How to Put Together a Cost-Effective Portable Streaming Kit

Streaming Media Producer by Mark Alamares

Looking for practical, hands-on advice on to how to create a cost-effective, portable, multi-camera streaming system that you can use even when on location with limited internet and power options? Here, Mobeon's Mark Alamares describes a range of solutions that can bring greater agility and portability to your live streaming kit at a manageable cost.

Note: This article is based on a conference session presenter at Streaming Media Producer Live on November 19, 2013.

Coming to the video production and streaming world from the video-game and interactive software development industries, I’ve always been interested in producing content cost-effectively with portable development solutions. Until recently that’s been difficult to do in live video production with the large and expensive cameras and switchers that our work once required. But today it’s much easier for individuals and smaller companies to harness the full broadcasting capabilities that were once the exclusive province of large corporations. Never before has there been a time when an individual with a YouTube channel could command an audience large enough to rival some major networks.

When I first started out in video, I didn’t know exactly what to expect, specifically in streaming with all the little details and idiosyncrasies involved, but I’ve been able to devise certain types of kits based on my prior experience in gaming and interactive media. So I’d like to impart some of the information that I was able to learn on the spot in building my company, Mobeon, and the workflows we’ve developed.

To begin, I’ll describe a job that I needed to perform for and provide a stream for about a year ago, the World Latin Dance Cup. For that job I needed to bring a full switching system plus cameras in a carry-on bag. It was quite challenging because typical switchers and broadcast-style cameras are too big for a carry-on. But I replaced the broadcast cameras with relatively compact Sony EX1s and EX1Rs, was able to put together a desktop system based on Telestream Wirecast Pro and the Matron to the VS4 card. Not only was this a low-cost solution--roughly $4,500.00--but it allowed me two capture multiple camera feeds with the VS4, and switch them in the desktop system using Wirecast Pro. And it enabled me to pack that up, put all the cameras inside a carry-on bag, and fly from L.A. to the location in Florida and stream a full event with a minimal staff.

After that event, I thought, “Hey, look, the tools are there. How can I travel a little bit more lightly?” And so I’m going to introduce you to a range of devices that helped me trying to put together a kit that’s more affordable and much more agile. read more...

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