What's the best choice? ATEM Mini Pro or the TV Studio HD?
There is no doubting the success (and brilliance) of the ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro from Blackmagic Design. Although there is no question about their strong feature set and remarkably low price, there is more to the ATEM range than the HDMI-based Mini models.
The Limits of HDMI
For small studio set-ups, HDMI connected cameras are a great choice, especially if you’re using the Pocket Cinema Cameras in live mode. However, if you will ever need to use the switcher in a larger space, such as a theatre, concert venue, sports ground or lecture hall for example, SDI is often a better bet.
Advantages of SDI
Firstly, SDI connectors are very strong and lockable so you can keep swapping cameras without the port getting weak or breaking. Secondly, SDI cables can go up-to 100m or so in length, giving you flexibility to position cameras wherever you want.
The ATEM Mini’s 3.5mm jacks are perfectly good for small studios and microphones mounted to cameras. However, in professional environments, producers rely on clean audio, mixed on a sound desk using durable XLR cables and connectors.
The Mini’s chromakey is incredibly good, even for a switcher 10 times the cost. The downstream keyer gives producers the flexibility to add titles a logo or a picture in picture display. But what if you want to go further and add several on-screen elements at once, or two in-set videos? A dual downstream key option is creatively rewarding and much more flexible.
- The ATEM Mini is a superb first step in video production and streaming, especially in micro-studios or small offices.
- The ATEM Mini Pro’s multiviewer and hardware recording/streaming is a big step up, giving users a more reliable workflow and greater productivity.
- The ATEM Television Studio HD is the natural step up and has some clear advantages that you should consider before making your final choice.
What you get over the Mini series:
- 4x HDMI + 4x SDI inputs
- 2x XLR inputs (plus phono in and headphone out)
- HD Multiviewer via SDI or HDMI
- Auxilary SDI output (feed your programme to a large screen or projector)
- Dual downstream keyers
- A durable system that can be securely racked and cased for transport
What you’ll need to add to match the Mini:
The Television Studio lacks recording and streaming. However, these are very easy and inexpensive to add, with a number of inexpensive options including: