The Streaming Media Producer 25

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Assembling a kit for professional live production and streaming, whether you're working in a fixed in-studio location or taking your show on the road, typically means lighting, shooting, switching, mixing, titling, encoding, and streaming with a patchwork of gear from multiple vendors that needs to work seamlessly to achieve your goals or your clients' (or preferably both). If you're traveling from venue to venue, this puts portability at a premium, so gear that allows you to streamline your operation, or cleverly combines multiple production tasks will serve you especially well. 

The inaugural Streaming Media Producer 25 highlights companies that make gear that not only demonstrates promise or prowess in a single stage in the process, but fits well in a kit that makes your live production workflow work.

With all that in mind, we charged our expert panel of Streaming Media Producer contributing editors with the solemn task of identifying the 25 companies who, more than their many and worthy competitors, are driving innovation and shaping successful workflows among professional online video producers today. I’m thrilled to report that our gang of four (plus me) proved more than equal to the task.

Here's our select panel of list-makers:

Anthony Burokas, Founder/Owner, Frisco Studios; and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media Producer

Shawn Lam, President, SLV Live; and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media Producer

Steve Nathans-Kelly, Editor, Streaming Media Producer and Video Publishing Director, Information Today, Inc.

Jan Ozer,Principal, Streaming Learning Center; and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media Producer

Paul Schmutzler, Print and Video Production Specialist; and Contributing Editor, Streaming Media Producer

If you’re keen to know who’s moving and shaking live production and delivery today—from the mobile producers to the majors, and most everyone in between—look no further.

Brought to you for the very first time in 2019 as the content-creation-crew complement to the Streaming Media 50, we, the editors of Streaming Media, present the Streaming Media Producer 25.

AJA

NICK RASHBY, PRESIDENT

One of the hallmarks of live production—live-switched and streamed production in particular—is that your flashiest gear like a camera or lens is only a single tool in the toolkit that supports your live production workflow. From industry-standard I/O to encoders to converters, A/V recorders, and more, AJA specializes in critical, cutting-edge gear that make professional production workflows work. And it makes some pretty cool cameras too.

Atomos

JEROMY YOUNG, FOUNDER & CEO

Atomos’ genre-defining line of monitor-recorders—invariably tagged with cool and memorable names like Ninja and Shogun and Sumo, Blade and Inferno and Flame—have been making HD, HDR, and 4K live producers look better for years. From high-quality monitoring to solid-state recording in pristine formats like ProRes, and DNx in compact designs, Atomos’ line can benefit almost any pro workflow.

Behringer

ULI BEHRINGER, FOUNDER & CEO

Behringer’s X-series line of digital audio mixers got high marks from several members of our panel, who praised in particular their ability to auto-mix live mics—a critical feature for small crews always working with multiple moving parts, and livestreaming producers well aware that subpar audio (much more than video) is something online viewers won’t tolerate.

BirdDog

DAN MIALL, CEO

One of the hottest technologies in live production and streaming today is NDI. One innovative company that has pursued NDI with dogged determination is Birddog, with its growing line of cool IP-based video gear, including PTZ cameras, a compact NDI encoder, PTZ keyboard, and more.

Blackmagic Design

GRANT PETTY, FOUNDER & CEO

Blackmagic Design is nothing if not versatile, with its vast line of industry-leading production switchers, 4K cameras, broadcast converters, multiview monitors, and monitor/recorder that can find homes in almost any viable workflow. But several of these products in their studio configurations also deliver a degree of integration unmatched in the industry.

Cinamaker

BENJAMIN NOWAK, CEO

iOS-based, live-switched streaming is looking more and more like the beast that swallowed mobile live production, thanks to companies like Cinamaker developing innovative and feature-rich tools that boast the same sort of benefits as more traditional tools in smaller, more cost-effective configurations. Let’s hope this industry recognizes a paradigm shift when it sees one, because it might be happening right now.

Datavideo

JACK LIN, PRESIDENT

Datavideo’s range of solutions nearly span the gamut of live production gear, but it’s primarily the company’s innovative line of switchers and mixers that land it on this list, particularly mid-range models like the SE-500, which are go-to gear for loads of successful pro producers.

Decimator Design

GREG WRIGHT, OWNER

Decimator Design’s MD-HX scaler/converter is the kind of gear you have no idea how desperately you need until you arrive at a shoot to find you can’t do anything without it. Far more than a simple SDI/HDMI converter, the MD-HX provides critical scaling capability in a compact design that bridges resolution and frame-rates differences with aplomb. The MD-HX is far from the only device that does all this, but it’s the one you need.

Epiphan Video

MIKE SANDLER, FOUNDER & CEO

Epiphan Video has been bringing engineering ingenuity to the streaming industry for several years now with its cool, compact designs and rich feature sets packed into cost-effective solutions like the Pearl, Pearl Mini, and Webcaster X2.

Frame.io

EMERY WELLS, CO-FOUNDER & CEO

Although video editing may seem like a solitary activity, collaboration is critical to most commercial video work, whether it be multiple editors working in teams from disparate locations or editors sending cuts to clients for review. Frame.io was a pioneer in enabling postproduction collaboration and continues to innovate; as Paul Schmutzler wrote in a Frame.io review, “It’s made my life a whole lot easier.”

LiveU

AVI COHEN, CO-FOUNDER & COO

LiveU’s portable uplink technology has been critical in making anywhere, anytime streaming possible, enabling mobile pro producers and citizen journalists to get their videos out using a range of field units and the popular LiveU Solo. A new multi-year partnership with Sinclair Broadcasting will push LiveU deeper into the newsgathering space that’s become its key demographic.

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