MixBox™ uses the same road-tested server configuration as StitchBox™, and is the result of hundreds of hours of R&D, numerous prototypes, and extensive real world live 360 use.
By sharing the same underlying enclosure, architecture and components as StitchBox™, you have the all important simplicity and flexibility to adapt components easily, reduce outlay and complexity, and improve productivity via a simplified learning curve. MixBox™ and StitchBox™ are both extremely easy to use.
We’ve designed a modular system that can expand as your needs allow, or be repurposed into other uses if needed. MixBox™ is is an extremely powerful, rack mounted server computer, optimized for live 360 switching and stream encoding, with best-in-class components throughout. It has been rigorously tested under field conditions to ensure excellent performance and reliability. Finding a stable solution for live 360 streaming of video is hard. Components that are supposed to work together – don’t, and only through extensive trial and error have we found a solution that works reliably, with performance that we feel comfortable using on ‘big brand’ productions.
Why a server based design? Hardware based 4k switchers already exist for the broadcast market, but are generally expensive, and lacking in features that are useful for 360 video (e.g. sharpen, color correction, audio delay). Hardware based 4k streaming appliances also exist, but are extremely expensive (currently $50k+). Assuming you don’t wish, or are unable to spend $60k+ on a hardware based switcher and 4k streaming encoder, MixBox™ fits the bill. (It was the high cost of 4k streaming encoders that drove us originally to develop this product).
Live 360 Mixing and 4k Streaming Operation
The job of this box is to take up to three pre-stitched 4k 360 video inputs, such as the output from three StitchBox™ units, combine this with XLR audio (typically fed in from a mixer), and provide broadcast-grade live mixing features to produce professional live 360 broadcasts, complete with titles, overlays, effects, audio mixing and more. Simultaneously the same box includes easy-to-use, best-in-class software, which allows you to live stream the produced output to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter/Periscope or a Content Delivery Network (CDN).
The device is typically connected to the Internet using ethernet, and a 4k recorder can be connected to capture a high quality archive of the program output. For the ethernet connection we recommend a minimum of 20Mbps upstream bandwidth to handle 3-4k video.
3 Main Elements of Live 360 Production
In general it is preferred practice to separate the three main elements of live 360 productions into distinct hardware units. These are:
Handling video at 4k or above in general, is near the bleeding edge of hardware capabilities, and for this reason it is unfeasible (and… ill-advised) to attempt these functions in a single machine.
Separating the components is also helpful for changing needs on the fly, repurposing equipment (you can configure different set ups), simplified troubleshooting, and is generally good practice for live broadcast workflows. For one thing you can ‘tap the signal’ at any point in the chain, record it, live grade it, whatever you wish to do, using a wealth of professional broadcast equipment that is available and uses 4k SDI. This is not possible with IP based, ‘all in the computer’ or ‘all in the camera’ workflows and architectures.
With MixBox™ we have been able to combine the elements of Switching and Streaming into a single device (tested to 3-4K), to lower upfront costs for our customers. Those who wish to separate switching and streaming into different hardware can do so, using two MixBox™ devices, or a MixBox™ and an Elemental Encoder. As you build up your equipment to handle larger and larger 360 productions, this adaptability – the ability to change configurations easily, using the same hardware, and the same spare parts, will make your life easier and provide more options.
MixBox™ Live 360 Switching and Streaming Features
- Completely pre-configured for live 360 switching and streaming – your live 360 production hub
- Resolution up to 4k (6k or 8k+ possible with future upgrades)
- Takes 1, 2 or 3 pre-stitched 360 video sources at 4k SDI
- 1 x 4k SDI master output (typically for recording an archive of the production)
- Format support (Video In): All common resolutions and frame rates up to 2160p30, including 1080p60. 10 bit, 4:2:2
- Format support (Video Out): All common resolutions and frame rates up to 2160p60
- Format support (Stream Out): Any resolution – tested reliably to 4k30 (no switching), 3k30 (heavy switching). This improves over time.
- Ethernet connection for streaming to the Internet
- External Wi-Fi antenna (can substitute other antenna’s e.g. directional, as needed)
- Mix/Switch/Cut/Dissolve between three different live 360 video sources
- Add 360 graphics, titles or overlays to the live video using a best in class interface
- Live color correction, sharpen, zoom, crop any input
- Mix incoming audio (incl. USB/Firewire audio) using on-screen audio mixer
- Play out 360 video files (pre-recorded clips) in most popular formats up to 4k
- Play out audio files e.g. MP3, WAV
- Action 360 replay in slow motion (beta)
- Record directly to hard drive feature (we recommend a separate 4k recorder for best practice and reduced processor load. Ok if using a 2nd MixBox™ as a standalone streamer)
- Inputs and outputs are 4K SDI (6G-SDI), using industry standard (BNC) connectors
- 100% compatible with StitchBox™ and our Mini EYE™ 3 live 360 camera
- Generally compatible with any live stitched 360 video sources, or 2D video sources, up to 4k30, that use SDI
- Point and click interface, extremely easy to use, and user friendly
- Server-based architecture offers familiarity, upgrades and repurposing
- Best in class components throughout
- Broadcast quality professional video I/O components from Blackmagic Design (OEM partners)
- Rack-mounted in a rubber-shock mounted flight case, suitable for flying as checked luggage – weight is 52-55 lbs (i.e. generally no excess weight charges, can easily travel as checked luggage)
- Included setup assistance and technical consultation – up to 2 hours phone consultation, and 1 year email support
- Uses standard 19″ rack mount, can be re-housed into a different flight case if needed, or if this one gets damaged
- Weight minimized setup
- Plug and play ease of use, all locking connections, broadcast grade kit!
- MixBox™ 4U rack mounted professional live 360 switcher and 4k streamer
- Pre-mounted in rubber shock mounted 4U flight case
- All needed software pre-installed, fully licensed and tested
- External Wi-Fi antenna (detachable)
- Keyboard and mouse in convenient travel case
- Locking AC power lead (US/UK/EU/AU plug as option – standard kettle type lead)
Other Items to Consider
- StitchBox™ 4k professional live stitching appliance
- Mini EYE™ 3 professional live 360 video camera (Micro Studio Cameras recommended)
- 4K SDI Cable Kit
- 4K Fiber Optic Cable Kit
- A computer monitor (The device supports 4k monitors via a DisplayPort or HDMI connection)
- Estimated Shipping Timeframe: 3-4 weeks from order being finalized (each box is custom made and we consult with you before starting). A rush service is available.
- Instant online ordering is available to the following countries: United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Sweden, Republic of Ireland
- Please contact us if you are in a different country and we can discuss options for possible shipment
- Changes to specification can be accommodated
- Item weight including flight case (not including accessories): 52-55 lbs
- Dimensions: 25″ wide x 13″ tall x 23″ deep
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with questions about MixBox™. We have not yet updated our FAQ yet as it is a new product.