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vMix Live Production and Streaming Software Review

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vMix v. 24 | by StudioCoast Pty Ltd. | Free (no watermark) – $1200

As WINNER of Streaming Media’s 2018 “Best of NAB” Award (2nd year in a row!), vMix is where you’ll usually find me playing. I use this software for 95% of my in-house production work, and it’s surprising how long this powerhouse software remained outside of my radar before I even realized it existed.  vMix was created “down under”,  around 2005, in Australia by two young men by the name of Martin Sinclair and Tim Vandenburg.  What began as a mission for their church, flourished into the live streaming powerhouse that is now.

Once I got my hands on their FREE 60 Day Trial version, I was hooked! No more wondering where I would find this feature or that feature. This software has literally EVERYTHING you would ever need, and then some, so much so, that I became a registered reseller of the product.  Currently, I’m the only vMix reseller in the State of Michigan.

With features allowing for multiple 4K inputs and outputs, overlays, lower 3rds, VLC streaming, chroma key, instant replays, playlists, title editor, separate recordings of video/audio, instant replay, and yes, desktop capture (screen share). In April of 2017, vMix Call brought it to life! vMix users could now invite remote guests through a Chrome Browser via WebRTC!

This year (2022)  vMix announced v. 25 BETA, available only to existing license holders. The current version at the time of this post is version 24.0.72, which added several new features such as: (list from vMix.com)
Release Notes for vMix 24 – 8 March 2021

Click here for a changelog of updates since vMix 24 was released

Instant Replay Revamp

NOTE: as a result of these substantial changes, some existing replay workflows have changed. Click here to read more about this in the documentation.

  • Eight channel continuous recording of up to eight camera inputs including 4 channel audio
  • High frame rate support for camera inputs and replay, up to 240fps where supported by both camera and capture card
  • New Replay Recording format. Uses vMix AVI 4:2:2 files with resolution support up to 4K.
  • A and B output channels can be controlled independently or in sync and have any camera angle assigned to each
  • Twenty (20) Event lists are available that can each include an unlimited number of Mark In and Mark Out points
  • Event lists can now have custom names applied
  • Export events to separate video files on the fly in either MP4 or vMix AVI format
  • Dedicated Replay MultiView output with two playback channels shown alongside eight live camera previews. Previews of the camera angles during event playback can also be optionally enabled.
  • Support for two replay controllers simultaneously (JLCooper and ShuttlePro v2) to control each channel independently
  • Many new replay shortcut functions added including ability to switch audio source in real time and delete/duplicate events

More Stingers and GT Stingers

  • Two new Stinger channels added
  • GT title templates can be used with stingers automatically. Use the TransitionIn and TransitionOut animations in GT Designer to define the cut point.
  • A number of GT stinger title templates have been included which will work in all editions of vMix

Input Layers

  • Input MultiView renamed to Layers to make it eaiser to use
  • Existing shortcut functions remain, but new Layer shortcuts also added. Both are different names for the same functionality
  • Basic borders can be added to each input layer. These borders are the same design and format as existing Overlay borders

YouTube Stream Now

  • vMix 24 implements functionality similar to the Stream Now feature discontinued on the YouTube web site
  • Fill in the desired stream details and a new stream will be created matching those details each time the stream is started
  • Can also select previously created events via the YouTube Studio web site

NDI 4.6.2

  • The latest NDI release is included in vMix 24

Everything is FEIM

  • New “Faulty Encoder Isolation Mode” for NDI separates each input into its own background application, so if an encoder causes a crash it will not impact vMix.
  • This is an optionally enabled mode as it does increase CPU and memory usage and should only be enabled for problematic inputs.
  • Can be enabled for all inputs in Settings -> Performance, or enabled for each input through the FEIM checkbox in Add Input -> NDI

Alerts

  • New alert manager in Settings enables a large flashing red warning on screen when there is low audio or FTB enabled. This warning only shows to the operator and will not be visible to the audience of the recording or stream.

Other

  • Over 300 new title templates, including titles, social and stingers
  • New “Search” category added, allowing the display of certain inputs by a search term
  • Web Browser input updated to Chromium V86
  • New SRT indicator at top right of vMix main window. Red when connected, amber when no-connection or error
  • SRT library updated to 1.4.2
  • SRT options in External menu now show hostname/port to help identify outputs.
  • Dynamic Inputs and Dynamic Values supported. Whatever is set with these functions can be recalled by typing in “DynamicValue1-4” as the Value field, or selecting the Dynamic options in the Input dropdown
  • Dynamic activators to see which inputs are selected in 1 of 4 dynamic input channels.
  • Audio channel matrix presets
  • Tally Lights now follow main input when using virtual PTZ presets
  • Added right click menu to vMix Calls under Advanced to show blank frame when call disconnects
  • Added OnCallDisconnected/Connected triggers
  • vMix Call status information is now available in the API
  • Data source pausing support with shortcut functions
  • Support for focus control on most PTZ Optics camera models (excluding ZCam) when latest firmware installed
  • Audio buses can now have custom names applied
  • Added checkbox in Settings -> Audio to “Hide Audio Mixers based on selected Category”
  • Audio mixers now include input number in title
  • Shortcuts window now has search option to help find a shortcut since there is now so many!
  • Added SQ and LQ recording options to vMix AVI. These are lower quality, but lower file size recording options
  • Data Sources and SRT outputs will no longer load automatically on startup. They will now only load on opening of a preset. This functionality can be changed back to the previous behavior in Settings -> Outputs

Fixes

  • Improved compatibility with VST3 plugins that expect certain behavior when removing plugins
  • Fixed Mix Input showing incorrect premultiplied alpha by default
  • Fixed issue where streaming output could be set to a higher frame rate than the master frame rate leading to low bitrates and keyframe warnings on some streaming providers
  • Production Clock did not support fractions in hour offset, this has now been corrected

Wow!

The software may seem extremely daunting at first, and with a users manual reminiscent of a high school biology course book, I can understand why. When you first look inside at the intuitive interface, it’s just a blank palette.  Compare the view below with that above.

Keep in mind, this isn’t kid’s stuff. This is a high-end professional live streaming encoder software, it’s only when you begin getting creative with various input sources, overlays, and virtual sets with multiple guests that things can get a bit tricky for a first-timer. Once you work your way up the learning curve, there’s probably no other software that is as reliable, less taxing on system resources or more enjoyable to stream with. In fact, I have encountered only a handful of system crashes attributed to the vMix software in the several years I’ve been using it.

The Pro Edition is FREE for 2 months! After that, the software reverts to a Free Basic Edition for life! The free Basic version is still capable of high quality streaming @ 768 x 576p which is far better than SDTV (480p), comes with 4 inputs, connects to 2 cameras, but utilizes only 1 overlay channel for placing graphics into the stream like lower 3rds, screen sharing, branding images, video playback, etc.  So you have to be a little creative in how you utilize the overlay, but that’s small stuff.

The basic setup is simple, add a camera, start the output for the virtual camera, and go! Or if you’d rather, start with one of the preset destinations for creating an RTMP stream (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram).

There is a ton of video trainings available on the website.  They will show just how quick and easy a live broadcast is to setup.  With an incredible array of input options (right), anyone would be hard-pressed not to feel a little lost inside the interface first starting off. I’ll be first to admit, I sure did!

Remember, most pay-to-play software will charge extra to access all of the software’s features (# of cams, call-ins, overlay channels, etc.). No one rides for free when you’re talking about professional-grade live production products. Expect to pull out your wallet to get vMix Call, 1080p-4K video, and more than the default number of cameras, inputs and overlays that I mentioned earlier in this overview.

But straight out of the box, for a one time fee, and an entire year’s worth of FREE upgrades, you really can’t go wrong with vMix Live Production and Streaming Software! So if you’re serious, don’t leave this one on the table, there’s no reason not to at least grab your free copy today!

What is vMix and Why Do I Need a Live Production Software Package?

If these are questions you’re asking yourself, then maybe you’re not quite ready for what vMix is, but let’s just test the waters you’re wading in a little bit before we go making rash decisions or just leave you there with that gawd-awful look on your face.

What Does Live Streaming Have to Do With You?

Well let’s say you own a store or you’re in business for yourself, or maybe you just have a crafty hobby that you want to take to the public to produce a little income with?  How would you take to me saying that nowadays you have the ability to produce your very own LIVE (or recorded) video content with the same level of quality that you could find on just about any HD channel you turn to on your television set, right now?  Well, you can!

vmix2

Huge Benefits for Anyone with a Business

Having the ability to produce your own broadcasts have been the dream of many a business person for years.  Many business owners pay THOUSANDS of dollars to run ads on Radio and TV, not to mention the cost of producing the commercial content in the first place.  But what if, better even than any commercial, you could reach your audience DIRECTLY with your own equipment and software for probably less than the cost of a single professionally produced commercial?  Does that sound a little more interesting?  NOW you’re startin’ to catch my drift…

But I Don’t Own a TV Station, How Can I Broadcast to TV?

That’s the beauty of it all, you don’t!  You broadcast to the Internet!  And rather than pay some TV mogul or network conglomerate, you might pay a few dollars a month for a quality streaming platform.  But it gets even better than that.

Thanks to the advent of WebRTC (Web-based Real Time Communications) and the recent announcements (like yesterday) by several major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Google) there are now a multitude of new FREE channels for you to send your message out to the masses!  With Facebook LIVE, YouTube LIVE, Twitter’s Periscope, Firetalk, or the plethora of other streaming services popping up every day, you don’t have to pay anyone a single red cent in broadcasting fees!  How crazy is that?  This is happening RIGHT NOW!

This is where vMix comes in…vmix-interface

Now obviously, some of these new broadcasting platforms aren’t quite what you’d expect when it comes to “TV Quality” networks, but the fact remains that nearly every one of them allow you to broadcast a stream of audio and video content in High Definition to the audience of your choice.  vMix has the software and hardware tools and solutions that help you to compete with your local and national television networks in REAL TIME from your office or living room!

So what does vMix bring to the table?  Let’s make one point perfectly clear, vMix BRINGS the table!

All your inputs, when and where you need them.

  • Video Cameras – 4K, HD and SD capable. Support for capture cards, direct link cameras, webcams, etc.
  • Video Files – Support for all popular formats including AVI, MP4, H.264, MPEG-2, WMV and QuickTime*
  • DVDs – With menu navigation
  • Audio Files – MP3 and WAV
  • Audio Devices – Mix multiple audio sources such as SoundCards and DeckLink Audio
  • Video and Audio PlayLists – Combine multiple video and/or audio files into a single Input
  • RTSP, PowerPoint, Photos, Flash, RTMP, Solid Color and more.

*Apple has recently discontinued support and is phasing out this player in Windows due to security issues in 2016

Simultaneous Streaming, Recording, and Output

Live stream to places like YouTube, Ustream, Daily Motion, Facebook LIVE, Firetalk… you get to choose where your feed goes!
Record in FULL  High Definition (HD) to AVI, MP4, MPEG-2 or WMV
Output your data to nearly any source capturing device you prefer!
You’ll also have Virtual Camera support to send your stream to any WebRTC capable platform that exists!

Professional Transition Effects (Boom!)

Cut, Fade, Zoom, Wipe, Slide, Fly, CrossZoom, FlyRotate, Cube, CubeZoom, Vertical Wipe, Vertical Slide and Merge transitions available via on screen macro-like buttons!

Professional HD production on nearly any PC

vMix is the perhaps the most effective at producing HD content through multiple sources without burning out your CPU or putting a whole in your wallet.  Thanks to it’s limited use of computer resources and full 3D acceleration, you’ll be able to create professional results on even a somewhat modest computer setup.

Don’t have the room for a Studio Set?  Ever heard of Chroma Key?

With vMix’s built in Chroma Key features, and 4 built-in Virtual Sets you can turn any small bedroom into a mega studio in minutes!  vMix also gives you the option to create your own personalized virtual studio using the studio builder!

PC and Mac Desktop Sources

With vMix’s Desktop Capture, you can use data from remote desktops on your business intranet, or create a private virtual network (VPN) and connect to outside audio and video streams via the latest NDI (Network Device Interface) technology over the world wide webs from around the world, just by having the devices IP address! (gigabit internet speeds recommended)

This is a great way to present a guest’s PowerPoint presentations!  With vMix, Audio Capture support for Skype and other video-conferencing software is available under Windows 7, 8 and 10.
Find out more about running vMix on a Mac.

Looking for Lower 3rd Title Templates?  They’re INCLUDED!

With a few clicks of the mouse, you can add or edit a host title bar (lower 3rd) or perhaps a scoreboard or a news ticker.  With the correct template and a social media account you can even broadcast a Twitter feed or Facebook comments in REAL TIME during your broadcasts, with full control over each post inside a comment “cue” which allows you to pick and choose how posts, tweets or comments show up in your feed!

Use built-ins or add your own designs that you may have already created inside your favorite graphics or vector editing software.  Adjust Text, Font Size and Color and do it in Real-Time with instant updates.

I Missed that….where’s the Instant Replay?  Maybe you want Slow Motion?

Create a Video Delay input and assign it to any available camera or output device. Save multiple clips of awesome events for playback at any time.  With vMix you have configurable slow motion playbackfrom 5 to 400%

Throw that old analog mixer in the trash!

vMix’s built-in (I say that a LOT don’t I?) audio mixer allows you to easily keep track of all of your connected audio sources (mics, webcams, audio files) and includes the ability to Mute, Follow (Auto Mixing) and Delay any source.
The Master Output includes it’s own separate VU meter and can be modified via the included equalizer.  The VU meter also includes the ability to provide peak outputs and allows for signal gating to ensure each inputs level is ready to broadcast at the best quality possible, without background interference or over pick-up.

Perhaps you’re the type who likes to play with Live Video Effects?

Color Correct, Deinterlace, Sharpen, Zoom, Rotate, Pan and Crop any input on the fly.

All effects are processed in 4:4:4 32-bit color for optimal video quality.

Multi View – 2 Down, 4 to Go!

With Multi-view you can combine a number of input devices into one output to create awesome screen effects for interviews (2 panes), demonstrations, party calls (more than 2 people) or set-up a seat for your co-host and invite a guest to your show!

Overlay Channels (PIP: “Picture-in-Picture”)

The basic versions of vMix only include 1 overlay channel, but even as early as the SD version, vMix adds in 3 more, giving you a total of 4 Overlay Channels in addition to the Multi View feature. Each overlay channel can have its own transition effect, position and border.  This is where you should be saying to me, “Are you serious right now?”

Check out this short video I created to give you an idea of what’s possible using overlays: https://www.youtube.com/embed/ESWTcbtWq7U?rel=0&controls=0&showinfo=0

Control your LIVE video production with your Touch Screen tablet or laptop!

With the vMix Web Controller on your Surface, iPad, Android or other touch screen device you can control your entire production without touching the keyboard (unless you need to edit a title of course).  This is a built-in web interface accessible through a simple url port on your network.  Customized shortcut buttons similar to macros can also be created to activate common production functions.

Compare the Features:

Don’t risk having an experience like this!

Get your FREE 60 Day Demo of vMix v.20 with vMix Call HERE!

Check out the latest features in vMix v. 24! Once you have, be sure to contact me and we will get you streaming like a PRO right away! Same-Day license keys!

vMix Live Streaming and Production Software

Free - $1200
9.4

Ease of Use

8.5/10

Stability

10.0/10

Features

9.5/10

Price

9.0/10

Support/Upgrades

10.0/10

Pros

  • Winner NAB Product Award 2017-2018
  • Free Demo/Limited Version
  • Pro Features + Customization
  • Call-in Feature (up to 8 callers)
  • Social Comment Overlays (T, FB, YT, IG, IIRC)

Cons

  • Costly Pro/4K Version
  • A Little Complex for Rookies
  • GUI Could Be More User Friendly
  • FREE Version Resolution < 720p
  • Awkward Integration w/vMix Social