Using DSLR cameras with IBM Cloud Video

In general, DSLR cameras should be considered in the same category as HDMI cameras with regards to using them for streaming with IBM Cloud Video.  They will require an HDMI output from the camera, with a capture device or capture card between the camera and the encoding (streaming) computer.  There are limitations to using DSLR cameras that are outlined below.

You can learn more about how to use HDMI cameras with IBM Cloud Videos article: Recommended cameras for streaming on IBM Cloud Video

You can learn more about some of our supported capture device types here:Video capture cards and devices

Many DSLR cameras are not suitable for streaming because they do not provide a clean output over their HDMI port.  They only provide a mirror of what is in the viewfinder, which often has overlays showing settings like battery life, etc.  Some DSLR models provide an option to turn off these character displays and provide a true "clean" output over HDMI, but not all, so you should check your specific make and model if it can do this. 

Another reason why some DSLRs are not ideal for streaming is because they offer less audio capabilities than a true live video camera.  You will want to make sure that the camera you are using can input live audio from an external microphone or audio source (not just use the low-quality built in mic) and can also output that audio over the HDMI port. 

Not all DSLR cameras are designed for extended live use.  Some models will overheat and automatically shut down if shooting video for extended periods of time, which will be unsuitable for applications where you plan to stream for longer than 2-3 hours a time.

Sample set up

Note: These results may not reflect your own, as different hardware has different settings

To start streaming using my Canon DSLR, I will be using the following things:

  • Canon Rebel T2i
  • MacBook Pro OS X
  • BlackMagic Intensity Extreme
  • Mini to Regular HDMI cord
  • Two sided thunderbolt cord
  • Virtual encoder Like Wirecast 8 or OBS

The Canon T2i has a mini HDMI out. This requires an HDMI cord with a mini HDMI adapter on once side and a regular HDMI adapter on the other side. 

Plug in the thunderbolt cord to your computer and the Blackmagic box. 

Plug the HDMI cord into the Canon and the HDMI In port on the Blackmagic.

You will want to make sure that the Blackmagic settings on your computer are set to HDMI. To do this, click the Apple in the top left corner, then select Preferences. Then select Blackmagic. Ideally, your set up should look like this:

Turn on the camera. Select the Video option and select Menu. Under Movie rec. size, set the resolution to 1920x1080, at 30 fps.

Now open your Virtual encoder and you should see "Intensity Extreme"  or Blackmagic device as a source. Be sure that your capture card and output of your camera share about the same sample rate to avoid dropped frames. 




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