The PRIME Live Platform's new software-based production switcher in a remote production environment

Meet the PRIME Live Platform’s New Production Switcher

Alongside last week’s PRIME Live Platform release, our team introduced a significant addition to the family of PRIME production modules: PRIME Switcher.

PRIME Switcher is a software-based 2ME production switcher built on the industry-leading PRIME Live Platform. In addition to its production switching capability, this module also includes a brand-new multichannel audio mixer for every channel in the playout configuration – another PRIME Live Platform first! Aside from numerous requests from our customers, our team realized PRIME Switcher is the perfect module to take advantage of the PRIME Live Platform’s new and improved software-based production architecture. As you’ll see, this new production switcher module makes it possible to craft an all-in-one PRIME studio for the creation and delivery of content to all your revenue-generating channels.

In today’s article, we’ll look at what features PRIME Switcher adds to the platform and how it leverages the foundation of the PRIME Live Platform to give you more production value out of a smaller footprint than ever before.

2ME Production Switcher

First and foremost is the switcher itself. PRIME Switcher provides the essential production switcher feature set to cut, key, mix, and transition between all the different sources you need to craft a compelling production. PRIME Switcher offers 2 MEs, each with four linear keyers and a dedicated transition key.

Tight integration between the PRIME Switcher and PRIME CG modules improves production quality while offloading keyer resources. PRIME Switcher’s basic dissolve, wipe, split, slide, and mask transitions are editable directly in the PRIME Designer interface – or build out an energetic stinger transition with graphics and audio. Any and all custom transitions are loadable directly into the transition key. Meanwhile, Complex DVE scenes such as a multi-box or picture-in-picture are created by layering multiple video inputs and graphics on a single channel. In the heat of a live show, you can browse your library of DVE scenes, load it up in the CG channel, and take it to air with a single keyer.

Built-in Multichannel Audio Mixer

In live production, video is only half the equation, which is why PRIME Switcher includes a built-in multichannel audio mixer. From the simple audio-mixing interface, PRIME switcher ensures a seamless listening experience for your audience. Once you set your playout configuration, embedded audio from external inputs as well as internal source audio from graphics and clips channels is made available in the mixer. Once your show beings, you can choose to manage fader volume manually or keep it largely hands-free with Audio Follow Video (AFV) functionality. And of course, there’s a Mute button for unwanted audio sources and emergency situations.

All-in-One PRIME Studio Experience

In last week’s article, we talked about how the PRIME Live Platform serves as the foundation for a wide array of software modules you can layer over your engine as you see fit. To offer a complete production control room toolset, PRIME Live Platform can merge this new production switcher/audio mixing capability with our renowned real-time graphics and clip playout tools.

As mentioned earlier, PRIME CG serves as the backbone for PRIME Switcher’s transition effects and DVE scenes, but it can also take your show to new heights with broadcast-grade graphics. PRIME Switcher is configurable with up to two channels of PRIME CG, the market’s most flexible system for the creation, control, and playout of 3D graphics, text, and images. The intuitive PRIME Designer interface makes it easy to produce dynamic lower thirds, over-the-shoulders, and data-driven scene elements. With unlimited layers on output, you’ll always have the resources you need to make stunning graphics.

PRIME Switcher is also configurable with up to two Channels PRIME Clips – for playout of pre-rendered clips with dynamic assets such as text and graphics. To meet your demanding production environments, PRIME Clips is compatible with all major video resolutions, formats, and codecs – and offers built-in conversion capabilities on all ingest and playout channels.

Unified Production Control

Since all of these production tools exist on the common foundation of the PRIME Live Platform, they seamlessly combine into a customizable unified production interface. PRIME Switcher provides the familiar production switcher control panel you’re used to in software form, allowing you to click or keyboard shortcut your way through your show. In addition to the switcher panel, you also have access to the audio mixer and unique CG/Clips controls from this single interface. Active CG and clip channels provide a multiviewer window with simple playback and file cue controls – and your project file folder with all your clips, images, and graphics scenes is directly browsable from the interface. Find the graphic you want, drag it into the channel, play it to air, and cue up the next one for playback.

The PRIME control panel combining production switcher, audio mixer, graphics, and clip playout

Customizable Multiviewer Interface

For a smooth technical director experience, PRIME Switcher’s interface includes an Atlas H264-based MultiViewer with windows for Program, Preview, ME1, and all external/internal inputs in the switcher. The stream-friendly nature of the MultiViewer makes it easy to distribute around your facility or to remote production supervisors – because an extra set of eyes on your show never hurts.

Finally, all of the production elements within the PRIME Switcher interface – including the control panels, file browser, and MultiViewer windows – are totally customizable. You can resize, move, and dock different elements of the interface how you see fit, to create the layout that’s most comfortable for you.

Flexible PRIME Architecture

As part of the PRIME Live Platform, PRIME Switcher benefits from an incredibly versatile foundation that provides everything you want from a modern production switcher. Input and output your sources in a combination of SDI, NDI, and H264 streams. Produce in the SD, HD, and 4K-UHD formats that accommodate your broadcast, streaming, and display requirements. Enjoy an end-to-end HDR workflow, including built-in SDR & HDR cross-conversion. Finally, PRIME’s environment-agnostic design enables deployment via on-prem hardware, virtualization, or public (AWS) and private cloud infrastructure.

Hardware Flypack or Cloud Production Switcher

From a production switcher standpoint, PRIME Live Platform’s environment-agnostic architecture presents some exciting opportunities. In a 3RU PRIME chassis hardware deployment, PRIME Switcher can accommodate up to 15 video channels (input or output) in a combination of SDI, NDI, or H264 network streams – making it a great choice for OTA, OTT, and live streaming productions across news, sports, and live events. Meanwhile, the ability to deploy a production switcher in the cloud – be it Amazon Web Service (AWS) or private cloud infrastructure – makes it possible to operate outside the bounds of hardware. Spin-up channels in new markets with minimal control room real-estate and staffing requirements. Create a rapid-response disaster recovery system that can get your broadcasts back on-air in a matter of seconds. PRIME Live Platform’s cloud-enabled architecture enables truly unique production switcher workflows.

Software-Based Production Switcher. PRIME Production Power.

PRIME Switcher combines an essential production switcher / audio mixer feature set with the dynamic, broadcast-grade engine of the PRIME Live Platform. Taking advantage of the platform’s software-based architecture, PRIME Switcher also serves as the central component of an all-in-one PRIME studio experience. Remember, this is the first release, and there are plenty of game-changing features arriving in version releases to come.

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