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Glitches everywhere

PostPosted: Sat May 01, 2021 9:47 pm
by Stephenbrokalis
I am doing tech for a conference. I'm 19 and have worked at a church doing tech since I was 13 but this is my first large conference gig. I wanted to pursue show production as a carrier. I designed a system for a family member. Our budget was $6,000 for a full audio, projection, and broadcast system. I came in super excited but now that we are almost done I honestly don't think I can work in this unpredictable and unreelable industry. I attached the system diagram and we bought a lot of Blackmagic equipment that's why I'm posting this here but if there are any other tech forums people recommend I'll check those out. The client and I are pretty pissed with the equipment so this will probably be an entertaining rant. I'm not taking time to systematically explain everything.

Here's the issues:

1. (resolved) the webcam video feed from the ATEM Mini is super glitchy, cutting in and out, flashing colors, glitching all over the place. The fix was setting zoom to HD, the ATEM was at 1080p24 by default. I'm not sure if the ATEM or Zoom is in the wrong for all the glitching when it either should have just worked or given me an incompatibility error.

2. I am watching Zoom like a hock as I type this because every couple of minutes I get "Audio Alert" "failed to detect your microphone" and zoom shuts off the video feed to the audience so I have to click "start video" to get it back working. If I had to take a guess I'd say the ATEM Mini takes a little **** by turning its audio off and Zoom freaks out and turns off the video feed because that makes so much sense to fix an audio problem.

3. The largest issue is the webcam feed just randomly freezes for no reason at all and when I turn off the webcam in zoom and turn it back on it just comes up as grey and in zoom settings the preview only shows grey. Audio still passes through but the only way to fix this problem without restarting the computer/live stream is by unplugging power from the ATEM Mini, cutting both video and audio to the 56 people on zoom then plugging it back in and it instantly fixes everything once it boots.

4. I am getting a **** ton of noise and a blatant beeping on the broadcast. The Behringer Xenyx802 has a clock that sends a beep to the audio feed to annoy people but from what I read online the ATEM Mini has horrible mic inputs and is creating the noise. I spent 40 minutes trying to balance sound board output, ATEM Gain, computer audio levels. This made some things better, some things worse, it was like whack a mole. It was an interesting find that if you adjust the ATEM Gain a certain way the audio just glitches in and out all the time its weird.

5. I have a presenter laptop running to the projectors and ATEM (look at the diagram) the projectors look fine but the computer feed blinks black/cuts out at random intervals which is annoying AF. I think the SDI to HDMI 6G or ATEM Mini is the issue. The camera feed which defies the laws of physics (three HDMI cords coupled together over 100 feet with perfect signal) doesn't cut out so I think the SDI to HDMI 6G is a piece of ****.

6. Totally unrelated but all of our Sennheiser XSW keep loosing signal/cutting out even though they are only 30 feet from the receiver. They sound great but have ******* ass range.

I'm sure I'm missing some issues. I love tech and I love designing and working with tech. But the constant stress of this ******* equipment not working and people being frustrated with me over **** I don't know how to fix is driving me F***ing insane. If anyone has any fixes for these problems I will be so grateful. I tried tons of stuff to fix these issues so I wish yall luck. If nobody can figure this stuff out then we should all consider another job. XD

Re: Glitches everywhere

PostPosted: Sun May 09, 2021 5:46 pm
by Adam Grunseth
It seems like whenver I do anything involving HDMi, there are always issues. As a general rule, I try to avoid HDMI as much as possible and stick with SDI, which, for me at least, seems to be more reliable. This is also why I have yet to jump on the ATEM mini wagon, as I am unconvinced that an HDMI workflow could be reliable in a mission critical situation.

If I understand your post correctly, the issues you are still having are that the audio out of the ATEM mini, going into Zoom, is sometimes dropping out causing Zoom to stop streaming? It also sounds like you are having issues with the webcam video from the ATEM mini dropping out, requiring an ATEM restart to bring back the video? There also seems to be general audio quality issues that you are suffering, plus range issues with your wireless mics, and an issue with frames being dropped on a feed from a presenter laptop?

Without knowing what kind of budget you have left to address these issues, here are some possible solutions-

Webcam feed video loss

1) You could try bypassing the ATEM's built in webcam encoding. You could capture program HDMI out from the ATEM using an affordable HDMI capture tool. You could route this into OBS on Windows, which has a plugin allowing OBS to work as a webcam source.

2) A potential easy solution to this problem is the USB connection you are using between the ATEM and the computer. Though I doubt this is likely the cause of your issue, you could dry a different USB cable and different USB port on the computer.

3) You could try using an external webcam encoder, like the BM web presenter.

Audio issues

1) I'm curious what output you are using on the mixer to connect to the ATEM? You could try bypassing ATEM audio enirely, going straight from your mixer to your computer. This could potentially resolve your quality issues and your issues with Zoom detecting audio.

2) Capturing the HDMI program out from the ATEM and using OBS as a virtual webcam, as I suggested as possible solution to the video freezes, might also have an impact on the issue with Zoom detecting audio.

Presenter laptop issues

1) It could be that your presenter laptop is outputting video at 60Hz while the ATEM is processing video at 59.94Hz and isn't detecting the small timing difference. Using a scan converter and scaler, like the decimator, will let you dial in your exact output settings before going into your ATEM.

2) Connect your SDI to HDMI converter to a computer via USB, install the requisite software, and look at the settings. Try playing with those settings and see if you get any improvement.

Wireless mic issues

1) Yeah, these Sennheiser and similar mic systems aren't really designed for a lot of range. I think that they expect you are going to have your receivers just off stage... And this would be the solution. Relocate the recievers so they are as close as possible to the transmitters, then cable from the receivers to your audio mixer.

Re: Glitches everywhere

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 10:35 am
by Frank Engel
Agree that for the audio quality issues you should try bypassing the ATEM for now to see if the quality issues go away. If they don't then you know the issue is somewhere other than the ATEM.

If they do go away then let us know more about how you have them cabled.

For example, the outputs on the mixer (other than the headphones) are all mono outputs, while the ATEM Minis have stereo inputs, so you would need something like an insert cable to wire that correctly to maintain stereo.

If your mix is always mono, then make sure the inputs on the ATEM are configured in mono and keep the second channel of the pair muted.

Re: Glitches everywhere

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 4:51 pm
by Tim Mc
Hello Stephan-

I have some questions that may help with some of your audio problems.

Which outputs on the Xenyx are you using, what cable(s) are you using to connect to the ATEM Mini? In the ATEM Switcher, what audio settings are in use? Are they set for stereo or split to mono? Are they set for microphone or line level?

Likely points of failure: using the XLR output of the Xenyx, with a cord wired to a 3.5mm TRS (tip, ring, sleeve) connector as "balanced audio" will result in a very low level with a very high noise component once you turn up the level in the Mini. The reason can be explained if you are interested, but if that is how you are connecting... it's the first signal failure. Next point of failure: The Xenyx is a line-level device; if the Mini is set for microphone level signals, the Mini is applying +40dB (roughly) of gain relative to the line level setting. The relative quality of the microphone preamps is not related to your problem.

The annoying beep from the Xenyx? I've never heard of that and suspect you have something else making that noise.

One final observation - long HDMI cables, longer than a couple of meters, make for unreliable transport. Conductor size, quality of connectors and construction, etc become factors. Fifteen meters for a standard HDMI cable is wishful thinking.

Check your audio wiring and settings and report back what you find. Good luck.

Re: Glitches everywhere

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 7:33 pm
by Jim Simon
I've been doing this professionally for two decades. Here's how I would approach the job.

Laptop and Camera directly into ATEM Extreme (you need that model) via HDMI. If the runs are too long for HDMI, use BiDirectional convertors for SDI.

HDMI 1 out of Extreme->BiDirectional->SDI->SDI D/A->Projectors.

HDMI 2 out of Extreme to MultiView Monitor.

Extreme USB-C->Laptop->Ethernet (no WiFi, no additional routers) with 20 Mb/s Upload minimum.

Mixer->XLR Y->XLR to Mini->ATEM (set to Line level in Software Control)

Re: Glitches everywhere

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2021 8:05 pm
by rstreber
I highly recommend using something like a Radial J-Iso to connect a balanced +4 output from a mixer to the mini input on the ATEM.

And a general word of wisdom from another person who's been in (audio) production for two decades: just because you "love tech" doesn't mean that the world owes you an easy go of it. Unfortunately, products like the ATEM are marketed in a way that promises an easy user experience with little-to-no learning curve. But frankly that's disingenuous. This stuff can be hard, there's a lot that can and will go wrong, and you need patience, a willingness to learn, resources to obtain and maintain a bare minimum quantity and quality of necessary gear, and some thick skin. If that's not of interest, then you most definitely should not be trying to do this professionally and (needless to say) charging someone else money for it.