The Budget-Friendly Live Streaming Kit (2020)Updated
This is a list of everything I recommend for live streaming and multi-cam production without breaking the bank.
In this list you'll find:
- Tripod & Fluid Head
- Preview Monitor
- Required Accessories
- Recommended Accessories
- Recommended Packages
- System Diagram
But first, some expectations...
- Switch/mix a maximum of 4 sources
- Re-sync, frame rate conversion, and format conversion for every input
- Can accept and output broadcast formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
- Record directly to USB 3.1 hard drives in MP4
- Send a single RTMP stream directly to a platform of your choice
- Multiviewer output for viewing all inputs, preview, program, recording info, and stream info on one monitor
- Record up to 3840 x 2160 at 29.97 fps internally
- Simultaneous output up to 1920 x 1080 at 29.97 fps via HDMI
- Get a medium shot (waist up) from up to 70' away
- Tripod and fluid head give the camera solid support and smooth pan/tilt movement
- Remote control of zoom, focus, and camera recording with a LANC controller
- Only one physical HDMI output - will not offer room for growth or a way to feed signals to local displays or recorders
- HDMI ports are more fragile and prone to potential issues compared to professional connectors like BNC/SDI
- Recording quality/bitrate will be the same as streaming quality/bitrate - no way to record higher quality/bitrates while streaming at lower bitrates
- Program audio can only be monitored through HDMI output or a computer connected through USB-C output
- Needs a lot of light for good image quality - it may not perform well in low, or even moderate, lighting
- Cannot output 1920 x 1080 at 59.94 fps even though it can record in that format - an odd issue to be aware of
- The camera, tripod, and fluid head are light weight - the further you get from the subject the harder it will be to prevent the camera from shaking
On to the list...
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Record in formats up to 3840 x 2160 at 29.97 fps while outputting up to 1920 x 1080.
20x optical zoom provides some of the best optical zoom range available.
This is the cheapest camcorder I recommend and will need a lot of light to look good, but it does the best job for camcorders in the price range.
Full Shot: 9'-170'
Medium Shot: 4'-70'
Outputs: HDMI (Type C - Mini)
Recording Formats: Up to 3840 x 2160 at 29.97 fps
Output Formats: Up to 1920 x 1080 at 29.97 fps (1920 x 1080 at 59.94 fps recording possible, but will be output in 720 x 480 only)
My Favorite Feature: Dual SD slots - continuous recording or duplicate/backup recordingView on Amazon
Tripod & Fluid Head
Manfrotto 755XB MDeVe
Solid support and good build quality that won't break the bank.
Maximum Height: 64.9"
Minimum Height: 16.4"
Folded Length: 25"
Weight: 5.25 lbs
Payload Capacity: 15.4 lbs
My Favorite Feature: PriceView on Amazon
Ikan E-Image GH03F
A smooth and well built option for a crazy low price.
The sliding easy lock plate makes it a great option for quickly attaching and balancing camcorders.
Base Mount: Flat Base with 3/8"-16 Mounting Hole
Camera Plate: Sliding Easy Lock
Load Capacity: 11 lbs
My Favorite Feature: Performance for the priceView on Amazon
Not only a switcher, it offers additional built-in recording and streaming as well.
The only all-in-one switching/recording/streaming solution I recommend.
Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro
I was not a big fan of the original ATEM Mini.
While it filled a niche, I think Blackmagic aimed too low on price and compromised important features like a multiviewer.
Blackmagic Design thankfully listened to customers and delivered BIG with the updated ATEM Mini Pro.
It still fills a niche, and while it's not a great fit for everything it is a solid option for those wanting a professional, low-cost solution.
Be aware, though - it only has one physical HDMI output.
If you use the only HDMI output for a preview or multiview monitor, you have no other video outputs available.
But considering it has 4 inputs, frame rate and format conversion on every input, built-in recording to USB-C drives, built-in RTMP streaming, and a multiviewer output, it all adds up to one wonderful package.
Inputs: 4x HDMI
Audio Inputs: 2x 3.5mm
Program Outputs: 1x HDMI and 1x USB-C (to computer or hard drive only)
Aux Outputs: N/A
Multiview Outputs: 1x (only on HDMI output)
Supported Formats: Broadcast formats up to 1920 x 1080 at 60 fps
My Favorite Feature: Built-in recording and streaming puts this in a previously under-served, low-budget market
*At the time of this update, the ATEM Mini Pro is still under pre-order and is also a very popular item. Don't be surprised if it takes a few weeks, or possibly even months, to receive one or find them in stock.View on Amazon View on B&H
A computer is not necessary for the main tasks like switching, encoding, and recording.
I recommend having a good computer to adjust settings, administrate the live stream, and get more advanced features like adding graphics and setting up keys.
Since this part comes down mainly to personal preference and taste, I will include the computer I would choose.
Apple MacBook Air 13"
- Intel Core i3
- 8GB RAM
- 256GB SSD
If you have a director and camera operators, you need a reliable way for them to communicate.
In my experiences with many production intercom systems, Pro Intercom LLC has consistently provided the best bang for the buck systems I've used.
Their products are built very well while remaining quite affordable, and all of their systems are hardwired so you get the best quality and reliability for the lowest price possible.
They have many packages to choose from to fit various system sizes and budgets.
I recommend the econoCom systems with BP-1 belt packs for smaller budgets.View on ProAudio.com
Use it for a switcher preview, program, or multiviewer.
If you choose another monitor, be sure it accepts broadcast formats through HDMI (this info can be hard to find for many models). A lot of computer monitors will not accept all formats like 1080p23.98.
TCL 40 Inch 1080p TV
Input: HDMIView on Amazon
AmazonBasics Snagless Cat-6 Ethernet Cable (5')
Connect switcher to computer, network, or Internet.View on Amazon
Monoprice SlimRun AV High Speed HDMI Fiber Optic Cable
Connect any camera to switcher (further than 15' from switcher).
One cable required for every camera.View on Amazon
Samsung T5 500GB SSD
For recording from the switcher's USB-C output.
Interface: USB 3.1 (USB-C to USB-C cable included)View on Amazon
SanDisk Extreme Pro 128GB SDXC
For recording in camera.View on Amazon
Controls the camera's zoom, focus, recording start/stop, and power on/off.
Variable-speed throttle for controlling zoom speed.
Can be extended up to 100' with an extension cable (Amazon) for remote operation.
Interface: LANC (1x 2.5mm TRS cable - 40" length)View on Amazon
The links below will open a pre-filled Amazon list.
Simply add the list to your Amazon cart and add/remove items as needed.View 1 Camera Package on Amazon View 2 Camera Package on Amazon View 3 Camera Package on Amazon View 4 Camera Package on Amazon
If you have any questions or suggestions, don't hesitate to send me a message.