Hey guys! I apologize in advance for the wall of text that I’m basically going to ask.
I’ll try to give some background for what we’re doing - I’m the assistant technical director for our upcoming production of She Kills Monsters in January. We were already planning on doing live streaming at some point for our productions this year. Our school would like us to keep things safe and isolated as we are still in between virtual and hybrid depending on the week. As such, we are doing a “virtually adapted” production of the script (but are planning on buying cameras and whatnot so we can transition later in the year).
Our director has hired an animator to create scenes for some of the “narrated voice overs” and setting animations to help set the scene for the show. The voice over would be live by an actor on screen, separate from the video. (There are regularly characters in their own boxes on the screen that appear in one scene and not in the next, and the video panels on the “screen” account for that). I am certain latency will absolutely kill this if we tried to do it over Zoom or another video conferencing program - it would just be awful. So, I am thinking we will build small sound stages for our actors - where they would be in a “room” where the backdrop is a painted drop, and each sound stage will just be like 10-15ft apart. There would be 5 or 6 of them and then our actors could remain unasked and talk into microphones to maintain audio quality. If we use the cameras we will later use for live streaming as their “webcams,” I think this setup will work perfectly and give us far more control over what is streamed, latency, audio and video issues, lighting, costuming, etc.
My problems start there - although I have a decent amount of knowledge regarding networking, hardware, etc. I know very little about actual camera/AV/live streaming equipment. My current plan is to buy 5 or 6 cameras - because of our budget they would only be giving us HDMI, no SDI, but that’s not really an issue imo because I don’t think we’ll ever be trying to stream more than 1080p60 (and more than likely 720p60). We would mix in audio from our audio mixer. Actually connecting everything is where I get a little lost. It was recommended to me that I build two computers. One would have a semi-decent GPU, CPU, etc (PCIe lanes are important) and would have multiple HDMI capture cards to capture all our video feeds individually. Then I would also have some sort of XLR capture card to get the audio from our mixing board to the PC and link them to different video feeds and try to match the delays (I’m not sure if the cameras at different places in the room would affect latency for each actor so we’d need to sync each audio feed separately?) I’m just guessing about all of these parts, I’m not sure, that’s where I need guidance.
Is there some sort of external video “switch” I can use to pass all the video feeds into a PC and keep them separate so I can still use them all individually? I can’t use a hardware switcher since it only gives a main program out, and I need to be able to adjust which cameras (or already recorded video files for animation playback) are in each scene. Maybe I do just need to buy a lot of PCIe capture cards? Can I take that all into a program like vMix and write cues/scenes where different cameras are placed in different locations on screen? And then whatever final program feed I want to output once sound is added would be ported over HDMI out to HDMI in? Into another PC that would actually be streaming the show (so perhaps could output program feed as NDI into the streaming PC) in order to distribute the mixing and streaming workloads.
I’d like to think I’m at least guessing in the right direction… Please help if you can. I’m very new to this world and just trying to figure out how to put our production together. Thanks!