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10 October 2021

Livestream • Unboxing the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini

by Steven B. Combs, Ph.D.

I recently purchased the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini after seeing the device featured on many YouTube channels. The device promises to make camera management during livestreams easier and hold the potential to reduce edits on recorded video. In the past few weeks, I’ve hosted several livestreams and I am enjoying the impromptu conversations, interactions with followers, and the exclusion of the editing process. I enjoy editing and it is appropriate for much of the content I create; however, if this device can cut editing and make livestreams easier to manage, it will be worth the $300 price tag.

Instead of sitting at my desk by myself trying to set up the ATEM Mini, I fired up YouTube and shared my experience with anyone who wanted to join me. Eight folks joined through the hour long livestream but three hung out for the entire journey. I’ll list them below, but let me offer my sincere thanks to each of them. It was more fun unboxing the ATEM Mini with “friends!”

Watch the livestream below and then return to the blog post for additional thoughts on the device and the livestream.

YouTube Video: ‌Unboxing and Installing the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini

In the video below, I unbox and install the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini

Video Errata

None that aren’t corrected in the video, EVENTUALLY!

Below are the links I mention in the video. All Amazon links are affiliate links. Thanks for supporting the blog and the YouTube channel!

  1. Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini
  2. Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro
  3. Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro ISO
  4. MEGA65
  5. MEGA65 Discord

Livestream Thoughts

The folks below joined for most of the livestream. It was an honor to have each one of them join the conversation:

  1. Mark Dell - Owns an ATEM Mini and saved my bacon a few times during the livestream. Huge thanks for the Super Chat!
  2. Mislav Krleža - My “#1 Fan” and that’s not self appointed, that a title I’ve given him and It is always a blast to have you join the livestreams and another huge thanks for the Super Chat.
  3. Oliver Graf - This is Oliver’s second retroCombs livestream. Be careful Oliver. One more and you might get hooked!

There were five additional lurkers throughout the video. If you are reading this, drop in again and say, “hello,” during the next livestream. We’d love to get to know you.

ATEM Mini Thoughts

  1. I normally livestream from my desk. The goal with the ATEM Mini is to use it at another location where I have two large white IKEA desks. There’s more room and a cool brick wall in the background that will give me that cool YouTube look. Stay tuned for the new location.
  2. In retrospect, I should have spent an extra $100 on the Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro. With this device, I could livestream without a computer and get additional information on the love monitor. I could send back the ATEM Mini; however, I could see myself with two of these, the ATEM mini on my desk for Zoom meetings and the Pro for livestreams and recording.
  3. The Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro ISO is more functional and records each video source individually on a USB hard drive. This is the version on my wish list and I’ve started a new BuyMeACoffee goal. When I reach $1000, I’m adding the ISO to my studio. If you want to help, visit the page. During this video I made the commitment to add Super Chats/Stickers/Thanks donations to this goal.
  4. Using the ATEM Mini without software is simple and after a few presses of the buttons you can figure out the features; or if like me, you have someone like Mark in the chat room coaching you.
  5. The ATEM Mini software has a steep learning curve. I was surprised it wasn’t immediately apparent how to do things; however, I should have guessed. Blackmagic Design is a professional video manufacturer that uses professional terminology. You must learn this terminology to understand their products. As a user of DaVinci Resolve, I should know this. After research, it appears I need to become familiar with macros if I want to use the advanced features.
  6. I need to update the firmware. This is a manual process within the ATEM software. There is no notification (that I’ve seen). The upgrade will add new features and correct bugs. Blackmagic has an excellent reputation for correcting and adding features to their software and hardware and this will require me to check for firmware updates.
  7. A note to everyone who claims the Canon M50 is great for livestreams. I disagree! I plugged this camera into the ATEM Mini after the livestream to test. The camera has an issue. It shuts the camera display off after 30 minutes, which also shuts off the HDMI display. You cannot turn this “feature” off. A hack is to plug the USB into a computer with the Canon software. This is not a convenient option. I’m on the search now for a couple of inexpensive HDMI cameras to use with the ATEM Mini.
  8. My new IPEVO VZ-R document camera is perfect for the ATEM Mini since it includes both a USB-C connection and a high resolution HDMI port. Check out my post for all the reasons. This is a great camera for livestreams where you need to show your desk or documents.

That’s all for this post; however, if I find other ATEM Mini nuggets in the next few days, I’ll update this post.

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