A Desktop Multi-Cam Setup for Virtual Live Events

Before COVID-19, running my own livestreams was something that I did once in a while.  Typically, I have an A/V Team and camera crew on-site.  As you can imagine, the pandemic changed that.  All of a sudden, I was going live at least once per day, without any crew on-site.  Hence, the upgrade to Command Center 2.0

This Command Center was a huge step up from Command Center 1.0 (livestreaming with iPhones) in my home office.  It introduced high-end cameras, multiple computers, and a whole new host of buttons and controls to navigate.  Oh, and did I mention 6-7 screens?

This setup may be overkill for you, but for me, it made MULTI-ZOOM Events possible. MUTI-ZOOM events allow you to connect multiple ZOOM meetings together.  This means that you can host over 1,000 attendees, facilitate breakout rooms, and virtually bring people “onstage”.  Additionally, it helps separate speakers and sponsors, so that you can better manage them within your event.

A Tour of Command Center 2.0

Here’s a tour through my Virtual Command Center (above).  I’ve also included gear that’s not in the shot but used regularly for our virtual live events.

VIDEO

LG Widescreen Monitor
Looks like a high-end gaming monitor but it’s super affordable.  Yay!  I usually open two side-by-side windows or full screen of whatever is spotlighted in ZOOM. 

Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Switcher
Push-button camera control.
Switch between 4 HDMI sources (cameras, computers, etc).  Converts cameras to. Webcam (replaces capture card).  Loads of pre/programmed effects, audio mixer, and ATEM software for customization.

4K Video Cameras
This bad boy films in 4K but keep in mind that you’ll be broadcasting in 1080p (if you’re lucky) or 720p (more likely).

StreamDeck
Programmable buttons that can control a number of software and hardware. Plus macros!  Press a button and it does a sequence of things – like magic (without the rabbits).

Elgato CamLink 4K
Plug your HDMI camera into a computer.  It will see it as a webcam.  Just bigger than a USB drive.  
*Capture devices may be inflated, due to COVID-19.  At the time of posting, this is regular retail price.

Motorized Smartphone Camera Slider
You know those moving cinematic camera shots that make you drool?  Ok, maybe that’s just me.  Anyway, this thing slides your phone in slow-mo.

Smartphone ND Filter
Ever have your face look super bright and washed-out on camera?  This fixes that by adjusting how much light enters the lens.  For a guy pasty guy with red hair, it’s a lifesaver.

EpocCam – Wireless Webcam App
Turn your phone into a webcam. I use this onstage and in the studio.  It’s awesome!  They have a free and pro version.  There’s even a multi-cam version?  If you know what Syphon means, go for it. If not, stick with pro.

AUDIO

Wireless Lavalier/Lapel Microphone
Don’t let size fool you.  These lil’ things are killing it in the audio world and simple to use.  I’d suggest adding a lav mic to the pack.  The director in me finds it tacky to just have the pack clipped on the front of your shirt.

Basic 2-Channel Audio Interface
Plug a professional microphones into your computer via USB.

Microphone – Well, SHURE
You could buy this mic but it may not be right for you.  This one was custom picked by my audio engineer.  It took us months to find the right one for my loud, booming voice.  Take time finding the right mic for you.  If you’re a lil’ boisterous or work on a space with room noise, give this dynamic mic a try.

COMPUTER & ACCESSORIES

MacBook Pros
These two computers do the heavy lifting during live events, such as processing and editing video assets and streaming.

Mac Mini
The slim profile hides on my desk and serves as my programming computer, which runs lighter tasks in the background during live events.  

iPad 7th Gen
Used to control apps and as the “walking Command Center” as techs move through our space.

Wireless Bluetooth Keyboards
OMG!  I love these!  Connect up to three devices via Bluetooth.  Keys are backlit so you can see them in a dark venue.  These can be hard to come by.  Still the best and aesthetically match a MAC.

Apple Trackpad
I love the additional features of this, as opposed to the traditional mouse.

HDMI Cable
You’ll need plenty of these to connect computers, screens, camera and smart phones.  Remember, wired is more stable than wireless.

HyperDrive USB-C Hub
This hub connects multiple devices to your MacBook Pro and it matches perfectly!

SUPPORT

Adjustable Laptop Stand
Simply the best.  I’m 6’1” and this thing goes extra high and adjusts multiple ways.  Perfect for getting your laptop webcam eye-level or above. It can also be used to stack laptops.  Place on the stand and another below.  

Motorized Adjustable Desk (Sit,Stand)
I’ve had two of these and they both worked flawlessly.  They’re cheaper than most but just as sturdy.  This is the business edition.  I built the desktop so you won’t find it online.  Use this PROMO CODE to save at checkout.

Cheap Tripod
I wouldn’t put an expensive camera on this but it’s a great basic tripod for smart phones.

Smartphone Tripod Adaptor
This one is heavy duty and easily adjustable.

FABRIC GOODS

Chair Back Green Screen
Replace your background.  Very popular for close up shots.

10 x 12 Green Screen
Allows you to replace your background for wider shots.

Backdrop Curtains
These amazing backdrops are used by touring entertainers because they setup and tear down in 30-seconds and fit in a “golf bag”.  Ours were custom-made.  You can find more economical backdrops but we use these since we have them.

LIGHTING

LED Flat-Panel Film Lights
These aren’t super bright but you can control brightness and color temperature.  Mount on a stand or on your camera.

LED Light Bars
Add a splash of color to your virtual venue.

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