4K Video Encoding via USB for under $400
with Epiphan Video Av.io 4K
Epiphan Video 4K live production is coming, but are you ready for it? Once again consumer display technology has led the industry down the path toward higher-definition video. Now, there are affordable 4K cameras available to both consumers and broadcasters—but is your production hardware ready to handle it?
Some of the most popular features on our web site at Videoguys.com are our workstation system recommendations. We have several Videoguys’ DIY articles that will help you build a video editing and production system on your own and other articles featuring HP or Dell Workstations that have been custom configured by our technicians. Our latest group of Videoguys’ Tech Select Workstations was carefully configured to meet the demands of live production – even 4K – in real-time! But, even if you are planning on upgrading to one of these machines, you’ll need 4K capable capture hardware for your live productions.
If you’re looking for a low cost, super easy to install and setup, 4K video capture device for video streaming, or to record game play, presentations and more the new Epiphan Video AV.io 4K is a fantastic choice. The best part of all is that it’s pretty much automatic! AV.io 4K is an external USB-based video grabber that doesn’t require drivers to be installed on your computer – it’s as simple as using a webcam! The video grabber is automatically detected when you plug it in and installs using drivers already built in to Windows, Mac and Linux.
One of the biggest challenges with a lot of computers today is having the CPU speed necessary to handle 4K which is why Epiphan Video introduced the new AV.io 4K video grabber. Its functionality is very similar to their other USB capture cards, capturing uncompressed video on the go without the need for configuration or special
drivers. The difference with the AV.io 4K is that, as the name suggests, it is capable of capturing video at 4K resolutions.
AV.io 4K is able to upscale as well as downscale resolutions. So you can capture 4K video, downscale to HD and encode in real time or vice-versa. This also means that AV.io 4K doesn't necessarily need an extremely powerful machine and can work with any machine with a USB 3.0 connection. AV.io will work on USB 2.0 with resolutions other than 4K but USB 3.0 is required for 4K. Integrated hardware scaling also means that if your workflow is built around a particular resolution, AV.io 4K will be able accommodates that resolution regardless of what it sees on the input. Of course, AV.io can also output the same resolution as input.
There is still a lot of confusion around what "true" 4K actually is. There are two standards - 4K UHD which is the common version of 4K we see in most devices as well as 4K DCI, which is fairly rare and used mostly in cinema-type applications.
4K UHD has a pixel resolution of 3840×2160, double the width and height of HD resolution (1920×1080), resulting in the ability to put 4 1080p HD images inside one 4K UHD image. This resolution is the version of 4K you’re most likely to find as a consumer.
DCI 4K has a resolution of 4096×2160, which is double the width and length of DCI 2K (2048×1080), which is a wider version of HD. Since both DCI resolutions were intended to be used almost exclusively for large-scale cinemas, it is rare to find an input or output source that needs or wants 4K DCI.
The good news is, AV.io 4K captures both types of 4K video
CDNs & media platforms including YouTube have been supporting 4K video for a while now. With this, we're also seeing a big push in 4K integration in live production software and expect this to be supported by all or most software by the end of this year. Of course, for most streaming applications 4K is still not necessary or even recommended. Our Videoguys’ Techs recommend streaming at 720p as still the best compromise between bandwidth and quality. Of course, that can change any time and we expect that it will so future-proofing is always a good option.
When the Epiphan Video AV.io video grabbers were introduced we immediately bundled 2 units with Wirecast Studio live production software in complete packages that start just under $1,000! These bundles have recently been updated with the newest version of Wirecast 7 and will also be available with the AV.io HD, AV.io SDI or the new AV.io 4K
Wirecast 7 allows event producers to create the highest quality live-streamed productions, with multi-camera switching, graphics, titles, and live encoding. Producers often want to re-edit live shows to produce highlight reels or replays. With the new ISO recording feature, Wirecast Pro can save all original “clean” source camera media allowing an editor to easily re-purpose content, free of any overlay graphics from the original broadcast.
The new User Interface in Wirecast 7
enables quicker and more flexible access to shot editing features and enhances on-the-fly editing. With the Shot Editor panel, users have more control over every aspect of a broadcast, including the time-saving in-shot source toggles that enable users to turn video and audio layers on and off within each shot for dynamic editing of complex composite shots. Wirecast 7.0 adds more options for how text can be displayed on screen.
Text can be entered live, via a file or from an RSS feed enabling a different user to prepare text that will be automatically picked up in the broadcast. A new audio mixer controls every source from one central location, and an enhanced “mix minus” feature selectively mutes any source, such as the user’s own voice, while otherwise monitoring the full stream audio output. A Global Hotkey Management system speeds up any repetitive task by allowing users to create their own hotkeys.