Battle of the SD video mixers. Which has the best look when upscaled to HD?

After spending some hard earned cash building a good upscale chain (based on Chris Konopka’s old LZX FB group posts, which I think looks great) : I am wondering if anyone has done A/B testing of upscaled captures from different SD mixers (V4 vs V8 vs V4EX) or if it would make more sense to get a mixer that runs at HD, and use this upscale chain into the mixer, and capture with the Hyperdeck Studio Mini.

Current chain Vidiot → Orei upscaler to HD, Decimator for from HD to HD (just for frame correction) and into the Hyperdeck Mini.

Basically trying to weigh the cost benefit of a V4 in the chain, upscaled, vs the $500 more for a HD video mixer. My camera is HDMI / mini SDI out also, so for rescanning and feedback I would like to operate at HD regardless.

Anyways, if anyone has spent any time A/Bing upscaled SD mixer vs HD mixer running upscalers into it, please let me know.

I am leaning towards a v-440 or Panasonic MX 100 and not V4, but curious to hear others input.

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Hey!

I am a giant proponent of the V4 mixer (as many on here are) ! While I have not run SD->UP->HD MIXER

I do run a similar LZX Visionary Encoder->V4->UP(BM Analog to SDI into Decimator)->ATOMOS HD CAPTURE and feel very happy with the results. I haven’t noticed any drop off going into the V4 if that is what you are specifically asking. I also think the V4 is the best live performance SD mixer ever made, it is a video art tool all by itself and is essential for live visuals with an LZX/Feedback setup. I struggle to think that you wouldn’t find a use for it even if you use it in a different part of the chain than what you lay out above.

Included are a couple shots with the workflow I described above:


Hope this helps and if you find a working V4 under 250 you should buy it in a heartbeat :wink:

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Yes, these captures look great (and are around what I would expect / have gotten from my upscale chain). I guess I am looking for a hard a/b of captures from upscaled SD mixer VS upscaled chain running into an HD mixer. I am positive they will look different, and of course ‘better’ is subjective, but if anyone has some hard tests, please feel free to chime in.

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Friend!

I am sure you are aware that information sharing in our community is limited. With that in mind, you might appreciate that essentially what you are inviting is a diligent artist’s research into their medium.

In my opinion, our community needs more of this type of rigorous collaboration. I have completed skew testing to validate my own signal flow for upscaling and capture–but sharing A/B results is a bit beyond what I’d find to be equitable.

As a starting point for your own consideration, you might find the following useful:

  • Limiting objects inbetween the output and capture points in your signal flow will in general increase fidelity. Objects can be added for aesthetic or control purposes.
  • Directly capturing the output of your system in its native format and delivering to the most sophisticated upscaling device affordable will in general preserve the character of the source material.
  • For my purposes, I have found the AJA Ki Pro Rack (Thanks @a_digital_index!) to be the most reliable and flexible capture and upscaling device in the analog equipment space.
  • To refer back to my first note, I have included an AJA FS-1 in my capture signal flow. Without a doubt, it decreases the fidelity by some margin when compared to directly capturing on the KPR. With that being said, I find the flexibility of a downstream proc amp to justify the loss.
  • In general, and for convenience, I use the pass through upscaling of the KPR to deliver video to an Ultrastudio Mini 4k for daily notes and sketching. Black Magic devices have their own upscaling character, and as a result the captured output from KPR > Ultrastudio is different and not necessarily better than the direct KPR captures themselves.

Best of luck on your video adventure,
I encourage you to never take anyone’s word for it,
and should you take that advice please share the results of your own skew testing–if for no other reason but to establish the idea of information sharing as a cultural aspect of video art.

Godspeed!

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Sorry man, maybe I misread your question but when you say curious to hear others input about a specific item I figured you wanted feedback on said item.

Good luck on getting your answers.

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Thanks John, appreciate your share of info, regardless. I would certainly grab a V4 if I found one for the right price. And, this hobby is not for the light of wallet, hence the ask on specifics.

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@7pip : appreciate the perspective, to be honest it is very far from my own “artist and not the tools” approach, coming to this as an extension of graphic design and music, and not from video art. I don’t mean to belittle anyones value of the ‘diligent research’ you describe. Thanks for the input on the gear. I have unfortunately already spent the money on an upscale chain and recorder, hence me asking the questions before making more purchases.

I will be happy to report back to my own thread with some caps once I borrow some gear to A/B myself.

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To directly answer your question,

  • When possible, consider decoding component video and mixing at the 1V level. In the current gear landscape, VCs in the same sync system with CTBCs can achieve this.
  • When that’s impractical, and you must use an external mixer: HVS100 > V440HD > V4EX > V4 etc.
  • In my experience when using a mixer, upstream upscaling and HD mixing is better than SD mixing and downstream upscaling to HD.
  • When upscaling, I have found the best results using an AJA KPR. This has also been a useful downscaling tool for bringing HD sources into the system with a lot of pillarboxing/cropping/sidebar keying options.

Frabjous perspective! Thanks for sharing!

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Thank you, this is -precisely- what I am looking for (and it will affect my decision on what I focus my next bit of energy towards in terms of the spend).

48h video is a great resource btw, I appreciate the effort and share.

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