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Streaming Media
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June 2019
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Review: Sling Media SlingStudio

At the 2017 NAB show in Las Vegas, DISH Network-owned Sling Media introduced the SlingStudio, a professional multi-camera streaming/switching appliance. At $999, it competes with a number of existing pro-grade products from the likes of Teradek, LiveU, and Matrox.

I kept a path clear between my two tripods so I could easily access either camera for adjustments. With my headphones plugged into the iPad, I tried to monitor the audio. Unfortunately, the live sound grossly overpowered what I could hear on the iPad, so it didn’t end up being much help (hence why the viewers had to point out to me that the vocals weren’t coming through on the broadcast.)

After the stream began, I took my time getting used to the interface and controls. Basic switching was a breeze. I could drag a source to a larger preview viewer if I needed to give extra scrutiny to a shot before switching, or I could simply drag a source straight to the program for instant switching.

It didn’t take long before I felt confident in operating the broadcast. This allowed me to insert more creativity into the shoot. I was able to quickly create some basic on-screen titles and lower-thirds within the Console app to include at the beginning and end (Figure 6, below). Plus, I could set the iPad down temporarily while I moved the two Canon cameras to different angles and framing. Going back to the Console app, I experimented with the multi-view options available. There are multiple split-screen and picture-in-picture options that can be easily set up and saved either before or during a broadcast.

Figure 6. The SlingStudio Console app allowed me to add basic on-screen titles and lower-thirds on the fly, as well as a split-screen effect, as shown in the Facebook Live feed.

After almost 90 minutes, my camera batteries were giving out and the concert was nearly over. After calling it quits on the stream, I was able to immediately show some of the recorded video to the performers and audience members within the Console app. That evening, I pulled all of the video from the SD card into PluralEyes to sync up and re-edit in Premiere Pro from the iso feeds.

The SlingStudio will be a bit under-featured for high-end productions since it currently lacks advanced features such as the ability to import custom graphics (coming soon) or pre-recorded video clips. But for basic and semi-complex multi-camera productions the SlingStudio has proven already to be one of the most intuitive and creative options available.

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