Lego Alien Resurgence

Kevin of Key Frame Studios is proud of his first Lego stop motion movie – and rightfully so. The Alien movie parody was made with iStopMotion, a Logitech c920 webcam, iMovie and the Affinity Designer and Photo apps. Kevin writes that he appreciated the excellent image capture iStopMotion provided from his webcam. He adds that it was easy to edit frames in the external apps and the export featured the flexibility he needed to bring this masterpiece to life.

Recording presentations: Code BEAM Lite Munich

Here is an example of a professional speaker recording setup that we recently used at the Code BEAM Lite conference in Munich. Recording and live editing the presentations with mimoLive helped significantly reduce the post production costs and the time between recording and delivery to the client to a few hours. Setup was quick and easy because using NDI technology means a drastic reduction in cabling and equipment.

The Task

The Code BEAM Lite conference brings together engineers for a day of sharing and learning. At the front of the room, which held about 70 people, there was a lectern for the presenter and a projection screen to show the contents of the screen. There were to be 9 presentations in a single track, recorded for later upload to YouTube. mimoLive would have provided the option to live stream but the event organizers opted against renting the expensive internet line from the hosting hotel.

The Setup

Setup was quick and easy because we only had to run one cable to the cameras and the HDMI capture device each. NDI is great because video (and audio) and power can be delivered over a single ethernet cable. The devices connected to a Unifi PoE+ network switch which linked them to the MacBook Pro running mimoLive via the Sonnet Echo 11 Thunderbolt 3 dock. In contrast to some USB-C docks we tried, the Echo 11 provides a real PCIe Gigabit ethernet interface with the full bandwidth.

One great feature of NDI is that you can use the video sources in multiple switchers, so a secondary MacBook Pro was used to record a backup of the main camera and the slides. Except for the connection to the switch, this did not require additional cabling.

For capturing sound, we used a Zoom H5 USB recorder. This device provides XLR inputs where we normally take the sound from the event sound engineers who usually provide us with a down mix from their sound console. Because of the size of the room, the event organizers passed on having a room PA and we used a label microphone and a Sennheiser wireless microphone system to get the sound directly off the speaker.

The Magewell Pro Convert HDMI 4K we used to capture the slides can be looped into the video from the presenter's computer to the projector, providing the slides in real time. This feature alone saves hours of work in post production, trying to get the slides to align with the presentation.

Learnings

You can see at the end of the first video that we ran into a thermal throttling issue with the MacBook Pro (Late 2016) model we were using from the start. This had happened to us before, and we used to solve it by putting the MacBook Pro on a cooler stand. However, this being the first time using a full NDI setup, it turned out that decoding the video signals is making that model of MacBook Pro especially hot. We fixed this issue first by reducing the recording resolution and turning off one of the cameras and later exchanging the MacBook Pro for a newer model who coped much better with the decoding and allowed us to return to full resolution and two cameras. In the equipment section below I've listed the newest MacBook Pro which should not have this issue, but it is best to take special care of making sure that the MacBook Pro is properly cooled.

The Equipment List