Live Streaming Equipment

The Best Live Video Switchers (Mixers) for Beginners

This post covers the best video switchers for starting to live stream with multiple camera angles. It's part of our series on live streaming equipment.

When it's time to level up your live stream from one camera to more than one camera, your production setup adds an additional piece of equipment: a video switcher.

A video switcher allows you to bring in multiple feeds (camera, audio, presentation slides, etc) and choose which feed to send live at any given moment.

If you need a quick overview of switchers and the role they play in a live streaming production set up before we get started, check out the video below:

 

 

Hardware vs. Software Switchers

The biggest differentiator between different types of video switchers is whether they are hardware or software.

Hardware switchers are physical boxes on them that take in video feeds via direct HDMI or SDI inputs and offer a control panel with buttons to switch between feeds and add production elements.

Software switchers, on the other hand, take video camera feeds into a computer using a video capture card and allow you to switch and add production elements on a computer.

Both hardware and software switchers can be great options depending on your workflow and needs. However, we often tend to recommend hardware switchers more often, because a production setup that does not require a computer is one that is less likely to fall prey to complication and mishaps. That's just our opinion though.

The 3 Best Video Switchers for Beginners

The three switchers we highlight here had all been tested and approved by our in-house video production team. They include two hardware switchers and one software switcher. Each is easy, reliable, and under $1,000.

Production (Hardware): Roland V-1 HD 

Price: $995.00

Why we like it: Roland's highly-popular prosumer switcher is an excellent choice for multi-cam live streaming for small churches, smaller corporate meetings, and youth sports. With 4 HDMI inputs, a built-in audio mixer, and picture-in-picture capability, this devices offers professional features for producing a live event at a fraction of the cost. Here's our full Roland V-1 HD Review.

 

 

Production: Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio HD ($995)

Price: $995.00

Why we like it: Similar to the Roland V-1 HD, this portable switcher comes packed with 4 professional SDI inputs and outputs, along with 4 HDMI inputs, and a built-in audio mixer. This is a great switcher for the video producer looking for a more compact solution.

atem

 

Production (Software): Wirecast

Price: Starts At $495.00

Why we like it: Wirecast is one of the most user-friendly software switchers on the market. You can easily switch back and forth between various camera angles and incorporate overlays onto your stream. Though you do have to pay for it, you can test it out with a free trial.

(Remember: Software switchers do require the purchase of a video capture card in order to allow your computer to receive individual video signals).

wirecast

Final Thoughts + Further Reading

If you'd like our comprehensive recommendations on live streaming equipment for every level (cameras, switchers, tripods, etc) make sure to check out the guide.

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