Here my review on YoloBox, a portable, all-in-one video switcher, touch-screen monitor, recorder and streaming encoder for popular platforms. YoloBox can switch between up to five video sources, of which up-to-three may be physical local cameras. The other two may be pre-recorded videos, either stored on an internal memory chip or from a web source. For under US$1000, YoloBox is very portable and has very few limitations compared to a more complete (but much less portable) system like Ecamm Live. Watch my video and read the article.
For over 12 years in English here in ProVideo Coalition —and several decades in Castilian, I have been covering several software-based audio-video switching systems, from the Video Toaster, NewTek Tricaster family of products which run exclusively on a hidden Windows operating system, Streamstar, which also runs on Windows, WireCast Pro from Telestream which runs either on macOS or Windows, Teradek Live: Air Action which runs on iPad, Ecamm Live (covered in several articles) which runs exclusively on macOS, and VMIX which is exclusive to Windows. I have also recently covered the ATEM Mini family of physical video switchers from Blackmagic in several articles, which work standalone, with no visible operating system.
Self-contained? Totally portable? Partial levels of degrees
Of those that I have covered so far, all require an external monitor (or a laptop display or iMac screen) together with an external physical control device… with the notable exceptions of Live: Air Action for iPad and the standalone Streamstar CASE 800, both of which use an inboard touchscreen as part of the main unit.
The lack of external monitors or pointing devices makes them much more self-contained, making them more appropriate for field use. Although it is free to connect iOS or iPadOS cameras to Teradek’s Live-to.AirAction, if you want to connect SDI or HDMI cameras to Live-to.Air Action, this requires you to purchase, connect and power a proprietary source encoder from Teradek, which costs at least US$699 per camera. Although no external encoders are required to connect SDI or HDMI cameras to the Streamstar CASE 800, this device itself costs several thousand US dollars and although portable, is certainly not compact.
On the other hand, the 7-inch diagonal touch screen on the YoloBox is similar in 2D size to a 7″ Amazon Fire tablet in horizontal width and height, although substantially deeper to accommodate multiple ports.
including several HDMI, USB, Ethernet and an additional 3.5mm audio input and another for audio monitoring. We definitely won’t find all of those ports built into on any standard tablet.
YoloBox weighs only 480 grams (or just over a pound). That explains why it can even be mounted via a cold shoe on top of a camera. With very few limitations, the under US$1000 YoloBox is indeed optimized for in-the-field productions with a small crew, and when you need a very short setup time.
YoloBox can connect to up to two local HDMI cameras and one USB webcam or other camera with USB webcam-like output. As I recently covered, you can now also use iOS, iPadOS and certain Android devices with clean HDMI output from FiLMiC Pro to feed switchers like YoloBox. In preparation for this review, Francisco Javier Arbolí connected two of his Sony cameras via HDMI and one USB webcam. In addition to that, you can also add up to two additional sources like prerecorded videos from the internal memory chip or from a web source by entering the source URL. YoloBox also allows for picture-in-picture compositions and superimposing graphics for logos and lower thirds (which are called “watermarks” by YoloBox). YoloBox even offers superimposing a scoreboard. However, YoloBox does have chromakey or remote interview capabilities the way Ecamm Live does. With its internal rechargeable 5700mAh battery, YoloBox is ideal for more simple multicamera field production.
To connect to the Internet and broadcast live, YoloBox offers three options:
- Ethernet port for best reliability and minimum latency
- dual band 802.11ac wifi
- LTE using your own data SIM card
…since YoloBox comes unlocked to work with you own data SIM card from your favorite provider. In my case, that’s Google Fi (covered in several articles, save US$20 by clicking here). No external computer, smartphone or hotspot is required to stream with YoloBox. Depending upon your available upload speed from your Internet provider and platform capabilities, you can broadcast with YoloBox at up to 1080p, although you can reduce it to 720p or lower if your upload speed doesn’t allow for 1080p. YoloBox has a built-in scaler for each input and accepts sources with any combination of 720p, 1080i or 1080p.
YoloBox comes with presets to broadcast to FaceBook, Twitch or YouTube Live. Other platforms or middleware CDNs can be configured via RTMP. You might use a middleware CDN if you want to simulcast on multiple platforms, be it YoloLiv’s own one or any other one that works with RTMP.
Conclusions and suggestions for the creator
It should be clear from the video and the rest of this article that YoloBox is a game changer for mobile multi-camera live production live production where the schlep factor must be the absolute minimum, there is a very small crew, and a minimum setup time. The only things I would recommend to YoloLiv (the creator of YoloBox) are:
- Please add a software waveform monitor to facilitate matching cameras.
- Please add the ≈ symbol in front of the streaming framerate to indicate VFR (variable framerate).
- Please add an option to compensate for type 1 and type 2 camera shyness from 1080p cameras, as covered in many past articles. (Fortunately YoloBox can already compensate for type 3 shyness as I have covered in other articles.
- Please add Castilian as a GUI interface, in addition to English and the Asian language(s) that are currently available.
In any case, YoloBox is already very powerful for this type of application. For more information, visit YoloLiv here.
I want to thank Francisco Javier Arbolí for shooting this video using his Nexus 6p (since his other cameras were otherwise occupied) and for providing camera sources in his home studio. I also thank YoloLiv for sending the YoloBox for me to review it.
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