Are you looking for a better way to record remote video interviews?
In this era of social distancing, many journalists are being forced to conduct video interviews remotely. This usually happens in one of two ways:
- Reporter points a camera and microphone at their own smartphone to record a FaceTime or Skype call.
- TV station uses Skype software to record video interview.
Both of those methods have drawbacks:
- Can see reporter in the corner of the screen
- Less than ideal audio and video quality
- Both journalist and interviewee have to have a Skype account (and Skype app if using a smartphone)
There is a better option. It’s called vMix Call, a video communication solution offered by vMix.
vMix Call uses existing, proven communication technology to provide low latency, high quality video communications between multiple parties. You can see a recent example of vMix Call in action in this video produced by Alabama NewsCenter:
In the video, multimedia communication specialist Joe Allen interviews Alabama music legend Ruben Studdard about the adjustments he has made during the COVID-19 social distancing requirements. Both Joe and Ruben were connected to my vMix software through their smartphones. I simply provided each of them a unique link for them to use when it was time to connect and recorded their conversation. No app and no account was needed.
If you want to see another good example of vMix Call, watch Tom Sinclair of Eastern Shore Broadcasting in Fairhope, Alabama, interview four guests simultaneously in a recent episode of his Streaming Idiots show. Of the four guests, three were overseas. The latency (delay) was impressively low despite the distance.
Advantages of vMix Call
Some advantages of using vMix and vMix Call for journalists to conduct interviews.
- Low latency
- HD quality
- No account or app required for interviewees
- Can record interviewees without journalist’s camera on screen
- Can host up to eight vMix Callers simultaneously
- Automatic mix-minus for every vMix Caller
That last point is critical because the system automatically makes sure each vMix Call connection does not hear his or her microphone in return.
To use vMix Call, you need:
- Windows computer
- vMix license (HD or greater)
- quality internet connection
There are lots of computer options out there, but a laptop capable of handling HD video (such as a gaming laptop) should have the necessary hardware to handle it. You can see a recommended spec list here.
As for the license, the $350 vMix HD license includes one vMix Call seat. So, if your laptop has a webcam or external camera, then you could use that for yourself and the vMix Call connection for your remote interviews. If you need to interview more than one guest simultaneously, then you should look at the 4K license or the Pro license.
In terms of an internet connection, a stable connection with upload and download speeds of at least 10 Mpbs both directions should give you the speed you need to send and receive HD video. The people you interview will also need a similar connection.
Other tips I share with people when inviting them to a vMix Call connection:
- If using a mobile device, turn it sideways (landscape.)
- If using an iOS device, such as an iPhone or iPad, use the Safari browser.
- If using an Android device or computer with a webcam, use Google Chrome or Firefox.
- If indoors, please avoid windows, doors or any other bright backgrounds behind you.
- Earbuds (wireless or wired) are acceptable if you choose to you them.
As far as recording options, vMix allows you the option to record the output screen (default) or a specific input. So, for example, if you want to only record the vMix Caller, you simply select that input in the record settings.
Great for TV stations
vMix Call is great for use inside TV stations, too. vMix can be installed on a PC with HD-SDI I/O graphics cards, allowing the software to push and pull HD video into and out of existing production systems. Some use cases include:
- Low-latency connections with reporters and/or on-air talent
- Live interviews during a newscast
- Low-latency confidence monitors for support staff in the field
And remember: audio is automatically mix-minus. Plus, you can control what the people on the other end of vMix Call see and hear. You can see a list of compatible video capture hardware here.
Live Streaming, Too
vMix is also a great live streaming software (you can read my thoughts about it here.) So, if you want to live stream these interviews to Facebook, YouTube, Periscope, etc., you can do easily do that with vMix.
The bottom line? vMix Call is a fantastic solution for any journalist wanting to professionally and easily conduct and record remote video interviews.