If you’re hosting your own live raw foods cooking show or DIY watch repair series on the web, you’re going to need a quality video streaming device. Makers, artists, thinkers, and tinkerers have started capitalizing in on the power of live video to bring their audiences into their studios and into their minds.
As the in-house social video producer here at WIRED, I’ve used livestreaming to showcase our editors testing new games, nerding out about new headphones, and following established artists.
Most live video producers these days use a smartphone rig, which involves cables, mounts, mics, and a handheld stabilizer. The Livestream Mevo ($399) makes the experience simpler, primarily because it’s a dedicated camera made just for broadcasting live video. You can set it in the room, pair it with the app on your phone, turn on auto-editing mode, and stream straight to the websites it supports. For now, that list includes Facebook, Twitter, Periscope, and the company’s own web-based platform, Livestream.
While the Mevo has a bit of feature catch-up to do, it’s a great tool for the blooming solo artist or entrepreneur—mostly because it’s an all-in-one package.
With the Mevo, Livestream is clearly pushing the boundaries of how a camera should look and feel. It’s a rather un-camera-like cylinder under three inches tall, making it perfect for hiding within a scene and for getting people to forget a camera is watching them. The sleek black exterior is made of a sturdy, water-resistant material which encases the camera lens, so you don’t have to worry about dropping the camera, shooting in drizzle, or getting the lens dirty. A colored light around the top rim of the cylinder indicates the camera modes: charging, recording, low battery, Wi-Fi status, on and off. You can place the camera anywhere, or slot it into the included mount that screws onto a tripod.
The Mevo is very simple to use. Once you connect the camera to your phone and your social media profile, you can start streaming within minutes. The app allows you to cut between medium and close-up shots, and it even smooths out pans and zooms. This is the perfect introductory camera for those who want a straightforward livestream setup.
While this was a great first iteration, Mevo will definitely benefit from updates. The camera itself can capture a 4K video image, but the streaming video image maxes out at 720p. The image also has a slight fish-eye effect, and doesn’t look as good as an image from my iPhone’s camera. The Mevo is also outperformed by the iPhone in low-light situations. The audio, unfortunately, is also not great. The sound can be improved, but only with additional devices.
The Mevo app must be running at all times in order for the livestream to function. This is extremely limiting. If you exit the Mevo app, it will stop your livestream. Unfortunately, I learned this from experience.
The camera is battery-powered and rather efficient—it lasts about an hour per charge—but the Mevo app will guzzle up your iPhone’s battery. The app will also make your phone very hot; during shoots, the iPhone grew uncomfortably warm in my hands.
Because the quality of the video, I am still using my iPhone over the Mevo. Also, while the Mevo works best when stationary, a smartphone on a hand-held stabilizer allows me to move fluidly within a scene and to go in for a close-up. However, I would still recommend the Mevo for its ease of use. Beyond connecting it to the app, there’s little technical savvy required to stream live video to a global audience.