The email started with “Thank you. I felt like a hero.”
That was my email to my contact at Sling Studio when I reported how my presentation about streaming at our annual professional development event, Camp T&I. The Sling Studio set up I demonstrated included the Sling Hub, two camera links, and USB extender not only confounded the attendees but intrigued them to the point that I started to get a little frustrated answering questions and breaking out the gear to show something else throughout the rest of the week.
Now the transparency part of the profile…. I completely doubted that Sling Studio would do all it was shown to do at NAB. I met with the Sling reps while I was there, saw the demonstration, and thought “that’s great but let’s see it in the real world.” I doubted it was so simple to set up and so easy to learn. Dorothy and the crew positioned Sling Studio as something like an accessory opposed to an alternative which I thought was a good concept because I wasn’t sure it would perform like they said it would. As I presented and demonstrated the set up, I could tell the participants in the session felt the same way I did before I actually worked with Sling Studio.
Rarely will you see a review that includes how awesome the packaging for the product is but the packaging for the product is solid. It didn’t feel like cardboard but more like a rigid plastic. Why is this important? If the packaging is this rock solid, the product most likely is as well.
The Sling Studio Concept is quite simple: a “hub” with wireless and one wired input that is controlled via an ipad that allows you to record a multicamera broadcast that can stream readily to facebook, YouTube, or an RTMP server.
Using the Sling Studio Console, you can set up your cameras, graphics, streaming destination and more. You can have up to 10 inputs but only 4 can be readily active. This means, you can set up for 10 inputs but in order to fire them, you will have to swap the inputs in the main four inputs. You can set up to input cameras, IOS cameras with Sling Studio Capture, videos and photos uploaded into the hub, as well as a variety of customizable graphics solutions including customizable scoreboards and lower thirds!
I have danced around it but I have to say the most impressive part of the Sling Studio is the fact that it can be completely wireless!* The Hub creates an ad hoc wireless network that can connect to an iPad with the Sling Studio Console and to iPhones or other iPads with the Sling Studio Capture device and be on the air with a multicam live stream that is recording a multitrack recording for editing without running one cable.** When I set up the system the first time after charging everything, it hit me that is was truly a wireless system.
The biggest question I have received about the Sling Studio is the wireless capabilities! How far will it work? I have tested it for distance several times with varying results. I recently tested it at a church in order to see if there would be any interference with all of the wireless signals (The church uses wireless mics, cameras, in ear monitors, and more) and surprisingly, there was no interference throughout the building. The only problem we had during the test was when we tried to see how many walls and doors it would shoot through (The answer is about 100 yards through 4 walls and 3 doors - the 4th door was steel and lead outside of the building!) We tested it outside during Camp T&I. I tried to make it as difficult as possible. We placed the hub on the ground and started walking across the parking lot. We made it about 80 yards before it started to break up… did I mention we were in a parking lot full of cars across from the airport (more interference)! My answer to the how does the wireless work is “better than you will ever need it to.”
The Sling Studio is so much more than a streaming device. The hub has a SD card slot which can be used to capture a recording from the hub including the multiview, program, and seperate camera feed at one time. The amazing part of this is that with an Adobe Premiere Pro plugin, you can import the file into Premiere which will create a sequence featuring all of the elements synced so you can edit the show in post if needed.
As I admitted earlier, I have to say that I was skeptical about Sling Studio before I got my hands on one. I am sold on its capabilities and possibilities. If you are one of those we are looking for a simple way to get a live stream, Sling Studio is your answer (HDMI cable into the Sling Studio Hub). If you are looking for a simple way to get a multiple camera recording of a studio show, Sling Studio is your answer (Sling Studio Hub and Camera Links to record to your SD card). If you are looking for a cost effective way to add wireless cameras to your show, Sling Studio is your answer (use the HDMI out into your main switcher). If you are looking to take over the world, Sling Studio may be the answer - if you find that it is, please spare me and let me know.
*This setup assumes you are using the battery with the hub
** You have to run an HDMI cable from the camera to the camera link