Computer & Software
MSI GP62VR 7RFX Leopard Pro Laptop ~$1,500
This is the model that we use and it’s great for what we do – streaming a single game on location. You need a computer with as many USB ports as possible – 4 is best (but 3 will work), minimum i7 processor, a super duper graphics card (ours: NVIDIA GeForce GTX1060 with 6GB GDDR5) and lots of RAM (ours has DDR4 16GB)
USB Hub & Cables
USB is the necessary evil in mobile streaming rigs. There are several limitations and frustrations (noted in camera and mic section). It is strongly advised that you don’t extend the length of your USB device by using a USB extension cable and instead just plug directly into your computer, but if you must – here’s what you need to know.
Power strip and extension cords of various lengths (for computer, lights, USB hub, etc). ~$40
Cameras & Capture Cards
Sony HDR CX405 – Playfield camera – $180
Elgato HD60S Capture Card – $180
When using a camcorder to stream, you must also use a capture card. Capture cards take the HDMI video signal and convert it to a format that your broadcasting software can use. Camcorders have vastly superior quality to any webcam out there. We recommend not skimping on the playfield camera.
Logitech C922 – player camera – $80
This webcam streams 720p at 60fps. It gets the job done. Though we’re looking to upgrade soon – hoping to get another Sony camcorder and capture card, then use the C922 for the DMD camera.
Note: you will save yourself so much frustration by not using cameras of the same make and model. This may also be true of using the same model of capture card, though we haven’t explored that yet. Computers can’t tell the difference between devices of the same name and consequently, when you configure settings of one camera, it will change the settings of all cameras with that name. Or worse, only one of the video feeds will appear at all. Just don’t do it. It’s not worth it.
Microphone & Audio
Blue Snowball USB Microphone – $60
This is the entry level mic that most streamers start with. It’s budget friendly and gets the job done.
We’re hoping to upgrade our audio soon(ish) – both for better quality and to not have anymore damn USB devices. When we do, we’ll update this section with our recommendations.
LED Studio Lighting ~$150
Lighting the playfield and players is incredibly important. A well lit scene not only looks better but will greatly help your camera achieve 60fps. Underlit scenes that are compensated for by adjusting exposure on the camcorder will be at the expense of fluid motion. You’ll be left with choppy ball movement. So don’t be cheap or lazy – light your scene!
You don’t have to get this kit exactly but what your looking for are a minimum of 2 LED lights, with diffusers, gels (or if you splurge for temperature adjustable LEDs that’s fantastic!) and barn doors that enable you to focus the light on the scene and especially away from the ceiling. Light bouncing off the ceiling will then reflect off the playfield glass and that incredible footage will be a white wash from the glare. Also, make sure that the lights plug into a wall socket. Many of the kits are battery operated and while that sounds nice – you know the battery is going to die half-way through the stream.
Stands, Clamps & Miscellaneous
Mic Stand used for Playfield Cam, DMD Cam and Microphone – $60
I’ve linked to the stand we use. What’s most important is a very sturdy stand with a telescoping boom. The cheap stands will fail after limited use and because they’re so lightweight, the playfield camera mounted at the very end of the boom will sway when people walk around resulting in shaky video.
Playfield Camera Mount – $13
Used to attach playfield cam to mic stand.
DMD & Player Camera Clamp – $15/each
Used to mount the DMD camera to the main stand and to mount the player camera to the head of the pinball machine.
11″ Articulating Mic Arm – $32
Used to attach mic to main stand.
Microphone Adapter – $6
Used to adapt the thread of the Mic Arm to the thread of the Snowball Mic
Laptop Stand – $55
We most like to put our laptop on top of the adjacent pinball machine with a non-marking, non-skid pad underneath the laptop, but that’s not always possible. In these situations, we use a laptop stand.
Mic and Lighting Stand Bag – $25
You’ll want a durable duffle to cart your stands around.
For the rest of the gear, we use a separate laptop briefcase and the zipper gear bag that came with the light kit to haul all the cameras, cables and lights.
So what does it cost to get up and running?
Assuming you have the computer already, you could get started streaming with our basic gear for around $700. That includes all the cameras, stand, mic and clamps. With the lighting kit, gear bag(s) and miscellaneous items that will save you time and stress – you’re looking at about $1,000. Need a laptop too? You’re in for $2,500.