I’m contemplating purchasing an ATEM Mini to help with combining signals from my little analog video/RPi setup. Here are the conditions that led me here:
- Lack of space in my apartment and the possibility of living “on the move” in the near-ish future
- Using analog glitch FX
- High prices for amazing but old video mixers that I don’t have space for anyway
- High prices for old-as-heck TBCs on eBay
- Trouble with connecting more than one capture card into my laptop (I was gonna try and mix “in the box”)
- HDMI output from RPis
If I decide to head in the ATEM direction, I’m going to be trying out some cheap RCA-to-HDMI converters to see if any work as well as the UTV007 AV capture card chip. The back up would be to just have 2+ RPis last in the signal chain.
I’m wondering if anyone uses the ATEM Mini for more than just switching sources? Have any of you all experimented with its keying and PIP features (controlled within the app) or done other interesting/weird things with it (or other similar gear)? Thanks for any comments if not, I’ll try it myself and report back
i haven’t used the ATEM mini, but at alfred, i tried out one of the larger ATEMs. one thing to note (maybe you know this) is that the software control gives you easier access to a bunch more functions. so if you already have a computer in your setup, that could be cool. though i wonder if it would be annoying to monitor video at the same time without an additional monitor screen? perhaps you have multiple monitors already. in any case, seems worth exploring, especially when return policies tend to be much more available on newer devices like this.
oh, and another note: the internal feedback on these, being digital, is completely static unless there is any processing taking place in the loop. can be cool but doesn’t create the same dynamic blobs that most analog mixers do.
I’ve been using an ATEM Mini Pro in conjunction with my analog gear for about 3 months now. I primarily use it as a capture card to bring my video art and an HD camcorder feed into video calls. I also use the recording functionality of the Pro model to record my video art at a higher bitrate than I could achieve with OBS on my 2014 Macbook Pro with a Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle.
There are some limitations when it comes to using ATEM switchers with analog gear and Raspberry Pis that I wish I’d known beforehand:
The UI of these switchers and their software is really geared towards preprogramming all of your transitions, Keys, and PiP into macros, and then launching those macros while you’re live, either through macro buttons in the software or using a macro pad like an Elgato StreamDeck (there are no dedicated macro buttons on the device itself). A lot of the Upstream Key (PiP, Luma Key, Chroma key) parameters don’t have sliders in the ATEM Software Control app, instead you have to type numbers into a box or click and drag on the text label of the parameter (usually the rate of change when you click and drag is either too fast or too slow to be very expressive).
It is possible to remotely control some (but not all) of the parameters using atemOSC, and you can use a MIDI to OSC translation app (OSCulator on MacOS, for example) to use a MIDI controller to get physical knobs and faders. This is a pretty good way to get a physical T-bar since the device doesn’t have one (only a virtual one in the app). Notably, the advanced Upstream Key features (masks, moving/scaling the video, color corrections) are not controllable using atemOSC.
The HDMI inputs are advertised as having scalers on them, but they only scale between the different framerates of 1080p/1080i, not between different resolutions. You will need an HDMI upscaler if you want to use the HDMI output of r_e_c_u_r or any of @andrei_jay’s raspberry pi instruments, since those output at 480p.
I’ve done internal mixer feedback with it using the HDMI output and it’s pretty cool because it’s so much faster than what I could achieve with capture cards in my computer. Like @palomakop said though, it’s digital so it’s static. You can manipulate/process the feedback using the Upstream Keyer by using it as the key fill (chroma key settings give you color correction and brightness/contrast/saturation, as well as xy position and scale) and then layer something else on top using the Downstream Keyer (luma key only). Got some really cool results that way.
A note on cheap RCA2HDMI converters:
- I had one of the really cheap ones (GANA RCA2HDMI) and it stretches out 4:3 video to fill the screen instead of preserving the original aspect ratio. That may or may not be a deal breaker for you but I’d recommend jumping up to the like ~$30 range.
Overall, I’ve found the ATEM Mini Pro to be a great tool at the end of the chain to capture and/or record my video art, but a somewhat poor substitute for an analog video mixer as a tool for the creation of video art, mostly coming down to the limited UI. Based on how you’ve described your use case, I think you’d have a much better time with something like an Edirol V4, since it has a more expressive interface and it’ll play nicer with the stuff you already have (won’t need so many scalers). I got mine on Ebay (less than a year ago) for less than the price of an ATEM Mini, and it’s fairly compact compared to the Panasonic video mixers. I don’t really do glitch stuff so I can’t speak to the TBC, maybe someone else can.
I tried to give as much info as I could think of since there isn’t a whole lot of other info out there, but if you’ve got any other questions let me know and I’d be happy to answer them.
Hi @Clovis - thank soooo much for this detailed info. I think you’ve probably saved me a bunch of frustration. I owe you a drink
You’re right that I turn then back to analog mixers! TBC is my hesitancy when it comes to the V4, so I’ll look at other options as well. Or maybe I’ll sit a couple of RPis with the UTV007 dongle on their inputs and do the input switching in an analog way. Anyway, thank you again!!!
You’re welcome There isn’t a whole lot of info out there about abusing ATEM Minis for analog video art, so hopefully someone else will find this helpful down the line.
The Videonics MX-1 is another mixer that’s pretty compact and supposedly has a better TBC. They are usually a little cheaper than the other mixers as well.