Multicamera streaming at a low cost!
Updated: Feb 17
What exactly is multi-camera input?
Picture this: you're live streaming a concert, and you have multiple camera angles capturing different aspects of the performance. With a multi-camera input system, you can effortlessly switch between each of these angles, just like a professional TV broadcast. Not only does it make your live stream more dynamic, but it also allows you to incorporate graphics and other elements in a more seamless way.
Gone are the days of being stuck with a single camera angle for your live streams. With a multi-camera input system, you have the power to create a truly engaging and professional-looking live stream. So, whether you're live streaming a concert, a conference, or a gaming tournament, a multi-camera setup is definitely worth considering.
Is equipment still too pricey?
Live broadcasting with multiple cameras has become more affordable, but the equipment costs may still be too high for small businesses.
Didn't the equipment used in broadcasting advance at a quick pace in today's technology?
Newer and cheaper equipment has been introduced in recent years, but they may not always meet the needs of all broadcasters.
So, is it possible to produce multi-camera broadcasts on a budget?
Oh boy, those big-budget broadcasting standards are no joke, requiring skilled labor and a whole lot of cash. But fear not my friends, I'll do my best to create a system that's easy on the wallet while still delivering top-notch results. Ready to take the plunge? Let's dive in!
What are the requirements for a low-budget stream?
Cameras and Cables:
SDI cameras and cabling are the standard in broadcasting, but they can be expensive for most streamers. Instead, cameras with clean HDMI outputs are more affordable. However, keep in mind that HDMI cables may require fiber or active cables for long-distance signal transmission.
Below is my oldest interchangeable lens camera with a clean HDMI output.
This one is the 20m long active hdmi cable that I use to extend the camera signal over long distances.
To transmit audio and video signals from cameras to a computer, HDMI cards from manufacturers like Elgato or Blackmagic are the most reliable method, but they can be expensive for low-budget publishers.
As an alternative, small HDMI to USB cards can be used to transfer one camera signal at a time over USB, but they have a poor reputation for signal transmission, so it's important to have backups.
These are the cheap HDMI to USB Capture Cards that I currently have.
USB Hubs (Dongles):
Assume you have several cameras and HDMI cards, but your computer does not have as many USB ports as the number of cameras. In this instance, USB hubs are required.
To connect multiple cameras with HDMI cards to a computer, you may need to use USB hubs. USB hubs come in two types: passive and active.
Active hubs have their own power source, while passive hubs draw power from the computer. Your choice of active or passive hub will depend on the strength of your computer, as weaker computers may not be able to recognize multiple cameras connected to a passive hub.
Below is the cheap usb dongle that only worked well with my M1Max Mac with 32 Gigs of Ram.
Computer and Software:
A strong and reliable computer is a critical investment for successful live streaming. The computer you choose will be responsible for receiving and processing video and audio signals from cameras and microphones, encoding and compressing the signal, and transmitting it to the internet.
In terms of software, VMix is the most reliable software on the market. It is a premium application that only runs on the Windows operating system. Another popular software option is Wirecast, which is available on both Windows and Mac, but can be expensive, with the top package pricing around 800 USD. For those who are looking for a free software option, OBS is a solid choice.
If you decide to go with a PC, the most reliable and standardized broadcasting hardware is outlined in the reference systems on the VMix website. In brief, it is recommended to have GTX-RTX graphics cards, SDD hard disks, and Intel processors. If you are considering a Mac, we recommend trying out M1 or M2 processors, as Mac computers with Intel CPUs lack GTX-RTX graphics cards. Although Mac computers with M1 and M2 CPUs also lack RTX-GTX graphics cards, they perform well in live broadcasts.
Based on this information, you will need to choose a broadcast computer that best suits your needs and budget. If you are looking for a PC, you can select an equivalent broadcast computer from the VMix reference systems. If you are looking for a Mac, you will need to choose a Mac that meets your needs.
So what is the right way to do this, sir?
To minimize risks during broadcasts, it's important to use accurate and reliable methods, but these can often exceed the budgets of small-scale streamers. While there are many reliable gadgets and processes available, they can be complex and difficult to describe in a concise manner. However, a popular and trusted method involves connecting independent sources to a single computer using Sonnet enclosures and Blackmagic Decklink HDMI cards. More information on this topic can be found in a separate blog post.
Have nice live stream!
Fatih Ugur | Producer @Vidyograf | firstname.lastname@example.org
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