Launched this February, Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Mini Extreme is a television studio in a box. A new and larger version of the company’s ATEM Mini live production switcher, the ATEM Mini Extreme is designed to make it easy to create professional multi-camera productions for livestreaming to YouTube and innovative business presentations using Skype or Zoom.
Setting it Up
The Mini Extreme supports HD 10-bit color signals and will allow for up to nine separate H.265 video streams to be recorded in real time with up to 70Mbps quality, giving the user the ability to capture all eight inputs and the program video. It will also record up to 10 stereo audio signals, and all the switching information is saved as a DaVinci Resolve file to help with editing later. The Multiview monitor can be configured with up to 16 panels including Program, Preview, Eight Inputs, SuperSource, Clean Feed, Media Player, Streaming Status, Recording Status, and Audio Meters.
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It supports four upstream and two downstream keys and can do four chroma or luma keys. The media player can store images to be used during production and supports transparency to allow them to be used as overlays and branding. Connecting the mini extreme ISO to a computer will not only allow you to use the computer to save video from the unit, but will also give you a software control panel. Since this unit can be fully controlled remotely with a computer running ATEM television studio software, you can create an instant control room anywhere you can access the network it is connected to. Technically, the unit could be hidden in a closet or server rack and never be looked at again. That said, it looks impressive even when it is off, so most owners may want it to be visible, and the small size allows it to fit on most desks without issue. I found that at first glance it can seem intimidating, however it really is not. When you look at it in detail, it makes sense and operates with ease. I found the operation to be smooth and it worked with the great reliability Blackmagic Design is known for. It was easy to connect to both a computer and streaming service. I tested this with a basic computer along with Facebook, YouTube, Zoom, and Teams. It was easy to set up, operate, and the audio and video quality are great. It performed better than expected as its own unit and with all tested platforms.
This unit would be great for anyone wanting to create a professional-looking live broadcast or as the center of a video editing system. Units like this open broadcast production to clients that consider other solutions prohibitively expensive. The quality, flexibility, and utility of the Mini Extreme ISO is difficult to match even in systems many times more expensive than it is.
In the wake of COVID-19, many businesses have had to consider how to provide their services remotely. What formerly took an entire room, tens of thousands of dollars in equipment, and a team of people to create is now available in a single unit the size of your average computer keyboard. This device and its little brothers within the ATEM line provide high-quality production value at a fraction of the cost. The controls are so intuitive that anyone familiar with a video mixer or television production can sit down and start working with little to no instruction needed. Inexpensive and powerful equipment like the Mini Extreme ISO make converting a breeze while allowing the production to look as professional as a television station. This unit is great for converting churches and government buildings or starting your streaming/video production career.
Jeremy Caldera, CTS-D, CTS-I is senior vice president at Pearl Technology (opens in new tab), a leader in AV and IT services based in Peoria, IL. He sits on the academic advisory board for the Audio Arts & Acoustics Department of Columbia College Chicago, is the former AVIXA CTS certification program chair, and is a recent inductee to the SCN 2021 AV Hall of Fame.