1. vMix v. 21 | by StudioCoast Pty Ltd. | Free (no watermark) – $1200
As WINNER of Streaming Media’s 2018 “Best of NAB” Award (2nd year in a row!), vMix is where you’ll usually find me playing. I use this software for 95% of my in-house production work, and it’s surprising how long this powerhouse software remained outside of my radar before I even realized it existed. vMix was created “down under”, around 2005, in Australia by two young men by the name of Martin Sinclair and Tim Vandenburg. What began as a mission for their church, flourished into the live streaming powerhouse that is now.
Once I got my hands on their FREE 60 Day Trial version, I was hooked! No more wondering where I would find this feature or that feature. This software has literally EVERYTHING you would ever need, and then some, so much so, that I became a registered reseller of the product. Currently, I’m the only vMix reseller in the State of Michigan.
With features allowing for multiple 4K inputs and outputs, overlays, lower 3rds, VLC streaming, chroma key, instant replays, playlists, title editor, separate recordings of video/audio, instant replay, and yes, desktop capture (screen share). In April of 2017, vMix Call brought it to life! vMix users could now invite remote guests through a Chrome Browser via WebRTC!
This April (2018) vMix announced v. 21 BETA and added several new features like color correction, independent streaming (the ability to start/stop streams to various locations independently), allowing for preshow/postshow antics or the ability to give “shoutouts” to other live stream platforms to bring your audience to the one you’re currently streaming head-on into. Input/output has been enhanced for better control over multi-view format. New shortcuts have been added to do audio fades, a new on-countdown input trigger allows for a fully automated production! Wow!
As a bonus, Martin and Tim found a way to turn off the Windows Update feature when vMix is started to avoid the common issue with loss of computer resources when it activates itself in the background during an active streaming session.
The software may seem extremely daunting at first, and with a users manual reminiscent of a high school biology coursebook, I can understand why. When you first look inside at the intuitive interface, it’s just a blank palette. Compare the view below with that above.
Keep in mind, this isn’t kid’s stuff. This is a high-end professional live streaming encoder software, it’s only when you begin getting creative with various input sources, overlays, and virtual sets with multiple guests that things can get a bit tricky for a first-timer. Once you work your way up the learning curve, there’s probably no other software that is as reliable, less taxing on system resources or more enjoyable to stream with. In fact, I have never encountered a system crash attributed to the vMix software.
The Pro Edition is FREE for 2 months! After that, the software reverts to a Free Basic Edition for life! The free Basic version is still capable of high quality streaming @ 768 x 576p which is far better than SDTV (480p), comes with 4 inputs, connects to 2 cameras, but utilizes only 1 overlay channel for placing graphics into the stream like lower 3rds, screen sharing, branding images, video playback, etc. So you have to be a little creative in how you utilize the overlay, but that’s small stuff.
The basic setup is simple, add a camera, start the output for the virtual camera, and go! Or if you’d rather, start with one of the preset destinations for creating an RTMP stream (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram).
There is a ton of video trainings available on the website. They will show just how quick and easy a live broadcast is to setup. I do a bunch of tutorials and broadcasts regarding vMix as well. To get notifications of when I’m streaming, simply head over to my Facebook page LelandBest LIVE and connect with my Messenger bot “Candid”, she has a lot of informations about what I’m up to over there.
With an incredible array of input options (right), anyone would be hard-pressed not to feel a little lost inside the interface first starting off. I’ll be first to admit, I sure did! In fact, I wrote my first article about vMix back a couple of years ago, be sure to check that one out, too!
Remember, most pay-to-play software will charge extra to access all of the software’s features (# of cams, call-ins, overlay channels, etc.). No one rides for free when you’re talking about professional-grade live production products. Expect to pull out your wallet to get vMix Call, 1080p-4K video, and more than the default number of cameras, inputs and overlays that I mentioned earlier in this overview.
But straight out of the box, for a one time fee, and an entire year’s worth of FREE upgrades, you really can’t go wrong with vMix Live Production and Streaming Software! So if you’re serious, don’t leave this one on the table, there’s no reason not to at least grab your free copy today!
If you’d like to purchase a license for vMix Live Streaming and Production Software, be sure to get in touch. I’d be happy to help you get started right away!
vMix Live Streaming and Production SoftwareFree to $1200
- Winner NAB Product Award 2017-2018
- Free Demo/Limited Version
- Pro Features + Customization
- Call-in Feature (up to 8 callers)
- Social Comment Overlays (T, FB, YT, IG, IIRC)
- Costly Pro/4K Version
- A Little Complex for Rookies
- GUI Could Be More User Friendly
- FREE Version Resolution < 720p
- Awkward Integration w/vMix Social