Guides - 27 May 2022

How to find the right multi-camera system for your needs

How to find the right multi-camera system for your needs

When we first start talking to potential clients about multi-camera systems, the first job is to try and work out exactly what they are trying to achieve. Normally people say that they want to start streaming services, meetings or assemblies, but it is never as simple as this first answer might imply.

One of the key questions to think about is do you want the stream, broadcast or videoconference as just an outgoing live feed? Or do you want to be able to record your individual camera feeds as well? If you want to be able to produce videos or do anything beyond just recording a live stream, then that changes things quite a lot. Most importantly, it changes the type of equipment that you should be looking at.

If you’re happy with a single camera angle, the simplest way to stream or record anything really doesn’t need a company like Flipside AV. All you need is a mobile device and a USB microphone. This setup can be pretty good and you can do some interesting things with it. However, if you want to be able to move between camera shots, you need more technology to get the best out of your system.

There are two ways to approach this, and as stated above, the right way for you will depend on if you want to broadcast live feeds, or if you want to record and edit content as well.

If you want to just push a live feed out to a videoconference platform, YouTube or Facebook Live, then a simple bit of hardware like a switcher or video mixer is great because it is pretty cost-effective. The cheapest switchers are £300-£400 for 2-4 HDMI input switching. Something with a bit of fading, a bit of mixing and a bit more control is closer to £1,000 and you can scale up from there based on quality, feature set and amount and type of feeds that you can mix down. That is all pretty straightforward for most users to do with a little training.

If you want to be able to go back and edit transitions, cut bits out or try to produce different videos from the same set of recordings, then ideally you will need to record all of your camera feeds separately. At that point you are talking about adding in a computer with the power to handle video editing. The most cost-effective way to do it is with a PC with a multi-SDI or multi-HDMI capture card and use software like V-Mix or OBS Studio. All of those programs offer things like iso-recording so you will be able to mix down, send the broadcast out but also record all of the individual camera feeds simultaneously as a raw feed and then put that into a video editing suite and do whatever you want with them afterwards.

If you are thinking about investing in a multi-camera system, the most important starting point is to know what you want to achieve. Once this is clear, Flipside AV will be able to help you find the right solution for your needs and budget.