How to Use the Audio/Video Rack


GroundWorks is equipped with two racks of audio and video equipment which allow for the conversion and duplication of a wide variety of supported audio and video formats. An audio/video signal switcher with a touchscreen monitor is installed in each rack to make connecting components as simple as possible. This document will explain how to use the touchscreen to connect and disconnect equipment in the rack.

Before you get started...

Touchscreen Basics

The touchscreens are installed on the right sides of the racks (see image below). Use your finger and touch the screen to connect and disconnect devices. The screen looks like the following (click the image for a larger view):

There are three important types of buttons on the interface:


Source Buttons: On the left side of the screen is a column labeled From, with buttons indicating the available sources for your video/audio connections. You will select the Source of your video/audio from this column.


Destination Buttons: On the right side of the screen is a column labeled To, with buttons indicating the available destinations for your video/audio connections. You will select the Destination of your video/audio from this column.


Control Buttons: At the top of the screen between those two columns are three control buttons, Audio, Video and Delete. Touching these buttons will either activate or deactivate each setting. When each button is highlighted, it is selected and active, and when it appears with a dashed "x" it is deselected and inactive.

The final part of the interface is the large black area in the center of the screen. When you make connections between devices, the connections will show up as wires, or blue and red lines, in this area linking a source to a destination.

Step 1: Set up your connections

Using the touchscreen to make a connection is very simple.

In this example, we will go through the process for connecting two VCR decks for making a VCR tape conversion from PAL (a tape format commonly used in Europe) to NTSC (the format we use in the US). The process for connecting these two decks is the same for connecting any two decks in our either of our racks.

Locate the devices

Decide which rack inputs and outputs to use in order to accomplish the conversion or copy that you need. In this case, we will play our tape on a World VHS deck and record it on a Sony VHS deck. You will also want to connect your output (the Sony VHS deck) to a VCR so that you can see what is being recorded. Make sure these devices aren't already in use by other users.

Find Source and Destination Numbers

Each of the decks in our racks are labeled with an Input/Output number with corresponds to the numbered list of buttons on the touchscreen monitor. Locate the numbers on the decks you are using. For this example, we are using deck number 7 as our source (From), and deck number 8 as our destination (To). We will also connect to a monitor, which is destination number 2.

Step 2: Make the Connections

Connection Settings

Locate the Audio and Video control buttons at the top of the screen. You determine which kind of connection you make between devices, only audio, only video, or both, by selecting or deselecting the audio and video control buttons. While each button is highlighted that type of connection is selected. Touching each button once will turn on or off that selection. Touching that button again will reverse its status.

For these connections, we will want to transfer both audio and video, thus, both buttons must ultimately end up highlighted.

The Delete control button works in the same way as the Audio and Video buttons. When the delete button is selected it will delete your connections rather than create them. Make sure the delete button is deselected.


First we will connect the VCR source to the VCR destination.

On the left side of the touchscreen touch number 7. Then, touch number 8 on the right side of your screen. A double line will appear, signifying that you've made a connection From device 7, a World VHS deck To device 8, a Sony VHS deck.

There may be other connections already on the screen, and these connections will not inhibit your connections unless the devices you would like to use are already in use.

The top blue line, which corresponds to the blue Video control button, represents a video connection. The lower red line, which corresponds to the red Audio control button, represents an audio connection.

If both of these lines do not appear, check to make sure both audio and video control buttons are selected. If you are trying to transfer both audio and video, and only a video connection is made, your audio won't transfer.

Now connect the destination to a monitor in the same way. First, make sure both audio and video are selected. Use the touchscreen to make a connection From device 8 (the Sony VHS deck), To device 2 (one of the video monitors). It's a good idea always to connect your destination, not your source to the monitor, because then you'll see what is being recorded.

Your devices are now connected. You may operate your source and destination to make your transfer.

Step 3: Disconnect

As a courtesy to other users, we request that you remove your connections before leaving GroundWorks. Of course, it is very important to be careful not to disconnect the wrong connection and accidentally interrupt another user's copy or conversion in progress.

To disconnect a connection you'll essentially follow the same procedure as you did for connecting your devices.

Select the type of connection you wish to remove, in this case both audio and video, using the control buttons along the top of the screen. Then, touch the Delete button on the top right of the screen to activate it.

Now retrace your previous connection and touch your source (From), number 7 on the left side of the screen followed by your destination (To), number 8 on the right side of the screen. The double line signifying the connection will disappear.

Repeat this process to delete the connection from the destination to the monitor.

Next steps

Now you can go about the process of setting up connections so you can digitize audio or video, convert a videotape from one format to another, capture a computer-based presentation on videotape, or one of many other possibilities.