UPDATE 3/23/2017: With the most recent firmware update, Mevo has really helped address some of my concerns listed below. They now offer an option to narrow the field of view to eliminate the fish-eye distortion! This is great news and it really helps the quality and professionalism of the output. With each firmware update, they continue to improve the camera and quality. I appreciate the fact that they are listening to their customers.

Several months ago, I shared about a new video live streaming camera that looked interesting for churches. After using it for the last month I wanted to share an update. The Mevo camera by Livestream is an interesting small video camera that can be used to record events and it is controlled from an iPhone. It has a 4k sensor, but only records in 720p. That extra resolution gives you multiple camera shots to choose from, so it’s like a little production studio built into the camera.

Here’s what I like

  • It’s small and inconspicuous. You can really hide the camera.
  • It has a wide field of view. This means you can get it really close to what you want to film so that the camera is not in the way. We mounted ours from the ceiling with a Manfrotto articulated arm.
  • It’s easy to control from anywhere in the room. You can connect the Mevo to your wifi network or you can connect your iPhone directly to the Mevo hotspot.
  • You can livestream on Facebook Live instantly!  It’s free and it works great. It used to cost a large monthly fee for churches to livestream their services. Now you can do it for free with this camera.  The great thing about Facebook Live is that people will naturally find your video, even friends of friends. It’s been great to see how many people view our video each week live.
  • You can record the audio from your iPhone. This means you can hook a better microphone to your iPhone, or even connect your iPhone directly to a sound board using a special adapter. The camera syncs the audio from your iPhone with the video from the camera. It actually works quite well.
  • When your event is done, the video file can be saved to the microSD card in the camera.

 

Here’s what I don’t like

  • The camera has a lot of “fish-eye” distortion due to the wide angle lens. If you are used to watching GoPro videos, this won’t bother you, but it’s a little unprofessional for many events. It’s not as noticeable on the close up shots, but the wide angle shots don’t look great.
  • The on-board audio from the camera is terrible. Maybe it’s good for speech or small interviews, but it’s terrible in a church setting. Music just distorts and the preaching sounds unnatural. For us, the only solution was to hook the iPhone directly to the sound board. I have had a bug where the camera automatically switches from the iPhone audio to the onboard audio. I’m hoping they get this fixed soon.
  • The face tracking doesn’t work well. I had high hopes for this, but we have turned off this feature. Any time I looked away from the camera to the side, it completely loses the face tracking. It would be great if it reconnect the face tracking, but you have to re-click the face to reset it each time. It simply doesn’t work for us.
  • The focus and clarity isn’t great on the closeup shots. I was hoping for better quality video. I was able to get the video looking a little better by manually lowering the exposure and lowering the saturation. By default the camera video was too vivid and oversaturated.

I think it’s a great value for smaller churches. They may add the ability to link together multiple cameras at some point in the future. I also think it would be great for live streaming Bible studies or small groups. I could also see this working well for youth ministry or special events.

Perhaps the best way to evaluate it is to see it in action. Here is a video of one of our recent services from Cornerstone. It’s been edited in Final Cut to add in graphics and videos, but you can see the finished product.  You can see the wide angle distortion and the lack of clarity on some of the close up shots. 

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15 Comments

  1. Bob Horton
    November 20, 2016 at 9:35 am — Reply

    Would using something like an Amcrest ProHD camera be a cheaper way of doing much the same thing … but eliminate the fish-eye distortion? The only question I haven’t figured out (haven’t investigated yet) is how to connect it to Facebook Live. They’ve got apps for viewing it live … so you could just distribute their app … but I prefer the Facebook live option as it can record it and be played back later … which gives more value than one or the other.

  2. Travis
    January 18, 2017 at 10:47 am — Reply

    Now that you’ve been using it a few months would you’ve bought it again? If not what do you think that you’d use instead?

    • January 18, 2017 at 2:05 pm — Reply

      Travis, even with its flaws as noted in the review, I would still purchase it. It really makes live-streaming on Facebook Live easy. We have had a great response on Facebook to streaming our service. For the cost, it’s a great tool for us.

  3. February 8, 2017 at 7:10 pm — Reply

    I think it needs to be lower down. It’s looking down on everyone. That said, it’s good to know what it’s capable of. Good review.

    • February 9, 2017 at 11:33 am — Reply

      We noticed the same thing and lowered the camera with a different mount after the first few weeks. It could still be a little lower, but that’s as far as we could feasibly go.

      shows our current setup.

      • April 27, 2017 at 2:12 pm — Reply

        Mike, can you post a pic of your stage showing the camera mounted? Also, is the new mount the Manfrotto articulated arm or something else?

        • April 29, 2017 at 9:35 am — Reply

          Christopher, I just updated the post and added two new pictures showing the setup. Our sanctuary is a converted store front, so it seats about 250 people that are very close to the stage. Our ceiling height is 10 feet, so we do have very low ceilings. You can see from the pics how we are setup. I also added Amazon affiliate links to the manfrotto arm we are using. We went from a 2 section arm to a 3 section arm, and we also inverted the camera to get it lower. When we went to a more narrow field of view, we had to move the camera further from the stage, so that is why it is now mounted at an angle.

  4. Mackenzie
    February 23, 2017 at 9:56 am — Reply

    Hey there Mike! How far back are you able to go with the camera?

  5. Christy
    February 28, 2017 at 2:49 pm — Reply

    I have the same questions as Mackenzie. We are considering this camera for our church and would like to mount it in the sound booth which is approximately 50 ft from the stage.

    • February 28, 2017 at 2:57 pm — Reply

      See above for my comments. I think that will be too far for this camera. If you want something similar, I would suggest checking out the PTZOptics robotic camera. http://ptzoptics.com/20x-sdi/ – It can be controlled from an app or from a computer. It’s a lot more expensive and you would also need a streaming solution, but you need something with a long optical zoom.

  6. March 22, 2017 at 9:45 am — Reply

    Can Mevo videos be post edited? Trinity Church

  7. March 22, 2017 at 2:45 pm — Reply

    Can video be pushed from Mevo to Chromecast on a monitor in a different area of the building?
    We are currently using the Mevo camera, still working out the kinks, especially with sound, but like it so far.

    • March 23, 2017 at 1:07 pm — Reply

      If you are streaming to Facebook Live, I think you could watch the livestream from Facebook in another part of the building using your Chrome browser and the chromecast. I don’t think there is a way to send it directly from the camera to the chromecast, but you should be able to send any chrome browser output to it. Just remember, that the delay can be anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds depending on your connection speeds. You will also need to make sure you have enough bandwidth upstream and downstream for doing something like this. One more thing to consider: I know of a local church recently that tried something like this with a different type of camera and livestream solution and ran into problems when the stream crashed and had to be restarted in the overflow rooms.

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