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Review: Mevo Start All-in-One Live Streaming Camera

The Mevo Start is a little camera with a lot of built-in capability. Even though the Start can stream to social media directly from the camera itself, I'm going to take a look at it specifically for higher-end, multi-camera use as part of an NDI-based production.

The Mevo Start is a little camera with a lot of built-in capability. Even though the Start can stream to social media directly from the camera itself, I'm going to take a look at it specifically for higher-end, multi-camera use as part of an NDI-based production.

Key Features

The Start (Figure 1, below) has several key features that I am very excited about. First, it has its own battery built in. Streaming capability and NDI|HX2 are also built-in.

Figure 1. Mevo Start

It has an audio jack on the back (Figure 2, below). And you can remotely control the camera settings while it's streaming/sending NDI. That's a lot of features for a $399 list price.

Figure 2. Jacks on the back

In the video that accompanies this article, the camera is using WiFI to send the video over my local area network (LAN). Additionally, I have a mobile phone that is controlling the Mevo over that same LAN. The mobile phone is sharing its screen so that I can show you the Mevo control live, while I am using it.

In the Mevo app, you can reframe a shot (Figure 3, below). You can use your fingers to pinch the viewable area and virtually zoom in—essentially, a sensor crop. It looks quite good. In the upper-right corner the Mevo app in Figure 3, you can see the camera view that's being sent out via NDI.

Figure 3. Reframing a shot in the Mevo app

You could spend thousands of dollars for an NDI-capable camcorder, then pay hundreds of dollars to activate NDI in that camera. The Mevo Start costs as an NDI license, and NDI is already activated in the camera. You don't have to pay anything extra.

In an NDI pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) head, you can remotely control zoom, focus, iris, shutter, and white balance over NDI. But with an NDI-capable camcorder, you can't control any of that. Even after you spend thousands of dollars.

The Mevo Start has an app that connects directly to the Start over the LAN (not NDI) .which lets you manually adjust the contrast, shutter, white balance, ISO, and digital zoom (Figure 4, below)—things some expensive camcorders can't do.

Figure 4. Adjust camera settings here

The Mevo Start also has USB-C on the back, as shown in Figure 2. If you need to deploy the camera in front of a stage for a conference all day long, or any other long shoot in the field, the USB-C port enables you to plug in an AC adapter, which is included in the box, or an external battery.

Most interestingly, Mevo also offers a USB-C-to-Ethernet adapter with integrated Power over Ethernet (PoE). This enables you to run PoE to the camera, which could be 200 feet away. PoE will power the camera all day long.

Moreover, the ethernet connection will also pass the NDI feed back to your network, meaning that you don't have to worry about any WiFi interference. Remember, NDI is just as good as HDMI or SDI, and has the advantage of being able to use off-the-shelf networking tools to connect multiple cameras.

In the Mevo app, all the way on the bottom left is the NDI button you can see in Figure 3. That's actually a streaming button. If you tap that when you’re already using NDI, you'll see the warning shown in Figure 5 (below).

Figure 5. You’ll see this warning if you try to stream in NDI mode.

Streaming and Recording

You can see in Figure 6 (below) that the Mevo has built-in modules to facilitate streaming directly to all the usual places: Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, etc. It can also be set up with a manual RTMP destination.

Figure 6. Streaming options

You can also set it to record to a removable MicroSD card in H.264 or HEVC (Figure 7, below). You can record in full 1080p at bitrates even higher than 40 Mbps.

Figure 7. Recording Settings

Clicking another button brings up the Vimeo Producer subscription (Figure 8, below). If you’re going to use this to stream directly to a content delivery network or all those mentioned already, you can do video mixing in the device itself. It's also possible to use overlay graphics and more as part of a $15/month subscription to Vimeo Producer, which of course gets you into Vimeo as well.

Figure 8. The Vimeo Producer subscription option