vMix GO is a complete portable live production studio powered by high-quality AJA hardware with up to eight SDI inputs, or six inputs with two live outputs. A four-input HDMI-only version of the GO is also available. Also included are professional audio connectors and four removable SSD units for recording program or ISO feeds.
The unit is powered by vMix live production software, a mature and robust program in development since 2009. vMix was designed and written by an actual event producer with a premium on ease of use and efficiency.
Let’s begin a quick overview of operation. The image below shows the complete vMix interface, with all of your inputs in the Input bar highlighted in callout #5. Each program that you create with the vMix GO can have hundreds of inputs that you can organize with the color code shown below
Click any input to queue it in the Preview window (#1 above). The preview window shows what's queued to go live. Click any of the transitions in the T-bar (#4 above) to take it live.
The Program window, #2 above, is your live or program feed. Below the Program window is the Audio Mixer (#6 above), where you control audio, with controls for each input and a master.
The Footer bar, #7-11 above, is where you click buttons to add inputs, and set up and start and stop recordings, streams, and external outputs.
The vMix software’s input capabilities are very extensive. To create an input, click the Add Input button (far left in the Footer bar) or drag and drop content from your desktop. This opens the Input Select window.
When selecting inputs, use Video for disk-based files, as shown in Figure 3. You can input as many files as you would like to build a playlist; you’re not limited to a fixed number of DVRs.
Among the other Input Select options, Camera is where you access devices connected via SDI.
Note that you can create a virtual input for any input. That means you can define one full-resolution shot for presenting the video full screen and one tight shot for a picture-in-picture. This adds a lot of simple flexibility to your productions.
Desktop capture inputs the screen from any computer on the same local area network. The Stream option is for a live stream, while video delay is another name for instant replay. Select Images to load image for a logo overlay or image sequence for a slideshow. Select Photos to input multiple pictures from the same folder to create an automatic slideshow.
PowerPoint files import directly into the project. You can see in Figure 6 (below) that I am accessing the individual slides in the Program window, which I can also do when the file is live. That's a unique feature that makes it simple to incorporate high-quality PowerPoint files into your projects.
Audio Input is for microphones, soundboards, or other devices connected to the I/O panel.
Titling and Virtual Sets
vMix features a titler--also accessible via the Input Select window, by selecting Title/XAML—which comes with lots of presets. You can buy more from the vMix site or create your own.
vMix ships with virtual sets you can access at the bottom of the Input Select window, and use with the software’s GPU-based green screen function
vMix is also compatible with third-party sets. You can use virtual sets to create your own compositions. I use the blank set shown top, left in Figure 8 to create the picture-in-picture webinar template with a custom background shown in Figure 9 (below). The background is in layer 3, as you can see at the top of Figure 9. The virtual input close-up is in layer 4, and the PowerPoint file is in layer 5. You can adjust the color and positioning of each layer individually.
Next, we’ll quickly touch on a couple of additional features, starting with instant replay. To use vMix’s instant replay functionality, start by choosing Video Delay in the Input Select window. The Video Delay dialog opens.
Next, choose the source, resolution, and codec, then choose the number of seconds to record. I chose the default 20. By default record is on, which means vMix is recording a rolling 20 seconds of video. When something happens that you want to display as an instant replay, click the red Record button (below) to stop recording, then cue Instant Replay in the preview window, and set the start point and the playback speed in the vertical slider shown just to the right of the Record button. Transition the instant replay into the production using the T-bar, and it plays. Transition back to other inputs when instant replay is done.
To start recording again for the next highlight, click Record. vMix is working on a full sports management instant replay solution slated for release in March 2015.
Through an application called vMix Social which is included with the vMix software, vMix makes it simple to automatically insert inputs feeds from Twitter, Facebook, and IRC Chat into your productions . These feeds are injected directly into titles, which you can overlay over other content . This adds a nice sense of interactivity to your webcasts.
The four included overlay options are the vMix equivalent of downstream keyers for producers who have used traditional switchers. In the Overlay Settings dialog, shown below, you can configure the size, position, and transition effects for each overlay.
To apply an overlay like the title shown in below, just click the appropriate overlay button. Click again to remove the overlay, or click the button on another input to replace the overlay.
Adding an External Monitor
Note that you can add an external monitor to your vMix GO by connecting the monitor, choosing the desired view, and clicking full screen at the top center of the main interface
Saving a Program Configuration as a Preset
When you finish your configuration, you can save it as a preset by clicking Save Preset. This lets you save and recall multiple configurations for the various projects that you produce.
Live Output Recording
Here shows the controls for recording the live output of your event. vMix works with third-party codec and recommends the free Grass Valley HQX intermediate codec for maximum quality and cross-platform compatibility.
The MultiCorder lets you record any or all of your input cameras, and offers similar configuration options as a feature known as ISO recording, usually reserved for higher-end systems.
Live Streaming Options
vMix can stream live to any RTMP-compatible server. Below shows a preset for YouTube Live. I've good pretty good bandwidth, so I'm shooting for 1080p at 5 Mbps. vMix can also even create streams at multiple bit rates
With all of these elements configured, I'm ready to go live. In the Footer bar (Figure 22, below), I will click Record, Stream, and MultiCorder to start recording the live output and the camera input, and to start sending the stream to YouTube.
Since vMix uses both GPU and CPU to process the event, total CPU usage peaks at around 19% leaving plenty of overhead.
After the Webcast
When I'm done with my production and back in my office, I can edit and output the recorded footage on the computer. vMix includes a full version of Sony Vegas, but if you prefer a Premiere Pro or Avid, you can install that as well.
Overall, you will find the vMix software exceptionally functional and refreshingly easy to use while offering features that will rival systems that cost two or three times as much. The vMix GO hardware offers affordable and portable HD-SDI high connectivity and a powerful platform you can use for live productions, editing, and more.
vMix GO ships in three different versions: Base, demonstrated here; Plus, with bundled storage the vMix GO Plus; and Junior, the lower-cost HDMI version.
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