Review: Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro – Part 1
Many years back, I did a live recording from the Great Hall of Parliament House in Canberra via the internet.
Well, when I say “live” I mean that while viewers watching it thought it was “live”, it was really a succession of short clips captured using the then fledgling Real Video format, sent to a server via ftp and placed for others to stream via downloading.
And the setup was crude. On a balcony on one of the long sides of the Great Hall I teetered on the edge with a pair of Sharp tape based DV cameras on tripods, with one facing the stage in a close up of the speaker(s), and the other covering a wide shot of the audience. I had a basic vision switcher to cut between cameras as and when I felt like it. Audio was a feed from the stage via a bloody long cable.
The event as I recall was the awarding of the most popular University Chancellor or some such thing, and it lasted 4 long, long hours. In 10 minute blocks, that was a lot of encoding and uploading.
I didn’t even get paid for it in the end, as the promoter – the bastard – told me afterwards I had “promised” a freebie for exposure …yeah right.
Fast forward to today and a parcel that has arrived has been unpacked and plugged in to mains power.
This new toy is the brand spanking, shiny Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro – and in case you didn’t know, and you should, Blackmagic Design is an Australian company based in Melbourne that has developed a world-wide reputation for innovation and brilliant – while relatively inexpensive – products in the video broadcast industry.
Indeed, their DaVinci Resolve and Fusion software, top of the range packages in their respective fields, are given away.
The ATEM Mini Pro is the latest of Blackmagic Design’s products and expands on the original ATEM Mini, a hardware vision switching panel, by adding extra features for both recording and streaming. And more besides.
For my purposes and testing, I have hooked up the ATEM Mini Pro to Panasonic HC-PV100 and Panasonic HC-VXF1 camcorders via HDMI. For the fun of it, I have also connected a GoPro Hero 7 and a Sony RX0 Mk II using Mini HDMI connectors.
For audio, I have plugged a Sennheiser XS Wireless Digital Lav mic kit into one of the 3.,5mm input ports, and again for the sheer fun of it, into the second 3.5mm port, output from my laptop with some music playing. This allows me to also mix into the video feeds a voice over AND a music background.
Pretty nifty hey?
But there is more. By connecting the ATEM Mini Pro via its USB C output port into a PC or laptop, any webcam software you have will see the input as coming from a webcam letting you have a multicam Xplit, Skype or ZOOM type session and easily switch between cameras.
There are many, many more party tricks in the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro and by page 10 of the 154 page manual I have only just scratched the surface.
For instance it can do keying, has built in transitions and can even act in concert with other equipment higher up the broadcast chain.
And very importantly, the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro will live stream to YouTube, Facebook, TwitchTV and more. Or connect a computer and stream a PowerPoint presentation as a camera feed.
I suspect I am in for a an exciting journey learning the ins and outs of the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro, and also suspect in this time of “Beer Virus” shutdowns and lockdowns with people relying on streaming for communication for work, leisure, entertainment and worship among other things, this could be one of the most important devices those boffins at Blackmagic Design have ever nailed together.
For what it does – and I’ll explore this further in Parts 2 and above of this review series – at AUD$1185 the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro is an incredibly inexpensive piece of equipment to say the least.
There is no way I can get to the full potential and possibilities of the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro in my allotted 10 days review time. It’ll be fun trying though.
If you want more immediate info on the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro, https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/ is the place to go.
Or watch this: