Abekas A-42 Still Store
Russell Hall put together this nice guide to operations for the A-42. All I did was add an overview and a few notes and post it here. Thanks, Russell!
Most TDs know the A-42 well and could handle it in their sleep (I think I have) but there will be some who don't. Although this is an old device, it's still in use out there and once in a while someone who grew up on a Leitch or other still store might be lost when encountering the A-42 for the first time.
1.)After the unit is booted up, highlight only the [AIR] button on the control panel and make sure that [PVW] is off.
2.)Make sure that the EIC has properly patched the monitor wall so that you see one still channel that is "AIR" and another still channel that is "PVW" with the edit prompt supered over the preview channel.
3.)To avoid confusion, it is always a good idea to delete all stills from the unit. The only exception to this is if a previous TD or truck EIC has noted on the unit not to delete certain stills. Otherwise, press the following keys to do a full delete. [DEL], , [TO], , , , , [ENTER]. You can watch the PVW screen and see the unit performing the delete.
4.)Next, determine what feeds the still store input. If there is ever a question as to what is feeding the input, hit the [BYPASS] key and the PVW screen will show you what is being fed to the input. After you have confirmed this, hit [BYPASS] again to return to normal operation.
5.)Once you have your source routed properly and you are ready to grab the still, delegate the panel to record mode by hitting the [REC] key then hit the [GRAB] key. The still is now in a buffer. Make sure that the [FLD] key is not highlighted or else you will be grabbing them as fields and not frames. This is very important to protect the quality of the still.
6.)Next, enter the number you want the still to be placed at. (i.e. [CLR], , , [ENTER] will record the still at number 10).
7.)For fast recording, you can simply hit [GRAB] followed by the [right arrow key] and the still will be recorded at the next available number.
8.)To transfer a still to the AIR side simply hit [TAKE] and the transfer is made. Remember, you can route both still air and still preview to your switcher and take either side live but you must remember that if you take the preview side you are not able cue any new still.
9.)To make the transfer dissolve instead of take. Perform the following key strokes: [MORE], , [ENTER], , , [ENTER], [PLAY]. What you just did is bring up a sub-menu and entered the "fade" menu. You gave it a duration of 10 frames then went back to "play" mode.
10.)Now, for basic operation, highlight the [PLAY] button and just enter the still number on the keypad, followed by [ENTER] and the still will appear on the preview side. Hit [TAKE] and it will dissolve to the air side. If you go to still air and the director wants to dissolve to another still, do it on the still store by entering the still number, it will appear on the PVW side, then when he says dissolve, hit the [TAKE] button on the still store.
The unit can store up to 3 sequences which can play back any order of stills that you desire.
1.)First select which one of the sequence numbers that you are going to use. Do this by pressing [PL SEQ]. Each time you press this button you will notice that it toggles between SEQ 1, SEQ 2 and SEQ 3. For this example, we will assume that you are using sequence #1.
2.)Press the [MK SEQ] button which stands for "make sequence". Press [CLR] on the number keypad and enter the first number in the sequence (for example, still # 10). Followed by each entry hit the [SEQ IN] button. (You may have to hit enter between the number and the [SEQ IN]. Continue to do this for each entry in the sequence (for example, still #4, still #100, still # 1) and as you do, you will note that the edit screen is tallying up the stills as item #ís.
3.)Once you are done, return to [PL SEQ] mode. Look at the edit screen and press the [LEFT ARROW] key until the unit has cued up item #1 (which in our example would be still # 10).
4.)To play the sequence, hit [ENTER] on the keypad which will advance the first item to the air side. On your switcher, put still air on line. Now to advance the stills, simply hit [ENTER] each time and it will dissolve the next still onto the air site while simultaneously cueing the next still onto the preview side. For our example, this would playback the stills in the order of still #ís 10, 4, 100 and 1.
5.)Once you have checked your sequence, you can return to normal [PLAY] mode for basic operation. Be sure that once you return to [PL SEQ] mode that you are A.)cued on the correct sequence number that you programmed B.)that item number one is what is currently cued and C.)That you have advanced item number one to the air side by hitting [ENTER].
If you are working a show where you are using the switcher frame stores for "mattes" and "fills" for replay logos or other DVE effects, you should ALWAYS grab these in your still store first then grab them from still store to the switcher, NOT directly to the switcher from a tape machine or Chyron. If your switcher has to be re-booted or crashes, you will be in control of re-grabbing these stills instead of trying to pull them from tape or Chyron again which could be nearly impossible if you are in the middle of a show.
Russell did a great job on this guide! I can only think of two things to add:
- Since ANY A-42 can be considered "old" and is likely to be in an older analog truck, it is a good idea to check timing and video levels. Start by capturing color bars and then playing them back on both the PVW and AIR channels. Look at these on a scope. Graphics that go from tape to still store and then through the DVE have lots of opportunity to start looking bad so we may as well minimize damage potential. I've met a lot of A-42s that were off.
- Usually you want to grab in "frame" mode as described above but if you have to capture moving video, you may need to capture fields to avoid jittering (the LED on the [FLD] button will be on while in field capture mode).