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This ATEM (mini) Tips” series of short video tutorials for your Blackmagic ATEM hardware includes tips for all users, from beginner to advanced. Scroll down to see more in the series!

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How to add 3 HDMI Ports to your ATEM Mini, Mini Pro or Pro ISO!

Photo Moment - February 18, 2021

The ATEM Mini Extreme is here — but you don't want to spend $1,000 to buy one! If you already have any ATEM Mini, I'll show you how to add three more inputs for just $100 each — and how to control them all together!

Products Mentioned

The Story…

The ATEM Mini is an incredible switcher, and with four HDMI inputs, it's a serious bargain way to get FOUR cameras or other HDMI sources into your computer to act as a webcam, whether you're on a Zoom call, hosting a webinar, gaming, or just chatting with friends. But sometimes you want more!!

People have asked me dozens of times if you can simply plug one ATEM into another, to give it more ports. The simple answer is YES, you can! However there's a significant issue with switching when you do it this way. First of all, know that you'll be getting SEVEN HDMI inputs, not eight. But 4+4=8, right? In this case… no! Because you have to plug the output of one ATEM into the input on another, which means that you are losing one of those inputs for a camera. You end up with three camera-available inputs on one device, and four on the other.

OK, that's fine, so you have seven inputs! But the real problem is CONTROL. Inputs ONE, TWO and THREE are all normal. But now to switch to camera FOUR, you have to switch the first ATEM (in my case, an ATEM Mini Pro ISO) to input FOUR, and simultaneously switch the second ATEM (in my case, a $295 ATEM Mini) to input ONE. That gives you “camera 4”. Then, “camera 5” is inputs FOUR plus TWO, and “camera 6” is inputs FOUR plus THREE, and finally “camera 7” is inputs FOUR plus FOUR. As you switch around, to go from camera 2 to camera 4 to camera 1 to camera 6 can require tapping the input buttons on both ATEM Minis simultaneously — and that's a terrible idea! It puts you at a huge risk of getting the switching out of sync, or even worse, switching to the wrong camera angle.

This is where the open source, FREE software, “Bitfocus Companion” saves the day. With some very simple setup, you can make a single button switch multiple inputs on both ATEM devices at once, giving you a one-touch button to change to any camera angle! Finally, if you want to move the switching interface off of your computer, you can run Companion from a tablet like an iPad, or even an iPhone or Android device, or if you want to spent a little money and go with a hardware interface, the El Gato Stream Deck and Stream Deck XL make fantastic physical interfaces with LED buttons that you can push! It's even possible to provide RED feedback on the buttons so you know which camera angle you have loaded. Wow!! Learn all this and more in this detailed video tutorial.

Chapters

00:00 - Introductions
00:23 - Do you need the ATEM Mini Extreme?
00:55 - How to add three more ATEM HDMI inputs!
01:17 - It’s more than just the hardware…
02:08 - Why you can’t do this with ATEM macros
02:32 - Introducing Bitfocus Companion
02:58 - Downloading Companion
03:32 - Adding the ATEM hardware to Companion
03:56 - Find your ATEM’s IP address
05:11 - Set up the first button
05:48 - Renaming your ATEM buttons
07:07 - Testing button 1
07:25 - Making buttons 2 and 3
07:52 - Making buttons 4 through 7 (controlling dual ATEMs!)
09:06 - Testing buttons 2 through 7
09:40 - Accessing the Companion buttons on a web or mobile interface
10:26 - Adding ATEM status lights to Companion

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    Comments from YouTube

    Did you enjoy, or learn anything? Please consider subscribing!! Just click here… https://youtube.com/c/photojoseph?sub_confirmation=1
    @Jason Jolliffe thanks Jason!
    @Politi Kilter I would politely request that you re-watch the video :-)
    Thanks for the detailed info on setting up Companion. I have the same ATEMs and you just simplified my switching for an upcoming gig.
    @PhotoJoseph will do! LOL
    @SailMyWay nice!!
    Well my brother from another mother you just made my day. thank you very much. God Bless. NLG Griff Audio
    haha that's awesome, Nigel! The funny thing is that Blackmagic released the ATEM Extreme line the same day I released this video. Oh well!!
    @PhotoJoseph Wow you keep up the great work, I watch your channel often, Stay safe
    Thanks that's a great tip Joseph. I thought you were about to suggest plugging in an HDMI switcher to one of the inputs. This would also allow 7 inputs total (for a 4 port switcher), but it's nowhere near as elegant as this one. The only caveat is that you need to have the hardware of course. I'm not even sure if using an HDMI switcher on one of the Atem inputs would work, as perhaps it would fool the Atem into thinking the line had gone dead, when it switches. Anyone tried this? That being the case, although it's a far cheaper option, you'd always want all the inputs to the HDMI switcher to be from sources that you'd never want to switch between live. So this could be alternative views from the same location, or perhaps inputs from different video feeds (e.g. a phone containing program title slides, and a tablet with some video clips)
    It would work; the line doesn’t go “dead”. But you can’t gang actions together with Companion that way.
    How does this work with a monitor for preview?
    It really doesn’t once you move to the second ATEM. At the point… get an Extreme (which was launched the day after I released this video! 😂😂)
    Very nice and easy expansion fix.
    👍🏻
    Instead of connecting two ATEM Minis in series to a computer, I want to connect two ATEM Minis in parallel to the same computer through two separate USB ports. My computer only has 1 USB Type C port and 3 USB 3 Type A ports. In this scenario, can I use any combination of USB Type C and USB 3 Type A ports to plugin the ATEM Minis into my computer?

    I may need the ATEM Control Software to control the audio. Will the ATEM Control Software freak out at the presence of two ATEM Minis being plugged into the same PC? If this scenario can work, will the OBS Software recognize the two ATEM Minis as separate video inputs and have reasonable video quality for streaming?
    Very informative! Just wondering, wii it work on atem mini extreme + the old atem mini? Just to have additional 3 more hdmi?? Thx in advance
    You are the goat!
    Haha thank you!
    Can I use a scenario when two ATEM Minis controlled simultaneously to have two different HDMI outputs? They would have same inputs, each through a HDMI splitter.
    Sure, that’d work
    Can still get iso record from my mini using this trick ?
    Thanks for the very pro explanation on this, all straight to the point and no BS, I like everything on my hardware so I sold one and bought the other, but I learn a lot on this, VERY NICE!!
    Awesome, thanks!
    Thanks for saving me a grand, was looking at getting rid of them for the extreme. But after this I am making it work. Great work!
    Thank you Joseph, before I didn't really know what companion was really for and how powerful it is. As I saw that you can bring back a status to a mobile device it raises a question for me. Is it possible to send send the status of something to multiple mobile phones in an "read only" mode? I mean can I build a tally system with it and send the information which cam is in preview and which on program to another smart phone? I have a few old Android phones and could mount one on each camera, would that work?
    Hey Joseph, my HDMI out put and two inputs and enthernet are not working, is there a way we can fix this using the software?
    Sounds like a hardware problem. Email blackmagic support!
    ISO is NOT ISO! Please help us as a community. The ISO recordings are only Video ISOs!! The audio is totally corrupted, as all ISO recordings have Program mixed audio tracks. What you have to do is go into the Audio ISO folder to find the, let's say CAM 3 audio. The problem is is that there is no easy way to re-sync the ISO audio with the ISO video clip because as the audio track on the ISO video recording does not have the same waveform to referent to, because it is corrupted as a program audio mix. What's up with that? and can you tell us all how to fix this terrible oversight by Black Magic?
    I have not seen this problem. Please make sure both the ATEM and Resolve are up to date, and report back.
    @PhotoJoseph I did just get off the phone with BM support and what I said is true. The ISO video files do not have discreet audio. They all have mixed program audio where as the "Audio Source Files" folder does have discreet audio tracks for each input. Where I was wrong was my panic of syncing them. They are of course perfectly trimmed to the timeline length so re-syncing them was not the issue that I thought it was. That said, unless I am missing something it does seem like an unnecessary step as posed to just having each ISO video file have it's own discreet audio. Anyway, I wanted to circle back and clarify since you took the time to reply. I also neglected to thank you for your countless hours of amazing content. Your videos have helped make me a better professional. If you ever find yourself in the upstate Albany NY area, let me know, I'll buy you a lunch!!! Until then...
    aha, I get what you're saying now… and I agree with you, that seems like an unnecessary step. And, thank you for the offer!
    😂😎🥳🤠
    Haha thanks
    Nice video. Thanks .
    How about latency ? Going thru 2 boxes will add latency to your signal .
    Negligible and not noticeable. The latency is coming from the camera not the switcher.
    Hi Joseph, I am new on your channel. Greetings from Poland ;-) . Very useful tips, appreciate that! Thanks! Just setting up my home studio and a bit struggling with proper Frame. 
    I have a question
    What lens (in full frame measurements) you have used for that video?
    Welcome, Artur! I'm pretty sure this lens was shot on a 24-105 zoom, so I really couldn't ell you the exact focal length. Probably somewhere between 50 and 80mm though.
    This is a great video
    Thank you sir!
    Great explanation! Thank you!
    Glad it was helpful!
    Love it!

    I might be incorrect but wouldn’t you want to switch the order of the MINI and ISO companion commands so that in the case of packet loss you don’t accidentally select whatever was last sent to 4-7? Also is there a visible couple of frames during the pre-switch between actions in the current layout you exemplified?
    I set the order the way I’d do it manually. You could add a slight delay in between commands (I’d add a full frame delay, so if 30fps then 1/30s or 33+ ms delay) to be safe, and I almost did that in the demo, but in testing I never saw a glitch so left it out.
    @PhotoJoseph got it! Thanks for the explanation!
    Can you connect to five together to make a 16 output switcher?
    Yes you could
    Biggest issue with this is the cameras on the sub-switcher will be out of sync with the other 3 because you're going through two scalers/switchers. I did this years ago with two original Television Studio models and it just isn't practical. You also can't do dissolves, you'd need some logic between the buttons and Minis to make that work, and even then it's not ideal. There's no proper multi view as well, so again, usability drops. If you need more inputs, just get a bigger switcher, you won't regret it.
    There’s no appreciable additional delay when stacking switchers. Someone pointed out that the input from the second AREM should be on input 1 as it has a “direct” mode for low latency productions but I’ve never detected a difference between the modes. Anyway the HDMI delay hit is taken in the camera. There really should be no noticeable delay. The old TV Studio model is very old and quite different tech.
    @PhotoJoseph There is more delay on the camera outputs, yes, but the switchers introduce at least a frame or 2 as well. If anything it'll be worse with the Minis than the older models since they have full scalers and not just frame syncs. Anyway, if you don't see the sync issues then you don't see them, but they are there. Do a clap test with two identical monitors, one on the first ATEM and one on the second, you'll see it.
    @Multi Camzilla fair enough. I assume you’ve done this test on two ATEM Mini models? Anyway this video isn’t suggesting this is better than buying a bigger switcher. It’s offering a solution to more cheaply get more inputs.
    @PhotoJoseph And all I'm saying is there are some pitfalls to be aware of that you didn't mention in the video. Your post is a great demo of Companion and that's the real value. Thanks for taking the time to make it and posting.
    Excellent pedagogy and production. Kudos.
    Thank you!
    Can it setup lower thirds when you switch to them let's say camera on needs a name on it and camera 2 needs a different name. Or is this done with a macro? I'm looking to buy one but my footage will need race car driver names on the video I cut to
    How I’d tackle this:
    - Add a video input from either OBS or QLab to the ATEM, with a green upper two thirds
    - Display that as Picture in Picture, but set to full screen, and add a chroma key in the ATEM software to remove the green upper thirds
    - Set up macros in the ATEM to switch to Cam1 and display video input in full screen PIP
    - Use Companion to make 1 button that runs the macro and triggers the appropriate graphic in OBS or QLab (both can receive OSC triggers from Companion)
    @Sam Osborne I was going to use the HDMI out from the switcher into obs. So I had more control on the final output that would go out rtmp
    @Speedway Car Cams In which case you can still do my suggestion, just without outputting OBS into the atem:
    - Set your OBS scenes to include the atem and graphic
    - Ignore the macro and PIP
    - Set companion to change ATEM program camera selection and change the OBS scene to the correct graphic at the same time
    Macros would absolutely work. You set up two lower thirds as graphics, and then a macro loads input 1 and graphic 1, and another macro loads input 2 and graphic 2. Super easy! I'm actually going to be recording a series of short tips on ATEM and this will be one of the first ones to go out. It gets asked a lot!
    @PhotoJoseph awesome I could use it for sure.
    Thanks a lot of uploading this video!😄 Your video really helped me in many problems LoL. May I ask you an question please?
    I am using ATEM mini pro ISO and ATEM mini pro. I want to use these two in dual. But the problem is, at ATEM mini pro ISO, I want use usb ‘c’ type to record and in ISO pro, I want to connect the computer- is it able?
    No. It only has one USB port, and that can be used for either recording to a connected drive, or feeding into a computer. But not both. It's a host/guest protocol switch. The Extreme however has two USB ports so it can do both.
    I love the lighting on this set💯
    Question: been waiting to get that Webcaster X2 from your previous video, but it is still out of stock. I need a portable way to encode and stream live from either ninja v, or our cameras canon xf400 or sony a7s3. Thx (without use of laptop)
    This was just brilliant - Thank you - I have an ISO & PRO - and intend to get the Extreem ISO but just messing around with Companion really solved a problem especially since we are based in Africa and getting the latest gear on time takes a "little" longer
    That’s awesome to hear! Glad it was helpful.
    Enjoyed the video. After receiving my mini pro, I added a low cost 16 port HDMI switch which I use for my amateur radio (ham) digital ATV station. The HDMI switch does have a LAN/remote control so anxious to see if the Bitfocus Companion software may be use with it. I have not found any sources that won't work with the mini pro using HDMI or SDI to HDMI converters.
    If your HDMI switcher works with Companion, let me know! That’d be huge!
    Did you get the 16 Port switch to work with companion?
    Did you get it to work with companion?
    Yeah I rather spend the extra money and get the Extreme after looking at this video. 😳
    Fair enough! If you have the option then that's definitely a better route. But a lot of people don't want to or can't spend the money, so this is a pretty cool alternative.
    You gotta change the 4-7 sequence around so it selects the upstream source 1st before selecting input 4 to stop the occasional flashframe that may occur if the commands go out at a frame boundary.
    ahh, that's a great point!
    The Atem Mini Pro Extreme announce this features and 2 usb c port !
    Hi, someone knows why I can't access the buttons on my Tablet? I'm a PC user. I'm connected to the same network, by etherneth and by wifi.Thanks for you're help.
    Sounds like the ATEM isn't talking to the network. Connect via USB-C to get it set up; that allows you to see everything regardless of the network connection.
    @PhotoJoseph Thanks Josepgh, I just achieved it changing the GUI interface to ethernet (wired)
    I have a Atem Mini pro that I use in my corporate keynote 3 camera presentations that I do. I am thinking about ordering the extreme in order to get a high resolution copy of the presentation. Because the usbc port is already being utilized by zoom my current setup won’t work. Would just another Atem accomplished what I want to do?
    Thanks
    No. You would need that second USB port. Or, here's another trick which I'll do a video on soon… since you have the Pro, if you're not already using the built-in streaming encoder to stream to YouTube or wherever, then buy a Streaming Bridge https://geni.us/ATEMbridge and an HDMI to USB converter, and stream to your local bridge from the ATEM, looping that back in as a webcam.
    Thank you!
    Add a basic 5 in 1 out HDMI switcher and put the output into input 4 on your ATEM and boom! 4 more inputs for less than $50. you’re welcome.
    but can you control that from the Companion app? That was, after all, the point of this video.
    can i use my atem mini iso the same way with roland v1 HD?
    Sure: physically. Is the Roland supported by Companion though? Check their website to see! If so, then definitely.
    @PhotoJoseph Thank you so much for the quick answer. Waiting for a review of The Extreme
    Most enjoyable lesson
    Thanks. Did you check if there Roland is supported?
    just an fyi you can run 2 consecutive instances of atem software and control the 2 separate Atems
    How? Just by duplicating the app?
    @PhotoJoseph hey joseph love your channel as well as @Aaron Parecki and @johnbarker/ @here to record

    in windows after you open the first instance you shift+right click run as different user and that allows you to have 2 or more instances of BMD software open and working even with 2 sepparate swichers!
    in apple os im not to sure ive heard of sand boxing and some apple apps that will allow this
    oh wow… ok I’d heard that Windows could do that before but I don’t use a PC anywhere. Interesting! Still would require separate controls and you couldn’t build a macro that would work across both interfaces at once, although this is still interesting. I’ll have to try it on my Mac by just duplicating the app; I am often switching between two ATEMs so that would make things easier! Also if you like all three of our channels, then you’re going to love this Thursday’s event: https://youtu.be/JYv_jx-JaOk
    @PhotoJoseph yes i do try to keep up to date on all three channels and posted videos!
    I remember back in <year> you had a dispute with Max Yuryev, and I wrote you off as... well I didn't subscribe to your channel. But now, thanks your collabs with Aaron Parecki, I've re-discovered you and your channel, and you have a lot of well presented info!
    LOL the thing with Max was fun. I’m glad you’re back, thanks!
    What we all want is something that only extreme has.... at least 2 outputs.... :(
    Yeah, that I can’t help with unfortunately.
    What a great video! Glad I subscribed. Love my atem pro and preordered the new extreme so this info is awesome because I can rig them both together! Brilliant!
    Sweet!
    Any chance you can figure out a way to be able to stream and record at the same time on the Mini Pro ISO?
    @PhotoJoseph streaming out of the usb-c to the computer which means I can't plug in an external drive to the usb-c to record
    Do you need to use the computer?
    @PhotoJoseph hmm, is there another way to stream to like zoom?
    Ah, ok. If you’re using zoom, that’s not “streaming”, that’s “webcam”. There is a way but it requires more hardware. Use the ATEM’s stream capability to stream to a Bridge, and feed that Bridge back into your computer with an HDMI to USB converter.
    @PhotoJoseph Perfect will do! Do you recommend a particular HDMI to USB converter?
    In case it's useful to anyone: I've been using a similar idea for awhile - I control 2 ATEM minis using Companion, but I take them both as webcams into OBS, using their separate USB C outputs. Then I have a series of scenes set up in OBS so that I can switch between the two ATEMs or view them both simultaneously - I use Macros in Companion to control the software and hardware switching at the same time.

    The advantage of this is A) you can use all 8 inputs from your two ATEMs since you're not daisy chaining any more and B) by using the PIP function on both devices you can display up to 4 camera feeds at once - which might be a fairly niche use case, but something I actually do regularly in my broadcasts.
    That is awesome! Thanks for sharing!
    If someone has a tut on this I'll be nice if you can share
    This is awesome, I've been looking into whether using 2 ATEMs on 1 PC with OBS was possible, gonna order a second one then
    Companion is great, but you may want to change how you wire 2 Atems together. If you make the Mini the first device and feed the HDMI out into the first channel of the second device, then you take advantage of the low latency ability of the channel one electronics (intended for gaming), this also allows any source on the mini to be a PIP source in the second unit without having to do any configuration. Another benefit is the ability to have 2 concurrent PIP windows, but you have to do some configuration (directly or in companion) to make it a flexible solution.
    Nice. I wonder if that low latency would make any difference for normal switching.
    @PhotoJoseph It makes a difference when you mix audio sources from both of the Atems as each introduces it's own latency and it's hard to compensate for it if you don't use this feature. Added benefits include retaining the Multi-View, four audio inputs, direct webcam out for one of the units as a back channel if you keep all your main presenter cams there as well.
    Question, will you get iso files for all seven inputs? When I take the project into resolve will it create a multicam clip with all 7 of my feeds? Also will all 7 feeds show up on the monitor?
    No… the ISO will only record what’s happening on the ISO. The ISO’s Multiview will show whatever is feeding into CAM 4, but it can’t see what’s on the other ATEM.
    @PhotoJoseph great video. thanks.for making it. I was also wondering about the multi view and if all 7 feeds show as one switches?
    @Every Nation Marseille no multi view of all seven. Think about the MV from the main ATEM; you would only see what’s currently coming into the port 4.
    @PhotoJoseph ok, thanks.
    took me a second to figure it out. brain slow. :-) appreciate your quick response!
    I've had my studio setup this way with an ATEM Mini Pro and an ATEM Mini for about a month and it's awesome! When I upgraded to the Pro I wondered what I was going to do with my original mini and my brain instantly said, "use it as extra inputs Michael." haha Loved how easy it was to setup the Companion app to run the Marcos and switch the inputs. I call my primary, ATEM Master, and the secondary, ATEM Slave. Great walkthrough Joseph!
    Right on! Yeah this is a pretty cool way to do the switching!
    Excellent !
    Thanks!
    That's very helpful. Thanks for that!
    You’re welcome!
    Great video. Would love to see the stream deck video for sure !!!!!
    Yeah I’ll have to do that once I really settle it in. I’m still playing with the configuration.
    Nice, but i have a better solution! Sell your Atem BM Mini. The. Get BM Atem Mini Xtreme 😃
    Not everyone can afford that. I’m happy I can provide an alternative solution.
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