Blackmagic Design have announced the ATEM Mini, a tiny box that can accept up to four HDMI inputs, and switch between them for output to streaming services like YouTube, Facebook, Skype or Twitch.
Looks like a switcher, appears as a webcam
In fact the ATEM mini will be compatible with any software that will accept a webcam feed, as the unit appears as a 1080p webcam when connected via USB-C. There’s also an HDMI-out which you can use to monitor your program, record a master file or use as a preview monitor if you’re cueing up different angles.
Switch it up
Switching options include cuts and pre-programmed fades, as well as picture-in-picture effects. There’s also a digital video editor (DVE) built in, which will allow you to construct more complex scenes from video components.
It does stills, too
To that end there’s also a frame store for up to 20 images (Blackmagic call this a ‘media pool’). You can drag and drop still frames straight into your program, and grab frames straight from your output. There’s also a plugin for Photoshop that will allow you to update graphics there before exporting straight to the ATEM mini.
All in one (framerate)
One limiting aspect of Blackmagic’s earlier ATEM units was the need for all the inputs to match up in framerate and frame size. The ATEM mini changes all that, and each of the four inputs now has an integrated up/cross-converter.
This alone is a big upgrade for anyone who’s used the earlier ATEM products, and makes the ATEM mini a lot more usable in the real world where you might be trying to switch between feeds from different cameras and other sources like laptops or projectors.
Control options, audio, keyers
The ATEM mini can be controlled via its hardware buttons, or Blackmagic’s ATEM Software Control, which offers separate pages for switching, media store and audio mixing.
The built-in mixer offers control over 12 channels of audio, with faders and meters for each input and the master level control. There are also two additional 3.5mm input sockets.
There are also built-in upstream and downstream chroma keyers, integration with Blackmagic Hyperdecks to play in material, and the ability to save settings from a session to import again later.
Price and availability
Blackmagic say the ATEM mini will be available this November for $295 US. That’s a competitive price for a very capable-looking unit. We look forward to trying one out.
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