ATEM Mini Extreme - In Depth Review & COMPLETE Tutorial !
Hello streammakers! Less than one year after the release of the ATEM Mini Pro, here comes the ATEM Mini Extreme. Now, I don't like making videos about incremental updates. And at first, I just thought it was an ATEM Mini with more inputs and buttons. But then I took a closer look and I realized that we really have a big game changer in the live streaming game, and it's quite a big update.
Having one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight inputs doesn't mean, it's only designed for people who use eight cameras. Actually, you might want to consider it even if you are only connecting one or two cameras, or none and I'll show you why. For me, the key new features are the improved layout possibilities.
You can really up your streaming game now, and I will show you my favorite workflow and how I set up these interactive layouts. If you are new to the ATEM Mini series and are now just diving in, I recommend you check out my 50 minutes long tutorial on the ATEM Mini Pro first, because I won't cover these aspects again in this video. Today we are going to go through a quick overview of the new features of the Extreme, an in-depth look at the SuperSource mode, explain what the Upstream and Downstream keys actually are with simple words if you never quite understood, and finally I'll show you my favorite workflow for dealing with motion graphics and lower thirds. We'll ultimately finish with a recap of the upsides and downsides of this new ATEM Mini Extreme. Now let's get started and start with a quick overview of the new features. (uplifting music) In terms of design, we can definitely see a clear coherence in the product line.
The ATEM Mini Extreme design is very similar to the existing ATEM Mini models, they share the same ATEM Software for computer control. And all the features that you could find in the ATEM Mini Pro can be found in the ATEM Mini Extreme such as streaming to live platforms directly from the switcher. Now, the ATEM Mini Extreme is heavier, longer, and you can connect up to eight HDMI inputs instead of four. There is now a headphone jack and a second USB connection which means that you can now record to disk and use the ATEM USB output as a webcam simultaneously.
There is also a second HDMI output, which means you can bring up the multi view on one monitor, and the final program output on a second monitor or in a high quality ProRes recorder, for instance. It's worth noting that you can assign both outputs to any of the inputs in just two clicks in the ATEM Software. And this can be highly valuable in many situations. For instance, if you have a customer that wants to bring up just a PowerPoint on a stage monitor instead of the complete program output, well, you just have to go to output two, select your PowerPoint source and there you go. The first inputs can be directly controlled using the switcher. At the back there I have the multi view, but if I click on PGM here you can see that it just switches the output to whatever input I choose here.
Finally, it's worth noting that the multi view is now entirely configurable. So you can set which source you want to see in which position, including the preview and program windows. You can also easily switch from a four box to a full screen box, if you don't need the preview window, for instance. So that is another very valuable addition to me. (uplifting music) What initially struck me when I saw the design was the enormous amount of buttons! There are exactly 201 buttons, which is four times less than the 756 buttons of the ATEM Advanced Panel 4M/E but almost twice as much as the 104 buttons of a full computer keyboard! Even though I found it disturbing at first, I think the general idea is to make the ATEM Mini Extreme usable on its own, without any laptop.
And looking at it, there are many button sections that are just eight copies of the eight camera inputs, which actually helps not making mistakes because that way you know which dangerous buttons control the camera that is currently on air. Here, we can see that it's camera two on air. So all the buttons that are above, well I have to think carefully before touching any of these. We can find all the sets of buttons which were already there in the ATEM Mini Pro. But with the ATEM Mini Extreme, we now have headphones volume control buttons, more transition types. There are also shortcuts for recalling macros number one to six of the ATEM.
There is also a select bus to quickly set which video source you would like to be in which key, and I'll come back to these in a moment. Finally there are new buttons for quickly adjusting Blackmagic camera settings such as ISO, Focus, Shutter and Black level control also called pedestal. I would have preferred an Iris control button instead of a Shutter button, because I generally adjust iris much more than I adjust the shutter. (uplifting music) If you wanna go a step further on camera control, there is this free software we built that allows you to use any external joystick to control for instance the iris, the pedestal, the zoom, the focus, et cetera! You just have to run it on a laptop, connect your laptop to your switcher router, set your ATEM Mini Extreme IP address and then you can custom map any joystick axis and buttons to camera settings. We will also soon release a hardware device that can connect to the DJI Ronin-S2, so that you can use it as a PTZ head with the ATEM Mini Extreme! With the joystick you can control the pan and tilt precisely, and also save position presets.
In this way you can save a very specific position with a custom zoom, focus, iris, shutter, white balance setting, and then you recall it later with our software or using Companion with a Stream Deck! Also, if you want to use your camera with a wireless video transmitter such as Teradek or Hollyland, you can also send camera and gimbal control information wirelessly as well with our device. I've put a link in the description if you're interested, keep an eye on the Middle Things website! It's gonna come out soon. Anyways that's it for my self promotion.
I'll now move to the most interesting new feature of the ATEM Mini Extreme, which for me is the SuperSource! (uplifting music) The ATEM Mini Extreme comes with a SuperSource. You can see this as a ninth virtual input into which you can put multiple video sources side by side. So for me it's a huge addition, and it's surprise because that was until now only available in the most expensive Blackmagic ATEM switchers. So let me show you how it works. Okay, so first, you can see my program monitor at the back there.
So I control it this way on the ATEM Mini. So I will start by bring up the SuperSource on that program monitor, by pressing this button here, this new button on the ATEM Mini Extreme. Then in the ATEM Software, I will just go into the pallette here and then I'm going to select SuperSource and then choose one of the preset here. So like if I press the four here, there you can see that it pops up on the monitor. On the program we now have four videos side by side, in the program output. You can have a total of up to four boxes in a virtual input.
So each box can be individually configured. For instance, here at box one I can move the position around. I can move, of course, the size.
I can change the source that will go into this box here so I can choose whichever camera I want. I can crop it, of course. And then here I have different automatic layouts.
I can also go into the Art tab here and select a background, for instance. Here if I want, I can put, like if I take camera five, it makes a nice background. So it's an HDMI source but I could also put like a still image of a media player as a background, for instance.
And I can also put it on the foreground, for instance, if I select cameras seven and I have a key for this one, which is camera eight. And you can see that on the foreground I have a video with alpha which allows me to do quite a few, a few things with that. I'll come back to that in a minute.
And then back on the ATEM Extreme, as you can see I can use the SuperSource just as I would use any of the cameras here. So I can just select SuperSource and I just have them side by side. So that's a very nice addition. In other ATEMs that have SuperSource, we can add a border. For some reason here for the ATEM Mini Extreme we cannot add any border. So I don't know why it's this way.
Maybe it's a hardware limitation. Now I find it quite intuitive to set it up in the ATEM Software, but it's not easy to change the SuperSource very fast in a live stream if you have different layouts that have to change very quickly. So I found three ways to improve the workflow: The first one is to record macros in the ATEM Software. Now if you're new to this, a macro is a sequence of ATEM actions that you can record in ATEM Software.
So when you go to the ATEM Software in the macro section and press Record, it will remember every single click or action you make on ATEM Mini Extreme. And once you're done you can playback the recording later. Well instead of wasting time setting the proper parameters for each time you have to set it up to bring it up, you can just record the exact sequence of actions required to bring up the shot, and then play it back instantly by recalling the corresponding macro.
Macros were already there in the other ATEM Minis, but now you have hardware button shortcuts here, one, two, three, four, five, six, right on the panel, which can be very practical. This way, you can recall six different layouts, straight from your ATEM Mini. So it's a great way to prepare your shoots by making predefined layouts that you can call anytime during the stream. Also, you can easily export and import macros to other ATEM Mini Extremes, right from the ATEM Software. Now a more simple way to create your macros is to use the H2R SuperSource Layout software from John Barker, from Here to Record channel. It's a tool that allows you to set up your macros using a visual interface, just like PowerPoint or Photoshop, and it will export the corresponding macro code for you.
While it's only the beginning, I think it's a very, very promising tool because it really allows you to empower the ATEM Mini Extreme with the ease of use that you get with softwares like OBS, Vmix or Wirecast. So, thumbs up for his impressive piece of work! Finally, I would also like to credit Brian from A2Z productions for the awesome macros he created that I now use on a regular basis. Instead of making static macros like I explained earlier, he created fully animated macros that will smoothly transition from one SuperSource to another.
And if you have a Stream Deck lying around, you can use the popular Companion software to import his custom button layouts, which will trigger the right macros depending on your current layout. So as you can see, when I select one of his SuperSource layouts on the Stream Deck using Companion, the animated macro runs and you can see the smooth transition from one layout to another. So that's awesome. And it's designed so that you cannot mess everything up. And with another page, you can select which HDMI input goes into which SuperSource box.
And I also have on my macros here just in case I need to use the other macros of the ATEM Mini Extreme. So this way, you can just create SuperSource layouts on the fly very easily in just a few seconds! And I can tell you this is highly valuable when you have to show one or more speakers, a PowerPoint and a Zoom remote guest side by side! So big thanks to A2Z as well! Now let's move on to our next part which will cover all you have to know about Upstream keys and Downstream keys. (uplifting music) When it comes to overlays and keying, I do feel that words like Downstream keys, Upstream keys, DVE, et cetera are very tricky to understand, especially if you come from computer softwares like OBS or Vmix. And I didn't really make it very clear in my ATEM Mini Pro review.
So just to make things clear. A DownStream key or DSK is a layer that will go on top of everything. So you might want to use it for a fixed logo on the upper right corner, for instance. That layer resolution should match your ATEM resolution.
So if you wanna put a logo, you have to import a TIFF file with alpha which is 1080p, placing the small logo on the upper right corner. What I usually do is export the layer directly from Photoshop to the ATEM Media Pool using the Blackmagic plugin. So that I can make quick adjustments on the fly.
An Upstream Key or USK is a layer that you can add in between the clean feed and the Downstream key. It can be any of the ATEM inputs, and you can make four types of modifications on that input. You can make a Luma key which means you can key out part of the fill source, that has a specific luminance value or using an external Key layer. You can also crop the result using a mask, and move the result around by activating what we call a Flying key. The second modification you can make is a Chroma key.
So you can key out part of the fill source that has a specific chroma value. For instance, if you have a green screen shot, you can pick the green color to key it out and make adjustments to that shot. Just as the previous Luma key you can also activate the Flying key options to resize and move on that chart around.
The third type of modification is a Pattern key. So you can key out part of the field source with a pattern. And now the fourth type of modification you can make to the input is a DVE. DVE stands for Digital Video Effect. And you can resize and crop the fill source, as well as add a border and a shadow.
A DVE can be very useful with Zoom and Teams calls, when you need to crop part of the screen and then make it bigger. Things like this. So in a nutshell, you just have to remember that: The Downstream Key or DSK is the top of the top overlay, like a logo, for instance. So then DSK equals logo.
On the ATEM Mini Extreme you can make two independent downstream keys. The Upstream key or USK is a modification of one of the inputs. On the ATEM Mini Extreme you can make up to four independent upstream keys, which is pretty big for a small switcher. Now I never really quit understood why they are named this way.
I find it quite confusing actually because you know the Upstream key should the top one. Up should be down and down should be up. Or if someone can explain me this stuff. Just as many other ATEMs you can adjust the DSK and USK settings into the ATEM Software. But what's new on the Extreme, is that you can quickly select which input should be used as a fill source for each of the keys here with the select bus buttons.
For instance, let's say I wanna use the Upstream key 1 to key out the camera four green screen. So I first bring up the key using the key one. ON button here.
There we go. I then select K1 chroma to tell it to make a Chroma key on Upstream key 1, and then I just have to select the green screen shot which is camera four, there we go. Just to set it as the fill source.
You can also customize the four transitions with the fill source that will be used for that transition. If I make a wipe transition and I select the same media play 1. You can see that when I make the transition it will use the media player. If I want to set the logo of media player one in the Downstream key one, I first bring up the key using the DSK1 ON button here, then I select media player one. I pressed DSK 1 on air here. And you can see the logo pops up.
Let's say we want to make a nice layout for a Zoom call, for instance, so I'm going to start by bring up the background and the program window here. So here I have a video loop of a background coming into HDMI five. So I select it.
Then I will go to the DVE1. So we want to be able to resize, crop, et cetera. So I will bring up the select bus for DVE1 and we can toggle the Upstream key 1 on air here using this button ON.
But I could also go into the ATEM Software, here on press On air to have it on the program. So as you can see, I now have my Upstream key. And of course I can change the source here using the select bus there so I can put any camera I want. Here there's a small border that we can adjust here in the Upstream key 1 settings in the ATEM Software.
So as you can see, when we go to DVE here we have a few settings like the border. We can put a small shadow like this and we can actually crop the image using a mask and stuff like this. So we have a nice, a nice layout here. So if I can quickly no layouts, layouts, no layout, layout, et cetera.
So I'm just doing like background key, key off camera. So background key, key off camera. Now, if you're in the middle of a live stream you're probably be in a hurry. So you might wanna prepare everything beforehand to have all of your layouts ready. So instead of pressing all these keys at the same time of course I can use macros. So that here you see, I can select my camera there.
And then when I press macro number six, here I have my layout, which goes on automatically. So I can just turn it off by selecting another source and then macro, it just plays back the whole set of actions that I've recorded into the SuperSource settings instantly. So you can either use these six buttons here or to a more advanced setup with a Stream Deck and Companions with all your macros as I showed earlier. (uplifting music) In this section I would like to show you three different workflows for lower thirds, a simple one, a better one, and lastly my goto technique. The most simple workflow I would suggest is using the ATEM Media Pool.
So you can make 20 different lower thirds stills before the show, that use save as a TIFF file with alpha using Photoshop. And then you bring them up with a Downstream key and a simple fade, by pressing the AUTO button. So for instance we can put that lower third into a Downstream key. So in the select bus, I just select a Downstream key 1. I select media play 1 where I have my lower third and then bring it on air I press the Downstream key 1 button and here we go, it's on air. So of course, if I use the ATEM Software I can a very small fade to make it like smoother, like this.
So, too bad the fade button isn't on the ATEM Mini itself. Each time you change speaker, you have to load the next file from the ATEM Media Pool to media player, like so. I find a little bit more convenient to sense the lower thirds directly from Photoshop because this way you can live edit names and job titles easily on the fly if there are last minute changes, et cetera, because customers often change their minds at the last minute.
If you wanna add a bit of movement in your lower thirds, I recommend creating a PowerPoint presentation that has all your lower thirds video with a green screen background. So here I think it's on camera, yeah, camera four here. So I have PowerPoints.
And then when I move the slides I just have full screen videos with a green background. And then it's very easy to key. If I want to have it over my video here. So I press input number two to show up my video.
Then I press the Upstream key 1 chroma here. I'm going to select, so it was camera four and then I just press the Key 1 on air button. And here we go. We have all the lower thirds here and I'm just like going back and forth with my PowerPoints here.
So if I wanna bring it to lower thirds, I just press Next in the PowerPoint, and it will play it out for me. Now I use PowerPoint for convenience but you can use any players you like. The only limitation with that PowerPoint method is that you might struggle with that lower thirds that have transparency due to the green screen keying. And you know, that's pretty hard, et cetera. So now, my goto workflow is to use a software called ProPresenter, which is kind of a PowerPoint, but optimized for live production.
What I like about it is that you can add videos and lower thirds in a ProRes 4444 format with alpha, and when you playback the files, it can send two separate key and fill signals to ATEM Mini Extreme if you use like a Blackmagic Ultra Studio Mini HD or those Decklink card that you put at the back of the computers. And in the case of the Ultra Studio HD Mini, for instance, you just have a Thunderbolt 3 cables that goes from the Mac to the units, and then two SDI cables, one with the key, one with the fill. So it's uses two inputs on your ATEM Mini Extreme.
But then when you create a Downstream key and Upstream key you can specify which input is the fill and which input is the key, and then you will have a perfectly clean lower third motion graphic! Of course, you can also use it to playback full screen videos as well. Another cool feature is that you can create a separate stage output using your computer HDMI out for instance, where you can display a big video countdown timer, which lets the speakers on the stage and in backstage know when the current video, that's playing is about to end so that they can prepare and know when they have to talk again. You can also use ProPresenter to playback music files before the show starts, or even create a video countdown at the beginning of the show to let your audience know when it's going to start. And if you unfortunately experience technical issues, you can easily add a few minutes here and there to that countdown timer. Here I made all of these animations using an After Effects template I purchased so I've put the link in the description for you.
So that's it for my lower thirds workflow. So these three workflows can be used with any ATEM Mini, but the last ProPresenter workflow uses two HDMI inputs for the key and fill signals, so I think the ATEM Mini Extreme is much more suited for this workflow. (uplifting music) A bit earlier in the video, I talked about how you can create macros in the ATEM to improve your workflow. I've also showed you how you can export both the key and fill signal for motion graphics with ProPresenter slides.
Well now, what about controlling all of these worlds together from one location? What about having one small controller sitting next to your ATEM Mini Extreme, on which you can show only the buttons you are interested in, it could do things like: Trigger a lower third motion graphic for speaker number five. Trigger your SuperSource layouts. Changer your SuperSource inputs within seconds. Make the DJI Ronin S2 jump to a specific position and trigger a SuperSource with this framing. Well, the magic is created using this incredible tool called the Stream Deck which is a button pad with customizable LED displays on each button, so that you can name each of the buttons as you like.
So it comes with its own software, but things get even more exciting when you use it with a free software called Bitfocus Companion. In Bitfocus Companion, you first add your devices, such as one or more ATEMs, ProPresenter, then you can map each button to a sequence of actions. For instance, here, I'll create a button, tell the ATEM to run macro number two, which creates a nice SuperSource. And I'll also tell it to run ProPresenter slide number three which is a video that has alpha. Then I'll ask him to put the ATEM DSK1 on air, and then boom, when I press On button, it will trigger all of these things for me. So as you can see here I have all of my layouts here.
With a single button I am able to combine a SuperSource macro that I did in the ATEM. That's puts two videos side by side and I also trigger a video from ProPresenter that comes on top of that SuperSource. So here you can see I have, at the background is like the SuperSource of the ATEM. And then I add this video with transparency using the separate key and fill from the ProPresenter Software. So I can make a nice transitions this way and I can make different types of layouts that are pretty, pretty nice to the eye. And yes, so we can make that quite interactive.
So here, just to show you and Bitfocus Companion, how it works. If I want to create, for instance, a button here that will trigger a lower third. So I just go into the Bitfocus Companion interface, I set button type. I create regular button. So this will be lower third. I can put, like let's say a blue color and I can put blue color here.
Then on the key down, I will tell our ProPresenter. So ProPresenter to go to a specific slide and here I'm going to put the slide number. So if I go to ProPresenter you see this lower third here is on slide number eight.
So I tell it to play slide number eight here. And the presentation path is 00. Now, as soon as we launch this video in ProPresenter we're going to tell Companion to tell the ATEM to activate the Downstream key once. So here we are going to select Downstream key.
Set Downstream key on air and we're going to select Downstream key 1. Now you can see that the new button here pops up on the Stream Deck instantly. And then when I select that button here you will see the lower thirds that come on top of my video. So it's actually playing the file from ProPresenter, with the alpha, et cetera. And it's also activating a Downstream keyer 1 and putting that file into the downstream keyer.
So right now we only made one but of course we could have many, many lower thirds here. And then, you know you just send them all right from one Stream Deck. So that's really, really valuable. (uplifting music) Unfortunately, I did not manage to grab an ATEM Mini Extreme ISO version in time for the review, so I cannot tell you whether it works as promised or not.
But I can tell you that the extra feature you will get with the ISO is that you can record all of the inputs in one hard drive in good quality H264, and it will generate a DaVinci Resolve project file for you with all the cuts, so that you can fine tune all the live edits afterwards. If you have Blackmagic pocket cameras, it will also trigger Blackmagic Raw recordings into the cameras, so that you can have a very high quality edit at the end. (uplifting music) so I am honestly very impressed by all the important features Blackmagic managed to pack in such a small form factor.
I don't see any no go or big issue for me, it really addresses many of the ATEM Mini Pro limitations. It's really an incredible switcher. Now as amazing as this device is, I think there is still room for improvement. Of course, this is only from my perspective.
So I might be the only one to think that but the button layout could have been a bit better, I think. Since we need to open the ATEM Software to adjust the settings of the different Upstream and Downstream keys I end up rarely using the select bus buttons. Well, I use them, but not that much. And on the field, I tend to rely on pre-recorded macros that automate all the layouts for me, or Companion. Also, the only transition buttons that I really use are the Mix, Dip, may be the Wipe here. But I don't think these other transition buttons are that important.
The picture in picture shortcut buttons are fixed and not customizable so I don't use these either. So regarding the select bus, this picture and picture transitions there, I don't think these burdens were absolutely necessary. On the opposite, we only have one toggle for DSK1 and one toggle for Upstream key 1, I would have preferred to have all the toggles for both Downstream keyers and all the four Upstream keyers since I use these on a regular basis. And finally, to me I think an Iris button would have made more sense than a Shutter button on the camera control here.
Now regarding the ATEM Software, a struggle that could be improved in software is adding custom destinations. It's not practical to have to edit that Streaming.xml file since you have to take the XML file with you when you move from computer to computer. I would love a better UI for this. Also, when using Blackmagic pocket cameras with ATEM Mini switchers, you are suddenly locked into a Blackmagic Raw recording mode, and I wish we could have the option to record ProRes, too! Just like when the HDMI is not connected. Lastly, I think there is still quite a bit of a learning curve for new users, especially with this Upstream and Downstream key terminology.
Sometimes the short name is USK1, sometimes it's K1, sometimes it's Key 1. So I think the UI in general has a potential for improvement to make it much easier to make layouts for users that don't come from a broadcast background. And this is mostly about software improvements, and I think John Barker from Here to Record tackles this issue very well with his promising H2R Macro Layouts, I talked about earlier! What I hope to see is the simplicity of the What You See Is What You Get computers interfaces like PowerPoint, OBS, et cetera, pushed into the ATEM, so that you can get the upsides of both worlds into one reliable hardware capture card, switcher and encoder instead of a computer. With that being said, I do have a few suggestions to make to Blackmagic for future products.
I think this form factor is perfect for fixed studios, churches. But when you're on the go, you quickly end up having to pull out lots of converters, cables and monitors each time, which means longer set up times. So I think it would be nice to see two variations of this ATEM Mini Extreme. A 1U rack mount version, just like the good old Television Studio HD, but with all the features of the ATEM Mini Extreme. And second, an all in one ATEM Mini Extreme that would include two small monitors.
One for the multi view, and one for the program feed or whichever feed we want, in addition to the two HDMI outputs. (uplifting music) Just before I end this video, I would like to refer to a few channels that I like, if you want to learn more about ATEM Minis. I already mentioned John's Here to Record channel which has plenty of valuable content, as well as very cool software and utilities. There is also Brian from A2Z Productions, a pretty new channel, but with great insight and the macros are very good. And you might already know Doug Johnson, too, his videos are more about professional live production in general than just the ATEM Mini series, but he has an incredible expertise and his videos have helped me understand lots of concepts, so big thanks to him. PhotoJoseph makes great content in the live production field as well, and if you're looking for ATEM Mini Pro and Extreme tutorials I definitely recommend Alex Pettitt and Aaron Parecki's channels who both focus all of their content on these devices, which is great too! Of course there are other channels that I probably didn't see, but these are the six channels that I watch and learn from the most in this field.
So let's wrap, for me this ATEM Mini Extreme is not just a small ATEM Mini Pro update with more inputs, it's a much much more powerful machine, so if you are seriously considering live streaming I definitely recommend it over a computer if you have the budget. If you already have an ATEM Mini Pro and are happy with four inputs, well the question you have to ask yourself is, do you need to put videos side by side, do you need a second USB output and a second HDMI output? Well, depending on your use case, it can be important, so it's up to you. And this is it for this walkthrough, I hope you liked it, I've tried to make it as extensive as possible.
And I've not been paid by Blackmagic nor have I been sent this unit for free for this review. As with all videos, I would love to read your thoughts too on this ATEM Mini Extreme, so let me know in the comments! Goodbye and see you soon! (uplifting music)