Facebook Live Streaming with the Mevo Camera promises professional quality streams with multiple camera angles from a single camera and an iPhone, Android device or iPad. Users connect the camera to their phone or tablet and go live on Facebook Live. They can stream what looks like a multi-camera shoot with quick switching between shots and transitions. It even handles YouTube Live streaming and since Livestream.com makes the camera, it also works with their streaming video service. Does the camera deliver what it promises? We’ll let you know in this review of this simple compact live streaming camera.
Mevo Camera: Design
The Mevo Camera sits just 2.5 inches high and measures 2 inches in diameter. The round camera weighs only 4.6 ounces making it an incredibly compact camera. It comes with a micro-USB 2.0 port for charging and for hooking up an external microphone. There’s a micro-SD card slot, where streamed videos get saved for later use. The camera comes with a 16GB Sandisk card.
The camera lens offers an f2.8 lens with wide field of view (up to 150-degrees) that also should offer decent low-light performance. Despite the fast lens, the camera struggles under low light. A lot of users in the Facebook support group complain of grainy video quality while streaming in dark venues like concert halls or churches without bright ambient lighting.
The camera uses a Sony 4K Sensor and enjoys a 12.4MP image capture size. It shoots in 16:9 aspect ratio and streams at 30fps. While it has a 4K image sensor, it will only record or stream in 720p because the camera is designed to zoom into parts of the scene so the user can get multiple shots. Zooming doesn’t work in 4K resolution since the full screen sensor is 4K. I wish it would stream in 1080p. This would limit how far in the user could zoom, but that’s an option I’d happily give up for a higher quality stream. Some services only let the user stream in 720p, so I can see why Livestream limits the camera and app this way.
On top of the Mevo camera there’s a single control button and a 24-color LED light ring which shows the user the camera’s status. On back of the camera, you see two icons, one for Wi-Fi connectivity and one for battery status.
- White Light Spinning – shows the camera’s power is on and it’s booting up.
- Blue Light Pulsing on Back Edge over Wi-Fi Icon – the camera’s Wi-Fi Hotspot mode is on and ready for the user to connect their phone or tablet.
- Solid Green over the Battery Icon – means the 1200mAh battery holds more than 25% of a charge (about 15 minutes or more).
- Blue Light changes from Spinning to Solid on Front Edge – means phone or table connected to camera in Hotspot mode ready to stream over LTE.
- Solid Green over Wi-Fi Icon – camera connected to the Wi-Fi signal in the room.
- Spinning Blue Light Turns to Solid Blue on Front Edge – camera and phone both connected via Wi-Fi in the room.
- Spinning Red Light – means the app on the phone or tablet is establishing a connection to the live streaming service (YouTube, Facebook, Livestream, etc).
- Red Light Blinking – the stream stops and video saves to micro-SD card, if you chose to save it in the app.
- Red Light Blinking turns solid Blue – ready to stream again after disconnecting from streaming service.
- Red Light Moves Right or Left – means you’re streaming the right edge or the left edge of the stage in the app.
- Blue Light Blinking – the connection between the Meevo Camera and the app dropped for some reason.
- Solid White Light Starts Spinning in Clockwise Fashion – you pressed the power button to shut down the camera or you chose Shutdown from the app.
You’ll notice from this list that the status can get complicated and hard to remember what all the spinning and blinking lights mean at first. For further explanation of the LED status lights see the GetMevo site.
On front of the Meevo Camera, there is a small grill below the lens. That’s where the speaker and stereo microphone sit. The two microphones sit on either side of the speaker in the center.
On the back of the camera, you get the icons at the top which shows the status of the battery level and Wi-Fi signal. The micro-USB port and micro-SD card slot sit towards the bottom of the camera.
On the bottom, you find the magnetic power and data connector used to connect to the included part that hooks up to a tripod. There’s also a pinhole reset button on the bottom. Press it with a sharp object like a pin, paper clip or pen tip to reset the camera to factory settings. This erases all settings and login information for streaming services.
The attachment connects magnetically to the bottom of the camera. A ring twists to lock the connection. There’s also an accessory called the Mevo Boost that buyers can get which boosts the battery and adds some other options for networking. See more on the Mevo Boost below.
The simple design and compact nature make it easy to carry the camera around. The battery doesn’t last long enough for a full hour event, but short live streams under about 45 minutes will work well. If you can plug in the included micro-USB to AC adapter, then you don’t have to worry about the battery dying. That defeats the benefit of the compact design.
Some time in the future, Mevo might turn on the built-in Apple Homekit chip. It’s currently disabled, but that would make this an interesting option as a security camera when the user isn’t using it for live streaming. It could also become an always ready to stream camera. Maybe a future app update could sense movement and automatically turn on the camera and stream to Facebook, YouTube or Livestream.
The Mevo Camera worked great the first few weeks we used it in our church. However, lately the Wi-Fi signal has become less dependable. It drops the signal sometimes multiple times during the hour-long worship service. That, plus the poor sound quality and bad low light performance make it hard to recommend the Mevo Camera unless the user can get a direct connection from an external mic to the camera and use the Mevo Boost with Ethernet mentioned below.
Mevo Camera: App and Service
Use the app to connect to the Mevo camera. When you first set it up, the camera turns on its Wi-Fi Hotspot mode and you connect your iPhone, iPad or Android device to the camera directly. The app will take the previously set up Wi-Fi information from the phone and pass it along to the camera and then disconnect from the camera. The camera will restart and then hook up to the Wi-Fi network in the room. It will log into the Wi-Fi network using the password sent over from the phone or tablet. It works very well.
The app shows the user what the camera’s 4K lens sees. The user can then log into Facebook, Livestream, YouTube or Periscope and start streaming right way. It asks for things like a title to the stream and a description. I used it mostly with Facebook and streamed my church’s Sunday worship services using our Facebook Page. The app supports this and setting up the stream to a Facebook Page is as simple as streaming to your own profile. You can switch between them before you go live.
The app includes a lot of settings to customize the stream (see the above screen shots of settings). You can choose to save the live stream to your Facebook timeline and to the camera, just one or none of those options. It also includes Facebook chat features so you can see what your audience says in reaction to your live stream.
The camera will let you stream using the sound from the camera mic or plug in a USB mic. You can also use the mic from your iPhone or iPad. Plug an audio source into the iPhone or iPad and use it instead. We tried to set this up with our church sound system, but we never could get the sound right. It’s not as simple as plugging a cable from the sound system’s output to your phone, tablet or the Mevo camera. We got a lot of hissing sound or no sound at all sometimes. Using a USB mic hooked up to the camera works if you have the Mevo Boost mentioned below.
The app works like a professional video switcher allowing the user to do what Mevo calls “live editing” of the stream. In the case of my church, the camera sees the whole stage area of our church plus the organist on the right side of the stage and the pianist on the left. The person controlling the stream from an iPad sets up zones to switch to before the event starts. You can predetermine what areas to set by pressing and holding on the screen.
When the worship service begins the person controlling the camera can zoom into the center of the stage using pinch and zoom in the app. The user can also tap on the zones set up before the service. Pinch out to zoom in and the press with two fingers and move the fingers to pan. Tap a zone to jump to that view and then zoom out to show the entire area. It works very well.
The Mevo Camera app also will let you pick a person’s face and follow that person no matter where they move. This feature doesn’t work very well. The app is slow to move when the person moves. It can also detect faces and create hot spots to jump to in the live editing mode. Tap on one of the detected faces and it zooms in on that person. That feature didn’t work well, either. It’s easier to select them manually and move the camera’s focal point manually.
Livestream also offers an expensive desktop app called Livestream Studio that the user can connect to the Mevo Camera via a network. It costs $800 and only works on Windows. You’ll need the Mevo Boost also. It’s for professional solutions or serious Internet streamers. I didn’t test it for this review.
Mevo Boost and Other Accessories
The Mevo Boost doesn’t come cheap at $249. It adds some great features that users will need to make the Mevo Camera useful. First, it adds a 12,000mAH battery that extends the one hour in the camera to up to ten hours. In our tests, we never depleted the battery of both the Mevo Camera and the Mevo Boost. That’s while using it for three straight Sundays for about 3 hours each week, including the setup and the stream of the worship service.
The Mevo Boost also adds an Ethernet connection. This makes the stream more reliable, especially in an environment where a lot of people try to use the room’s Wi-Fi signal.
People with LTE modems can also plug one into the Mevo Boost’s micro-USB port and get streaming over LTE from the modem. The Mevo Boost supports only the Verizon 4G LTE USB Modem UML285 and the Verizon/Novatel MiFi 4G LTE Global USB Modem U620L. That could change. Check out the list of supported modems on the GetMevo site.
The Mevo Boost adds a connector on the bottom to attach the camera to things like Mic stands and tripods. The camera alone will only connect to a tripod. We use this to hook up to a Mic stand in our church meeting area.
Anyone who plans to use the Mevo Camera for more than just personal use, should get the Mevo Boost.
Along with the Mevo Boost, buyers can get a Mevo Stand for $49.99. It holds the Mevo Boost and Mevo Camera from 35.4-inches up to 70-inches.
In addition to the Boost and Stand, buyers can get a nice Mevo Case for their camera and the Mevo Boost. It costs $49.99 and offers hard shell protection. Unfortunately, the camera’s included bottom doesn’t stay put in the case, so I added a lint free cloth to keep them secure while carrying around my camera, boost and charger.
Get the Mevo Camera, the Mevo Boost and the Mevo Case for a bundle price of about $700 on Amazon. Bought separately, the case, the camera and the boost will cost $750.
The Mevo Camera offers great hope for people who stream to Facebook Live, YouTube Live, Livestream or Periscope and want more than they can get with a webcam and computer or a smartphone. The Live Editing feature in the app makes this a professional quality stream, potentially. I say potentially, because the camera with the app doesn’t offer enough dependability unless you can hook up to an Ethernet port and use a USB mic hooked up to the camera. The built-in Wi-Fi should take into account that Wi-Fi signals might drop and cache the signal or let it drop to sub-720P stream quality, keeping the stream going instead of dropping out.
If you can hook up to Ethernet and an external USB mic, then it can work as a professional solution. You’ll need the Mevo Boost which makes this a $650 package at minimum instead of $400 for the camera alone.