WebStreaming - and live video production
Working out what you need in order to set up for live video production can be quite a daunting task, not to mention the operational techniques that will be required to use it. What I mean by "live video production" is any sort of live transmission (typically over the internet these days), or video recording, that comprises more than a single source. In other words, anything that goes beyond recording direct onto a camera, or transmitting the direct output of a single camera. The "live" element is the switching and combining of multiple feeds, either from cameras, pre-recorded video playback, text-based captions, graphics & computer output and other remote feeds. At one time this would have required a fully-manned purpose-built TV studio or Outside Broadcast unit, but these days the entry-level hardware requirements are far more modest, and a surprising amount can be achieved by a single operator.
Finding the balance between hardware and software
Hardware will usually only do what it does when you buy it, so the argument goes, but software is far more more versatile and can be continually updated to provide improved features. Computers have changed the face of broadcasting in so many ways, and the benefits have certainly filtered down to all levels of video production, giving lower-budget users functionality that was once the exclusive domain of the TV networks. But it would be a mistake to think that computers are the answer to everything production-related, and that it's just a matter of finding the right app. Handling multiple streams of video in real-time, particularly at HD resolutions and frame rates, is not something you should expect to do on every laptop (yet), for example, and is one reason why there is still a place for some dedicated hardware. Off-loading the tasks which require the most "brute-force" to external hardware will leave the computer with more resources to do the things it's good at, one of which is providing a highly customisable work surface from which to control everything. But that in itself is another reason why there's still a place for hardware. There's only so much that can be done with one pair of hands using a keyboard and a mouse, or even a touch-screen. And not every task lends itself to these sorts of controls.
Live audio mixing is a prime example of something for which hardware still offers a very effective solution. A row of sliding faders offers a tactile multi-finger user interface which is hard to beat at a practical level. Also, audio equipment generally is now at a fairly mature stage in it's development, with the possible exception of radio transceiver units, and any investment in things like good quality microphones, headphones and mixers is unlikely result in the same sort of rapid obsolescence as experienced with other electronic items like computers, phones, TVs and cameras. As such, buying used equipment is a perfectly viable option, and most of my personal professional audio kit was either bought new 20+ years ago, or has been bought as used items (mainly from ebay) more recently.
VidBlaster & vMix add-ons
|Video Capture cards, Converters and other related products||Price|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11040 - (single) HDMI input - Gen-2 PCIe card||200.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11080 - Dual HDMI inputs - 4x PCIe card||402.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11100 - Quad HDMI inputs - 4x PCIe card||723.00|
Magewell + vMix bundle
vMix HD switching/streaming/recording software for PC, together with a Magewell Pro Capture Quad HDMI input PCIe card (requires 4-lane slot)
|Magewell Pro Capture 11050 - (single) HD SDI input - PCIe card||200.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11060 - Dual HD SDI inputs - 4x PCIe card||402.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11090 - Quad HD SDI inputs - 4x PCIe card||723.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11030 - DVI/VGA/HDMI input (plus audio)-||268.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11070 - Dual DVI/VGA/HDMI inputs - 4x PCIe card||523.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11020 - AIO multi-connector SDI/HDMI/DVI/analogue card||361.00|
|Magewell Pro Capture 11110/11130 - mini HDMI or mini SDI - mini PCIe card||200.00|
|Magewell 20171 XI100XUSB-Pro/PNP - Single channel, multi-input, inc HD-SDI, HDMI/DVI/VGA/YUV/composite + audio connections - external USB3 box||417.00|
|Magewell 32011/32021 (XI100DUSB) - USB3 Capture Dongle - single channel, up to 1080p60, HDMI or SDI version - read more below||238.00
also available on Amazon.co.uk
|Magewell 32040 & 50 USB Capture Plus - enhanced USB3 capture dongles with video loop-thru and audio I/O. HDMI & SDI versions available||287.00|
|Magewell 32080 USB Capture Plus DVI - driverless USB3 capture dongle. Can capture DVI, HDMI, VGA or analogue video, plus analogue audio I/O.||337.00|
|Magewell XI204XE multi-input capture card. Dual SD/HD which can take SD/HD video or PC graphics card output via HDMI/DVI/VGA/YUV/composite connections + Quad SD composite video + dual 2ch analogue audio + audio over HDMI - all in a 4-lane PCIe card (as reviewed in the above video)||discontinued|
Pro Capture 4K cards
As well as 4K & UHD, these cards can capture at 2560x1440 at up to 12bit colour depth and YUV 4:4:4 sampling (for game capture).
|11120 Magewell Pro Capture - HDMI 4K - up to 30fps||402.00|
|11150 Magewell Pro Capture - HDMI 4K Plus - up to 60fps, HDMI 2.0||723.00|
|11160 Magewell Pro Capture - DVI 4K - up to 30fps, DVI/HDMI||402.00|
|11170 Magewell Pro Capture - AIO 4K - up to 30fps, HDMI + 6G SDI||441.00|
|11140 Magewell Pro Capture - AIO 4K Plus - up to 60fps, HDMI 2.0 + 6G SDI||763.00|
a sample of the
Magewell range of audio & video capture products,
most of which are available to order
See more Magewell products & prices here
|AverMedia C127 Single channel PCIe capture card with HDMI & VGA inputs||80.00|
|Startech PEXHDCAP Versatile single channel PCIe card with HDMI, DVI, VGA & analogue inputs||106.00|
|Startech USB2 single channel video capture adaptor||30.00|
|Startech USB2 single channel video/audio capture adaptor||40.00|
|BlackMagic Decklink PCIe Mini Recorder (input) or Mini Monitor (output) with HDMI+SDI||99.00|
|VS-626 HDMI up/down SD/HD scaler & frame-rate converter 50/60Hz||160.00|
|Matrox Monarch - H264 streaming/recording appliance, HDMI i/p||685.00|
|Teradeck VidiU - Consumer camera-top HDMI H264 Encoder||460.00|
|Video Switching & Streaming software|
|VidBlaster Home/Pro/Studio/Broadcast software editions for PC||prices here|
|vMix SD / HD / 4K / Pro switching/streaming/recording software for PC||prices here|
|Wirecast Studio v7 software - PC or Mac||365.00|
|Wirecast Pro v7 software - PC or Mac (upgrades available - POA)||730.00|
|Wirecast Gear - complete turnkey systems (using Magewell input cards)|
|Wirecast Gear 100 – 4 HDMI, 250GB SSD video storage, NewBlueFX Titler Live Standard||3,895.00|
|Wirecast Gear 200 – 4 SDI, 500GB SSD video storage, NewBlueFX Titler Live Advance (w/NDI)||4,750.00|
|Wirecast Gear 220 – 4 SDI, 2TB SSD video storage, NewBlueFX Titler Live Ultimate||5,500.00|
Magewell USB3 Video Capture Dongle
This versatile pocket-sized USB3 video & audio capture device for Windows will accept a wide range of graphics card output sizes via its full-size HDMI input connection, as well as regular broadcast video resolutions, either SD or HD, interlaced or progressive, with embedded 48KHz stereo audio. It will auto-detect the incoming video resolution and can scale it externally to a range of common resolutions, from 640x360 to 1920x1200, at frame rates up to 60p.
An SDI/HD-SDI version is also available for capturing broadcast video
resolutions with embedded stereo audio.
The HDMI capture dongle has
been tested with a range of USB3 host chipsets, including Intel, NEC/Renesas ,
Asmedia - although we can't guarantee every permutation of chipsets and drivers
(but it seems far less fussy than the BM Intensity Shuttle!). The Magewell spec
indicates support for Linux (kernel version 2.6.38 and above), OS X (10.8 and
above), but we have no facilities to test under those O/Ss.
Live web streaming support services for small-scale events and webinars
ZEN Computer Services can offer a back-end service to support live web streaming for smaller-scale events, product launches, training sessions, and suchlike. The service is aimed at video production companies and videographers with little or no prior experience of web streaming who have been asked to provide such a service as an add-on to existing video coverage.
At its simplest level, ZEN will provide the encoding equipment and operator, and provide quality-control monitoring of the stream during transmission.
The supporting services can be extended to include audio mixing and software vision mixing, allowing multiple cameras to be used, along with caption overlays and vision inserts from virtual VTRs. Whilst not intended as a replacement for a full OB, the system allows many of the same elements to be included in a live web broadcast, operated from a desktop PC, at a relatively modest cost.
Final details and rate card are still being worked on, but please phone or email if this is of interest