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Old-School Video Switching Levels Up With Modern USB Control

Video effects and mixing are done digitally today, but it wasn’t always so. When analog ruled the video world, a big switch panel was key to effective results.

VIdeo like this was the result of combining different analog feeds with different effects. The better the hardware, the more was possible.

Devices like [Glen]’s Grass Valley Series 300 Crosspoint Switch Panel were an important part of that world. With tools like that, a human operator could set up a composited preview feed in true WYSIWYG style, and switch to live on cue. All done with relatively simple CMOS ICs and buttons. Lots and lots of buttons.

[Glen] reverse engineers the panel to show how it works, and most of the heavy lifting is done by the MC14051B analog multiplexer/demultiplexer, and the MC14532B 8-bit priority encoder. Once that’s figured out, the door is open to modernizing things a little by using a microcontroller to drive the device, turning it into a USB peripheral.

With a little design work, [Glen] builds a PCB around the EFM8UB2 8-bit microcontroller to act as a USB peripheral and control the switch panel, taking care of things like key scanning and lamp control. The last step: a GUI application for monitoring and controlling the panel over USB.

This isn’t [Glen]’s first time interfacing to vintage video mixing and switching, and as many of us know it’s sometimes tricky work to interface to existing hardware. We covered his earlier video switcher project using hardware that was not nearly as easy to work with as this one.

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