Ever Want To Set Up A Low Cost, Wireless, Mobile 4 Camera (multi-cam) TV Studio?




Turns out, you can now setup up one of these multicam systems for less than the cost of one pro camcorder. And you can do it in a completely mobile/wireless fashion with a setup time of fewer than 10 minutes. There are now several low cost 'tv studio's' that can be set up with an iPad and a bunch of iPhones that allow you to record and live stream in full 1080p a multi-cam 'show' that's not too different than what you see from your local TV stations. This includes overlays, transitions, pro audio input, but also includes something the old school folks don't: real-time interaction with people on Facebook and YouTube, if you want it. Why should I care? As part of the creating these non-profit low operating cost local newsrooms of which the Longmont Observer is the prototype- video is part of the equation. Gotta capture those local news events, city council meetings, school board meetings, high school sporting events, ribbon cuttings and many other day to day life kind of things a local newsroom covers. These kind of systems are also useful for things like local music and comedy venues, churches, convention centers, and local sports and event arenas. I've found 4 companies worth looking at. Switcher Studio Mevo (Livestream) Cinamaker SlingStudio I'm sure there are others, but, these are the one's I was able to really dig into. I'm still doing evaluations on feature sets, but, honestly, all 4 can do pretty much the same (basic) things. Of course, the longer they've been around, the more polished their products are likely to be (Switcher Studio is the most mature, with Cinamaker almost brand new. Mevo and Sling came out about the same time). What's really interesting is the cost. Here's a spreadsheet with a breakdown of all four systems costs. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1b9Ojmxa_7ijAcaI7SbN-XSJ09GKkl4JjTXZiypbOU4U/edit?usp=sharing As a baseline: I used iPhone SE's (4K capable) purchased (new) from one of the MVNO's who sells them for $150 new (locked but doesn't matter, you don't need to activate them to use them). I also used, pretty much, the same set of 'base' equipment (iPhone SE's, cables, stands, mics, etc.) for each system as a cost basis since they all use the same parts, not including their proprietary hardware and/or software. Interestingly, the cost to get going and to operate the systems the first year really is far less expensive than you might think. From a low of around $1600 to a high of around $2600. For everything (including the first year subscription costs for the software/service). Considering a Tri-caster mini (the 'switching' device used by many 'pro' studios) starts around $5,000 (no cameras, at $2500 each, included), that's pertty darned impressive. Can you spend more? Sure. But this is 'good enough' for about 90% of the things you'd want to do on a day to day basis at a local level, where, you know, we live our lives every day. Yes, there are differences in what you get, the capabilities of each system, the level of sophistication possible in the productions, the reach of the wireless each is capable of and the scope you can grow into, but, the basics are all pretty similar. I'll be doing a feature comparison as part of the evaluation as well, but that's likely a 'few months' away kind of thing right now. This'll get you started though. If you're interested in creating a low cost, highly capable 4 camera (or more) 'multi-cam' wireless mobile TV studio- you've got plenty of options.

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