TwitchCon Mobile Stream Rig Lite
One pocket and a belt… if mobility is the key, why lug around a backpack? Clip the LiveU SOLO to your belt, toss the external battery in a back pocket, size the cables correctly, and stream for 5-6 hours (depending on location and modem choice).
The LiveU Solo is the brains of the mobile rig: more powerful than a cellphone and far easier to carry than a laptop. It encodes the video, links together up to 4 different internet connections via the LiveU LRT bonding service, and has an HDMI input so a “real” camera can be used and switched out based on where you are and what you’re doing (Need zoom? Stabilization? Low-profile? You choose the cam.)
The internal battery provides ~2 hours of streaming, and can be augmented with an 5.5x2.1mm 12v DC barrel connection to an external battery (below).
Sony AS300 Action Camera
The Sony AS300 is a low profile, bullet style camera with excellent image stabilization (key for handheld or shoulder/strap mount) and a good internal microphone that performs well in windy conditions. (It also has the option to use an external mic or bodypack, if you choose).
Another key feature: the AS300 can charge over USB and output full quality real-time video over the micro HDMI connector.
Already have a camera? ENSURE IT CAN CHARGE WHILE OUTPUTTING HDMI!
TalentCell USB + 12v Battery Pack
Extend the battery life of both the SOLO and the AS300 with this external battery pack. It’s not the largest capacity nor does it have the most outputs, but it easily fits in a back pocket, weighs just 500g, comes with the correct 12v cable for the SOLO, and will add 4+ extra hours to your mobile stream.
Rated (and clearly labelled on the battery body) at 82.88 watt-hours, the battery falls under the current TSA limit of 100 watt-hours for batteries on aircraft.
Low Profile Modem Options
Ugh. Bandwidth. Can’t live without it. It can be the most frustrating, and is ABSOLUTELY the most expensive, part of operating a mobile stream. There are so many options, they won’t all be covered here… but here’s the summary for this build.
The SOLO belt case comes with slots for 2 USB stick style modems. Good news, because this cuts down on your cabling and power requirements. These plug directly into the SOLO and get power from the SOLO. Get two different carriers for redundancy (ie, one AT&T and one Verizon).
In this low profile build, the SOLO also gets a third connection via WIFI. If you’re in a coffee shop, book store, or museum… you can try to use theirs… as long as it doesn’t have an annoying “Enter your email address and agree to our terms” landing page. I usually carry a third “Hotspot” style modem in another pocket… the ZTE Velocity linked below has a battery that will last all day, and can act as a flex option for phone data: my phone is on TMobile, and if I’m in a spot with no TMO service, I’ll wifi my phone to the hotspot and try ATT.
Another MLG trick, if you have Hotspot tethering on your cellphone, you can use it as an uplink for the SOLO. This lets me run 3 different networks (ATT, Verizon, and TMobile). When you really get into this, you’ll learn to swap out your modems based on location… in the city, TMO might be just fine, so tether the cell. In other spots, maybe only ATT has signal, so just run 2 ATT modems. Buy modems used or refurbished. Try out no-contract pay-as-you-go mobile data plans too, especially if you’re only mobile streaming infrequently or for special events.
DATA PLANS via UnlimitedIRL
If you can’t be bothered to Frankenstein together your own data solution, there’s a cheat code:
Get in touch with the nerds over at UnlimitedIRL (http://www.unlimitedirl.com/)
These nerds specialize in hardware and plans for mobile streamers.
If you’re going for the low profile build, make sure you tell them you’re looking for SOLO compatible USB sticks.
Use code DAS when you checkout for 10% off your first month of data plans.
I’m not going to link you to every single USB cable. You’re a big streamer, you can choose cables based on how you plan to use the build: Want to go shoulder mount? Get a cable just long enough to reach across your back. Need to be able to wave the camera around selfie-style? Get longer cables. Its a balance between not looking like Locutus of Twitch, caught on every doorknob you pass, and not ending up with a cable straight jacket.
Here’s what you need to know:
Power for the AS300 camera is USB to Micro USB.
Plug the USB end into battery, and Micro USB into Camera.
About 3 ft is perfect to reach from my right shoulder to my left back pocket, with a little slack for movement.
HDMI is Standard HDMI to Micro HDMI
Plug the standard side into the SOLO and Micro HDMI into the Sony AS300 camera
About 5-6 ft is perfect here, and I loop the extra in my back pocket with some gaff tape.
Power cable for the LiveU… is included with the TalentCell Battery above. EZPZ
I lucked out and found an HDMI and MicroUSB cable with ends that were EXACTLY the spacing between the ports on the back of the AS300, and taped them together. I have no clue where I got them… they were found adrift in a sea of 20+ years of cable acquisition.
Other Useful Bits
Action Cam Shoulder Strap
No backpack? No problem.
This wacky shoulder strap… straps… a camera… to your shoulder. Not rocket science. Works fine with the AS300. Stretchy elastic bands. It feels like it’ll hold the camera as long as you’re not doing sick 720’s on a skateboard. Or skydiving. Come find me at TwitchCon and ask me how it’s working out.
Maybe you’ll hate wearing it? Eh, it’s 9 bucks.
You might need a mounting plate for the camera… mine came with the Amazon AS300 bundle I purchased (and a stack of other mounting options, like helmet mounts).
90 Degree HDMI Adapter
I wear the SOLO on my left hip, which puts the HDMI port facing FORWARD.
You don’t really want a cable with a long lever arm acting on your plugs, so this 90 degree adapter set turns the HDMI down and take a lot of stress off the SOLO HDMI port.
I dunno if it’s the 270 degree or the 90 degree adapter you need, they’re not labeled. Set has both. Don’t overthink it.
Universal Mic Windscreen
It’s windy, we’re mobile streaming, get over it, chat. We can all go back inside and play PUBG if that’s what you want.
Stick this to the front of your mic and you’ll be able to honestly say you’ve done everything you can to handle wind noise, short of giving up or standing in the lee of a large friend.
This Cable Management Stuff
Eh, YMMV, but this stuff can be useful when you want to turn two cables into one coherent cable sheath. Makes the cables slightly less flexible, but a lot easier to manage.
Also looks “clean”, which scores style and fashion points for those of us who have graduated from the school of “Eh, it works.”
1“ Gaff Tape
The towel of field camera work. Forget the SOLO. Forget the camera and all the batteries and bells and whistles and whatever. If you show up, and don’t have at least half your components secured, wrapped, decorated, or at least 40% coated with this 1” cloth tape, they’re all gonna laugh at you. What a n00b. Didn’t bring gaff tape smh.
You can get a subscription to this stuff. Monthly automated gaff tape deliveries to your door. Truly we are living in a wondrous time.