Tel: 905–690–4709 dk@tfwm.com - Darryl Kirkland, Publisher

Product Review: Echolab Overture1

A lot of things about the Overture1 switcher impressed me. Some of the team members at the church I work with asked how, in our broadcast environment, were we going to support all of the different channel sources (projection screens, overflow spaces, LIVE streaming, etc.) we inevitably deal with. It was great to be able to tell them we have a piece of equipment that makes that easy. Another challenge for us was limited space in our small broadcast studio, but because the Echolab switcher is so compact, it fits perfectly. For something its size, it is amazing what it can do.

In a church/ministry environment, ease of equipment operation leads to a better learning curve, and that’s just what Echolab’s switching solutions have provided for our volunteers and staff. While the Overture1 system offers robust switching capabilities, its ease of use enables effective training for both entry-level and advanced users. The Overture1 is not unlike our current broadcast switcher program here at our ministry. It’s a cost-effective system that provides everything one could possibly need but at a very appealing price point compared with other competitors’ offerings.

The Overture1 Video Production System is fast to set up and intuitive to operate. Its sleek ergonomic design and comprehensive range of production tools give you creative power at your fingertips. This powerful production system will allow you to produce high quality programming and incorporate stunning effects. During the time of our worship production workflow, the Overture1 system worked very well with our current video-scaler to handle all our visual presentations for church service. Besides serving the needs of our broadcast studio, the Overture1 also feeds footage from the broadcast studio area to monitors in the Pastor’s office and other rooms in the church. The video and audio program output is sent over CAT-5 to our streaming media encoder computer to a LIVE audience over the internet, and the (video and audio) mix-down is recorded to DVD and CD for distribution by our Digital Media ministry.

In addition to four ME keys and two downstream keyers, which enable title keying for graphics, logos, and bugs, the Overture1 features unique SuperSource crosspoint keys that make it easy to achieve expert transitions with minimal effort. Rather than tie up existing switcher keyers, the SuperSource feature adds three new keyers that allow the operator to build a custom layout, which can consist of up to three sources using three keyers, available through a crosspoint button. With this keying capacity, SuperSource also makes it easy for the operator to transition in and out of a two-box shot.

The Overture1 system also features the unique new Stinger transition, a special “take block” keyer with combined mix/wipe and graphic control that reduces complex animated transitions to a single button press. While this type of transition can be very difficult to set up, the Stinger feature keeps it simple by managing timing issues and ensuring successful execution of the transition. Like the SuperSource feature, the Stinger transition leaves existing keyers free for other uses.

Overture1 SD accepts up to 16 multiformat analog and digital signals and provides as many as 16 multiformat outputs. Internal frame synchronization helps to ensure the quality of effects, and integrated up/crossconversion within MD models streamlines switching of video in multiple formats. By eliminating the need for genlocked sources and external A-to-D converters when working with sources such as DVD players, satellite, remote broadcast studios, and microwave links, the Overture1 simplifies installation and significantly reduces overall system costs.

Internal frame stores allow unused inputs to be loaded with often-used stills. This frame store option provides easy access to graphics and can even replace a dedicated clip/still store in some applications. Because frame stores can be assigned to any input, they offer tremendous flexibility within a streamlined workflow and help minimize the need to reconfigure wiring. Stills can be captured from any input or loaded via PC, CG, or other device. An FX pack adds DVEs, linear and chroma keyers, and extended clean-feed and DSK functions to the switcher’s functionality.

The Overture1 accepts and delivers both digital and analog signals without the need for external analog-to-digital (A-to-D) converters. A DVE key in each “take block” enables instant transition effects, and robust DVE capabilities are complemented by as many as 34 internal graphics/still stores.

The Overture1 switcher provides the most flawless transitions you could ever imagine, and it has several times the power of any broadcast production switcher our ministry has ever had. Our church volunteers and staff found it easy to learn switching techniques, and they leave our ministry with the skills and confidence to work with any type or size of switcher they encounter in their professional work.

The Overture1 switcher makes it possible to route multiple sources, streaming media sources, projection video sources, digital display signage sources and any legacy analog sources, as needed to different outputs. Additionally, the Overture1 switcher ease of operation has enabled our church volunteers and staff to run sophisticated, live production with minimal training and setup.

We’ve worked with a variety of switchers in the past, but our church technical crew has never found any other broadcast switcher with these types of capabilities. This review of the Echolab Overture1 production switcher was based on price, quality of design, and user-friendliness, and my decision to use the Overture1 was based not only on the performance and reliability of the company’s products, but also on Echolab’s knowledgeable and conscientious staff. I am sure that when our church transitions to HD, Echolab will be the company that comes to mind for the upgrade of our broadcast switchers.