Information Technology

Building my Recording / Live Streaming Studio 建立自己的影像 / 直播工作室

With the outbreak of COVID-19 across the world, demands on video conferencing and live broadcasting jumped up drastically. Another source of demands were actually coming from those people who were in lockdown state and sharing of video recording and live broadcast becomes one of their works or pastime. These activities imposed a tremendous pressure on the global demands of equipment like Video Cam, WebCam and Microphone across all of the online shopping platforms like Amazon.

近期從社交媒體上的討論得知,全球對視像會議、直播的需求隨著武漢肺炎的廣汛爆發而大增;另外因為很多網民被困於家中,製作網上視頻和直播作分享亦較之前為多,引致對廣播器材的供應構成一定壓力。據説好一些器材如 Video Cam,WebCam 及 Microphone 在 Amazon 等網購平台已出現了供不應求的現象。

One of my friends is a blogger and a YouTuber. Recently she has shared those bits and pieces of living in UK in her YouTube Channel. Helping those who plan to move to UK to understand more about life in UK. If you are interested, go and visit her blog and channel.

我有個朋友,她是個 blogger,也同時是個 Youtuber,最近亦有在她的 Youtube 頻道分享了在英國生活的點滴,為一眾計劃移居英國的人士提供多一些日常生活上之資訊,有興趣的可溜灠她的頻道。

WordPress: Lived in UK Living in Taiwan

YouTube Channel: LivingUKTaiwan

Considering those equipment I have, I actually can build a small recording studio for creating video recording as well as live broadcasting over the Internet. Let me share with you my rationale behind how and why I choose these equipment.

環顧自己現有的設備,其實也足夠設立一個小小的工作室,製作視頻或作網上直播,就讓我和大家分享自己在器材選擇及配置上的一些考慮吧。


Computer Platforms 電腦平台

  • Mid 2011 Apple iMac 21-inch,24 GB RAM,6 TB SSD/Harddisk
  • 2017 Apple MacBook Pro 13-inch,16 GB RAM,1.5 TB SSD/Harddisk

I have installed a number of multimedia software packages on my iMac Desktop. Post-processing will be much easier and it is my number one choice of video recording / live broadcast for home/indoor recording.

For other outdoor or mobile works, my MacBook Pro will be more flexible.

Bear in mind that if your desktop and mobile platforms are running different OS versions, pay attention to use the correct version of other supporting software.

我的 iMac Desktop 安裝了好幾個多媒體軟件,要做修圖等後期處理會來得相對容易,作為一個固定的錄影或直播場景的平台,這會是我的首選。

對於戶外或流動性需求高的場景,Macbook Pro 則較適合。

如果你的 Desktop 或 手提電腦使用不同版本的操作系統,就要留意為其他軟件揀選相對應的版本。


Video Recording / Live Broadcast Software 視頻/直播軟件

  • Open Broadcaster Software (OBS Studio) for macOS
  • Apple iMovie

I use OBS Studio as it is an Open Source software that supports macOS, Windows and various Linux variants. It is feature rich and highly extensible, making it very suitable for multimedia recording production. Support of Live Broadcasting platforms like YouTube, Facebook and Twitch is also another greatest feature that made it one of the most popular packages.

Feel free to search the Internet to obtain more detailed information on OBS Studio.

選擇 OBS Studio 是因為它是一個免費的開源軟件,可運行於 macOS,Windows 及 Linux 系統。由於軟件功能強大,擴展能力高,頗適合多媒體錄影。另一方面,OBS Studio 亦支援多個直播平台如 Youtube,Facebook 及 Twitch 等,用家只需簡單地經網絡連接上這些平台便可即時作直播。

有興趣的話,可自行在網上尋找相關使用資訊,我亦不再重複了。

OBS Studio running on Apple MacOS

In case editing or enhancement of video are required, I will use iMovie accordingly. It comes with macOS, iOS and iPadOS, no additional investment will be incurred and it certainly meets most of amateur’s needs.

有些時候,錄製的影片需要剪接或加點修飾,我亦會使用 iMovie 來處理。畢竟這軟件是隨 Apple 系列的 macOS、iOS 及 iPadOS 附上,不費金錢之餘亦可滿足一般業餘用家的需要。


Video Recording Equipment 錄影器材

  • iMac built-in webcam (720p)
  • MacBook Pro built-in webcam (720p)
  • Apple iPhone XR (1080p, 4K)
  • Nikon D610 DLSR (1080p)
  • Sony HDR-TG1 Handycam

The choice of equipment is subjected to your demand on recording quality, and whether you already have or plan to invest more on additional equipment.

Personally I suggest to start with the built-in webcam and gradually add your second or more video cameras to enrich your production.

器材的選擇主要是視乎你對畫質的要求,已擁有的設備及是否打算再投資購買。

我會建議大家先從基本的內置 webcam 開始,再陸續加入第二支或更多的攝影器材來豐富你的影片。

Built-in webcam (內置 Webcam)

The most straightforward way for video recording is to make use of the built-in webcam. Neither equipment investment nor cabling is required. The only downside is the lower resolution and capturing quality.

最簡單直接是利用電腦內建的 webcam 作錄影,不需額外購買器材,也省卻配線的安排;當然最大的缺點是解像度和畫質相對較低。

Smartphone (智能手機)

Your mobile phone is an excellent video capturing device by itself. Nowadays, most of these phones already support 1080p or 4K video capture.

Mine is an iPhone XR that can be connected to computers via Wifi or Lightning-to-USB cable. Based on the high speed support and stability, I recommend to connect the phone via USB.

You don’t need to install any software for video capture. However, the major drawbacks are the lack of “Clean Signal”, non-full screen capture and appearance of various camera controls.

Another limitation is that you can’t use iPhone’s built-in microphone, ie. video without sound!

其實大家身邊早已擁有另一高質量的器材 – 你的智能手機,1080p 或 4K 的高解像度已是等閒事。

我用的是 Apple iPhone XR,可以經 WiFi 或 Lightning-to-USB cable 連接上電腦;基於傳輸速度和穏定性,我會建議使用 USB 接駁。

利用 iPhone 接上電腦是不需要安裝其他軟件的,但最大的問題是截取到的影象不是所謂的 “Clean Signal”,畫面不是全屏幕,而介面上的控制按鈕亦會出現。

另外要注意這個配置是不支援 iPhone 上的 microphone,亦即有畫冇聲!

Native iPhone video input

Removing those control buttons are pretty trivial but the resulting screen area will be much smaller. We will discuss how to achieve this in later part of the post.

To get the best “Clean Signal” from iPhone, I recommend to use Camera for OBS IOS App (HKD 123 or USD 15.99). Other than the full screen and audio capture, you can also fine-tune the settings of the front and rear cameras.

要移除這些按鈕也不難,但畫面的覆蓋度會減少,稍後我會討論怎様利用 OBS 軟件去解決這問題。

要取得更佳的 “Clean Signal” 效果,我會建議購置 Camera for OBS 這個 iOS App (HKD 123 或 USD 15.99)。除了全屏幕及錄音的支援外,亦可以對 iPhone 的前、後鏡頭作更細緻的手動調整。

Camera for OBS Studio available in App Store
Camera for OBS Studio running on my iPhone XR

Next install OBS Camera Plug-in in OBS Studio and add the new “IOS Camera” source.

接著要在 OBS Studio 安裝 OBS Camera Plug-in,再加入新的 source “IOS Camera” 便可使用。

Clean video input with OBS Camera Plug-in

Digital Camera / DSLR / Mirrorless Camera

If you have full function digital cameras, DSLR or Mirrorless Cameras, take a look at the following discussion to enhance the video quality.

My focus here is on how to integrate these cameras into our recording studio and live broadcasting platform.

OBS Studio supports these camera in the following ways:

  1. Using camera specific capturing software/app to capture “Clean Signal” via Wifi or USB connection. Once the software installation is completed, corresponding “Video Capture” source will be available in OBS Studio. Examples are EOS Web Utility (under beta) from Canon and Webcam Utility (a limited number of camera models are supported) from Nikon.
  2. Using free or charged software/app. Example is SparkoCam (not available for macOS)
  3. Using remote control software to capture the camera’s LiveView screen. Examples are DigiCamControl, qDslrDashboard, etc. Next use the “Window Capture” source of OBS Studio to capture the LiveView Windows. In term of capture quality, it is just acceptable.

Since I’m a Nikon user, the simplest way is to use qDslrDashboard to capture the LiveView.

First install the qDslrDashboard software and connect with the camera USB cable. My Mid-2011 iMac is running macOS High Sierra and so I have to use software version v.3.5.7. On the other hand, I need to install version v.3.5.9 for my MacBook Pro running macOS Big Sur.

如果你已有功能較齊全的相機,那一定要看看怎樣利用這些器材來提升影片的畫質令整個影像、場景生色不少。

相信大家對使用 Digital Camera,DSLR 或 Mirrorless Camera 拍 Video 都有一定掌握,我亦不多説,重點反而是如何把這些器材結合在自己的錄影、直播平台上。

在 OBS Studio 內使用這類相機不外乎是以下幾種方法:

  1. 利用相機專屬軟件,經 Wifi 或 USB 截取 “Clean Signal” 畫面。軟件安裝好後,OBS Studio 就會有相對應的 source 或 “Video Capture” source;例子是 CanonEOS Web Utility(仍在 beta 階段)和 NikonWebcam Utility (但只支援某些機種)。
  2. 市場上亦有一些截取軟件(免費或收費)提供以上的功能,例子是 SparkoCam,只可惜 macOS 沒有。
  3. 假如你的相機有提供實時畫面 (LiveView),並支援一些遙控軟件如 DigiCamControlqDslrDashboard 等,再利用 OBS Studio 的 “Window Capture” source 來截取 LiveView Window 內的影像,畫質當然會打個折扣。

我是個 Nikon DSLR 的用家,最直接的是利用 qDslrDashboard 吧。

這𥚃先安裝 qDslrDashboard,再接上相機專屬的 USB cable。正如前面提過,由於我的 Mid-2011 iMac 只能運行 macOS High Sierra,所以要選用 v3.5.7 版本; 而運行 macOS Big Sur 的 Macbook Pro 就要用最新的 v3.5.9 了。

Nikon D610 DSLR connected to qDslrDashboard

With the qDslrDashboard interface, adjust the DSLR settings to capture the LiveView screen of the camera.

透過 qDslrDashboard 的介面,可調整 DSLR 的設置及截取到的相機的 Liveview 畫面。

Video capture with Nikon D610 / qDslrDashboard

Just like using the native iPhone camera (without any capture app), those controls on the LiveView screen have to be removed. Visit my discussion at the end of this post.

和沒使用 capture app 的 iPhone 一樣,LiveView 畫面上的 controls按鈕也一樣要移除,留意版末的討論。

The above discussions are for software setup with relatively low capturing quality. If you needs to connect those professional video cameras, I will suggest to acquire a HDMI to USB device like Cam Link from elgato of slightly over HKD 1000. As the capturing is made through the hardware HDMI interface, any video taking devices with a HDMI output will be supported.

以上的都是軟件截取,效能上較一般,如果你有要求或想支援更多器材如專業 Video Camera,我會建議購置一個 HDMI to USB Capture device,如 elgatoCam Link,價錢由千多港元起;由於是經相機的 HDMI 截取,任何有 HDMI output 的相機亦可使用。

Cam Link from elgato

Recently I had bought an extremely low cost HDMI Capture device from Amazon. Despite it only supports the low-speed USB 2.0 interface, it definitely worths a try given it’s low cost of under HKD 150.

早前我在 Amazon 找到一個極便宜的 HDMI Capture device,雖然只支援低速的 USB 2.0,但以不到 HKD 150 的價錢,不妨買來體驗一下。

Low Cost HDMI Video Capture device


After several rounds of testing, I finally discovered that my Nikon D610 DSLR doesn’t support output of “Clean Signal” over the HDMI interface. Maybe this is time for my camera upgrade ! 🙌

試了幾次後,發覺我的 Nikon D610 的 HDMI 不能輸出 “Clean Signal”,那可能要換機了! 🙌


Audio Recording Equipment 錄音器材

  • iMac built-in microphone (iMac  內置收音咪)
  • MacBook Pro built-in microphone (MacBook Pro  內置收音咪)
  • Apple iPhone XR built-in microphone (Apple iPhone XR  內置收音咪)
  • Behringer UCG102 compatible Guitar-to-USB interface (結他 USB 介面)

You can easily handle the audio recording using the built-in microphone of the computer or smartphone. However, limited by the equipment quality and lack of directional recording support, there is still room for captured quality.

If you have demand on audio quality and the needs for musical instrument recording, I strongly suggest to acquire those professional directional microphones, ranging from few hundreds to several thousands HKD.

利用電腦或智能手機上的 built-in microphone,你可輕易地為的影片、直播收音,但受制於收音質量及欠缺方向性的支援,錄取到的聲音無論在音質或清晰度一般都不會太高。

要是你在這方面有要求或需要錄製音樂相關的影片,我會建議添置一些專業,具方向性的 microphones,價錢由港幣百多元至數千元不等,視乎你的要求。

For the filming of my son’s recent ABRSM Performance Grade Exam, they are using the above Rode NT2-A Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone for the audio recording. It captured the full dynamic range of the Grand Piano without any issues.

By the way, I also got a low-cost USB Desktop Condenser Microphone along my purchase of the HDMI Capture device.

兒子早前在 Recording Studio 錄製的 ABRSM Performance Grade Exam 影片便是使用這組 Rode NT2-A Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone 作錄音,Grand Piano 寬闊的動態範圍亦能完美收錄。

在購買那個 HDMI Capture device 的同時,我也順便添置了一個極低價的 USB 座枱 Condenser Microphone。

Low Cost USB Desktop Condenser Microphone

If just for voice recording as in podcast, this low-cost microphone works wonderfully to deliver reasonable audio quality. However, when I try to use it for recording of musical instrument, the recording is distorted and out of tune when the sound amplitude varied. This rendered the setup absolutely unusable.

So if you are serious about musical instrument recording, there is no shortcut except investing more on the microphone.

And for this reason, I still use my iPhone built-in microphone for instrument recording.

這個 Microphone 用在一般人聲錄音,効果其實很不錯。但我亦嘗試利用它作樂器錄音,發覺它會隨著樂器聲量改變而出現走音的問題,根本無法使用。

如果你打算錄取樂器演奏,看來有些投資是不可少的!

亦是這個問題,我暫時仍會使用 iPhone 的 built-in microphone 為樂器錄音。

There are cases that I will connect my musical instrument to the computer for signal processing. In my setup, let me integrate my electric guitar to the recording studio. Here I will use a Behringer UCG102 compatible Guitar-to-USB interface. Simply add a new USB Audio CODEC to my OBS Studio environment.

平常我會把樂器連接至電腦作音効處理,也就試試把我的電結他加入這個 Studio 配置吧。做法很簡單,把我的 Behringer UCG102 相容 Guitar-to-USB interface 接上電腦,再在 OBS Studio 加入新的 USB Audio CODEC 便可。


Other Accessories 其他配件

  • Apple lightning to USB cable
  • USB cable for DSLR (數碼單鏡反光相機)
  • DSLR 及 iPhone Tripod (腳架)
  • USB Hub
  • USB extension cable

Camera Tripod will enhance the way to work out your own cameras placement and filming perspective. Helping you to elevate your recording to a more professional level.

In case your MacBook Pro only comes with those Type-C ports, an USB Hub will simplify the equipment connection.

腳架可為你的拍攝位置、角度增添特色,繼而提升影片的專業層次。

如果你的 Macbook Pro 是只有 Type-C 接口的型號,USB Hub 亦是不可缺少的。

In most of the recording scenarios, various equipment are most likely to be placed apart. Having some USB extension cables will provide more flexibilities in equipment placement.

For installation and setup of those hardware and software involved, I will just skip over them as there are quite a lot of information available from the Internet.

另外在實際運用上,各樣器材與電腦間會有一定距離,足夠長度的 USB extension cables 會令 Studio 擺位多一點彈性。

至於這些軟、硬件詳細的安裝、設置步驟,網上已有大量相關的的資訊,我也不在這𥚃重複了。

Finally, a simple video recording / live broadcasting studio is ready for production.

好,整個影像 / 直播工作室的配置便完成。


My Video Recording Demonstration Setup 我的示範錄影配置

The setup I used to recording the following instrumental demo is consisted of the Camera for OBS Studio App running on my iPhone XR, the built-in iMac Webcam (second video source) and my Behringer UCG102 compatible Guitar-to-USB interface.

這個基本樂器演奏錄影配置由我的 iPhone XR,Camera for OBS Studio App,iMac 內置 Webcam 及 Behringer UCG102 相容的 Guitar-to-USB interface 所組成。

Camera for OBS Studio running on my iPhone XR

First create a new OBS Studio Scene. Add audio input for the iMac USB Audio CODEC (Guitar-to-USB interface) and video inputs for the iMac Webcam as well as the OBS Camera Plug-in for my iPhone Camera.

One area that needs more attention is that “Unsync” may occur between the Audio input and the Video input. To fix the issue, make use of the corresponding “Sync Offset” for the audit input. In my demo setup, I need to add a 500 ms offset to arrive at a reasonable result.

在 OBS Studio 建立新的 Scene,加入 iMac USB Audio CODEC 作 audio input,iMac Webcam 及 OBS Camera Plug-in 的 iPhone Camera video input。

要留意的是 Audio input 和 Video input 可能出現不協調 (Unsync) 的情況,解決方法是在 Audio input 內加入相應的 “Sync Offset“;在我的配置上,我需要設定為 500 ms 才能取得較滿意的効果。

OBS Studio Demo Scene Setup

Here comes my demonstration video created with OBS Studio.

以下是由 OBS Studio 所製作的影片,獻醜啦!

To achieve a good and attractive recording scene, there are quite a number of factors that you should take into consideration. For example, the placement of various equipments, background composition and lighting, etc. Frankly speaking, this is not a simple subject that I can summarise in few words. Let me do my homework and share with you in later posts.

要建立一個好的拍攝場景,實際上還有很多因素要關注;甚麼器材擺位、背景構圖、光線調控等等,非三言兩語便能講完,待我再做些功課,有機會再和大家分享。


Oops, I nearly forgot to mention how to remove the control buttons on the LiveView screen and/or the native iPhone camera screen.

差點忘記了,離開前來看看怎樣移除 LiveView 畫面或 iPhone camera 影像上的控制按鈕。

How to obtain a clean signal from LiveView or iPhone Camera 如何移 LiveView 畫面 / iPhone影像上的控制按鈕

Actually the way to achieve this quite simple. Just locate the corresponding Windows Source in OBS Studio, and then select “Edit Transformation”. Adjust the “Crop values” or press the “Resize” button (Control-T under macOS) and move the green frame on the Window to your expected layout.

方法很簡單,只要在 OBS Studio 內的相關 Window Source 或 iPhone Source 上選取 “Edit Transformation”,改變 “Crop values” 或按 “Resize” 鍵 ( Control-T under macOS),再移動畫面上的綠色框架便可。


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