Comparison of the Top Multicam Streaming Software: What You Need to Know [2023 Update]
A whopping one-third of time spent online is watching video content globally. Through the power of video, businesses and broadcasters are hard at work trying to capture as much of that attention as possible. One tried and true way they do this is by making their live streaming efforts more engaging. And one of the best ways to do this is to incorporate multiple sources, which refers to using a mix of a live audience and prerecorded content or a multi-camera setup.
A multiple camera setup is a phenomenal method for connecting with your audience through increasing stimuli for a more engaging viewing experience. More single camera productions more angles, more eyes. And more professional broadcasters and television shows are using this method to increase their viewership.
In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about multi-camera live streaming. To start, we’ll look at the glaring benefits of multi-camera live video streaming and outline some of the challenges using this approach. We’ll then reveal the best live streaming software, providing you the ability to offer your a professional multi-camera live streaming experience to your viewers.
Finally, we’ll review a list of the necessary equipment you’ll need for multi-camera streaming and provide an overview of the basic workflow required to get started. By the end, you’ll better understand how to build and scale your audience using a multi-camera live streaming approach.
Why Stream with Multiple Cameras?
Multicam live streaming comes with some advantages over single-feed streams.
You need to keep your viewer engaged with your content. One of the best ways to do that is by creating an immersive experience. Streaming with multiple cameras is a great way to create engaging content.
Just about any professional television broadcast, show, or film you have ever watched uses multiple cameras, cutting between different sources and angles. Using a multi-camera solution with your live stream allows you to create a more engaging and professional experience live studio audience, which will help you retain viewers.
For example, let’s look at what happens with you watch a simple morning or nightly news show. Even though news broadcasts may take place on a single stage, multiple cameras as used to create a more interesting experience.
Most news shows use at least three cameras to capture different types of shots:
- A wide shot is used to capture the entire studio
- A medium shot is used to capture the hosts of the show and the desk or platform they are sitting behind.
- The tight shot is used just to capture the head and shoulders of each host as they speak.
This is just a quick example to show how even in a simple setting, multiple cameras are used to create a more engaging experience.
Multiple cameras allow a broadcaster to switch between these different views in real-time as the recording is taking place. Each type of shot above serves a different purpose.
- A wide shot helps to establish the setting and allows the viewer to orient themselves with the setting.
- A medium shot is used to show interactions between multiple people a little closer up.
- A tight shot is used to allow a single person to take center stage and capture that person’s emotion.
Using multiple cameras is basic cinematography. For over 100 years, Multicam filming has been used in the film, news, and television industry, making it only natural that the online streaming industry also uses this approach.
Multiple cameras have been used for more than 100 years because it allows one to capture the setting and capture individual emotion, creating a more immersive and engaging experience for the viewer.
Also, viewers are used to multi-camera experiences from watching t.v., movies, and news shows, so using a multi-camera experience in your live broadcast will allow you to ensure you are meeting the viewer’s expectations.
Modern live streaming requires the same approach. Switching between multiple cameras creates a more engaging experience, as does streaming with split screens. You don’t need a big budget or lots of people to create a multi-camera live stream experience. You can achieve this experience with a few single camera operator using fixed cameras or PTZ cameras using multi-camera switchers.
Challenges of Multicam Streaming
Multicam streaming is a bit more complex than the single-camera alternative.
Of course, there are challenges that come with this method of storytelling. More cameras equal more complexity. Multicam streaming requires linking all the different cameras to one central hub. That requires the use of multicam software so you can control multiple video cameras as once.
Although you can stream independently with multiple cameras, the process is easier if you have a skilled camera operator helping with your live stream. A skilled camera operator will know when to switch between shots. This requires someone who is fast and decisive.
Multicam streaming requires more equipment, more data, and more people to run successfully. However, even with all of these extra needed resources, multicamera broadcasting is worth it. It can be achieved with a reasonable budget, allowing smaller teams to create immersive experiences.
Best Multicam Streaming Software
Streaming with several sources is easier with the help of reliable multicam streaming software.
Let’s take a look at three of the best live stream software options on the market. We’ll review how they work for multicam streaming. These software options include VidBlasterX, Wirecast, and OBS Studio.
VidBlasterX is an encoding software that includes tools for multicam streaming. This multicam software is only compatible with the Windows operating system.
Basic features of the platform include:
- Live mixing tools to switch between multiple sources in real-time
- Low latency design using proprietary “SyncLok” feature
- Modular audio mixer
- Video effects and green screen support
- Custom scripting language
VidBlasterX supports multiple cameras via the camera module. More than one camera module can be added to the monitor to switch between different cameras.
VidBlasterX is a viable multicam streaming software for Windows operating systems. It doesn’t work with macOS systems, so if you use an Apple computer, you will need to look for a different option.
Its unique modular design makes VidBlasterX highly expandable and customizable, which is attractive to advanced broadcasters.
VidBlasterX is available in three different editions.
- The Home edition costs $9 per year, and it allows the use of up to seven modules at once.
- The Studio version costs $99 per year and increases that limit to 25 modules.
- The Broadcast version costs $999 per year and supports up to 50 modules simultaneously.
VidBlasterX isn’t a free multi-camera live streaming software solution; however, its $9 Home edition is an extremely affordable option for most broadcasters looking to get into multi-camera live streaming.
Wirecast is a powerful live streaming software from Telestream that’s available for Mac and Windows. This software is also primarily an encoder, with multicam streaming being a secondary function.
Basic Wirecast features include:
- Support for multiple sources, including cameras, webcams, IP cameras, and NDI sources
- Screen share and video conferencing built-in
- Stream and record streams locally
- Tool for animating titles and graphics
Wirecast has built-in support for multiple camera sources.
Wirecast Studio costs $599 and supports two guests via video chat.
Wirecast Pro costs $799 and adds support for up to seven guests via video chat, supports a wider range of capture devices, scoreboards, 3D virtual sets, and more.
If you are looking for a multi camera video recording software that allows for the use of various sources and allows for video conferencing, Wirecast is a great solution.
3. OBS Studio
Since OBS Studio is pretty simple and free to use, it is often used by beginner broadcasters who are just learning the ropes. If you are looking for the best multi-camera recording software, OBS Studio is a great solution.
Here are a few of OBS Studio’s settings and basic features:
- Support for a wide range of sources, including cameras, audio devices, screen capture, webcams, etc.
- “Scenes” feature allows you to preconfigure complex arrangements of graphics, video, overlays, etc.
- Audio mixing capability
- Video transitions and effects, including green screen
- Support for a wide range of plugins to add features such as NDI support
- Modular user interface
OBS supports multiple camera sources natively. These sources (up to 8 of them) can easily be monitored via the Multiview feature. Multiview also makes it easy to transition to any of them with a single click.
We have a couple of guides for live streaming with OBS Studio, one for streaming with Windows and one for streaming with MacOS. We urge you to check them out if you plan on using OBS Studio with Dacast.
OSB Studio provides you with the functionality to do a lot of things and is free for all operating systems. It has more functionality with PC but works as well with macOS.
To learn how to live stream using OBS Studio, click here or check out this video on how to live stream with OBS using a PC.
It is one of the easiest to use and best multi-camera recording software options.
Equipment Needed for Multicam Live Streaming
There are three possible equipment setups for multicam streaming.
There are three routes you can go in terms of equipment setup for multicam streaming.
- The first option is to use a powerful laptop, external capture devices, and cameras/audio devices.
- The second option is to use a desktop computer with capture cards.
- The third option is to use dedicated switching hardware, such as Blackmagic. This option still requires computers but offloads much of the load of “switching” to dedicated hardware.
We’ll focus here on the first option since it is the simplest. Multicam streaming in this scenario would require the following equipment:
- Laptop computer (a powerful computer is best)
- Capture devices such as Blackmagic Intensity (HDMI), Magewell USB Capture (for SDI), or something similar
- Professional-grade cameras
- Microphones (if using external mics, you can use a USB mixing board to capture these audio sources and connect to your computer)
- Cables for connecting cameras to capture devices
The second option is very similar. However, you’ll usually use internal “capture cards” in this scenario rather than external devices.
Example Multicam Workflow
In order to give you a better idea of how this equipment looks in action, we’ve created an example of how a multicam workflow works.
Here’s how it could work:
- Select a central location for your primary computer running the best live stream software.
- Setup the computer and the capture devices.
- Set up cameras on tripods in the positions they will film from.
- Run cables (HDMI or SDI, if available) from these cameras to the capture devices.
- Turn everything on, and make sure your cameras are outputting live video via their settings.
- Open up your best live stream software. Select the correct input to activate the feeds from your cameras.
- Use the information provided by your streaming solution to set up your encoding software
- Test everything to make sure your cameras are outputting video and audio correctly.
With the right equipment, you can easily live stream multiple sources at once, creating the best multicam experience for your viewers.
Which multicam streaming software will you choose?
Streaming from a multi-camera format or from multiple sources can be daunting at first. However, as we’ve shown in this article, following the right steps makes the whole process a breeze.
We always recommend to test, test and test some more before you start streaming. Most importantly, we recommend a dedicated online video platform for streaming a successful multi-camera live stream.
Dacast is one such dedicated and complete solution. Dacast is compatible with all the multi-camera software options we’ve mentioned. Luckily for you, you can try Dacast’s feature-rich platform for free.
Sign up today to try professional-grade streaming free for 14-days. It’s risk free and no credit card is required.
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