I’m in talks to cover PPV events for Art Of War Cage Fighting, a local MMA style fighting promotion. While I’m not the biggest MMA fan, the opportunity intrigues me. It’s promoter, Mike Bickings, reached out to me after his previous video producer just wasn’t providing him with next level coverage. Being a 3 camera shoot, the cameras captured dark footage in low light, wasn’t able to livestream, and it was tough to edit & upload to Youtube with such poor quality footage.
I felt the synergy right away. I could tell Mike was passionate about his promotion, and came to find out he was actually pretty hands on with the video & graphics pre-production, offering to give me lower thirds, short promo videos, and a 30 minutes pre-show video to air before going live, I could tell he wanted a quality production. I viewed it as a challenge, one that I needed to up my game in livestreaming.
Previously, I had done livestreaming using Wirecast software, a robust software that is fairly inexpensive, yet more professional, and in my mind, easier to use, than OBS (a free open source streaming software). After purchasing Wirecast back in 2017, I attempted to use OBS and found it a bit clunky, just not too intuitive for me. Wirecast has a much better flow to it, akin to the concepts of a TV control room switcher, with layers, DSK’s, and cutting from one source to another.
Tricaster Mini HDMI
It’s drawbacks are, it’s limited to your desktop or laptop, and their own internal RAM as well as USB inputs for camera capture. (It takes an HDMI feed as USB using a Magewell or similar capture card device). While it’s serviceable, remains proper for certain use cases (including legendary Plan 9 From Outer Space streaming on Roku) to try to attempt a 3 camera shoot with PPV on the line would be taxing on most mid-range laptops. The thought of spending $3k on a high end gaming laptop to attempt it, with possible mixed results, well, I felt like going in another direction.
Previously, I used a Tricaster Mini for a contracted position I had. It was streaming CPE crediting courses for continued education. Mostly done in the back of classrooms, conference halls, and other remote locations. Upon first seeing it, and attempting to dive in, it was a mammoth of a machine. Capable of 4 camera inputs, remote computer feeds, downstream keys, and multiple mix effects to setup shots in advance combining graphics, video, lower thirds etc, it truly has the potential to do near cable news/sports type broadcasts.
So I combed the internet to see about pricing on used devices, and whether there is a market for them currently. To my surprise, there seemed to be. A big chunk of its user base seems to be schools & churches, and churches especially, seemed to have an explosion in streaming ever since COVID. I searched between ebay, the Newtek forums, and a Facebook user group, ultimately settling on one being sold thru Facebook partially for that personal sales process, but also it was a good device at a reasonable price.
When it arrived, my emotions were mixed. It was good to be back, kinda like when Hans Solo retakes control of the Millenium Falcon in one of the Star Wars films. Much like Hans (likely), it took a while to regain my footing. Understanding the concepts, creating graphic overlays over video, setting up and switching between shots etc. In time, however, it came together. Able to fully produce a show using a mix of graphics, camera shots, and .mp4 video sources.
So, it’s a matter of preparing and practicing, as I am ready for February 19th at Live Casino in Philadelphia. Need to get a crew together of 3 camera operators, I’m used to this & have a network from HockeyTV tournaments , and await the current Covid situation to see if it’s able to be a go (especially within Philadelphia city limits), but the month of January is a bit of preparation, and a bit of a waiting game. Albeit one I’m excited for.
Are you looking for professional grade livestreaming services in the Philadelphia area? If so, reach out to me today. I’m interested in discussing with you how my services will meet and exceed your needs.