While Covid hasn’t gone away (and probably never will) at least thanks to the vaccines we are learning how to deal with it. That means the world is now slowly opening up to international travel. And that means more face to face events. So I am please to say that I will be attending the ProAV Expo event in Copenhagen on October 13/14th 2021.
With some difficult times ahead and the need for most of us to minimise contact with others there has never been a greater need for streaming and online video services that now.
I’m setting up some streaming gear in my home office so that I can do some presentations and online workshops over the coming weeks.
I am not an expert on this and although I did recently buy a hardware RTMP streaming encoder, like many of us I didn’t have a good setup for live feeds and streaming.
So like so many people I tried to buy a Blackmagic Design Atem, which is a low cost all in one switcher and streaming device. But guess what? They are out of stock everywhere with no word on when more will become available. So I have had to look at other options.
The good news is that there are many options. There is always your mobile phone, but I want to be able to feed several sources including camera feeds, the feed from my laptop and the video output from a video card.
OBS is s great piece of software that can convert almost any video source connected to a computer into a live stream that can be sent to most platforms including Facebook and YouTube etc. If the computer is powerful enough it can switch between different camera sources and audio sources. If you follow the tutorials on the OBS website it’s pretty quick and easy to get it up and running.
So how am I getting video into the laptop that’s running OBS? I already had a Blackmagic Mini Recorder which is an HDMI and SDI to thunderbolt input adapter and I shall be using this to feed the computer. There are many other options but the BM Mini Recorders are really cheap and most dealers stock them as well as Amazon. it’s HD only but for this I really don’t need 4K or UHD.
Taking things a step further I also have both an Atomos Sumo and an Atomos Shogun 7. Both of these monitor/recorders have the ability to act as a 4 channel vision switcher. The great thing about these compared to the Blackmagic Atem is that you can see all your sources on a single screen and you simply touch on the source that you wish to go live. A red box appears around that source and it’s output from the device.
So now I have the ability to stream a feed via OBS from the SDI or HDMI input on the Blackmagic Mini Recorder, fed from one of 4 sources switched by the Atomos Sumo or Shogun 7. A nice little micro studio setup. My sources will be my FS5 and FX9. I can use my Shogun as a video player. For workflow demos I will use another laptop or my main edit machine feeding the video output from DaVinci Resolve via a Blackmagic Mini Monitor which is similar to the mini recorder but the mini monitor is an output device with SDI and HDMI outputs. The final source will be the HDMI output of the edit computer so you can see the desktop.
Don’t forget audio. You can probably get away with very low quality video to get many messages across. But if the audio is hard to hear or difficult to understand then people won’t want to watch your stream. I’m going to be feeding a lavalier (tie clip) mic directly into the computer and OBS.
I think really my main reason for writing this was really to show that many of us probably already have most of the tools needed to put together a small streaming package. Perhaps you can offer this as a service to clients that need to now think about online training or meetings. I was lucky enough to have already had all the items listed in this article, the only extras I have had to but are an extra thunderbolt cable as I only had one. But even if you don’t have a Sumo or Shogun 7 you can still use OBS to switch between the camera on your laptop and any other external inputs. The OBS software is free and very powerful and this really is the keystone to making this all work.
I will be starting a number of online seminars and sessions in the coming weeks. I do have some tutorial videos that I need to finish editing first, but once that’s done expect to see lots of interesting online content from me. Do let me know what topics you would like to see covered and subject to a little bit of sponsorship I’ll see what I can do.
Stay well people. This will pass and then we can all get back on with life again.
Well I’m finally home from a near month long tour around Asia taking in India, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Taiwan. I had a lot of fun meeting many wonderful people and learning a lot about the different approaches to broadcasting and film making in the region.
I started in Mumbai, India with a shoot at Film City. Film is still king when it comes to even low budget movies in India. There are over 2000 films a year released in the Indian market. Cinematography is a craft passed from father to son in many cases, with the younger generation working as assistants learning from the older, more experienced operators. This is a great way to learn core craft skills, but with technology advancing so rapidly right now and digital production starting to have a larger and larger impact on the industry it does tend to leave a bit of a gap in the knowledge base.
Trying to explain things like S-Log and picture profiles to a die hard film cameraman is hard! Still at Broadcast India there was a constant stream of people coming to the Sony booth actively seeking out the PMW-F3, wanting to know more about it.
From India, I went to Vietnam via Thailand. Flying over the floods was an eyeopener. It was like flying over the sea, only trees and buildings were sticking out of the ocean of water. From what I’ve heard many industries are being seriously impacted by the floods. It looks like hard drives may be in short supply for the next year due to damage to the factories. Other businesses have supply problems as major warehouses have been cut off by the floods. Vietnam itself is an amazing country. Very friendly people and beautiful countryside. Great food too.
I did get to spend a day at Ha Long Bay where I shot some footage that I will edit into a little short in the next few days. After that I went to VTV, the state broadcaster in Hanoi to talk about file based workflows and the Sony F3. Hanoi is a city with a real buzz and I’ve never seen so many mopeds and scooters in my life.
After Hanoi it was on to Hong Kong for a series of workshops on low cost 3D video production (using Sony cameras and the Genus Hurricane Rig) and a workshop on the Sony F3 with a lot of work on S-Log and Picture Profiles.
In Hong Kong I got to play with EI S-log which is a very welcome upgrade to the current version of S-Log.
From Hong Kong it was a short flight to Taipei in Taiwan. Taipei is a modern cosmopolitan city that had a look similar to a Japanese city. In Taipei I held a couple of workshops at the studios of national broadcaster PTS on XDCAM HD 422 using Sony PDW-F800’s and 700’s as well as PMW-500’s. Then a workshop on Digital Cinematography with the PMW-F3 and FS100. Again lots of time spent on S-Log and Picture Profiles, including some shooting and grading with a Convergent Design Gemini. We also took a look at lenses and I showed how to do some basic lens tests to help when looking for a decent lens to use on either camera. Over the two days the workshops were attended by around 90 people, a great turn out. PTS was very generous in their support of the workshops providing around 15 HD monitors so the attendees could see exactly what was being shot, graded and played back. Sony also provided lots of cameras and lenses to play with. I finished off the trip with a quick 3D workshop for KP Photo before flying home via Hong Kong.
Later in the Month I’ll be in Dubai for a Sony event, demoing a pair of F3’s on a hurricane rig for low budget, high quality 3D acquisition.
Camera setup, reviews, tutorials and information for pro camcorder users from Alister Chapman.