Listening to: Primetime – Going Places
Photo: “my” back yard. Lots of shade from the trees in the summer (and yes, the fence has been fixed now).
I’d previously mentioned the video streaming setup created during the pandemic would be documented. So:
Turnkey systems can run into the tens of thousands of dollars and that obviously was not a go. So we had to DIY it. The quality and features suit us and match some far more expensive setups but it all takes a bit more in the way of tech skills to keep running. We also wanted to keep the setup flexible to accommodate various needs and future expansion.
A refurbished Lenovo M93p SFF with an i5-4570, 16 gigs ram (overkill), 500 gig SSD and Geforce 1030 running a arch-based linux distro and OBS Studio. Everything was on used/free/on sale. If that’s ever not powerful enough any other computer could be used with very little tweaking.
Three Panasonic G85’s and a Panasonic G7. The stabilization from the G85’s stock lens is rather terrific for handheld work and after the cameras were set up, it only takes five or ten minutes of training to get the operational basics down (on manual, fixed zoom with ability to snap focus when needed). One can hand them to any available staff or group that books. All cameras will shoot 4k video to the internal card (until full, no time limitations) and if filming at 1080p 30/fps, can also output raw HDMI to a NDI encoder for streaming. We also have a 40mm (panasonic) and 85mm (Voigtländer) primes available for special shoots. Neither is stabilized but both work with the in-body and electronic stabilisation and are much faster lenses for low light usage.
These were the fancy bit. Three Birddog Studio NDI units. They attach to the camera rigs and send the HDMI video over Ethernet to the stream box. Quality is great and they’ve proven dead reliable. They are bi-directional and also feature SDI so that we could accept a show which brings proper broadcast equipment. They work over POE so there are no additional power needs.
Two Ubiquiti UniFi Switch 8 60w POE switches, a Unifi Security Gateway and a lot of gigabit ethernet runs. We have two rooms wired now and will eventually do the front gallery as well. It means we can move a camera, plug it in and it just works, auto-configuring itself with the stream box. The administration is simple and GUI based so anybody should be able to pick up administration if I’m not available.
Mostly donated. The lights were updated with stronger bulbs and the lighting board apparently dates back to Expo ’86 in Vancouver. We do have a 5600k Godox SL-60 with softbox and a few DIY work lights to fill in when needed along with a small ring light for interviews and the like.
OBS Studio with only two additions. libndi-bin and obs-ndi-bin. Things like Krita and Shotcut are also on the box for graphics and any trimming of videos. The box is not heavily GPU fortified so any major editing is done elsewhere.
The Best Bit:
Even during a global pandemic, I occasionally get to see a performance.
Totally worth the hundred or so hours of work :-).