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The 2020 Streaming Media Producer 25

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Litra

Featured Product: LitraTorch 2.0

Compact cameras, like most ultra-portable gear, can take you places bulkier equipment can’t, and that includes dimly lit environs where, paradoxically, larger, more-full-featured gear is often better equipped to shine. That’s where pocket-sized, high-output lights like the LitraTorch 2.0 come in, producing the supplementary light needed to get a good shot without compromising the tiny footprint of a low-light-challenged smartphone, DSLR, or GoPro camera. The LitraTorch 2.0 is an improbably small (1.5"x1.5") LED that cranks out 800 lumens of continuous light. Litra also offers the larger, brighter LitraPro, which will fall well within the wheelhouse of many a live producer.

LiveU 

Featured Product: LiveU Solo

The LiveU Solo (along with bigger brothers like the LU600) turns up in all sorts of interesting places, running an especially wide gamut of live sports productions, thanks to its one-button streaming features; its facility with popular online platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook Live; and its bonding capability with and incorporation of LiveU Reliable Transport, which make it possible to push a stream out in the most unlikely of circumstances.

Magewell

Featured Products: Pro Convert Family

Magewell has been connecting the key components of live switches and streams for quite some time, but its current mission seems to be more sharply focused on ushering those of us seemingly trapped in the closed loops of HDMI and SDI into the wonderful world of NDI through its growing Pro Convert family of signal transmitters. It’s an easy means of entry into IP video for producers who are not prepared to invest in NDI-ready cameras and the like—and one that should help accelerate the adoption of NDI throughout the live production world.

Matrox Video

Featured Product: Monarch EDGE

Dating back to the original Monarch HD, the Matrox Monarch family has proven to be one of the most effectively designed and targeted lines of purpose-built gear in the world of live recording and streaming. As each previous entry has done, the Monarch EDGE considerably expands the Monarch’s capabilities, adding 4K/UHD support, the ability to generate more than 16 (!) simultaneous streams to various platforms, and support for remote workflows via a new REMI encoder.

NewTek

Featured Product: TriCaster Mini 4K | NDI

Early on, NewTek set the standard for live production and streaming appliances, and 4 years ago, it introduced a new standard, NDI, that’s drawn mentions in nearly half of the entries on this list. Watching the company pack new features (including support for successive revs of NDI) into the various models in the TriCaster line over the years has offered two types of fascination: First is the innovative new features themselves, and second is NewTek’s interesting propensity to incorporate those features down the line into lower-priced models, shifting the relative value proposition as it goes. The entry-level TriCaster Mini just got one of the bigger boosts in the line’s history in the new TC Mini 4K | NDI, which makes the jump to 4Kp60, features eight resolution-independent NDI inputs, supports non-16:9 (see Adobe Auto Reframe comment) delivery to popular social platforms like Instagram, and arrives state of the art (no firmware upgrade needed) with NDI 4 and Advanced Edition 3.

Panasonic

Featured Products: AG-CX350, LiveCTRL app

Including the likes of Sony, Canon, JVC, or Panasonic in this list would seem to be such a no-brainer that they’re almost too generic a choice, so wide is the applicability of their vast array of cameras to so many different types of production. But the AG-CX350, introduced at the NAB Show 2019, takes dead aim at our live production market and is hailed as “the world’s first NDI-enabled camcorder.” Initial reports suggest the story is a bit complicated at present,
but this element of the camera’s already rich feature set demands a place in this list. Panasonic has also been doing exciting work on the PTZ front, including LiveCTRL, an innovative iOS-based app for controlling its PTZ cams, described by Paul Schmutzler on Streaming Media Producer as “a simple, clean, and very easy-to-carry iPad interface.”

PTZOptics

Featured Products: NDI PTZ Cameras

PTZOptics, as its company name suggests, doesn’t go in for traditional camcorders, DSLRs, action cams, or any video capture genre other than PTZ models, which are, of course, tailor-made for streamlined live-switched event production. Its full line of NDI cams includes a 30X optical zoom model, which ought to make it viable in virtually any venue.

RODE

Featured Products: Wireless GO, RODECaster Pro

RODE mics should be familiar to most live producers. The company features a range of high-quality audio gear, and we’ve been using the reliable RODELink Filmmaker wireless kit and the compatible RODELink TX-M2 handheld mic for live-streamed interviews at Streaming Media conferences for years. That said, what lands RODE in the Streaming Media Producer 25 this year is its ongoing innovation—particularly, the ludicrously compact Wireless GO mic system introduced at NAB 2019 and the RODECaster Pro four-channel integrated podcast production studio, which is drawin rave reviews around the industry.

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