  • Sample picture displayed for sustaining
  • Names of speakers and their calling
When used with the MX-1, text and hymns can appear screened (translucent) on the monitor by processing a chroma-key, but move the T handle only half-way (see the beginning of this post for detailed instructions). Moving the T handle all the way displays the text over a dark background for easier readability. We generally choose screened text except when there is a very bright background behind the words.
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General Session.pptx
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