Crystal Vision's latest chroma keyer fills an important gap in the market: a product that provides affordable high quality real-time chroma keying. Safire 3 Xpress is ideal for weather, news bureaus and other single static camera 3Gb/s, HD or SD applications that use simple backgrounds rather than a full virtual set and require high quality chroma keying combined with straightforward control. Useful features such as input frame synchronizers and lighting compensation mean that Safire 3 Xpress will always outperform a studio mixer.
Working with 31 different video standards (including 1080p), Safire 3 Xpress combines its high quality processing with a simple features set, making control really easy for even a less-technical operator. Instinctive operation of all functions is available via any web browser (using VisionWeb Control) – with a hardware control panel also available for those who prefer knobs and buttons. Safire 3 Xpress offers simple auto setup by sampling the brightness and hue of one representative point on the backdrop to set the range of colors to key on and to get the optimum chroma key values – suitable for most applications. For those who wish to optimize the picture further, there are tools to eliminate key noise and transparency, tune the backdrop key color, adjust the variation around the key color, manage color spill, enhance edges and increase or reduce shadows.
People often turn to their studio switcher for applications such as news and weather. However, Safire 3 Xpress will always produce better and more reliable results for live virtual productions – especially when the conditions are not perfect, which is usually the case. Switchers struggle to chroma key if the foreground is similar to the key color, the production includes shadows or the lighting is not perfect. Safire 3 Xpress overcomes these challenges with its excellent foreground suppression of the key color, key shrink to remove unwanted outlines, shadow enhancement and powerful lighting compensation for uneven illumination of the backdrop – where it boosts the key to get a uniform key signal across the image. In addition, by using Safire 3 Xpress there will be less for both the switcher and switcher operator to do, with the switcher's resources able to be used elsewhere and another operator usually in charge of setting up the chroma keyer.
With Safire 3 Xpress, a system should just work. Any timing errors will be automatically corrected by the frame synchronizer on each input – synchronizing sources up to one frame apart for easy system timing. Reference timing can be selected to come from any of the video inputs or from SD Black and Burst or HD tri-level syncs. This gives more flexibility in how the background is generated, even allowing the use of a PC-graphics card system which cannot be locked to the camera.
Flexible masks can be used to overrule the keying process – such as masking imperfect areas on a backdrop or allowing a presenter to move behind a virtual object. Keys can be faded in and out and the complete program can be faded to black.
The introduction of Safire 3 Xpress now gives Crystal Vision customers a choice of chroma keyers. For those using multiple cameras and full virtual sets which demand features such as picture filters, color correction and built-in video delay, Safire 3 – Crystal Vision's top-end chroma keyer – is available as an alternative.
Explained Crystal Vision's Managing Director, Philip Scofield: "The combination of Safire 3 Xpress and the original Safire 3 brings a new level of realism to a wider range of chroma keying applications – from fixed camera weather or news right up to the most sophisticated virtual reality program."
Shipping now, Safire 3 Xpress is a 4 x 10.5 inches module which fits in Crystal Vision's Indigo frames – alongside the company's signal processing boards – with up to 12 boards fitting in 2RU. Relay bypass protection is available as an option.
Based at Whittlesford near Cambridge in the UK and with an office in the USA, Crystal Vision provides a full range of interface and keyers and helps people transition through a range of technologies – from SD to HD and from HD to IP.