Inspired by lockdown events and online training, we’ve been exploring how we can make it easy for Makespace members to record and livestream things from Makespace.
The first version of the resulting “Makespace Studio” is now coming together, so here is a little about how it is shaping up:
The core of the Makespace Studio setup is based around the Black Magic ATEM Mini Pro ISO which supports 4 HDMI cameras/inputs, can livestream to Youtube, output as a webcam (to input in to e.g. zoom) or record all the channels to an SSD. It is built in to a sit/stand desk, and everything is powered off a single 5m power cable, including any cameras that can plug in over their own tethers that connect both HDMI and power. It also has a shots monitor and wifi built in so it can stream directly to YouTube without any computer attached.
This was put together based on the requirements that came up through discussions in the Events Club among others:
- Focus on “live” – initially this was more about supporting zoom or live streaming to YouTube with decent multi-camera setups for doing online events or training driven by lockdown. This is in contrast to filmed/edited video where a single smartphone could often do a good job filming multiple shots that are cut together. However, it also became apparent that recording “as-live” would also be very powerful to enable efficient generation of content without the perfectionism paralysis people felt came with full edited video.
- Act like an appliance – to make it consistent and reliable, and avoid relying on members needing a powerful computer. Initially we assumed we’d base around OBS and a high-end PC/capture cards, but in the end an actual appliance we found helped mitigate the PC bit-rot potential, made for something simpler to learn, and in some ways the constraints are liberating to help the system get out of the way so people can concentrate on the content.
- Quick to setup anywhere in Makespace – with flexibility in cameras so it can work for events, training, talks, etc – and support for the presenter being the controller/mixer, or separate presenter and controller. Also support for sitting or standing presentation and flexibility in 1 or 2 people (e.g. distance from camera)
- A quality that is better than most people could do at home
If you are interested in how the desk setup actually works, I did a quick brain dump here as I was doing some first tests:
The desk lets you plug in any HDMI cameras/sources, and we currently have a prototype “main” camera based on a Panasonic GH5 and HDMI Teleprompter, plus a few other 4K camcorders with various types of stand/tripod to experiment with:
Apart from the more standard cameras, we’ve also got an HDMI digital inspection microscope to experiment with. Here is a test video to give you an idea of what that is capable of:
We have a couple of RGB video lights, although they could obviously be used for photography too. The lighting in Makespace is pretty good for filming already, so these are more an option or chance to add some colour!
We are still very much experimenting and refining, but the basics seem to be working. You can see one of the first events that used this setup here:
If you are interested in trying this kit for events, training or your own video projects, email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll make it happen!
In time, this will become generally available as RED equipment for anyone to get trained on and use.