By Paul Moore, Technical Specialist
Rating (out of 5 stars, 5 being the best rating):
– I chose 4 because analogue audio input and controls are limited, and I wish it had the option to record in an h.264 option along with the current Pro Res recording options. Other than that, the Apollo is extremely user friendly, easy to setup, and very robust and durable.
As a Technical Specialist at Evia, I oversee all technical aspects capturing and live streaming sessions at corporate events. Part of my role is to identify new innovative equipment that can help streamline our capture and live stream processes. During my research, I found the Apollo, a product made by Convergent Design. It is a monitor, recorder, and a live switcher all in a compact, easy- to- use device that has transformed a complex part of our technical process.
Typically, for any single event ranging from 1 to more than 60 rooms we use a variety of equipment depending on what those specific rooms need. In every room, we have our standard two encoder setups with peripheral equipment. This ensures that we have a backup capture and live stream in case any unforeseen issues arise during a session. The standard equipment can be large and bulky, expensive to ship, and is limited in the ways it can capture and stream.
What prompted me to purchase the Apollo was Evia’s involvement in supporting Microsoft Tech Summit events. The Tech Summits were a series of 6 keynotes held all over the world. Evia was hired to handle live switching between multiple cameras, media players, power point presentations, and streaming for the online audience. Our video department had been looking for a solution that was easily transportable and that we could use with our Sony FS7. We also needed a solution that our technical leads could use onsite to test signal and feed type or to switch a full keynote for our online audience.
The Apollo, a mixer, a laptop, and a Teradek, turned out to be the perfect solution for this challenge. It fits in a Pelican case and can be managed by one person and set up within a few minutes. It is the only product that can capture four isolated records with live switch at the same time in such a small compact package. Another added benefit is that it’s a device we can use across departments at Evia.
The magic behind the Apollo is that there are 4 SDI inputs that will record all four individual sources plus the live switched program between all your sources. The live switch feature is particularly helpful, enabling our team to travel internationally with a small footprint, yet fully equipped to live switch, stream, and record a high-profile keynote. In the past, we would have needed multiple people and twice the equipment. Now with the Apollo and a small amount of other equipment, we can send one person to run the entire capture and live streaming portion of a keynote.
The Apollo is generally marketed to a multi-camera film set where a director of photography wants to see all the angles simultaneously and record a multi-layered QuickTime file. Our primary use for the Apollo is for recording isolated captures of multiple different feeds and live switch for our online audience. The Apollo is a great addition to our Sony FS7 setup as a backup record and monitor as well as a troubleshooting monitor onsite. Overall, I highly recommend this device as a high quality, multi-functional alternative to traditional encoder equipment.