Portable gear for live video mixing and encoding

Carles Galan Encoding

There are many options for audio and video encoding for live streaming of events, webinars or lectures. In this post I will recommend a few portable solutions in the lower price range.

Before giving any specific recommendation, let me provide some guidelines:

Nowadays Full-HD video sources are widely available and provide a significantly better quality, even for low bit-rate streams, than older analog SD signals.

Webinars usually start with a looping recorded video, a countdown video or simply with a still image along with some (rights-free) music. Speakers also tend to bring along prerecorded videos and presentations that have to be included in the live webinar.

With these considerations in mind, I recommend two basic configurations to make up a good portable mixer/encoder for a few video sources and RTMP encoding.

Portable System 1

  • ASUS Laptop NJ750J
    • RAM 8-16MB,
    • SSD: 256GB+ HD: 750GB
    • 4 USB 3.0 in two different busses (very important)
  • 2-4 MAGEWEL XI100SDI   SDI-USB-3.0 capture cards
    • Either, 2 cards that work with 2 FullHD sources -one connected at each side (bus) of the computer-, or
    • 4 cards that work with 4 HD sources (720p) for instance.
  • DATAVIDEO DAC-70  is an all in one, very efficient up/down/cross converter
    • we use it to embed analog audio source to an SDI or HDMI video signal, or
    • to convert HDMI to SDI, or
    • to convert VGA to SDI or HDMI
  • VMIX HD video mixing software
  • Adobe Flash Media Live Encoder (free software) Even though VMIX can itself do the encoding, based on the AFMLE classes, we recommend using this encoding option, which will capture the live video and audio feed from by VMIX.

All this plus a few cables and converters will make up a reliable solution at a very good price.

My 3 most valuable suggestions for managing systems like this are:

  1. Carefully set-up your computer turning off any automatic update setting the system might come with.
  2. Use the computer only for this purpose
  3. Have a backup of every piece of the gear (computer, magewel and DAC70)

Portable System 2

VMIX, currently offers a packaged product very similar to this (excluding the laptop computer) (as seen on their website by the end of 2015).