Full Review Blackmagic ATEM Mini Low Cost Production Video Switcher

hey everybody it’s LAN sideburn and we’re taking a look today at a really neat little video switcher from Blackmagic this is the 8m mini and this is a two hundred and ninety five dollar production switcher that has pretty much the same features as a product they made a couple of years ago that cost twenty five hundred dollars so it’s got a lot of value packed into it and we’re going to take a look at what you can do with something like this here in just a second now I do want to let you know in the interest of full disclosure that I paid for this with my own funds all of the opinions you’re about to hear are my own nobody is paying for this review nor is anyone reviewing or approving what you’re about to see before it was uploaded so let’s get into it now and see what this device is all about so let’s take a closer look now at the hardware this is a production video switcher that allows you to connect four HDMI devices and switch between them for your production it also allows you to mix some of those video sources together in a limited way but one thing to note with this is that it cannot record video or a stream video on its own it will give you a video signal that you can then connect to something else to do those tasks and on the back here there are two different ways to do that one is you can connect HDMI out of this and get that signal out to a capture card or to a recording box or something like that and you can also output a webcam signal via USB with this USBC

connector here so you could connect this up to a computer and Link it to OBS or even run it into Skype or something like that so you do have some flexibility here as to what you do with the video signal but note you can’t just take this out somewhere and start streaming with it you’re going to need to connect it to something to get that done now there are two ways to control this device one is directly on its surface with the buttons here note that these buttons might appear to be blinking but they are solid red to me just a weird interaction with my camera now when you connect this up to a computer you get some additional features with it that really turned it into a full-blown production switcher and we’re going to explore both modes of operation as we work our way through the review here now there are a few things to note on the back here one is the or net port so you can connect this up to your network and control it with a computer over the network it would even work with a VPN or somebody logging in remotely to do that you can also just connect it directly to the computer in addition to getting the webcam video out you can also send control signals to it through that same cable and I think that’s probably the easiest way to get this to work you’ve got your HDMI out here you’ve got the four HDMI inputs here and you also have two analog audio inputs so you can connect up microphones separately from your HDMI sources but you can control audio on all six so you can have six different audio streams coming in and you can mix those together you can do some mixing from the device itself but I would suggest using that software control panel to do it because it will make life a lot

easier for you and again we’ll take a look at that in just a second so without further ado let’s connect up some video sources to this and see how it works on its own then we’ll boot up the software and see what more we can do with it all right so I’ve got a bunch of stuff now connected to the switcher this USBC cable right here is going into my Mac and we’ll demo what you can do with that connection in a few minutes and then I’ve got four different devices connected the first one is a 1080i camera and why this is significant is that prior versions of am switchers did not like mixing different types of signals so right now the ATM is outputting at 1080p 30 but this is a 1080i camera going in and we’re not getting any interlacing to that so that’s a good thing I also have a few other devices connected so if we switch over to device 2 here we’ve got a 1080p signal from a camera coming into it that seems to be working fine camera 3 is a Amazon fire stick and that is working fine here as well as you can see one note though with the fire stick is that the switcher doesn’t support any devices that have HDCP copy protection on them you’ll need a way to mitigate that in order to get those devices switched into the switcher so if you’re looking at a Playstation 3 or something like that you will need to take steps to get those things to work they’ve not work with a direct connection again because it doesn’t support HDCP and then camera four here is actually the output of my TriCaster and we’re going to have that as part of the mix as well and on its basic function here is I just pushed the buttons you can see how easy and how fast things can switch from one source to the other but I can do

some more stuff with it so for example if I wanted to do a dissolve effect between sources I can click the auto button here and now if I push on source 2 you can see it does a really nice dissolve in real time to get us there if I go back to cut here pushing the buttons will just be a more direct cut you also have the ability to do some other things so for example if I push this button here and go over to auto when I do the switch it’ll do a nice little dve move here as I switch between sources so you have a few cool little things you can do out of the gate here and there’s a couple of different ways in which you can have those dissolves come about there are some ways in the software to get some more flexibility over those as well now you can also operate the panel in program preview mode and when you have that mode selected when you go and push a button it will not automatically cut to that camera what it does is it queues it up and then when you’re ready to make the cut to air you push the cut button or the auto button to execute a dissolve so if you want to have a little more margin for error this might be one way to operate because each button push here will not go on air until you confirm it with a second push but the choice is yours as to how you want to have this operate there’s also a picture-in-picture function out of the gate though this is not all that great because the picture-in-picture by default is really tiny as you can see but you can move it around the window here if you want I will look at ways in which you can make this larger as we start exploring the software control panel but I haven’t yet

found a way to be able to customize how this stuff looks from when I’m operating it as a standalone device I can change things in the software but then when I come back to this it just starts working the way you see it here and that’s been a point of frustration so far but you can do some basic picture-in-picture here and again I’ll show you some ways in which you can do a little bit more with that King here is tied to the chroma key feature right now I don’t have a green screen up but we’ll explore that in a few minutes this really isn’t all that useful until you use the software control panel because you do need to get in there and tweak things and out of the box here it doesn’t seem to be working that well but if you can figure out a way to get all this stuff linked to the buttons here I think it might work a little better a couple other buttons of note on this one there are ways to control the audio while you’re also shooting video without using the software at all and you can do that by hitting the on button here which will activate the audio signal from input one for example and then you can adjust the volume of the input here with these two arrow keys there so that’s pretty useful reset here will reset things back to their default and then again if you don’t want that audio coming through on that particular line you can just switch it to the off position AFV is audio follows the video so right now I’m switched on camera too but if I switch to one here you can see that that light lit up red and that means that the audio was following us and then when I switch out it goes back to being white so when you switch over it’s red because that audio is live hitting to hear turns it off again but if I push on here it’ll

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have that audio running even if I have these other sources going and those same audio controls apply to the two analog inputs here at the top so you can turn those on and have them on all the time and then adjust their levels there so pretty basic operation here on the control panel itself but things get really interesting when you tie in the computer software so let’s do that right now alright so here we’ve got the software running on my Mac and you can download this from the blackmagic website this doesn’t cost anything so all the features you get here are part of your purchase price and what’s neat about this is I push buttons on the physical switcher is that you can see they synchronize up on the computer display likewise if I push camera four here you can see cameras four button light up here as well the two are perfectly in sync with each other now I’ve got this connected with the USBC cable here that orange cable but you can also connect over the network if you prefer to do that so you do have some options as to how you want to approach getting connected to the device but I think out in the field the USBC is probably the most reliable way to do that I didn’t have to configure anything once I loaded the software and had the cable connected we were good to go now the software is available for mac and Windows but there are other ways to access this device on other platforms as well they have an open API that a lot of folks have been writing

applications for on Android and iOS and on Linux so you should be able to control it with whatever devices you have but you might have to purchase those additional options the Windows and Mac software from Blackmagic is free and it’s pretty robust here as you’ll see what’s really cool is if you’re on Windows you can actually touch the screen to control some of the features of the product which can be pretty cool now I want to jump into the audio mixer first before we start looking at what our video options are and as I mentioned earlier you can have six different audio sources mixed together so all four HDMI inputs can be used along with those two analog mic inputs and you can see right here that camera two appears to be getting some audio in so I’m going to just switch it on here on the physical control panel and just like the video switching functions it’s all synced up and I can control the levels here just by hitting that up and down arrow there as you can see so it’s a neat way to get a physical control surface here with the much better view of your audio situation that you’ll get through the software I thought that was kind of a neat thing if I did the AFV on camera one for example you can see that it’s active now but when I switched to two that audio fades out and camera two stays on because that audio we switched on for all sources and if we go back to one here you can see it coming back up again you have a master control here on the side you also have an equaliser on each of these inputs that you can enable so there’s just a ton of functionality that’s built into this little device that’s on par with the other more expensive devices you might get from Blackmagic you even have the ability to make these same adjustments on your master output as well so you can really spend a lot of time tweaking audio and it’s really cool to have something like this on a very low-cost device so let’s move on now to video control and you can of course control this with the software and this will largely mirror what you would typically experience on a real

production switcher so what you’re going to be doing here is working with previews where you can cue up a camera and then cut to it so for example right now if I’ve got a camera to up and if I wanted to switch to four I could go directly to it like that or I could queue up camera four here and hit the spacebar and cut that way another thing you can do is use the t-bar here and when I select the t-bar and drag it up you can see it does a very slow dissolve as I move that t-bar back and forth between the two sources and this is how video switchers have worked since the beginning of time they have these really cool effects that you can control manually and again if you have a touch display it can really do some cool stuff there so you do get all the basics here again very similar to what you might experience on other 8m switchers but there’s a lot more depth to this so let’s dive into keying and a few of the other features that you can’t get just by using the device directly now the first thing I want to do is show you how you might put up a lower third on screen so for example I’ve got this file that I created in a Photoshop alternative that’s a basic PNG file with a transparent background and it’s just got my name here along with my logo and to use this what you have to do is load up the software control panel here and go over to media and you can see you’ve got a bunch of positions here for still images I’m gonna drag this image into position one and now that it’s there what we can do is key this in when we are showing some video on-screen so I’m gonna cut back now to our to up view here and what we’ll do is go over to the upstream key section and what I’m gonna do with this one is a luma key and my fill source is media player one the key source is media player one key I’m going to unselect this just because I found it works better when you just kind of get it going with this particular configuration and if I click on air right here what

will happen is that title will come up on screen and let me show it to you full screen here so you can get a better view of it and it’s pretty clear now I’ve heard that doing just a straight PNG like this is not the best way to do it they do have a plugin for Photoshop that allows you to more effectively get a much cleaner key but it does seem to be working with transparent PNG is better than I remembered the Blackmagic stuff working with before so for a quick and dirty lower third you could probably get this implemented that way now the HM mini can only have one active still-frame at a time but you can cue up 20 of them so what we’re gonna do here is drop in this name Lennie Smith into position two and you can see how many more positions are available and right now still one is the active still and if I go back to my switcher what you’ll see here is that I can go to the media player option and switch to the second still frame and that will replace the one that we just had up so you can kind of switch back and forth in the background before you go live with the key and then if you were live you could even switch between them live just like this but you won’t be able to have a lower third assigned to someone every time you switch them on you’re gonna have to turn them on and off and alternate as you’re working through your production because you can only have one still frame active on this thing at a time I mentioned earlier I was frustrated with the picture and picture

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function here because every time I turn on this feature I get this little tiny thumbnail here that moves around the corners of the screen but you can actually make some adjustments to this and do different things with this feature but again there are some limitations to it so if we go back to our software control panel here and go over to the upstream key section under the palettes area click on the DBE tab we can have this picture-in-picture feature get a little bit more customized so right now I’ve got it basically set at the default if we switch over to our – up view here you can see I can adjust the position to where I want it to be I can make this window much larger if I want and position it to exactly where I want it to be on Green there are some other features as well including the ability to mask out portions of it so if I don’t want as much on the bottom there I can go ahead and just maybe type in a value here of six and that will cut off the bottom part there or I can reset it back to where it was before I can add a drop shadow I come take the border away if I want and you’ve got some basic overlays here that you can do with this the problem though is that when I start pushing buttons on the control panel here it reverts all those settings to that tiny little window and that’s been an area where I just haven’t been able to figure out how to get these settings locked in and linked up with these buttons I’m sure there’s a way to do it I did check through the manual I couldn’t see anything that got me to get this to work the way I wanted to but I’m sure that will be something we’ll do in a follow-up video once we figure out what the issue is there but what is pretty cool is that you can also add in the titling if you want on top of this picture and picture thing going at the same time and the way you do this is through the downstream keyer that exists right here on the right hand side of the software control panel

and you can control what the downstream keyer does here by clicking on downstream key I’ve got it set to media player one like we had before and if I go ahead and just click on the on-air button here you can see now it’s dropping in the title on top of having a picture-in-picture thing going at the same time so it’s pretty cool that you can do all this stuff on a really inexpensive device and again it’s mirroring what a very expensive ATM 1m II was doing just a couple of years ago now you also have the option for more transition effects with the computer software beyond the ones that we looked at a little bit earlier and if you click on the DBE option here for transitions and go over to the transitions section of your pallet you can actually do a little bit more with the effects that we were playing with earlier including the ability to have things flip-flop so for example if I have this set up and I start switching back and forth here you can see that we’ve got this push going on where when we transition from one thing it goes in one direction and then the next transition is the opposite so that’s kind of a neat thing you can do you can also though use images to do those things so if I turn on the effects section here and you can see that the media player is selected just like it was with our title a little bit earlier we can have this image here be what we switch with so check this out if I go back here and hit that switch you can see we’ve got this graphic here that is doing this transition effect for us the problem though when you have this implemented is that you can’t use a title anymore because you have that selected as your active image so again there’s always going to be little bits of trade-offs

here with this but still pretty neat little function set that you have available to you to add some pizzazz to your video production now you also have the ability to do some green screen work with the 8m mini and it’s actually better than I remembered some of the more expensive Blackmagic devices doing in the past so right now we’re back in the upstream key section I have chroma selected and right now I’ve got camera 1 active and behind me is one of these Elgato screens that you can pull up and you can see it’s pretty uniform right now it’s not the best lighting that I’ve set up here but it should be workable and what you can do here is set the sample that it’s going to key against before you set everything up to run in production so right now if we go over to that chroma sample feature and drag this little icon around you can see that square there changes color and what you want to do is get it to where you think the frame will have the image of the green screen most uniform and you can also adjust the size of it here as well by adjusting that square like that and then once you’ve got that locked in what you do is switch on the on-air thing here and if I switch my active camera now you can see I’ve got a pretty clean key here now another thing that I did because you can see my arms cutting off here as I move back and forth is I’m also able to set a mask up so that areas that I don’t have the green

screen and it can be kind of filtered out of the image so if we scroll down here to mask you can see some of the settings that I put in place to get this to work and I think it’s actually been working pretty nicely and if I want to put something else behind me here I can just change the image so that’s kind of weird right I can do this I can do that you’ve got some pretty good functionality here for getting a quick and dirty green screen up it may not be as good as what you might experience with a more expensive device or some higher-end software but nonetheless it’s all self contained in this two hundred and ninety five dollar device now all of the video output we’ve been playing with so far has been through the HDMI out on this but again you also have the ability to have this device act as a webcam and that gives you a lot of flexibility with a computer that might be doing streaming so right now in addition to having that HDMI going out we’ve got this orange USBC cable plugged into my Mac right here and the Mac right now has got Skype running and if we jump over to Skype you can see my webcam is picking me up right now but if I change this to the black magic thing here we’ve now got the switcher running and all of the features that we just played around with here are now feeding through Skype right so that’s pretty cool and again we’re still going out with the HDMI at the same time so you can do both an output to a monitor for a presentation or something and stream it out through your computer simultaneously so that adds a ton of flexibility we can also jump over to OBS right now so if we go in here and add a video capture device we’ll click OK here and then we’ll select the

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Blackmagic device from the list so we could do my webcam but again we’re gonna do the Blackmagic camera we’ll set the preset to high to give us the full 1080p we’ll hit OK and there we go we’ve got our switcher now working here just like it was before yet now it is pumping into OBS so again this is working as a webcam and anything that you’ve got that accepts a USB webcam should work with the switcher while also simultaneously pushing video out via HDMI now you do have the option to select what the HDMI and webcam will output so of course you definitely want to leave it on program most of the time but if you wanted to for example just have camera one go out of the switcher you can do that and anything that you’re doing with the switcher won’t show up on the output you also have the option here for preview but this is only going to give you what you have selected on the lower of the control panel here in the preview section it is not going to give you a multi viewer output which is something the older 8ms did and you can see what that multi viewer looks like here you do not get that with the mini now as far as output resolution is concerned you’re limited to 1080p only but you do have a choice of frame rate that you can choose from and by the way all four inputs support 1080p 60 so you could have a full 60 frames per second workflow both on input and output so for game streaming that should work out pretty well and then of course the scaler inside can work with other resolutions on the cameras so in our

example here we had a 1080i camera functioning nicely alongside a 1080p camera along with a 1080p 60 source coming in from that Amazon fire stick you can even plug in 720p devices if you want as well but you can’t go lower than 720p on the input and again you’re looking at 1080p at these varying frame rates for output so a lot of flexibility here more so than they had on earlier 8ms and it’s very useful I think if you are starting out as a youtuber because you’ve got very nice tactile buttons here and what I have been doing for the last six or seven years on this channel is live switching as I record my videos and this is a way that you can more efficiently work on product reviews because when you’re done shooting the video the editing is pretty much done when I switch the camera view here this is baked right into the recording that I’m making and I don’t have to roll in b-roll after the fact your editing workflow gets a lot more efficient and having the buttons here really help you figure out which camera you want to switch to without having to look down all the time and if you go way back to my 2014 ish videos you’ll see me working with a tablet that was connected to the first generation 8 M device which by the way cost a lot more than this one did and you can see exactly how I integrated this very same system into my workflow with the prior product so this is something that I think is very

useful to content creators even though you can do more with a software product I would still look at getting this and integrate it with the software you might be using because I do think it’s a lot easier to work with this and of course you’ll have some reliability here with a with an appliance essentially designed to switch and mix video together so all together a great product from Blackmagic I am loving the price point it’s limited but I think I can deal with the limitations given it’s very reasonable price and of course there are other options out there that will cost you a lot more and not deliver all that much more functionality what I’m most excited about is what other manufacturers do to compete with this because I think this will sell pretty well so stay tuned we’re gonna be probably looking at a lot of these little mini switchers over the next year and I am excited to see what happens now that we’re getting into a price point that most folks can afford so let’s see what happens next with this let me know if there are things that I didn’t cover that you would like to see down below in the comment section and until next time this is LAN Simon thanks for watching this channel is brought to you by the lon TV supporters including gold level supporters the four guys with quarters podcasts Tom Albrecht Rajesh logic gr and Kalyan Kumar if you want to help the channel you can by contributing as little as a dollar a month head over to LAN TV slash support to learn more and don’t forget to subscribe

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