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Every Atem Mini Switcher Compared: From the Atem Mini to the Atem Mini Extreme ISO

The Atem Mini switchers have become extremely popular for creatives that wish to take their streaming to the next level. Having the ability to switch between a number of different cameras and angles can be invaluable in many instances. Blackmagic Design seems to have the best options on the market, but which model is the right one for you? 

ATEM Mini

Key Specifications

Inputs: 4x HDMI Type A | 2x 3.5 mm Stereo Analog Audio | 1x RJ45 Ethernet
Price: $295.00
Video Output Formats: 1080p: 60, 59.94, 50, 30, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 
Monitor Resolution: 1,366 x 768 or Greater

The base model in the series is the least expensive option and potentially offers the best value for money. Depending on your requirements, the Blackmagic Design Atem Mini may be sufficient. With the use of its HDMI inputs, you can connect up to four cameras and switch between them. The webcam out port lets you connect directly to your laptop or desktop, and as the name suggests, your computer will recognize it as a webcam. 

You may be required to use software such as OBS to manage the stream if you're doing anything complex. You'll also need to set up the Atem mini software too, which can be downloaded directly from the Blackmagic Design website. Here is a link to a review that may provide more details on how to use the device. 

The base model is a great place to start if you're on a budget. However, the downside is if you're streaming with multiple cameras, you'll need a computer that handles that amount of data. If your computer can't process the data quickly enough, then this may affect the stream. This leads nicely on to the next Atem mini switcher, the Pro model. 

ATEM Mini Pro

Key Specifications

Inputs: 4x HDMI Type A | 2x 3.5 mm Stereo Analog Audio | 1x RJ45 Ethernet
Price: $495.00
Video Output Formats: 1080p: 60, 59.94, 50, 30, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 
Monitor Resolution: 1,366 x 768 or Greater

The Atem Mini Pro is identical to the original Mini in almost every regard except for a few extra features. The biggest difference is that the Pro model can process live streams internally. Essentially, you can conduct a full live stream without having any need for a computer. 

With its full Ethernet connection, you can connect it directly to the internet for the purpose of streaming. The initial settings need to be applied via a computer; however, once that's complete, the Atem Mini Pro can operate independently. The main benefit of this is that you don't need an expensive laptop or PC for the Pro that you may need with the original Mini model. 

With the Atem Mini, you may save a little money upfront; however, the overall cost of using it is potentially much greater than the Pro model. Effectively, this means that the Atem Mini Pro is by far the best when it comes to the overall value for money. It's probably the one you should consider first unless you need more features. 

The other additional feature is multi-view with the Pro model. Using the HDMI out, you can connect to an external display and view all of the connected cameras simultaneously. The original Mini model can only allow a preview for one camera at a time. The multi-view feature helps you preview the feed before you push it live. This can help prevent any potential issues. 

ATEM Mini Pro ISO

Key Specifications

Inputs: 4x HDMI Type A | 2x 3.5 mm Stereo Analog Audio | 1x RJ45 Ethernet
Price: $795.00
Video Output Formats: 1080p: 60, 59.94, 50, 30, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 
Monitor Resolution: 1,366 x 768 or Greater

The Atem Mini Pro ISO model offers one additional feature over the Pro model. This feature is the ability to record directly to an external hard drive. Although this may be quite a niche feature, the way that it's been implemented makes it incredibly powerful. 

For example, if you're filming an interview, instead of streaming it live, you can film with a multi-cam setup into a single external hard drive. Any edits that you perform with the Atem Mini ISO will be recorded and compiled into a Davinci Resolve project file. With up to four cameras, you can film relatively complex videos that retain all the edits you conduct. This is then ready for you to either apply final touches to in the project file or simply submit it for its desired end-use. 

The project file will also contain all of the clips and audio files too. This means that if you make any mistakes with any of the edits, you can quite easily make changes in post. 

The Atem Mini ISO is one of the most powerful multi-camera devices currently on the market. It retains all of the features that the less expensive models have; however, it brings the ability for offline recording, making it extremely capable. The device may seem pricey; however, it's definitely worth the money for those that need the extra feature. 

ATEM Mini Extreme (Plus ISO Model)

Key Specifications

Inputs: 8x HDMI Type A | 2x 3.5 mm Stereo Analog Audio | 1x RJ45 Ethernet | 1x Headphone Jack
Price: $795.00
Video Output Formats: 1080p: 60, 59.94, 50, 30, 29.97, 25, 24, 23.98 
Monitor Resolution: 1,366 x 768 or Greater

The Atem Mini Extreme models are extended versions of the standard Mini models. In practice, they're very similar both in terms of operation and the end result. The key difference is that the Extreme models offer double the camera inputs. This is great for creatives that want to live stream with a much larger camera setup or want to record a greater number of cameras simultaneously.  

The other benefit of the Extreme models is that they finally have a headphone jack for audio monitoring. None of the smaller models have a headphone jack. An additional device such as a Zoom recorder is required in order to effectively monitor audio levels. 

The Extreme models are essential for more extreme setups. For most creatives, the smaller variants are probably a better fit. However, the Extreme models offer extra capacity for those that require it. 

Final Thoughts

For most people, the Atem Mini Pro is probably going to be the most cost-effective option. You can stream without needing an expensive computer, and you have the extremely useful multi-cam feature. The base model may seem like a great budget option; however, in practice, it's quite limited and can cause more problems than it's worth. 

The ISO models are a more niche product, although they're incredible for what they offer. 

The only downside to the Atem Mini devices is that currently none of them offer any 4K support natively. This may not be a huge problem for some; however, in the next few years, these current models may quickly become less effective. 

Ultimately, The Atem Mini switchers are some of the most capable devices on the market right now. Depending on your requirements, there's probably one that will be perfect for what you need.  

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8 Comments

Nick Rains's picture

If you can stretch, go for the Extreme ISO. It's worth the extra $$$. Massive jump from the Mini Pro and ISO recording is something you will wonder how you ever managed without!

Usman Dawood's picture

Oh I completely agree about ISO recording. I had no idea how useful ISO recording was until we got it in.

Nick Rains's picture

Yes, just got mine and will be using the ISO recording very soon. I'm moving to Resolve in the meantime so i can keep a smooth workflow - the Iso recordings can come straight into DVR fully synced etc.

Tim Bradley's picture

Yes the Extreme ISO is the most flexible of the ATEMs. One thing to note, if you use SuperSource layouts on the Extreme ISO, the data for this is not recorded so recreating/editing in Resolve is not straight forward.

Nick Rains's picture

I believe the output is recorded, so that could do in a pinch.

Chris Lawrence's picture

yes, it is true that extreme iso only records 1080p. however, if you record 4k externally you can easily replace the original 1080 file with the externally recorded 4k file in the media pool in davinci... now you have synced 4k in a matter of minutes.

Usman Dawood's picture

That's interesting, how do you record externally when connected ot the Atem mini pleasE?

Nick Rains's picture

You need to be using a Blackmagic camera, in which case it records to an external SSD. You get a BRAW file which can then be brought into Resolve. All in perfect audio sync!

Or, if not using a BMD camera, you can always just hit the record button. A camera remote works well here. The ATEM just records the clean HDMI output, the camera records the 4K (or whatever) processed file to card. You'd have to manually sync this but Resolve can easily do this too.