Rēs vēra tempōre vērō is Latin for the “right thing at the right time.” Uncanny really how well-timed the ATEM Mini Pro launch was right as a global pandemic enveloped the United States.
Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Mini Pro landed on the market, hitting a sweet spot between precisely what many creative professionals needed when working from home became a harsh reality and exploding video conferencing use. So popular became the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro “sold out” popped up across online marketplaces worldwide about as quickly as the product became available to purchase. Two culprits of the wave of sold-out ATEM Mini units are the low price and excellent feature set.
Before the Pandemic, a product like the ATEM Mini Pro would be perfect for creatives who often do not use a switcher, or have even seen a production switcher before. My how times have changed. The ability for, mostly, a complete newbie to step into camera switching with the ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro without prior experience says volumes about the design and usability. Even my three-year-old daughter walked up to the ATEM Mini and switched between cameras within a minute of seeing how an ATEM Mini worked, though she didn’t know what she was doing.
So, what exactly is the ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro? These two Blackmagic Design Products are four input source switchers capable of live streaming with or without third party programs like OSB. If that last statement feels a little too technical for some, then let me put it this way. If you want to broadcast online or have professional quality Zoom meetings, then the ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro are for you. How does this work?
The reason this works? Blackmagic Design has a webcam output turning the full 1080 HD inputs, graphics, and professional audio into a format perfect for webcam applications. This webcam output feature is ideal for every video conferencing app out on the market now. No longer does one need to rely on their laptop camera. At least, if you can get your hands on an ATEM Mini.
NAB AT HOME
At Pro Video Coalition, we shifted gears from traveling to Las Vegas to cover the National Association of Broadcaster’s (NAB) convention in person. Because of social distancing guidelines, we decided to cover product announcements from our garages, home offices, and just about anywhere we could steal a few minutes of quiet time. Working from home like this meant we needed a webcam solution. The ATEM Mini Pro helped us keep our video and audio looking and sounding professional. All it took to master the ATEM Mini Pro was a couple of hours of troubleshooting with our Editor Matt Pfingston, and we were ready.
The ATEM Mini Pro is easy to learn and use. I believe the ATEM Mini Pro was specifically built this way, and it makes sense when you look at who Blackmagic was initially marketing the little switcher too.
For me, I kind of only want the webcam output from the ATEM Mini Pro. Why would I want this one thing? $595 is an excellent price for a four-input, pro audio, webcam featured piece of hardware. The next priced solid piece if kit is either the ATEM Mini, non-pro version, or the AJA U-Tap in either HDMI or SDI. Both companies make excellent equipment, but the ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro offer multiple inputs and the ability to switch between those inputs.
Why do I care about multiple video inputs? It means I can grow my home-grown garage studio from one camera to four if I want. But more than likely, it means I can offer a viewer more than a single straight on headshot we all have seen in our Zoom conferences. I can also capture video conferencing the way I want to capture it.
Have you ever tried to record an interview internally in Zoom? It never fails to show the wrong person when someone else says the perfect sound bite. With the ATEM Mini Pro, my computer screen and it’s Zoom conference in full screen become sources I can record. This allows me to pin a speaker in the zoom software and gives me a clean image.
The ability to live-stream straight from the ATEM Mini Pro hardware, and software, is what separates the Pro version from the regular ATEM Mini. Did I test this feature? Nope, I sure did not, and that is my fault. Like many, I want the ability to use a professional camera and audio in my video conferencing. For me, live-streaming is a feature slightly above my needs. Here is the thing, I may very likely suggest someone buy the ATEM Mini Pro because of the live-streaming capability because it is another way you may market yourself to potential clients.
The Multiview is a feature usually found in larger productions. I am so glad to see it in the ATEM Mini Pro. This feature works splendidly to allow users to monitor all the inputs, whether or not you are recording, streaming, and exactly how loud your audio is like a professional. I guess that is why they call it the ATEM Mini Pro. See what I did there.
Look, I’ll be frank with you. Good luck getting your hands on an ATEM Mini Pro because every seller is flat out of the product. I’ve received my fair share of “Product status updates” from nearly every vendor on the internet. No one has these in stock, and when Blackmagic Design does ship more ATEM Mini Pros, those units will go to buyers who paid for a backorder. Hopefully, the ol’Blackmagic Design factory kicks into high gear and makes these little switchers faster so the rest of the world can have professional look video on their video conferences sometime soon.
If you talk to an old-timer, they may say Blackmagic products are not reliable. This old thinking does not ring true anymore to me. Yes, they had a problem with the glass cover the original Blackmagic Cinema Camera’s 2.5K sensor many years ago, but these problems no longer seem to be true. I found the ATEM Mini Pro to be robust in the hands and well constructed. The buttons all feel firm to the touch and bounce back after a finger depresses them. The inputs and outputs are well built too.
If you need a four-input switcher or a dedicated webcam output for your video conferencing, you cannot go wrong with the ATEM Mini Pro. The $595 price tag is inexpensive for all the features you get, and the hardware seems likely to withstand the pounding of an angry toddler who can’t find the correct input he, or she, wants on-air at the moment. You can be sure the ATEM Mini Pro is the right product at the right time.
ATEM Mini Pro
The ATEM Mini Pro is a $595 four HDMI input camera switcher capable of live streaming without the use of a third party program like OSB. One may also choose to record to a USB device straight from the ATEM Mini Pro. With the ATEM Mini Pro, you can control everything needed for live streaming in the ATEM switcher app. This includes a YouTube stream key, recording, and selecting live on-air.
- ATEM Mini Pro includes a new hardware streaming engine to allow direct streaming via its Ethernet connection to YouTube Live, Facebook and Twitch. That means customers can live stream to YouTube, Facebook and Twitch in better quality, without dropped frames and with much simpler settings.
- There is also support for recording the stream directly to USB flash disks in H.264, plus support for recording to multiple disks for continuous recording. That means customers get very long recordings in the same H.264 video files with AAC audio that customers streamed, so customers can directly upload to any online video site, such as YouTube and Vimeo.
- ATEM Mini Pro also includes a multiview on the HDMI video output that allows all inputs to be monitored on a single monitor, as well as the live status of recording, streaming, and the audio mixer.
Camera control is a new feature in the ATEM Mini Pro. Now, users can control the lift, gamma, gain, color, iris, and iso in connected Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras 4K and 6K. Camera control gives a lot of flexibility and ease of use to ATEM Mini Pro users who are using Pocket Cinema Cameras, which were not initially designed for multiple camera productions. An important new feature? The ATEM Mini Pro can send TC to all four cameras allowing one to use DaVinci Resolve’s Cut page to sync up the four separate in-camera recordings.
We have witnessed a tremendous change in our world and what we need to continue to be media professionals. Before Coronavirus, the ATEM Mini was great. Now, Blackmagic gives us a product better suited for working from home, conducting interviews from home, and multi-camera shoots from home.
ATEM Mini Pro Features
- Features miniaturized control panel based design.
- Supports connecting up to 4 cameras or computers.
- USB output operates as a webcam and supports all video software.
- Live streaming via Ethernet supported on ATEM Mini Pro.
- Recording to USB flash disks in H.264 supported on ATEM Mini Pro.
- Two stereo audio inputs for connecting desktop or lapel microphones.
- Automatically standards converts and re-syncs all HDMI inputs.
- Includes free ATEM Software Control for Mac and Windows.
- Internal media for 20 RGBA graphics for titles, opening plates, and logos.
- Includes ATEM Advanced Chroma Key for green/blue screen work.
- Multiview allows monitoring of all cameras on ATEM Mini Pro.
- Audio mixer supports limiter, compressor, 6 band EQ and more!
- Supports remote HDMI control with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras.