In the new era of webcasting, live broadcast teams have had to become ever more mobile, and interest has been rising in more compact, highly portable live broadcast equipment. A traditional broadcast switcher offers a wealth of functionality, but in the webcasting era, a switcher that’s easier to carry, faster to set up, and simpler to use can offer a serious competitive advantage.
SINA is one of China’s leading technology companies and owns Sina Weibo, a microblogging platform with over 500 million users. SINA’s annual Games event draws considerable interest, and the reliability of the livestream is critical. With 300–400 people on-site in the National Convention Centre, space is at a premium, and with just three seats assigned to the live production, a small on-site switcher was a key requirement.
SINA has previously used the Sony MCX-500 multi-camera switcher for events such as the Weibo player festival and MCN meeting. It’s proven to be stable and reliable in operation, with SDI/HDMI input/output that fully meets SINA’s live broadcast requirements, so it was a natural choice to use it for SINA Games in conjunction with Sony PXW-Z150 camcorders.
The Sony MCX-500 switcher is user-friendly, convenient and fast. The MCX-500 is designed around the concept of making it quick and easy for a single operator to capture and broadcast live with ease and speed.
Its front structure layout is very simple. The buttons are arranged in a row by type. The square and round buttons separate the important video-switching area from the audio-switching area. The controls should be clear to the user at a glance as the buttons are arranged in a row by type. Which key corresponds to which function is clear at a glance.
On the left side of the switcher is the fader of the PGM, which can control the final volume of the synthesized PGM signal. The control has a smooth, responsive operation for precise control.
Despite its compact dimensions and light weight, the MCX-500 does not lose out in terms of core features for professional live streaming.
The MCX-500 provides multiple video inputs, including four professional broadcast 3G-SDI input interfaces, two analog signal interfaces, and two HDMI signal interfaces. There’s also a dedicated DSK channel for on-screen graphics and a 5-channel audio mixer. The MCX-500 gives you everything you need to wow an audience.
Moreover, the MCX-500 has a five-channel mixer, and each channel can be individually controlled for audio volume, which is very flexible!
You can also choose whether to link with the input video signal. The MCX-500 effectively integrates the features of a small audio mixer.
This has the advantage of simplifying a production by integrating almost everything into a single compact unit, saving equipment and personnel costs.
In summary, we found that the key features of Sony’s MCX-500 are very practical in our use case. We had the functions we needed, and the MCX-500’s interface was very efficient for our operator to get the results needed efficiently and quickly. We could tell that MCX-500 was designed by Sony to offer easy access to all the most important functions required for a typical event.
For example, it can perform common screen transitions and other operations such as: stitching, smear, etc. very quickly and easily. It can also perform picture-in-picture effects embedded in multiple positions on screen, and provide a virtual studio image using chromakey. A PC can be connected to provide subtitles and other features.
Another great example of the MCX-500’s cost-effectiveness is its SD Card slot. There’s no need to use a separate deck, the MCX-500 itself allows you to insert an SD Card directly, so you can record program (PGM) outputs in AVCHD or XAVC-S. As soon as your shoot wraps, you can immediately hand the client a recording on an SD card. It’s great for re-broadcasting, editing, or highlights packages. Alternatively, the MCX-500 has the ability to directly broadcast a program to the Internet.
Meanwhile, for remote operation, you can use a computer, iPad, or even mobile phones to control the switcher, so MCX-500 is incredibly flexible and convenient.
In addition, the MCX-500 can be connected to compatible camcorders via the LANC cable for remote control with the RM-30BP remote control.
Tally signals can be sent to the connected camcorders so you always know which camcorder is live on-air. A tally indicator will automatically appear on each camcorder’s LCD panel and Electronic View Finder — a red icon indicates when the shot is live (PGM), while green indicates preview mode (PVW).
Overall, the MCX-500 switcher is a great choice for many applications thanks to its unique combination of entry-level pricing, ease of use, comprehensive features, reassuring Sony broadcast-standard reliability and exceptional portability — it even comes with a convenient carrying strap!
For those who have mobile video broadcast needs, Sony MCX-500 switcher is definitely worth a demo.