Multi-Camera Live Switching with BlackMagic Design 4K ATEM and Live Streaming

Here's a walk-through on my BlackMagic Design 4K ATEM setup used for live streaming out to the Internet while switching between several different cameras. It's certainly not elegant and i'm open to ideas on how other people have their setup, but what I have so far seems to work pretty well. Once everything is in place, we don't have a single hiccup.

First, let me state the the large 2U tray with Yamaha Mixer has been replaced with a simple Nady 1U XLR Mixer. So this cut down size and weight when i'm traveling with the 4U Rack Case I have everything mounted in and it looks a lot cleaner.

4U rack with Blackmagic ATEM 4K Nady 1U
NADY 1U XLR Mixer in 4U Rack

gator case 4U Rack
4U Rack Case with Front Back Covers

The reason i'm using a mixer is so that I can input several microphones, control microphones independently (with hardware controller), and feed the signal to both Left/Right. There are two XLR inputs behind the ATEM, but if you were to use the XLR inputs directly the audio would just be on one side (left or right) unless you used some special splitter. But again that would limit the amount of mics you can input and still wouldn't have the physical hardware to adjust gain.

blackmagic design 4k atem live switch
BlackMagic Design 4K ATEM

We're not using the OSEE LCM156 Monitor in it's Flight Case, because it's just so handy to travel with and just the right size to see multicamera feeds. The professional monitor can also see just about every frame rate and we can use either HDMI or SDI inputs. We often had trouble using computer monitors or cheap televisions.

osee lcm156 monitor lcm156 ips 15 inch monitor affordable 10 bit
OSEE LCM156 15.6" 10 Bit Monitor Display

When your Program Feed (the final video output your audience sees) is streaming to YouTube, it will be compressed and sometimes only at 720p. For this reason we are recording the same Program Feed to an Atomos Shogun (you can use an Atomos Assasin too) locally in case we want to upload the better quality version later. Now because we're only capturing 1080, you could use a BlackMagic Design Video Assist Monitor but that records to SDXC Cards. I think I'd rather have my recordings on SSD.

Atomos Shogun Monitor Recorder

To send the feed over to Wirecast, we have a BlackMagic Design Intensity Extreme (now discontinued). This takes an HDMI input and sends the video to your computer over Thunderbolt. A replacement for this device would be one of their UltraStudio Express devices but the cheaper ones will lack the HDMI pass through. Still it would work to send the feed to your computer for Wirecast streaming to YouTube (or other services).

blackmagic design ultrastudio
BlackMagic Design UltraStudio Express

I specifically chose the GH4 cameras because I wanted to work at least three cameras. The GH4 is also small and inexpensive compared to something like a Sony A7s. The batteries also last all day compared to other Canon or Sony cameras. The GH4 can record 4K internally to the SD Card while still outputting 1080p (and at any framerate) over HDMI. This means we can have an additional backup recording in each camera. The BMD ATEM also needs each camera to have the exact same framerate and resolution, so it's important that every camera can output the same. I really can't think of a more idea camera unless you go with a dedicated camcorder of some type.

panasonic gh4
Panasonic GH4

Now I don't know if it's just me, the cameras, or the HDMI cables, but the 4K ATEM is pretty finicky when using HDMI inputs. So instead i'm converting all HDMI signals to SDI using an Atomos H2S which seems to never drop out on the ATEM, and i'm able to do super long runs over 100 feet. Sometimes we'll use send video wirelessly, but that could bring a new set of worries like battery power for your Wireless Transmitter, Interfererence, etc. When possible we'd rather run long cables.

atomos h2s
Atomos H2s HDMI to SDI Converter

There are much simpler solutions out there (and cheaper). One system i've been keeping my eye on is the Cerevo LiveWedge. This looks fantastically simple to use and should be great for a majority of Multi-Cam Live Streamering projects, but it does have it's limits when compared the ATEM for example HDMI inputs only. This may or may not limit the distance you can position a camera. But it does have a built in scaler which means you can use mixed framerates and won't have the same issues as the 4K ATEM.

cerevo livewedge
Cerevo LiveWedge HDMI Live Switch

Anyways, this is the setup i've managed to cobble together with the BlackMagic Design 4K ATEM when live switching Multi-cameras during a Live Internet Stream. Again, it's certainly not elegant and there may be better configurations out there. If you've got questions or comments, let me know.

This video was shared in the comments, but I wanted to post it up here as I think this is a great option too for the same price as the LiveWedge.

Roland V-1HD HDMI Switcher
Learn-More-sm Roland V-1HD Compact 4 x HDMI Input Switcher

39 thoughts on “Multi-Camera Live Switching with BlackMagic Design 4K ATEM and Live Streaming

  1. Andrei

    Could you please tell me what cage did you use and what adapter did u use to fix the Atomos H2S on the cage? Also what SDI cable do you recommend for this setup?

    Thank you!

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  3. Bob Krieger

    Emm, mine just doesn't want to connect. It doesn't like me... *sniff*
    I wanted to use an iPad running the StrataPro app to control the switcher. It seemed more intuitive. I did get a connection, just not in the way I thought! I connected my MacbookPro to the ATEM via the Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter. Then I shared that connection via the Wifi to the iPad. Viola! The app works!
    This is a one-off solution, so I still need to figure out the HooToo AP if I want to connect other devices as well, but in the meantime, it'll see me through the next few jobs!

  4. Post author

    @Bob Krieger - Hmm should be straight forward. I'll see about making a video on this. I set mine years ago and never had to mess with it since.

  5. Bob Krieger

    Emm, curious about the HooToo settings on the ATEM and the wifi. I can't get mine to connect. Can you throw me a few ideas?

  6. Colin


    I'm just curious why no one seems to be talking about MimoLive. Do people just not know what it is and what it can do?

  7. Roberto Reid

    How do you get a clean HDMI output when you use the panasonic GH4 to live stream events? all the in camera graphics are displayed when I use it to live stream and I can't seem to locate the option to turn off the HDMI info display on the camera. Thanks in advance.

  8. Jack D.

    Ignore my post, I called BM and they explained to me that only their cameras can be remotely controlled via the software.

  9. Hi Em,
    Thanks again for sharing your knowledge! Exactly what I'm looking into at the moment. I have a question that maybe you or one of the users can answer. I'm wondering if the GH4 can be controlled remotely (iris, focus,zoom,rec) via the converted HDMI-SDI you have set up and the ATEM? Or if you or anyone has the YAGH, can it be controlled via the SDI from the ATEM then? I know that the Micro Studio 4K paired with an Olympus 12-50 can be controlled from the ATEM software, but I would much rather go with a GH4 set up. If anyone can chime in on this I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks!

    So to clarify my question:
    Can a GH4 + OLYMPUS 12-50 EZ (or the Panasonic PZ lenses) be controlled via SDI (either hdmi-sdi as shown in the video or via the YAGH) from the ATEM Software.

    Thanks! 🙂

  10. Post author

    @LaFilm - Awesome. Yeah i've had this setup for a few years. It was tricky trying to sync random cameras, but when the GH4 came out, I picked up 3 of them right away and it was way easier to work with. If you've already got the Program Feed down, Live Streaming is the easy part!

  11. Em, I've been using the ATEM 4K switcher in my middle school for about a year. We use three of the relatively inexpensive Sony X70 cameras (with built-in SDI) and three MacBooks. One controls the switcher, one for audio, and the third for Photoshop and graphics on the fly. All cameras are connected by 150' SDI cables and audio (wireless usually) is connected to the camera's XLR inputs. We haven't experienced any delay here as, I assume, the travel time is the same for video and audio on all three cameras. We record program out into a Blackmagic Studio recorder and camera video onto the cameras SD cards at the same time. We haven't gone 4K yet, but the 1080p is just fine.
    The one thing I haven't done is attempt live streaming yet. We're very rough around the edges anyway since my "crews" consist of 12-13 year old boys! (Imagine how much fun that is!)
    Good to see what you're doing! Enjoy!

  12. Post author

    @NativeFilmmaker - Maybe someday if i'm only Live Streaming i'll cut down my footprint, but my setup right now allows me to capture in 4K if the client needed snd gives me lots of options. In a few days i'll be recording a 4 hour concert which I can record and switch in the best quality while at the same time Live Stream. My setup is not the smallest but not many switches can input so many microphones, cameras, and handle 4K for local recording.

  13. NativeFilmmaker

    @Emm Have you looked at Cisco's Merakis? I color/switch/load graphics regularly for remote locations, with their Multiview feed coming back to me via hangout. If you have a solid up and down, you'd be amazed at how well this works. It really helps cut down your footprint.

  14. Luis Arenas

    We have a very similar setup. The few differences is that we keep the audio portion separate since it can vary depending on the venue. From small 5ch to huge 64 ch. I also output via SDI to the BM Decklink mini recorder to feed wirecast. I then also have an SDI switch so I could toggle the Program and Aux output to al local projector. Helps when there is a Keynote or powerpoint presentation that needs to be on screen and broadcast.

  15. Post author

    @Frank Taapo - I built this system about 2 years ago and today it's still the most affordable 4K switcher with up to 8 cameras among other options. I knew back then 4K was just coming mainstream and so it was something that would be relevant for a while. The setup I show you is for live streaming to the internet, but I have other configurations to use for 4K capture if a client needs it. Not every event we do is live streamed, sometimes it just needs to be captured privately. Conferences, meetings, performances, etc. Those events where you have long boring speeches by guest speakers that they need captured in it's entirety. 2-3 hour performances in theaters. If you are only interested in live streaming there are cheaper and easier options, but if you want to offer 4K this is one popular switch. While live stream is awesome keep in mind not many venues have the bandwidth to live stream so you end up just doing live switching and cutting camera angles to keep it interesting. Saves hours and hours in post editing your camera angles. By the end of the event you already have a somewhat finished product. You can always rent more professional cameras to plug into this system depending on needs, but it's not always easy to rent a complete 4K live switch.

  16. Frank Taapo

    Emm, why did you opt for the 4K version of the ATEM? Your HDMI 2 SDI converters only output 1080p if I'm not mistaken? The "normal" ATEM would work as well as the 4K version - or is that with an eye on the future?

  17. Post author

    @Austin White - I'm using a Nady to input all the XLR or 1/4" microphones. I can adjust the gain on each microphone. From the Nady there is a Master XLR output that feeds into the ATEM via RCA (using an XLR to RCA adapter). That way I have my master out feed going to both left and right channels.

  18. Post author

    @Jeff - Hmm, I don't know of any way to do something like that. Not with the hardware I have. I don't even know if it's possible to capture the video into a computer, scale it with software, and export the feed in real time.

  19. Jeff

    Hey Emm ! Nice setup ! Thinking about it for some time now.. Quick question, can you do a "2 angle" with one camera ? I mean, if you are feeding in 1080p, can you feed a GH4 signal with no crop at 50% ( from 4K to 1080p, 50% scale ), and another one with let's say 100% crop, but with the same camera ? I hope it does make sense.. Thanks !

  20. @Lainol What wireless intercom system are you running? 🙂
    Any drawbacks you find with the Roland VR-50HD? I just find its a bit limiting with just 4 useable inputs.

  21. Lainol

    My setup for live streamings

    - Roland VR-50HD - usb3 1080p video out streaming. I love it, simple and powerfull.
    - Multiples cameras (sdi or hdmi), each camera records on its own media for backup
    - Macbook pro for upload the Roland's streaming + titles
    - 24" lcd screen for multisplit view
    - Wireless intercom: 1 base + 1 for each camera

  22. Post author

    @JJ Casas - Yeah Tricaster has great systems. The only reason i'm using SDI is the 4K ATEM itself (in my experience) doesn't like long HDMI runs. It's an ATEM specific thing, so you may not have those problems with Tricaster. Tricaster is a good setup, I built mine more than 2 years ago. There's a lot of nice new options out there today but one option I have if I needed was to live switch in 4K and save to Shogun. While not streaming that resolution, it's recorded and can be uploaded in 4K after the event.

    Your Tricaster setup sounds nice and easy. What version software does it come with? Are you able to adjust for audio delay in the software?

  23. Post author

    @Garrick - In the video I show a small portable wireless router. Once you configure the router, any computer could jump on the network. In your software you just need to add the IP address of the ATEM. That's also how i'm controlling it with my smartphones.

  24. Post author

    @Mitch Gross - The new Apollo sounds like a good kit too. I've had my system for over 2 years, and the Apollo is new. Haven't seen it in action yet, but the idea is sound.

  25. Yo whattup Em. I've been livestreaming for General Assembly in SF and ended up going with the Tricaster Mini. While there is an option for SDI, I've opted for the cheaper HDMI version (still at $6k) and just gaffed taped the cables to ensure it doesn't get pulled out (I know, not elegant). Typically use up to 3 video sources--1 cam telephoto that moves, 1 stationary wide and then usually their slides or computer synced to the Tricaster. I also bring my own wifi hub to create my own network on the spot when the presenters computer needs to be synced to Tricaster. For audio, I ended up using the Zoom H6 and then back to the Tricaster via 1/4". Portable monitor I use is the GeChic monitor and while it's not color criticial, I just judge colors through cameras monitors. Really light setup in which Tricaster Mini, keyboard, mouse, 100' Ethernet cable, hub and monitor fits in a Pelican 1510.

  26. Mitch Gross

    What about the Convergent Design Apollo? For HD it combines the switcher, monitor and recorder, plus you can capture the ISOs and the Live-Switch to SSD.

    I'm partial, but would like to hear what you think.

  27. Also how did you setup the atem 's IP address to be accessible online? Im currently trying to connect 2 computers (just locally for now) so i can do audio on one and switching on the other but haven't had proper success.

  28. Pretty cool man, i did a atem install at my church last year in Oakland, loving the switcher, ours is some what limited, we purchased the atem tv model but we will be upgrading soon, the lack of video playback on that model sucks. Have been using VLC in the mean time but will probably be intergrading pro presenter. Check these guys out if your in the market for a hardware switcher, I'm going to be visiting them at NAB, doing dissolves via a mouse or trackpad really sucks.

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