FIRST IMPRESSION TERADEK VIDIU MINI STREAMING ENCODER AND LIVE:AIR APP
The new, smaller footprint in the VidiU Mini makes it a good companion for action cam and DSLR environments. The new app brings many functions of a full-fledged production switcher.
There are a number of companies that I look for when it comes to product releases, and Teradek is one of those companies. I think it’s mostly because in my mind they represent how fast technology has changed in recent years. Near the beginning of my career I worked with a company that was streaming video. At that time is was not quick, it was not easy, and it took lots of gear. About five years later Teradek introduced the first VidiU, and changed that situation entirely with a platform that would fit in your pocket. Now Teradek is introducing the VidiU Mini. Similar to the original VidiU, the Mini has new features that appear to improve ease of use and results.
The VidiU Mini picks right up where the predecessor left off. It’s smaller, coming in at 2.9” x 2″ x 1″ and weighing 3.9 oz. The smaller footprint makes it a good companion for action cam and DSLR environments. To get down to this size the ports had to get smaller; the HDMI now connects through a micro HDMI connector and power comes from a micro USB port. The choice of micro USB for power is a great option, because it means you can power the VidiU Mini off a portable cell phone charger. The internal battery life has also been doubled to over two hours, and the interface has been completely removed. Setting up the VidiU Mini takes place via Bluetooth on your phone or tablet. The only other physical interfaces on the VidiU Mini are the power and go live buttons. While the original VidiU would perform wirelessly in the right circumstances, the VidiU Mini is always wireless. It can get to the web via a wireless access point, or if you don’t have an access point, it can use the hotspot feature of your phone or 3G/4G enabled tablet/iPad.
While the VidiU Mini seems to be a pretty cool piece of gear, the Live:Air app is also really intriguing. We’re told the app basically functions like a switcher. It allows you to cue pre-recorded video and key lower thirds over the stream. Making it a great option for small churches trying to get a web presence off the ground. Having an app that a volunteer can run from a tablet is really appealing. Also, if there are multiple VidiU units on the network, you can cut and dissolve between the individual camera feeds. In case you missed it, let me state it this way; yes you could wirelessly piggy back an entire webstream from your current infrastructure using multiple VidiU Minis and the Live:Air app. This has the potential to be really big in the house of worship market, because it lowers the entry cost of doing a dedicated web stream the right way.
I’m going to hop up on my soapbox here. In my opinion, your IMAG feed and your streaming feed should be different from each other. The reason for this is very simple; the audience is different and their needs are different. The easiest example of this is the use of establishing shots. The audience watching the IMAG feed in the room never needs to see a wide shot establishing the room, they can just look around. An online audience needs to see a wide shot of the room to establish that the pastor isn’t talking to a bunch of empty seats. Since the online audience can’t experience the in-room environment, you have to create it for them. This is done by showing them the room and showing reaction shots. If you were to do this for IMAG, the wide shots would just seem out of place and the reaction shots would get the “jumbotron effect” which I think would stop people from responding, so they didn’t see themselves on the big screen.
Typically there are two ways to do a good web stream. First, by cutting a web feed on an aux from your production switcher, which can sometimes be very limiting and requires a production switcher. Second, and far more expensive, you create an entire secondary video production system dedicated to the web feed. With the VidiU the options now include: get a VidiU for each camera going to the webstream, and have someone edit the webstream on the app.
If you can’t tell by now, I am pretty excited about the possibilities found in the new VidiU Mini. Lowering the entry barrier on both hardware and cost for churches to bringing the life-changing message of Jesus Christ to people via the internet gets me pretty jazzed. Even better if it lets them take their stream to the next level by giving them access to titles, keys and prerecorded content, all on a tablet.
The Teradek VidiU Mini retails for $499, and the Live:Air app is $99. Meaning you could have a single camera webstream set up for around $600 or two cameras for around $1,100. This is far cheaper than upgrading your infrastructure or buying new and more expensive pieces of gear to get the job done.
For more information www.churchproduction.com