IBC 2009: Echolab Updates Low-Cost Switcher

Atem product offers 3-gig support, robust still-store capability

IBC Amsterdam 2009: Complete Coverage of the IBC Show

Echolab used the IBC Show in Amsterdam to unveil the new version of Atem, the 1 M/E (mix/effects) production switcher with 3-gigabit-per-second, 1080/60 capability that it first introduced at NAB.

Atem, which lists for under $20,000 and is designed to compete with cost-conscious switchers from manufactures like For-A and Panasonic, has experienced strong demand from customers to date, says Echolab CEO Nigel Spratling, with 50 units on backorder.

The system has four upstream and two downstream keyers, with Echolab's "SuperSource" crosspoint and Stinger transition technology allowing a user to build a composition of as many as 11 layers. It has 10 mixed-format inputs with built-in synchronization and scaling that can handle either SD or HD signals, along with two inputs for computer signals.


Spratling says the updated Atem has better handling of graphics and stills than the prototype Echolab showed at NAB. The system now has 32 internal still stores and two clip players, allowing a user to preload graphics into a switcher before a production and eliminate the need for extra equipment to handle graphic playback.

While the type of producers who buy Atem aren't likely to dive into 1080p/60 production in the near future, Echolab customers tend to keep a switcher for a long time, says Spratling, so 3-gig support "keeps them safe."