Wirecast Gear 420 In Depth Review

The Wirecast Gear systems made by Telestream are an amazing all-in-one workstation perfect for those working in tight spaces! Not only are these built to handle the Wirecast Software, but also made to handle NLE's like Adobe Premiere and Avid media Composer! Heck, we love these systems so much we included it on our Top 10 Products of 2019! It's the 420 model that really takes the cake with a Xeon E-2176G processor which has six 3.70 GHz CPUs. 

This figure shows the differences in specs between the 310, 320, and 420 models of Wirecast Gear. The 310 is HDMI based, with the 320 has SDI. All three have NDI capabilities. " All systems come with Wirecast Pro, and this itself comes with NewBlue Titler Live, which supplies animated 3D titles, scoreboards, and other graphics and Facebook comments, curation, and display," wrote Jan Ozer (Principal at Streaming Learning Center)

All three models are rackmountable with their 2RU body. The 420 is tested with a NVIDIA Quadro P220 graphics card and has 4 display ports and  four integrated hardware encoders. Why is that so important? Because it's perfect if you're streaming to multiple places at once. 

 This image shows the ports to the Wirecast Gear 420. Here's what's included:

  • Input SDI Video for Streaming
  • 5 x HD-SDI Inputs, 2 RU Chassis
  • Wirecast Pro & NewBlue Titler Software
  • 1TB Video Storage, Windows 10 OS
  • 2 x XLR-1/4" Combo Audio Inputs
  • USB Type-C Port for External Storage
  • USB Type-A Management Ports

Let's test it out!

Jan created several projects to test this system on to push it to it's limits. He thought of an assortment of tests for specific cases where using the Wirecast Gear 420 would come in handy. 

Remote learning

"The first project was a distance-learning scenario, where I combined a PowerPoint presentation with a shot of the instructor and audio. To produce this, I sent the PowerPoint slides from a Mac on the same network as the Gear system using Wirecast Desktop Presenter, a free Telestream application that is available for Mac and Windows computers," wrote Jan. 

This image shows what jan was doing. The upper left is Wirecast Pro (which comes with the Gears). The upper right is where to monitor YouTube Live. Then the bottom is shows the CPU usage. It mainly remained around 10%, 

"For those unfamiliar with Wirecast, I built the shot used in the video in the Shot Layers dialog shown on the upper left. There, you see three layers: the white background layer on the bottom, the black Desktop Presenter window coming in from the Mac, and the live video coming in through HD-SDI input 1. Wirecast provides resizing, positioning, and cropping tools to build the composite shot, along with color correction, rotation, and other adjustments," Jan wrote. 

That's an easy project, and to be expected, the Wirecast Gear 420 handled it with no problem whatsoever. According to Jan, the unit hardly made a sound the entire time, though says this changed for more demanding projects. 

Remote interviews

Jan built a project that consisted of 3 people being interviewed remotely. He then streamed this to Facebook at 1080p 10mb/s.

Once again, Wirecast is in the upper right corner. Facebook Live is in the upper right corner. Finally the CPU usage is on the bottom. While streaming, Jan also made sure to be recording the whole thing. Now the CPU usage was at 30% and Jan noted that the fans began to get quite a bit louder. 

During the production, jan had a motion background happening as his guests spoke. He noted, " if you have an otherwise CPU heavy production, you may want to use a static background or at least make sure the video is in a production-friendly format like Motion JPEG-encoded QuickTime as opposed to an H.264-encoded MP4 file." 

Telestream had this to say about the fan noise: " “We had the new generation of Gear thermal tested by a third party, which resulted in custom air-ducting internally to both baffle sounds and optimize the airflow pathways. This extends the unit’s operating temperature range so it can be used outdoors at sporting events, as well as indoors in climate-controlled environments. Compared to an Apple laptop or other PC, the fans of those machines at idle are a little more quiet. Under load, they are loud enough to be picked up by a quality microphone as well.”

MSC Test

One this project, Jan went all out. 

"The final project included video camera output routed through an Osprey SDARD-4 Distribution Amplifier to create four HD-SDI outputs, each with its own text title. These are the four videos on the left and right you can see in both the YouTube Live and Facebook Live video windows.

In the upper middle is a power point show coming in from a mac. The bottom middle is a green screen on demand file that was keyed using Wirecast's compositing tool. Jan had 17 layers going here for this stream. 

He even streamed to both Facebook and YouTube Live at the same time while saving all 4 of his camera feeds as separate ISO's. This now had the CPU usage up to 80% at most points. The result was a total of 10 dropped frames which happened near the beginning of his stream. 

In conclusion

I'd say this is an amazing piece of production hardware. Out of the three models of Wirecast Gear, the 420 is the one I recommend the most hands down! This unit is stable and responsive even when pushed to the brink, and that's important to anyone with an important stream that needs to be made. The unit did not crash, it did not slow down! 

Read the original article here!

Learn more about Telestream here!

Learn more about the WIrecast Gears here!

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