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NAB Spotlight: vMix Talks 'User-Defined Control'

Streaming Media Producer's Anthony Burokas and vMix's Martin Sinclair discuss customizable graphics and user-defined control on the show floor at NAB 2019.


Anthony Burokas: Hello there, my name is Anthony Burokas, and we are here at NAB 2019 for streaming media producer. I am here with Martin in the vMix booth. Now, a lot of people are familiar with broadcast gear, a lot of people are familiar with various software solutions. And vMix is one, I think, one of the four most software solutions for multi-camera live streaming. And I also think it's one of the most flexible solutions out there.

Martin Sinclair: Yeah, so vMix is an all-in-one live streaming solution. So it has the ability on an ordinary PC or laptop to bring in multiple sources, NDI, cameras, graphics, titles, virtual sets, the list goes on and on. And you can switch all of those live and then stream out to say YouTube or Facebook Live.

Anthony Burokas: And because it's not hardware, I mean it is hardware-based, but it's not dependent on, you don't make a box.

Martin Sinclair: No.

Anthony Burokas: So you enable the producer or the integrator or whomever, to build whatever box they want. So if they want to go with USB dongles, they do that. If they want to go with a card or two cards, they can do that. So your system is really adaptable.

Martin Sinclair: Yeah, absolutely. And so we have recommended systems specifications on our website.

Anthony Burokas: Right.

Martin Sinclair: And lists of capture cards and things like that. But also with the advent of NDI, now you don't even need a capture card.

Anthony Burokas: Right.

Martin Sinclair: You can buy a little converter from one of the many companies out there that does it now, that you can plug in your camera into that box and you got a network cable. Plug the network cable into your network and there you go, you've instantly got a video source that you can bring into vMix.

Anthony Burokas: And NDI is really opening things up, I mean you can do NDI on a laptop and grab the screen. And then Panasonic just announced NDI camcorder.

Martin Sinclair: Yeah.

Anthony Burokas: So now "the box" that you used to need, now it's in the camera.

Martin Sinclair: That's right, in-camera as well. So that's also very exciting.

Anthony Burokas: So and, you know, I'm looking at the interface and in addition to like, customizability with the computer, the interface itself, I think you're sort of ... It's completely flexible in terms of what the user wants to prioritize.

Martin Sinclair: Yeah, yeah. So we have the ability to bring in things like audio mixers and on the side panel here you can bring it on a separate monitor. We have a multi-view output here over on the right-hand side, but you can also just change that to a program feed, a pre-view feed, up to two separate monitors, yeah. Just a lot of flexibility there. And one of the new things we're having this year that a lot of customers are asking us about is animated graphics. We're going to have a built-in animated graphics engine for lower-thirds and social media. So they can go to ... Use one of our built-in templates. This is one we've generated in 4K just for this show. It's got, you know, spinning bugs, it's got animated elements on it. And also you have the banana graphic which you absolutely need in every production.

Anthony Burokas: And I think animated graphics, to build them in a third-party solution, you're then making things more complex. They have it built into the product, even if it is a bunch of templates. But it enables people to have a more polished type of production without adding additional complexity to the setup.

Martin Sinclair: Yeah 'cause they can edit the text directly from in vMix.

Anthony Burokas: Right.

Martin Sinclair: We've got over 200 templates built in, but if they want to design their own we've also got a brand new designer app.

Anthony Burokas: Oh.

Martin Sinclair: That's pretty well similar to, if you're familiar with PowerPoint, which mostly everybody is.

Anthony Burokas: Yeah.

Martin Sinclair: It's very similar to PowerPoint but for creating animated graphics.

Anthony Burokas: That's really cool. And I mean, I love the fact that, you know the different inputs that you have here, you can really get creative with these things because I know you've got 4K cropping, and now I think you've got 8K cropping?

Martin Sinclair: Oh, just 4K at this stage.

Anthony Burokas: Okay.

Martin Sinclair: Everybody's asking about 8K at this show but we're not sure whether it's ready for live streaming just yet. I think everybody's still wrapping their head around 4K streaming. But yeah.

Anthony Burokas: Yeah, 4K streaming.

Martin Sinclair: It's something to look into for the future.

Anthony Burokas: But in terms of like having that single camera view of the stage and being able to like window it--

Martin Sinclair: Yeah, yeah.

Anthony Burokas: And like here's the speaker at the podium, here's the wide shot, here's somebody over here. So you've got multiple "camera views",

Martin Sinclair: Yeah.

Anthony Burokas: Virtual cameras without having to have multiple cameras.

Martin Sinclair: Yeah, so we added virtual pan-tilt-zoom support, which is exactly as you're describing. You've got that one wide shot of the venue and then you can use a joystick in vMix to move around as if it was a pan-tilt-zoom camera.

Anthony Burokas: And then you've got pan-tilt-zoom control as well?

Martin Sinclair: Yeah, for traditional pan-tilt-zoom cameras, which the new ones this year, we've got the new BirdDog pan-tilt-zoom cameras which have built-in NDI.

Anthony Burokas: Right.

Martin Sinclair: So they're available as well and work with vMix. So, so many different options out there for whatever workflow.

Anthony Burokas: Now in terms of like, controlling it. Obviously it's a software-based product, you're going to have a computer keyboard. But this,

Martin Sinclair: Yeah.

Anthony Burokas: I see an x-key is in front of us too. So for people coming from a more hardware-based solution and are looking at this, in terms of, you're saying it's customizable, I think this is just completely up to the operator as well.

Martin Sinclair: Absolutely, so while this, at first glance looks like a traditional broadcast switcher output, of course its got the T-bar here. There's a grid of 124 buttons. And so you can put little black spaces in them and you can create rows of buttons and numbers and different colors and combinations. So you have the traditional layout here with the T-bar, but as you can see down here we've added some banana buttons and some vMix buttons that do a various custom task. Like this one will throw up a "Stop, it's banana time" graphic that says, "Stop, it's banana time." There's another purple graphic that says it's banana time. So yeah. While it looks like a traditional switcher you could do it any layout you like from x-keys. You could even be the person who wants the T-bar on the left.

Anthony Burokas: Well you could probably put this upside down.

Martin Sinclair: There you go, now it's on the left. And operate it on the left. And yeah, 'cause you can flip the buttons around, you can do all that sort of stuff.

Anthony Burokas: So there's this types of customizable, I mean it really seems like it's user-defined almost.

Martin Sinclair: Yes.

Anthony Burokas: In terms of building a software solution that mixes what they want to mix, how they want to mix it, with whatever controls they want to mix.

Martin Sinclair; Well yeah, I think you just coined a new phrase. User-defined control. You know there's user-defined videos, there's user-defined, you know, VPS ... User-defined is the buzzword of the moment. So, user-defined control, absolutely.

Anthony Burokas: All right. Well thank you very much for taking us out on a quick tour of vMix. I'm here with Martin at the vMix booth for streaming media producer at NAB 2019. My name is Anthony Burokas, thanks for watching.

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