You might have noticed an advertisement for SlingStudio floating on the corner of this web page, popping up in your Facebook feed, or maybe you have come across a review somewhere online.
If so, then you have probably been exposed to Sling Fever. It’s spreading fast.
I had the chance to meet up with the makers of SlingStudio while covering the NAB conference this past spring as SVN’s editor for News-Journalism production. What caught my attention, aside from the “beyond reasonable price,” was the ability to go wireless on a very tight budget, yet still adapt the product to a robust production like the one’s my students create at Hoover High School.
Starting at a price point of just under a thousand dollars, SlingStudio allows users to wirelessly connect any Android or iOS device through the SlingStudio Capture app. If you want to upgrade your production, they also offer a wireless CameraLink that can mount on any camera with an HDMI port. Live event switching, recording, and streaming are possible through the SlingStudio Console app.
What I find to be the most important aspect of the system is that the SlingStudio Hub generates its own private wireless network, so there’s no interference from nearby mobile devices or operating from a bogged down local network.
Rather than dish out the tech specs in this article, check out the www.myslingstudio.com website, or look into some of the dozens of review articles and Youtube videos.
Our students had a few opportunities recently to put the SlingStudio to use, and here are the results of just one recent experience.
If you are going to take a new product on a test run, you might as well go big or go home! Thats what was going through our heads when one of our students announced to us that former President Barack Obama was going to be speaking in Cleveland, Ohio.
A few days later, armed with half a dozen press passes and our new SlingStudio, we made the trek up to Cleveland with our video journalism students to cover the event. Parking our student production bus, The Mobile Storyteller next to all of the Satellite trucks from every major network was the first element of excitement for the crew. After making our way through the Secret Service security checkpoint, compete with an equipment sniff by some very large german shepherds, we made our way into the press area to get to work.
Although we were not covering this particular event as a live stream, we still found a creative way to use the SlingStudio to enhance our operation, and provide instant feedback for our news teams as they fanned out across the event site. With 4 cameras connected with CameraLinks, we were up and running in just a few minutes.
Camera 1 was nested in the press pool staging area alongside all of the major networks, many of them feeding their satellite trucks back to their studios for live coverage of President Obama speaking.
Cameras 2 and 3 were roaming the event with our broadcast journalists conducting interviews.
Camera 4, a GoPro, was perched high above the crowd using a stick-on mount attached on top of the SlingStudio Hub where it could generate the wireless best range possible for the video feeds coming to it.
As a teacher, here was the best part of the experience. From anywhere in the hall using my iPad and the Sling Studio Console app, I could monitor their feeds, record them, and provide real-time feedback of their work.
Since it was only a few weeks into the school year, it could not have been better timing for such an important teaching experience. Through our wireless headsets, I could simply whisper a few suggestions in their ears and share words of encouragement as they worked.
Reporters and producers from the networks, website bloggers, and even the secret service couldn't help but peek over my shoulder at the ipad trying to figure out where all of the feeds were coming from. Wow, how this industry keeps changing!
The next morning they loaded a few of the SlingStudio clips and they were able to cut together a quick VO-SOT for the news broadcast that included several angles plus some of the interviews from our reporters. It was a great advantage to have the recorded mix I was creating while they worked the room.
Over the next few days our broadcast team produced a few packages for the newcast, but it was the SlingStudio recording that allowed them to speed up their workflow so it would be ready the morning of the broadcast following the event..
You can see the result of their work here: Obama Speaks in Cleveland