What is NDI?

NDI (Network Device Interface) is a new technology in the a/v transmission market that has revolutionized how audio and video are transmitted in a production environment. NDI is a new technology pioneered by NewTek that takes an audio and video source, like a camera, and sends it over your local area network (LAN) as a broadcast. Any device or software on the same LAN that can receive an NDI feed can pick up the feed from another NDI device and rebroadcast it or it can mix it with other content and rebroadcast. Gone are the days of running SDI cables from every video source to a hardware video mixer. The idea of having multiple video and audio sources mixed together has become much simpler with NDI. Adding a new camera to your video mixer is as simple as plugging a camera into your local area network and setting the mixer to receive video signal from that camera. Another great feature of NDI is that it’s a free API that any software or hardware vendor can access. This makes it much easier for NDI to be more ubiquitous which means that you’ll notice more hardware and software vendors supporting NDI in the near future.

Who needs it?

Sounds great, right? NDI is the new thing and it’s awesome, but do you need it? If you plan on setting up a streaming rig for your church or are planning to use cameras for your worship service, you’ll want to consider using equipment and software that supports NDI. If you plan on sending output from EasyWorship to another computer or to a video mixer, you’ll need it. There are many uses for NDI. With EasyWorship and the power of NDI integration, you get a lot more bang for your buck and broadcast. Personally, I found the NDI phone app to be helpful when I needed a quick solution for an IMAG setup during a baptism. The app cost me $20 and EasyWorship did the rest.

How does EasyWorship utilize this technology?

The developers at EasyWorship have made it possible to bring in an NDI input like a camera feed. They also made it possible to send the output from EasyWorship out over NDI. You can use the input and output separately or together.

We demonstrated this at the WFX conference with PTZOptics by bringing a camera into an EasyWorship computer, adding transparent graphics to the camera and sending it to another EasyWorship computer that was receiving and outputting to an LED screen.

Sending an NDI feed out of EasyWorship is as simple as setting the output to NDI and selecting the resolution you want to send it out at. Receiving an NDI feed is as simple as creating a feed in the media area and selecting an NDI device as an input, just like you would select a capture card. You can then use that feed as an element on a slide or used it as a background to a slide. Can you see the possibilities?

What do I need to utilize this tech?

You’ll need a fast network connection. As I said before, I used the phone app for a baptism. My wifi wasn’t fast enough to keep the latency from being noticeable, but it was fast enough to get a good picture on the projector screen. I recommend a hard-wired connection for NDI. If you are only running a couple of NDI feeds from EasyWorship a Gigabit network is fine. If you’re planning on running more than a couple of NDI connections, you’ll need a 10 Gigabit backbone with Gigabit connections to the backbone. Most churches will be able to plug into an existing network and go to work.

  • As a camera option, PTZOptics uses NDI HX, which compresses the video to provide a high quality, low latency 6 Mbps NDI feed so you can run multiple cameras without bogging down your network. The uncompressed NDI feed at 100 Mbps can eat up a Gigabit backbone fairly quickly if you are running several NDI feeds. PTZOptics has a great guide for bandwidth usage.

Besides having an adequate network, you’ll need computer hardware, camera hardware, a video mixer and, of course, EasyWorship. 😊 For other software providers, be sure to check the requirements for their software.

  • A good video mixer option would be either a NewTek Tricaster or the vMix software.

Your setup can be as simple as an NDI camera and EasyWorship; or it can be as complex as sending multiple cameras and EasyWorship text to a mixer like vMix, all through NDI.

How does EasyWorship handle NDI differently?

There is other presentation software out there that will work with NDI, but you will have to purchase the NDI module and it does not receive NDI connections–you can only send out. EasyWorship allows you to send AND receive NDI from and to any NDI compatible device or software on your network. NDI functionality is included with EasyWorship, so there is no extra cost to get access to this technology. EasyWorship is capable enough to fit in any environment–from the complex production room to the simple setup with one camera, a computer and a soundboard.

As you can see, NDI technology is a game changer for the video production industry and for houses of worship. It’s taken the complicated and made it as simple as plugging in a network cable. It’s made low latency IMAG and internet streaming a much easier task. Couple that with the ease of use of EasyWorship and you have a great match for the church!

Rodger King Written by:

Rodger has been helping EasyWorship customers since 2005. He is the Customer Support Team Lead and Systems Administrator at EasyWorship, & Associate Pastor at his local church. He enjoys airplanes, cars, anything mechanical, watching documentaries, and spending time with his wife and two daughters.

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