Freitag, 19. April 2013

Live streaming with the 5D Mark III

One of the most important things when working in broadcast is sometimes the possibility to deliver live broadcasts of correspondents. In the past that was sometimes a very labouros process that included even in the digital age some very expensive software, satellite connections etc.
Especially when running around "wireless" the big TV XD cams had to be equipped with fairly big add-ons to transmit a clean and strong signal tot he transmission station.

When working with a Video DSLR we run into a lot of problems and it took me a while to find a functioning solution.

First problem is, that the 5D Mark III has only a HDMI and a USB output. Most consumer "workflows" are not suited to work with it properly. Especially my MacBook seemed to have developed a certain dislike to the HDMI signal, when using the possibility that Apple provides.

First i tried the very simple solution of piping my USB signal of the camera i can access via the Canon Utility software ( mainly used for doing on-screen focusing ) i thought if i show it on the screen and using a tool such as CamTwist to "film" my screen and sending it to i.e. Skype ( more often used as you might think for short live broadcast's on a budget ) it should work. Unfortunately the solution is too slow. In general it delivers but the delay between the sound ( which we have to record via the line-in of the MBP ) and the images where just too far apart. It might work for personal use but is just not good enough for professional results.

What i need is a one clean signal of sound and images that i can sent to Skype or any other live-streaming software ( there are many nowadays for cheap on the market ). As long as my internet connection is not dying down most broadcasters can pick up any digital stream over the internet and incorporate it into their workflow.

After doing some research i also found out that the HDMI dongle is not a solution for it is only output and we cannot reverse it ( yet ). Apple gave us earlier Firewire, but that being dead, left us with the very proprietary Thunderbolt which seems although fast enough to be very cost intensive as well.

After some more research i came across the solution by blackmagic. Renowned for their cost oriented digital cinema style cameras like the BlackMagic they also give us some more good ideas.
The blackmagic:intensitiy is exactly what is needed, it comes even in a very portable solution as the "shuttle" version and the price under 300 USD is actually also not too bad.

It serves generally as a separate streaming card which was standard for many years when you wanted to  work with HDMI or other outside direkt video sources for live transmission. For all the PC users it also comes in a USB 3.0 version.

Now, the only thing we are waiting for is that Canon finally comes out with its 5D Mark III firmware update end of this month, so we have uncompressed HDMI out put ( not that we can send it into a live stream just yet, but its better to have the option then NOT ) .

Add-On: Although i didnt experience this with the test model i got, but it seems, that it is not working well with every MacBook Pro or other Mac Computer. Dont have the ressources to test it on several different setups, but be aware, that it might have some issues. Also, dont expect HD streaming though, i only could get it work with SD, which is ok for me as a true live stream ( would blow the standard bandwidth with BGAN's anyways ).


  1. Marc ;-) I thought that I'm the only one who think in that way, but i found You. So i've made it - live full hd stream from 5d mark iii. I can tell you how, write me

  2. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)

  3. Were you able to get the mk iii to live stream (not recording) longer than 30 mins?