Major props to the crew at Penn State for all of their hard work to bring the One Button Studio to life!
I've been working on an Ode to OBS, if you will. Deep in the bowels of the DVEstore, in a small conference room, I've been gnawing away at this project for nearly a year. I started out with this list of parts and built a Penn State One Button Studio from the ground up. https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1_1cd4dtpxq...
Once I had it all together, I tried it and tested it. It didn't take long to discover some places where improvements could be made. My goal was to make this system as reliable and foolproof as possible.
The first issue I discovered was that the Behringer Xenyx 502 mixer does not put out enough phantom voltage to power the Rode NTG2. This means you need to run the mic on battery power. That's a failure point that can be avoided! The answer? Upgrade to the Xenyx 1002B. More on this mixer later.
I couldn't help but notice that the Powermate USB button would fail to emulate the 'space' key roughly half the time. One simple job! 50% is not going to cut it. I don't think the problem is in the button itself, but in the very outdated Powermate software. An Orby switch paired with an X-keys USB interface gives me 100% performance. Totally worth the price bump, and easy to program with the up-to-date ControllerMate software.
I ordered the custom OBS cabinet from Rountree Furniture, and frankly, it's gorgeous! High quality stuff, to be sure. However, it took six weeks to deliver and cost $1,245 all told. The biggest downside of all was the lack of standard 19" rack rails. I didn't realize how much I would miss them, until they weren't there! A Chief F1 furniture rack fits the bill quite nicely and allows me to rackmount EVERYTHING! There is something so comforting about having all your components lined up and screwed down.
Speaking of screwed down; I wanted my monitor to be mounted. Another offering from Chief allows me to mount one or two monitors above the cabinet. Rock-solid, yet adjustable. Nice.
The camera: While a Canon camcorder has a whole lot going for it, in this application, the fragile HDMI connection could be a liability. I opted for something a bit more industrial, with an SDI BNC connection; namely the PTZOptics 20X Zcam.
This choice opened up an opportunity to eliminate any unbalanced audio connections, which I embraced! Instead of running a wimpy cable from the mixer to the 3.5mm mic jack on the camera, I ran two 1/4" phono patch cables from the mixer to an audio to SDI embedder. Mmmm. That's what I'm talking about!
Another audio improvement involved simply adding a gooseneck extension to the microphone ceiling mount. This gets the mic closer to the subject, which is a very good thing.
The subject also gets visual feedback from the LED VU meters on the audio mixer, because it's rack mounted just behind the smoked glass front. I have to say, it's a really nice touch.
When it came to pushing the 'buy' button for the Mac Mini, I debated internally. Ultimately, I couldn't bring myself to use a computer with a 5400 RPM spinning drive. Talk about going back in time. I can't believe this is even an option! I ponied up the $200 extra for the solid state drive. Way worth it for way better performance.
This brings me to my final One Button Studio upgrade. Typically if you buy the Reflecmedia chroma key solution, you end up with the LiteRing controller on top of the OBS cabinet. You've essentially turned your One Button Studio into a Three Button, One Toggle Switch Studio.
I have tucked the controller away on a rack shelf, where it can be tuned by a tech, then left undisturbed. The LiteRing is then turned on and off with a simple green button. I've simplified what should be kept simple.
I've learned a lot through this process, and have come out the other side with what I believe to be an excellent One Button Studio Kit, that is now up for sale on the DVEstore website! So if a One-Click Purchase, One Button Studio sounds good to you, then click away my friend.
There are currently two versions of the One Button Studio available, with a third to follow shortly.
One Button Studio–$6,200
- This is the core studio with the one-button recording that we know and love
- Everything you need; pre-configured and 90% assembled
- Lifetime Tech Support
One Button Studio w/Chroma Key–$8,200
This adds the Reflecmedia chroma key system and a second button for powering the green background on and off
One Button Studio Plus–Coming Soon!
Includes chroma key and adds the following features, while remaining simple to use:
- Presentation integration w/options for picture-in-picture or full screen
- School logo watermark
- Realtime compositing (no post production required)!
I'm very excited about the One Button Studio Plus! It allows you to walk away with a complete video–––the presentation beautifully composited behind you on the background.
Feel free to comment here or reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with questions!
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