Live streaming has grown to be popular in recent years. In 2020, viewers spent 480 billion hours watching this content on mobile apps alone. If you are new to live-streaming, you must use a basic single-camera setup.

If you are among the professional live-streamers, you must have already appreciated a multi-camera setup and how it enhances your production. Using multiple cameras for your live stream can improve the quality of your broadcast. You can produce different angles, transitions, cuts, and more. It makes your content more informative and engaging for your audience. Notably, it makes your broadcast appear more professional.

Whatever niche you’re in, using a multiple-camera setup may help you to sustain your viewers’ attention. However, with this setup comes the challenge of cutting between shots during your broadcast. You will need assistance to receive videos from all the cameras. Otherwise, you will be unable to stream them at the right time. This is where a video switcher comes in.

What is a Video Switcher?

A video switcher is a device or software that allows you to switch between multiple cameras while live streaming or broadcasting. It is a fantastic tool that lets you switch between scenes, launch different media types, and adjust audio levels. 

A must-have in a production setup gives you more control over your broadcast. You can jump between different cameras, guests, shared screens, and videos. All these you can easily do in real-time.

What are the Types of Video Switchers?

Video switchers can be in the form of software or hardware device. Each type has advantages and disadvantages. Your choice will depend on your preferences, user knowledge, and budget.

Software-based video switchers like StreamYard and OBS Studio are cost-effective. You have to install the software or app on your PC. These are free to download and install. The learning curve with these types of switchers is steep. But configuring multiple cameras in your live event is easy once you use them.

A hardware switcher is a separate device you can connect to your PC. It has buttons you can push to switch between video signals and other sources. It would help if you plugged your camera into it using the most common cables like HDMI or SDI. Typically, there is no need to install or configure any software. This makes it easier to use than the software. However, a hardware video switcher solution can be more expensive than the software.

Do You Need One?

Getting a video switcher is undoubtedly a good investment for your production setup. A switcher comes in handy when capturing and switching between multiple video or audio sources. It doesn’t sound elementary, but you can do it effortlessly with a switcher.

You add production value to your live broadcasts using features that video switchers afford. Some of these are transitions, lower-thirds, display videos, and more. This helps upgrade the feel and quality of your stream. With switching and transitions taken care of, you can focus on the less technical aspects of your videos. Forming a connection with your audience is an example.

The switcher is a great addition to your setup. With a video switcher, your overall cost of maintaining a high-quality, multi-camera live stream becomes significantly less. You will still need cameras, mics, an internet connection, and an encoder to connect your video signal to your live streaming platform. Some switchers include built-in encoders.

Overall, using more than one camera for your live stream helps make it look more professional. Your accuracy when switching between shots increases. The quality of the videos you produce also improves. Live streams that use multiple cameras include:

  • Concerts and musical event
  • Church services
  • Talk shows
  • Hands-on tutorials
  • Webinars and conferences
  • Fitness sessions
  • Unboxing and product launches

What are the Things to Consider When Buying a Video Switcher?

Look at the following aspects when deciding which video switcher to pick:

Input

Your video switcher should let you connect to several video input sources. Two to three inputs might be sufficient if you are a beginner and holding a small live production setup. Otherwise, if you are going live often or aiming for a high-end video production setup, invest in a switcher with four or more inputs.

The input type is essential. Ensure that your chosen video switcher has what you need. You might want SDI, HDMI, or wireless inputs. You may want one that comes with all three types of connections in case you need them in your future requirements.

Output

Output is just as crucial. It influences a live broadcast’s quality, especially if it has multiple previews on a single screen. More outputs mean you can send your signals to more destinations. If you broadcast significant events, you will need a switcher with more output slots.

Video Quality

High video quality impresses your viewers. Video quality pertains to the resolution and latency of the video. Most available switchers offer video quality up to 1080p, 720p, and 1080i streaming. Pick one based on the quality you require. Also, choose a switcher with low latency. When you switch between video sources, the quality won’t appear sluggish.

Power Source

Do you prefer battery-run or plugged-in? Battery-powered switchers are portable. However, you will need to recharge them. Plus, they could be emptied while you’re streaming. Corded switchers are more reliable, but you must take care of an additional cord.

LCD Screen

A built-in LCD screen allows you to preview your videos on the switcher. Some LCD screens are capable of a touchscreen feature. It will enable you to control the switcher directly and quickly.

Effects

Effects enliven your live streams. If you are a fan of putting effects on your videos, some video switchers come with this feature.

Ease of use

Typically, it is easy to learn how to use video switchers. Some also include apps that make it accessible through your phone, computer, or tablet.

Backlit Buttons

Backlit buttons on a video switcher aid you in finding the control buttons quickly. Because a live stream producer often works in dark or low light setups, having these buttons is an advantage.

Price

With any device or gadget purchase, the price significantly impacts the decision. Basic ones are best if the budget is tight. If budget is not a worry, high-end models with effects and advanced controls are an excellent investment.

Have you decided which one to pick? Visit Enhanced View Services Inc. You can find video switchers and other devices for your production setup. For more information, you can call us at 305.971.2916 or send us an email at [email protected]