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Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Review for Streaming

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Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Review for Streaming

The Atem MINI gifts video creators endless possibilities. 

But the problem is, with four very similar-sounding products, it can be difficult to know which Blackmagic ATEM mini you should be after. With 4 models to consider, the golden question is are they all as good as each other? 

In this article, we take an in-depth look at each of the ATEM Mini models, compare their features, and give you the information you need to decide which one you should add to your setup. 

TL;DR

  • A video switcher lets you switch between different camera angles during a recording or live stream. 
  • There are 4 models in the Blackmagic ATEM Mini range: Atem Mini Pro, Atem Mini Pro ISO, Atem Mini Extreme, Atem Mini Extreme ISO 
  • Using a Blackmagic Switcher with Riverside is an easy & great way to incorporate dynamic angles 

What is the Blackmagic ATEM Mini?

Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Minis are compact broadcast switchers that let you create multi-camera live productions (like livestreams and presentations) from wherever you are. They’re designed to be affordable, intuitive and user-friendly, and completely self-contained. Depending on which model you have, you can switch between 4 or 8 HDMI video sources. 

There are four ATEM Mini models: 

  • ATEM Mini Pro 
  • ATEM Mini Pro ISO 
  • ATEM Mini Extreme 
  • Atem Mini Extreme ISO 

What does the ATEM Mini do?

To understand what an ATEM Mini does, you need to know what a broadcast or video switcher is. Here’s a quick explainer: 

A video or broadcast switcher is a piece of hardware that allows you to switch between different audio or video sources during a live broadcast. This gives you the ability to ‘live mix’ your broadcast by choosing which source to turn on when. 

Read more: The 7 Best Video Switchers for Video Production - Riverside

The ATEM Mini is a self-contained version of this that is affordable, accessible, and easy to use. 

Advantages and Disadvantages of the ATEM Mini

Though there are four different models, all of the ATEM Minis share some common advantages and disadvantages. Here’s why the entire range deserves your consideration and what you should look out for: 

Advantages

Easy to use 

One of the biggest selling points of the ATEM Mini is how easy they are to use. They’re designed to be intuitive and usable just by feel. So even when you’re in the thick of your livestream or recording session, you can use your ATEM memory without even looking at it. 

Affordable 

Another huge plus is the ATEM Mini’s fairly affordable price tag. If you’re on a tight budget, you may still feel that it’s a little out of your league. However, for the performance and features that the ATEM Mini offers - we’d say it’s a steal. 

Size

The ATEM Mini Pro (and Pro ISO) in particular are extremely portable and compact. This is great for creators that want a small piece of kit that won’t take up too much room in their setup or who want to stream on the go. 

Caters to everyone 

The ATEM Mini range is versatile and manages to tick a lot of boxes. Whether you’re a beginner or more of a pro, the ATEM Mini will probably do the job (and more). 

Streaming

The ATEM Mini models have a built-in hardware streaming engine that works with any streaming software so you can stream directly via ethernet to your favorite platforms. 

Recording 

Not only can you livestream, but you can also record your broadcast with your ATEM Mini model. You can record directly to a USB flash disk or by using it alongside a recording tool like Riverside. 

Picture-in-picture 

The picture-in-picture option feature lets you overlay one view over another, this is especially helpful if you want to show a screen whilst still showing yourself speaking, for example. 

Note, however, that if you’re using this function in Riverside, you may find that your overlay is cut off if you have a certain number of guests. 

Video effects & smooth transitions 

The ATEM mini not only lets you switch between different angles, but it makes sure that these transitions look smooth and professional. 

Disadvantages

Does not support 4K

Though the ATEM mini-series performs well on almost all fronts, the fact that their maximum resolution is 1080p is a letdown. This means that even if your cameras are 4k quality, your stream will only be 1080p.

Atem Mini Models

When it comes to the ATEM Mini, confusion arises because all the models sound the same. Here’s a breakdown of each model and what their USPs are. 

Atem Mini Pro

BlackMagic Designs ATEM Mini ro
Atem Mini Pro

The ATEM Mini Pro is the most ‘basic’ in the ATEM Mini range. It’s designed to be easy to use and quick to set up. 

Price: $295 

Inputs and Outputs: 

  • 4 HDMI inputs
  • USB-C output 
  • 2 3.5 mm audio inputs 
  • 1 HDMI out 
  • Ethernet port 

Key Features 

  • Multi-view so you can monitor all 4 of your HDMI inputs at once 
  • Direct recording to USB Flash Disks in .mp4 format 
  • Direct streaming via Ethernet or USB-C mobile connection to smartphone to YouTube Live and more 
  • In-built camera controls on software control panel 
  • Automatically detects mobile phone connection and switches internet connection to 4 or 5G
  • Audio mixer with EQ and dynamics 

Best for: Entry-level creators or streamers looking for an affordable but high-caliber switcher that won’t break the bank. 

Atem Mini Extreme

ATEM Mini Extreme video switcher
Atem Mini Extreme

Black Magic Design describes the Atem Mini Extreme as an ‘advanced switcher for true professionals’. Think of it like the ATEM Mini Pro, but with a little extra. 

Price: $995 

Inputs and Outputs: 

  • 8 HDMI Inputs
  • 2 separate HDMI outputs
  • 2 USB Ports 
  • Headphone connection 

Key Features 

  • Bigger console (significantly longer to accommodate more inputs) 
  • 4 chroma keyers 
  • 6 picture-in-picture DVEs
  • 2 media player 
  • Multiview with up to 16 views 
  • Automatically detects mobile phone connection and switches internet connection to 4 or 5G
  • Direct streaming via ethernet connection or share mobile internet connection through USB-C 
  • Audio mixer 
  • Record directly to USB-C drive in .mp4 format 

Best for: Professionals with a budget and big production needs who don’t need to record all their camera angles all the time. 

ATEM Mini ISO Models 

The ISO models are built on the two models we’ve just seen, adding the ability to record all inputs. This means they record all of your camera angles and shots separately. 

Read more: ISO Recording: What Is It & How to Use It? 

Atem Mini Pro ISO

Atem Mini Pro ISO
Atem Mini Pro ISO

Blackmagic design dubs this an ‘affordable live switcher’. Like the Atem Mini Pro, it’s notable for its compact size. The difference is that you can record up to 5 streams including all input as clean feeds for editing.

Price: $495 

Inputs: 

  • 4 HDMI inputs
  • USB-C output 
  • 2 3.5 mm audio inputs 
  • 1 HDMI out 
  • Ethernet port 

Key Features:  

  • Record to USB disks
  • Built-in hardware streaming engine for YouTube Live, Facebook, Twitch, and more
  • Automatically detects mobile phone connection and switches internet connection to 4 or 5G
  • Automatically saves as a DaVinci Resolve project file 

Best for: Creators with a smaller-set up who want granular control over their edits in post-production. 

Atem Mini Extreme ISO

Atem Mini Extreme ISO video switcheI
Atem Mini Extreme ISO

The Atem Mini Extreme ISO is exactly like the ATEM Mini Extreme plus the ability to record 9 separate video streams in real-time. This means it records all of your 8 clean feed inputs plus the program video. 

Price: $1,295 

Inputs:

  • 8 HDMI inputs 
  • 2 stereo mini jacks inputs 
  • 1 stereo mini-jack output 
  • 2 HDMI outputs 

Key Features: 

  • Record directly to USB C
  • Audio mixer 
  • Record all 8 of your HDMI ISo inputs as MP4 files up to 70Mb/S 
  • Record 10 x 2 channel audio inputs as separate .wav files 
  • Monitor up to 16 views at once 
  • Automatically detects mobile phone connection and switches internet connection to 4 or 5G
  • Saves automatically as a DaVinci Resolve project file 
  • Direct live streaming via ethernet or shared mobile internet connection over USB-C

Best for: The ATEM Mini Extreme ISO is the top of the range and is the product if budget isn’t your concern and you’re looking for professional-grade equipment. 

Which ATEM Mini is right for you?

Choosing an ATEM Mini model isn’t easy. And though they seem fairly similar, as we’ve seen, each model has its own set of particular features. By inspecting these closely you’ll definitely be able to narrow down which one is the best for you. 

To summarise: 

The ATEM Mini Pro & Pro ISO are best for creators on a budget without big-scale production requirements. 

The ATEM Mini Extreme & Extreme ISO are geared towards industry pros who use a lot of camera angles and aren’t so worried about budget. 

How to use an ATEM Mini with Riverside

Once you’ve got your hands on an ATEM Mini, you need to know how to get the most out of it. Here’s a brief explainer, or how to use your new ATEM Mini switcher with Riverside. 

Why do I need a video switcher? 

You might be wondering if it’s unnecessary to add a video switcher to your setup. Here are a few reasons creators choose to use one when recording:

  1. You’ve invited live (in-studio) guests that you want to switch between 
  2. You want to create a dynamic and interesting livestream that includes a number of different angles and shots 

Using a video switcher inside Riverside

Step 1: Connect your ATEM Mini to your computer 

When you connect any Blackmagic ATEM Mini switcher to Riverside, it’ll be auomatically recognized as a webcam. You can check your equipment has been properly picked up by Riverside in the Lobby before you enter your recording studio. 

This instantly gives you the ability to switch between your 4 - 8 camera angles (depending on which ATEM mini model you buy). 

Step 2: Switch between your cameras as you please 

Nothing really changes within your browser-based Riverside recording studio. Simply start your livestream or recording and use your ATEM Mini to swap between angles and cameras when appropriate. 

Remember, though, even though you’re using a video switcher with multiple angles, Riverside will only record the live camera shot. In other words, it will only record the one angle you’ve chosen at a given moment not all of them simultaneously. 

Watch the video below to learn more:

ATEM Mini FAQs

Is the ATEM Mini an encoder?

The ATEM Mini Pro has an integrated streaming encoder that allows you to stream directly to your favorite platforms. 

Can you use ATEM Mini without a computer?

Yes, you can use the ATEM Mini without a computer to livestream. 

Can OBS control ATEM Mini?

You can use the ATEM Mini as your switcher whilst running your broadcast from OBS. 

What is the ATEM Mini Pro used for?

The ATEM Mini Pro is a compact and affordable video switcher that helps you to produce a high-quality stream and video recording. 

Can the ATEM Mini Pro handle 4K?

Currently, the ATEM Mini Pro can only handle HD, not 4K. 

What's the difference between the ATEM Mini and the ATEM Mini Pro?

ATEM Mini refers to the range of products under the ATEM Mini category. The ATEM Mini Pro is one of the four models available. 

Can you stream directly from ATEM Mini Pro?

Yes, since the ATEM Mini Pro 

Does ATEM mini Extreme have Multiview?

Yes, it has a multiview that lets you monitor up to 16 views simultaneously.

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