I needed a video switcher for live streaming and video creation for my YouTube channel. The Atem Mini Pro video switcher made my YouTube video creation 95% more fun. In this post, I share some about my YouTube studio setup and how I easily create many YouTube and online drum school videos each week.
The Atem Mini Pro Video Switcher for live streaming and video creation
The Atem Mini Pro is a professional grade video switcher for Mac or PC computers. It allows you to connect up to 4 cameras and transition between them with the touch of a button. This one piece of video hardware, solves the problem of not being able to connect multiple cameras into your computer.
Before the Atem Mini Pro Video Switcher
Last year I decided to try live streaming on YouTube and make more recorded videos. Before discovering the Atem Mini Pro, I was trying endlessly to connect my 3 GoPro Hero 8 cameras to my laptop. I spent nearly $100 on apps that failed miserably to accomplish this goal. I also spent about $200 on various cables and USB C switchers trying to connect multiple cameras.
All in all, it was a very frustrating experience. In the 1990’s they used to say, you have to go through MIDI Hell before you can get to MIDI Heaven. Well, my experience was the same kind of Hell but for video.
Many, many times, I thought I had things figured out only to realize it wasn’t going to work. I watched countless YouTube tutorial videos that were dead ends. I read many blog articles that also led me nowhere. It was incredibly frustrating.
For live streaming, I could only get one camera to work at a time so it really made for weak drum instruction live streams. Recording videos was also a chore. Below is a video I made before the Atem Mini Pro. I couldn’t get even 2 GoPro Hero 8 cameras to connect to my laptop at the same time so I ended up doing many steps:
- Record video to each of the cameras
- Record audio to my Zoom H2N Handy Recorder
- Transfer the files to my computer
- Master the audio
- Synchronize the audio and video.
- Edit the video including selecting the camera angles from the two cameras.
Man, that’s a lot of steps to make a video!
A video switcher for live streaming and video creation
I remember the first time I connected all of my cameras to the Atem Mini Pro and connected it to my computer. I fired up Zoom as I also use my setup to teach Zoom drum lessons. I selected the Atem Mini Pro as the video interface, connected my cameras and BAM! All of the cameras were live.
I almost cried, I was so happy and relieved. It was incredibly easy and made the months of video anguish disappear in a heartbeat. From that moment on, I have spent only 5% of my production time dealing with technical issues. I now enjoy a full 95% of creative time live streaming and producing my YouTube and online drum school content.
For live streaming, this video switcher also has a button to push to connect directly to YouTube and go live. I understand, it’s very convenient but I actually use the controls in YouTube and OBS to start and stop my livestreams. Still, it’s a great feature.
As you can also see, there are other buttons for live streaming and recording. Having buttons on the interface is much easier than clicking on a computer. I’m kind of old school though, so I still use OBS and YouTube to start and stop my live streams and record my videos.
Here’s one of my livestreams from earlier this year. I have to say, switching camera angles on the fly is really fun!
Atem Mini Pro Video Switcher for live streaming overview
This post is not a “how-to” article about the Atem Mini Pro video switcher. I assure you, there are many good videos and articles out there to help you get things set up. What I want to do is highlight some of the features that have helped me the most.
Before I dive into the video side of things, I want to focus on the audio. The Atem Mini Pro allows you to input 2 stereo audio signals. This lets you record video and audio at the same time without the need for a separate digital audio workstation (DAW).
There are even EQ and compression/limiter plugins in the free Atem Mini Pro software interface. This all makes it easy to dial in your sound, set it and forget it!
One REALLY AMAZING thing you can do with the Atem Mini Pro software (free with the hardware controller) is adjust the latency of the audio in relation to the video. Audio is a much smaller file size than video and therefore, travels faster than video. For this reason, your audio and video will always be out of sync.
The Atem Mini Pro software interface allows you to delay the audio signal incrementally by milliseconds so that your audio and video are recorded at the same speed. This feature is an unbelievable time saver. No need to slide audio waveforms around or re-sync audio to video to correct this latency in post production.
I have heard it works with just about everything out there. Please check, however, if it is compatible with the video production software you are currently using.
Cameras and camera angles
With the push of one of the 4 camera buttons, you can easily transition between cameras. You can also connect just about any camera to this device via HDMI cables. As I said before, I am using GoPro Hero 8 cameras and have had no issues.
Your transitions between cameras can be a quick cut or you can add a nice fade to smooth things out. You can also fade to black, which you can place at the end of your video.
PIP and the controller
There is also the option of using picture-in-picture (PIP). In the Atem Mini Pro software, you can select the camera and adjust the size and where the PIP is displayed on the screen. You can also turn on and off the PIP by pushing buttons on the hardware controller.
This leads me to another important and cool thing about this video switcher. You make most of the adjustments to your video production through the hardware controller. You don’t have use your mouse or trackpad to change cameras, change the fades, adjust PIP or turn on and off the audio. You simply push buttons on the hardware controller.
More time savings in post production
Selecting camera angles is one more tedious post-production editing task I have eliminated. Before using the this video switcher, I spent countless hours selecting camera angles in my video editing software.
Now I can simply switch camera angles by pushing buttons on the hardware controller. It’s also possible to choose the fade effect I want and do it on the fly as I’m recording.
I find this becomes easier after making a few videos. It’s now possible for me to switch camera angles while I’m recording with minimal disruption in the recording process.
Below is another video, this time using the Atem Mini Pro.
Here are the steps I used in this video and continue to use:
- Record video and audio into OBS.
- Minor edits to the video with no need for camera angles selection.
So much easier!!
So many more features in the Atem Mini Pro
What I’ve shared with your here is actually the tip of the iceberg. I just wanted to share a bit about how I use the Atem Mini Pro and the features that have helped me the most. I use this video switcher for live streaming on occasion and mostly for recording videos.
I’ve actually seen this thing in action at many music clubs and performance spaces here in Japan. They’re mainly using it to live stream concerts. The users say they love it and it has made their production so much easier.
If you do a search on the Atem Mini Pro, you will find how popular this little device is. Just about everyone shares my opinion. It’s an absolute game-changer for video production and live streaming. There’s really nothing out there now that comes close for the price and capability.
Cons of the Atem Mini Pro
The only Con for me in the Atem Mini Pro has been adjusting the camera settings within the included software. It seems I should be able to adjust the lighting, exposure and other settings for each camera. As of this blog post, I am still unable to figure this out.
It’s not really a big deal for me because I can make all of my camera settings in each of my GoPro cameras anyway. I hope to figure it out though as it would be nice to have this option.
So other than that, I really don’t have any cons to share. It’s just a great product for video creation and live streaming.
My product reviews
If you have read any of my other product reviews like the best compact drumset, best low volume cymbals, best drum brushes, or best web hosting for drummers, you know that I only recommend products I use. If a product has improved the quality of my life either professionally or personally, I want to share it with you.
It’s always my hope that my honest product reviews will help you cut through the noise and decide if something’s right for you. Buying the Atem Mini Pro and other products through my affiliate links on this page is also an easy way to support my blog. Thank you! 🤙
Be well, keep swinging and I hope to see your videos on YouTube too!
Learn to play Jazz brushes in the THE BRUSHES MASTERY COURSE. It’s the most complete online drum brushes course ever created.
Get ready for your Jazz drumming gigs. Download high-quality, effective DRUMLESS TRACKS. Improve your time, feel, comping and soloing. Learn to play better with real musicians.
Book some private ZOOM DRUM LESSONS to take your Jazz drumming to new heights.