With this palm-sized camera you can create compelling multishot video on the fly, ready to stream or share -- and it's all controlled with your iPhone.
Single, static camera shots can make for some pretty boring storytelling. But you probably don't have access to a bunch of cameras, people to operate them, or a team of editors when it comes time to capture your kid's school play, little league game or your garage band.
With the Livestream Mevo camera and its intuitive iOS app, though, you can create videos with a variety of shots using just one camera and your iPhone. The camera has a 4K-resolution image sensor and some very smart software, so you can digitally pan and zoom in and out -- creating everything from wide shots to close-ups while still capturing at 720p HD resolution -- with nothing but your fingers on your iPhone screen.
On top of that, the $400 2.5-inch tall camera (about £300 or AU$520) can record to its microSD card slot (a 16GB card is included) and live-stream to Livestream's service or Facebook Live. That's done by connecting your phone and the camera to the same Wi-Fi network, or you can do a direct Wi-Fi connection to your phone and use its mobile broadband to stream. Basically, with nothing more than your iPhone and a Mevo, you can set up a live shoot with the look of multiple cameras.
Let's say you want to capture a live band performance. You set up the Mevo to take advantage of its wide 150-degree field of view. Then, you wirelessly connect to the Mevo with an iPhone (it'll work with an iPad too, but is optimized for the iPhone) and using the app you can create different shots to cut between. Start with a shot of the whole band and then pinch to zoom in for a tight shot on the singer or get a two-shot of the bass and drums.
Once the performance starts you cut between the shots you've created just by tapping on them, giving your video the look of a multiple-camera shoot. The camera's intelligent face detection and movement tracking capabilities allow it to stay on subjects and can even be used to let the camera automatically create shots.
You can also zoom in and out on the fly at different speeds determined by how long you hold your fingers on the screen. The same goes for panning: drag your finger from one subject to another and hold your finger down for however long you want the pan to take. This is all done live while you're recording or live-streaming the event, so you have a finished, fully edited movie as soon as it's over.
The app gives you a few filter options, exposure compensation and you can change white balance for your lighting. For audio, you can use the built-in stereo mic, which are good if your subjects are close to the camera or are loud, or use your iPhone's mic jack to mix in audio if you want better results.
Again, the video -- live and recorded -- is HD resolution (1,280x720 pixels). The bitrate is 20Mbps for recordings, but HD live stream has an adaptive bitrate up to 10Mbps, and Livestream says you'll need at least a 5Mbps upload speed for smooth streams.
Overall, video quality is good, but it's definitely better for mobile-viewing purposes. At larger screen sizes, fine details look soft, especially in low light where it also picks up other image artifacts. Scaled down on a phone or tablet all of that is much less visible, and video looks sharper.
Also, while you can get different compositions with a Mevo, you won't get multiple angles unless you move the camera during a shoot. In other words, you can't currently combine the live feeds from two or more Mevos into one live stream.
There are a couple other potential downsides to consider with the Mevo as well. There's no Android app or plan for Android support in the future, for one. Battery life is only about an hour, so if you need more streaming time, you'll either need to plug in (a 3-meter Micro-USB cord is included) or buy the Mevo Boost, an add-on base with a 10-hour battery for $250 (approximately £190 or AU$325). To be fair, though, it also has 100Mbps Ethernet jack that supports external USB modems on Verizon.
Battery life aside, with a Mevo and an iPhone you've got a mobile live-streaming option that delivers the look of a much larger production. And with its automated features, you don't even need to be at the controls to get great results.