Top Products of 2020 for Live Streaming & Video Production

 I look forward to naming the Videoguys Top 10 Products every year... but especially this year! I know I don’t have to remind you what a strange and different 2020 has been but despite its challenges there were some great new products introduced and I am excited about the incredible growth in our industry and for 2021. This year we learned that live streaming was made for social distancing and that brings us right into the Videoguys Top 10 Products of 2020. 

Houses of Worship, Schools and businesses across the United States were faced with an immediate need to live stream to continue to reach their audience. This necessity lead many to look for an affordable and easy-to-use solution that they could get started with quickly which is why many turned to the YoloLiv YoloBox. For under $1,000 the YoloBox lets you mix multiple cameras on the built-in touch screen and stream directly to Facebook and YouTube or many other CDNs. $899.00

The Roland V-1HD switcher has been one of my favorite recommendations for customers who need to mix up to 4 HDMI cameras on an easy to use hardware switcher. This year Roland made that great product even better when they introduced the V-1HD+. The Roland V-1HD+ is the ultimate compact switching solution that also has a professional audio mixer right on-board and is available with the option UVC-01 HDMI to USB encoder for a complete live streaming solution. $1,195.00
It is always easy to include software on a new product list because, by its nature, it should be constantly upgraded and improved.  Wirecast 14 though is not included because it was easy for me to do, it’s included because v14 is truly a big release. Some of the improvements in Wirecast 14 include a new Chroma-Key support, text and font improvements and the usual performance improvements but the features that earned the spot on my list are support for the latest NDI 4.5 spec and improved reliability for Wirecast Go and Rendezvous.  $799.00

When we reflect on 2020 and the many social distancing guidelines necessary we notice another trend in our industry. The rapid adoption of NDI technology! It simply was not always possible to bring in an AV installer to run additional cables for video signals, camera control and power. NDI technology meant that you can do all of that with just 1 cable so it was time to take advantage of the many systems that support NDI and expand into an IP workflow. 
The BirdDog Flex family of NDI products helped make it easy to expand NDI capabilities with 3 models all at just $399 each. The Flex Out is an affordable NDI to HDMI decoder allowing you to easily multiply your displays; the Flex In is an affordable HDMI to NDI encoder turning any video source into NDI and the Flex Backpack gives you the same capability as the Flex In with the ability to power your monitor over POE – a perfect addition to the Atomos Ninja V or other HDMI monitors. $399.00

NewTek upgraded their NDI converters by adding input & output with the Spark Plus IO 4K (HDMI) and Spark Plus IO SDI. In addition to supporting the latest and greatest NDI spec these converters were made in an enterprise class housing built for professional use and reliability. NewTek also immediately upgraded the TriCaster Mini 4K to include two of the Spark Plus IO 4K converters with each production system.  SDI $795.00 4K $895.00

In the next segment of Videoguys Top 10 Products of 2020 I want to focus on some of the great new storage products introduced this year. I expect storage solutions to get better and faster each year but I am truly impressed when those improvements are combined with new technology that actually affect my workflow. I am happy to say that was really the case this year. 
G-Technology (WD) took their super-fact NVMe SSD drive and added the “ArmorLock” technology to offer a way to secure your data and manage access from your phone! I knew it was a winner when some of the first customers were major production companies bought them to secure their footage, share dailies, and send content drafts across the country. The combination of NVMe SSD speed, ample storage and security management makes this a winner! $599.99

While removeable storage is not usually exciting and is typically an after thought to just finding the card that works with your camera the new CF Express 2.0 standard is actually notable. The ProGrade Digital and Angelbird Techologies CF Express cards are accomplishing speeds capable of handling 6K and even 8K productions! starting at $164.99

If you’re a professional content creator and you’re using one of the blazing fast CFExpress cards above, or Cfast or SD, you can bring that back to your desk, pop it into the LaCie 1big Dock SSD Pro, ingest your media at blazing speeds and then continue to work off the SSD drive. The LaCie 1big Dock SSD Pro therefore makes the list for being the ultimate workflow solution for my 4K and beyond productions. starting at $1,299.00

2020 was the year of the PTZ camera! Social Distancing forced schools, churches and corporations to shift into live streaming and remote productions. As a result, sales for PTZ cameras exploded, creating product shortages throughout the summer and into the fall. These shortages also impacted our vendors ability to launch new products, but somehow, they figured it out and by the fall we not only had adequate supplies but a bunch of new PTZ products! If necessity is truly the mother of invention then I must once again point to social distancing for the rapid and incredible growth in cameras being used for live streaming and production.
This year Panasonic and PTZOptics released an interesting new technology that allows you to take a 4K image from a fixed camera and select a 1080 HD region of interest to create your own virtual PTZ look. You can mount a single camera like the HuddleCamHD Pro Webcam, the PTZOptics EPTZ Zcam or the Panasonic UE4 to capture a 4K image and then use the virtual PTZ software to move around the frame and easily add production quality. 
Of course the robotic PTZ cameras were also some of the top selling products of the year. When you need to limit the amount of people in the room and you don’t have camera people to rely on for multiple angles a PTZ camera is an excellent solution. We saw some great new cameras introduced this year with significant improvements in optical quality and even 4K resolutions. 
Videoguys is your source for PTZ cameras from PTZOptics, NewTek, Panasonic and BirdDog and our team can help you find the right camera for your project and your budget. The new models that were introduced this year and deserve special mention as a Videoguys Top Product of 2020 include:

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