In this article from the series on live broadcasting equipment, let's talk about fundamental tools for video transmission, cutting table and encoder.
In order to perform a live video stream, of course, it is necessary to have a stable Internet connection, a computer with adequate settings, and one or more good quality cameras. If you would like to know more details related to these requirements, check out our articles on Computers and Internet Connection, Cameras and Accessories Guide and checklist for live video transmission.
In addition to these live transmission equipment mentioned above, a cutting table or encoder is very important for the performance of the transmission. See what types and their features.
Switcher is defined as a device to perform the personalization of a recording or a video transmission in real time. Also called cutting table.
Live broadcasting equipment: Switcher or cutting table
It is a relatively old equipment, however, its functions have been updated and modernized with the passing of time and the emergence of new technologies.
There are several brands and models of cutting tables, for different tastes and pockets. The key differentiating factors among them are the number of camera inputs and features available.
The values of a switcher vary greatly according to some factors such as brand, model and functionalities. It is possible to find this equipment from 11 thousand reais, and can exceed 200 thousand reais for more modern, complete and compact devices.
Currently, some manufacturing companies only produce this type of equipment under orders. In this way, the configurations as quantity of inputs and tools available can be customized within the manufacturing standards. The value is also customized according to the chosen features.
PiP (Picture-in-Picture) is a function of the equipment that allows you to add an overlay screen to the main image. This feature allows you to view a new capture, images, recorded videos, slides, etc. It is widely used to add a window of pounds, for example.
Live Broadcasting Equipment: Switcher and its Features
Keyer is a feature that allows you to make live chroma key through the cutting table. This feature can be used in various ways according to its purpose.
Wipes is one of the main features of a cutting table. This function allows you to make cuts with a transition effect, which is often used when there are several screens, such as several cameras capturing, recorded videos or images interlaced with the live display and so on.
Some switcher models also integrate effects for audio editing beyond visual effects.
According to the style of the switcher, it can be grouped into one of three categories of these equipment for live transmission which are cutting table, compact switcher and virtual cutting table.
Live Broadcasting Equipment: Switcher Categories
Cutting table: These are specific hardware for the visual customization of the display of a video transmission.
Compact Switcher: They are equipment made for transmission. They integrate a switcher to a computer, forming a device suitable for video transmission. They are modern devices with advanced functions and features. They do not need other equipment or accessories other than the cameras to perform the transmission. Due to the advantages that these equipment for live transmission offer, its cost is high in comparison to the other types, costing in average, approximately 200 thousand reais.
Two examples of well-known compact switchers are the TriCaster and Vmix go, which are modern, state-of-the-art live broadcast equipment .
Source: NewTek .
Virtual Cutting Tables: Also called encoders, virtual cut tables are software for live video transmission. They replace the physical equipment and meet the same needs, with practically all the available functionalities. A virtual cutting table has a low cost, being possible to find several free versions, without any type of cost for its use. However, it requires the use of other accessories that are concurrent with its use, such as a video card, for example, as well as some specific computer settings and equipment for live transmission.
Encoders are software specifically designed for live streaming. They perform the conversion of the raw format that was captured by the cameras to the format compatible with the digital display in addition to offering several features to customize the transmission.
Live Streaming Equipment: Encoder
Two widely used software are:
- vMix is one of the most complete programs for video streaming. Check out our article on the features of vMix.
- OBS Studio is completely free and has an advantage that is the possibility of working with unlimited capture screens.
Live Streaming Equipment: Encoders - Tools & Features
An encoder has several tools and features for real-time personalization of a live broadcast. The availability of these tools is variable for each version according to the development company.
Some of the most commonly used functions are adjustments, editing and correction of the capture image, transition effects, lettering, creation of audio or video playlist for playback, configuration of outputs, addition of watermark, render screen capture of another computer, among other basic functions of a cutting table.
In addition to the mentioned tools, the chroma key effect is one of the most sought after features in these softwares due to the great use of this function in the creation of a virtual studio. The use of this effect gives a more professional view to its transmission.
Here's how easy it is to use chroma key in OBS Studio:
Live Streaming Equipment: Encoder Categories
In addition to the various versions, paid or free for computers, there are also encoders for mobile devices.
Just like computer software, mobile and tablet apps offer a variety of features for live streaming of audio and video.
Depending on your chosen application, the Capture Image Adjustment and Correction functions, description text, screen capturing of the device, and switching between the front and back cameras may be included.
Wowza GoCoder is one of the applications designed to perform live streams compatible with Android and iOS systems. Here's how easy it is to use this app:
An audio desk is not part of the equipment required for live streaming when it comes to streaming video . That is, its use is optional and can increase audio quality by offering additional features.
Live Streaming Equipment: Audio
The audio desk acts as the cutting table for capturing videos. It allows you to bypass the audio captured by the camera to perform the audio-only transmission of the selected microphones.
Among the features of this equipment are the reduction of noise, cuts, transmission of audio return to the speaker or presenter, volume control, choice of outputs for certain environments or not.
Are all of your live broadcast gear ready? Check out the accessories checklist for streaming, do your live planning and of course, be sure to hire a good streaming plan.