vMix – A Biased Review and Brief Tutorial of the Best Live Production Software!
What is vMix and Why Do I Need a Live Production Software Package?
If these are questions you’re asking yourself, then maybe you’re not quite ready for what vMix is, but let’s just test the waters you’re wading in a little bit before we go making rash decisions or just leave you there with that gawd-awful look on your face.
A Little About Me
Hey there! My name is Leland Best, and as a live stream broadcaster myself, it came as somewhat of a shock that I hadn’t crossed paths with vMix software sooner than I did. I’ve been involved with Radio, TV and DJ’g over the last 30 years in some form or another, but never so much as I have been lately. I started out young in a Radio/TV shop-class in high school that took up two years of my time as a teenager. I enjoyed it immensely, being able to broadcast radio shows to my fellow alumni and create fun little TV productions as either a talent or a production manager, sound guy or camera operator, it really didn’t matter to me. After leaving HS, I went and obtained training and a license for Public Access Studio Production and Editing from my local cable company (which at the time was known as United Cable Television).
Beyond that I got involved with All-Star Entertainment and spent a few years DJ’g local bars, bowling alleys, weddings and graduation parties in the Saginaw, MI area. Then came live streaming! First it was YouTube and Hangouts on Air, then just about any type of webinar platform you could think of. I took a couple years off while moving across the state to do other stuff, but look where I am…back at it. Only now it’s sooo much more fun!
What Does Live Streaming Have to Do With You?
You may still be asking yourself… “So what? I don’t live stream, what do I care?” Well, to be honest, you should care!
There is a wave washing around the world as I write this that not everyone is privy to. I’m going to take a little time to enlighten you here briefly. Now, most people know that YouTube creators have been producing some pretty cool content over the years, and that for at least the last 10 years or so, people have been using somewhat outdated methods to create “live streams” on the internet. That simply means that when someone broadcasts to the internet in a “live stream”, the audience is able to see the show in real time. Just like a LIVE broadcast on TV! Again you say, so what?
Well let’s say you own a store or you’re in business for yourself, or maybe you just have a crafty hobby that you want to take to the public to produce a little income with? How would you take to me saying that nowadays you have the ability to produce your very own LIVE (or recorded) video content with the same level of quality that you could find on just about any HD channel you turn to on your television set, right now? Well, you can!
Huge Benefits for Anyone with a Business
Having the ability to produce your own broadcasts have been the dream of many a business person for years. Many business owners pay THOUSANDS of dollars to run ads on Radio and TV, not to mention the cost of producing the commercial content in the first place. But what if, better even than any commercial, you could reach your audience DIRECTLY with your own equipment and software for probably less than the cost of a single professionally produced commercial? Does that sound a little more interesting? NOW you’re startin’ to catch my drift…
But I Don’t Own a TV Station, How Can I Broadcast to TV?
That’s the beauty of it all, you don’t! You broadcast to the Internet! And rather than pay some TV mogul or network conglomerate, you might pay a few dollars a month for a quality streaming platform. But it gets even better than that.
Thanks to the advent of WebRTC (Web-based Real Time Communications) and the recent announcements (like yesterday) by several major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Google) there are now a multitude of new FREE channels for you to send your message out to the masses! With Facebook LIVE, YouTube LIVE, Twitter’s Periscope, Firetalk, or the plethora of other streaming services popping up every day, you don’t have to pay anyone a single red cent in broadcasting fees! How crazy is that? This is happening RIGHT NOW!
This is where vMix comes in…
Now obviously, some of these new broadcasting platforms aren’t quite what you’d expect when it comes to “TV Quality” networks, but the fact remains that nearly every one of them allow you to broadcast a stream of audio and video content in High Definition to the audience of your choice. vMix has the software and hardware tools and solutions that help you to compete with your local and national television networks in REAL TIME from your office or living room!
So what does vMix bring to the table? Let’s make one point perfectly clear, vMix BRINGS the table!
All your inputs, when and where you need them.
- Video Cameras – 4K, HD and SD capable. Support for capture cards, direct link cameras, webcams, etc.
- Video Files – Support for all popular formats including AVI, MP4, H.264, MPEG-2, WMV and QuickTime*
- DVDs – With menu navigation
- Audio Files – MP3 and WAV
- Audio Devices – Mix multiple audio sources such as SoundCards and DeckLink Audio
- Video and Audio PlayLists – Combine multiple video and/or audio files into a single Input
- RTSP, PowerPoint, Photos, Flash, RTMP, Solid Color and more.
*Apple has recently discontinued support and is phasing out this player in Windows due to security issues in 2016
Simultaneous Streaming, Recording, and Output
Live stream to places like YouTube, Ustream, Daily Motion, Facebook LIVE, Firetalk… you get to choose where your feed goes!
Record in FULL High Definition (HD) to AVI, MP4, MPEG-2 or WMV
Output your data to nearly any source capturing device you prefer!
You’ll also have Virtual Camera support to send your stream to any WebRTC capable platform that exists!
Professional Transition Effects (Boom!)
Cut, Fade, Zoom, Wipe, Slide, Fly, CrossZoom, FlyRotate, Cube, CubeZoom, Vertical Wipe, Vertical Slide and Merge transitions available via on screen macro-like buttons!
Professional HD production on nearly any PC
vMix is the perhaps the most effective at producing HD content through multiple sources without burning out your CPU or putting a whole in your wallet. Thanks to it’s limited use of computer resources and full 3D acceleration, you’ll be able to create professional results on even a somewhat modest computer setup.
Don’t have the room for a Studio Set? Ever heard of Chroma Key?
With vMix’s built in Chroma Key features, and 4 built-in Virtual Sets you can turn any small bedroom into a mega studio in minutes! vMix also gives you the option to create your own personalized virtual studio using the studio builder!
PC and Mac Desktop Sources
With vMix’s Desktop Capture, you can use data from remote desktops on your business intranet, or create a private virtual network (VPN) and connect to outside audio and video streams via the latest NDI (Network Device Interface) technology over the world wide webs from around the world, just by having the devices IP address! (gigabit internet speeds recommended)
This is a great way to present a guest’s PowerPoint presentations! With vMix, Audio Capture support for Skype and other video-conferencing software is available under Windows 7, 8 and 10.
Find out more about running vMix on a Mac.
Looking for Lower 3rd Title Templates? They’re INCLUDED!
With a few clicks of the mouse, you can add or edit a host title bar (lower 3rd) or perhaps a scoreboard or a news ticker. With the correct template and a social media account you can even broadcast a Twitter feed or Facebook comments in REAL TIME during your broadcasts, with full control over each post inside a comment “cue” which allows you to pick and choose how posts, tweets or comments show up in your feed!
Use built-ins or add your own designs that you may have already created inside your favorite graphics or vector editing software. Adjust Text, Font Size and Color and do it in Real-Time with instant updates.
I Missed that….where’s the Instant Replay? Maybe you want Slow Motion?
Create a Video Delay input and assign it to any available camera or output device. Save multiple clips of awesome events for playback at any time. With vMix you have configurable slow motion playback – from 5 to 400%
Throw that old analog mixer in the trash!
vMix’s built-in (I say that a LOT don’t I?) audio mixer allows you to easily keep track of all of your connected audio sources (mics, webcams, audio files) and includes the ability to Mute, Follow (Auto Mixing) and Delay any source.
The Master Output includes it’s own separate VU meter and can be modified via the included equalizer. The VU meter also includes the ability to provide peak outputs and allows for signal gating to ensure each inputs level is ready to broadcast at the best quality possible, without background interference or over pick-up.
Perhaps you’re the type who likes to play with Live Video Effects?
Color Correct, Deinterlace, Sharpen, Zoom, Rotate, Pan and Crop any input on the fly.
All effects are processed in 4:4:4 32-bit color for optimal video quality.
Multi View – 2 Down, 4 to Go!
With Multi-view you can combine a number of input devices into one output to create awesome screen effects for interviews (2 panes), demonstrations, party calls (more than 2 people) or set-up a seat for your co-host and invite a guest to your show!
Overlay Channels (PIP: “Picture-in-Picture”)
The basic versions of vMix only include 1 overlay channel, but even as early as the SD version, vMix adds in 3 more, giving you a total of 4 Overlay Channels in addition to the Multi View feature. Each overlay channel can have its own transition effect, position and border. This is where you should be saying to me, “Are you serious right now?”
Check out this short video I created to give you an idea of what’s possible using overlays:
Control your LIVE video production with your Touch Screen tablet or laptop!
With the vMix Web Controller on your Surface, iPad, Android or other touch screen device you can control your entire production without touching the keyboard (unless you need to edit a title of course). This is a built-in web interface accessible through a simple url port on your network. Customized shortcut buttons similar to macros can also be created to activate common production functions.
Compare the Features:
What Comes Next? Secure the Quality of your Stream with UL Listed Hardware!
Let’s say that computer box you built back in the 90’s isn’t quite up to snuff for broadcasting video. Well, you have a few options at your disposal, so let’s take a moment to consider them all:
- You could certainly try your hand at another build, do what you can to catch up to all the new hardware specs, memory modules, video cards, sound cards, monitors, webcams, and networking devices available in today’s marketplace…or
- You could go browse Amazon or Ebay and try to find a used gaming machine some 19 y.o. kid trashed just so he could get another new one as a graduation present from his dear ol’ rich daddy…or
- You could “trust” your local Best Buy or Office Max store to direct you and your best interest toward a flimsy cookie-cutter machine loaded with all kinds of software you’ll never use…or
- If you’re really serious about broadcasting and creating some totally awesome LIVE (and recorded) video content to help build up your budding business into an empire by reaching more customers than you never thought possible…then we need to talk. Allow me to show you how the enterprise solutions available will make certain you will never have a “bad streaming experience” like the one in this Verizon commercial!