Courtroom Video Streaming Solutions

With many courtrooms shut down since mid-March, judicial systems across the country have been overwhelmed by an enormous backlog of cases. Regardless, justice must be served, so some courts are again holding trials out of necessity—with precautions like plexiglass between jurors, and mandated wearing of masks.

Still, those are only partial solutions. Many courts have a legal obligation to allow for public viewing, and while family members may still be allowed in, most courts are making other interested parties watch from home on a livestream. Some courts even require that jurors, attorneys, and other key personnel participate remotely over video feeds.

Fortunately, a wide range of video gear is available for quickly and easily doing livestreams of court proceedings, providing remote participation, or both. We’ll cover individual products to solve specific needs, as well as comprehensive bundles for accommodating larger courtrooms or upgrading current streaming capabilities. What’s more, as the leading provider of streaming audio and video systems, our entire team of Full Compass Professionals can help you find the most affordable solution for your particular needs. Call Full Compass at 800-356-5844 (Monday-Friday, 7:00am-5:30pm Central time), and we’ll answer your questions with expert, helpful advice.


We’ll start with our simplest all-in-one setup for smaller courtrooms, and build up from there.

Shure MV88+VIDEOKIT

$249.00

MV88

This easy to use, cost-effective solution is one of our most popular kits. The package includes the Shure MV-88 iOS Digital Stereo Condenser Microphone, Manfrotto PIXI Tripod, phone clamp and shoe‐mount mic clip, and cables (USB‐C for Android smartphones, Lightning for Apple iOS). The sound quality is far better than your smartphone’s built-in mic, while the tripod gives stable, jitter-free videos. Unbox it, and you’re ready for audio and/or video capture within minutes—just snap in your phone, and start streaming.


VIDEO STREAMING FROM A WEB CAMERA

Another easy option is using a web cam to stream from a laptop or desktop computer. However, a computer’s built-in web cam is usually an afterthought designed to hit a price point and is difficult to aim optimally. Fortunately, even a simple external web cam can greatly improve video quality and offer flexible positioning.

Logitech C270 HD Web Camera

$39.99

C270

This is an excellent choice for tight budgets. A big problem with any camera is being able to work under low-light conditions, but the C270 features automatic light correction for capturing good video, even in dim light. For audio, the built-in mic includes noise reduction technology that keeps distracting sounds out of your stream.

Logitech C920S HD Pro Webcam

$79.40

C920S

Moving up a step, the C920S combines a sensitive auto-focus with high-definition video (1080p widescreen at 30 frames per second). A high-quality video stream needs to be in focus; auto-focus means you don’t have to be concerned about losing time from adjusting and re-adjusting the focus.

PTZOptics PT-WEBCAM-80

$89

PTZOptics

Compared to a basic, inexpensive webcam, this model gives higher audio and video quality, with high-definition video (1920 x 1080 pixels) and audio capture (up to 15 feet away from the speaker). Another advantage is that it’s compatible with popular video streaming software. Connectivity is simple—both audio and video connect to computers via USB 2.0. This is an appropriate solution when working with a small group of courtroom participants.

AMX ACV-5100 Acendo Vibe Stereo Conferencing Sound Bar with Wide-Angle HD Camera

$299

Vibe

In many cases, you’ll need a wide-angle view to take in the entire proceedings. You may also need to pipe in audio or video from other sources. For these types of applications, the ACV-5100 gives a 110 degree, wide-angle view, with camera rotation and tilt for optimum placement. The connectivity is also more advanced, with HDMI, Bluetooth, and USB, and the audio (engineered by well-known audio company JBL) is high quality. Unlike most other video cameras, it’s packaged in a soundbar-style form factor for a professional, unobtrusive look.

Marshall Electronics Compact HD PTZ Camera with USB 2.0 

$599

379639

With full PTZ (Pan, Tilt, and Zoom) functionality and full HD resolution packed into a compact, ergonomically designed housing, this camera is perfect for when space is at a premium, but you still need to capture high-quality video. It comes with an accurate IR remote control so it can be operated from across the courtroom if need be.


STREAM YOUR VIDEO TO THE WEB WITH AN ENCODER

HIGHER-QUALITY VIDEO AND AUDIO REQUIRES AN ENCODER TO STREAM ON THE WEB. THESE FOUR ENCODERS ARE OUR FAVORITE MODELS FOR COMBINING EASE OF USE WITH COST-EFFECTIVENESS.

Anyone with a smartphone and a Facebook page can record a live stream. However, obtaining higher video (and audio) quality requires a better camera, which in turn depends on an encoder to convert the high-quality video signal into a format that’s usable on the web. Smartphones use basic encoding technology to do this automatically, but more advanced encoding produces a professional-quality stream that’s suitable for government platforms and other critical applications.

Datavideo NVS-33 Video Streaming Encoder and MP4 Recorder

$699.00

Datavideo

This encoder emphasizes ease of use. After completing the initial setup by using a computer or tablet, you can start a stream (or record) from an HD-SDI or HDMI camera by pressing a single button.

Matrox Monarch HD Professional Video Streaming and Recording Device

$995.00

Monarch

This is one of our most popular encoders because it combines usability, professional quality, and cost-effectiveness. What’s more, you can stream and record a video at the same time, so it’s easy to create a copy of the live stream that can be accessed later on, or posted as a download (or embedded) on a government website.

AJA HELO Professional HD/SD Recorder & Streamer

$1,295.00

HELO

Higher-end cameras perform better with an encoder that matches their capabilities. The HELO accepts both 3G-SDI and HDMI and encodes up to 1080p at 60 frames per second. The higher frame rates create a smooth, continuous video experience during pans and zooms.

SlingStudio Hub Streaming Appliance

$999

SlingStudio

The SlingStudio Hub is a portable, wireless multi-camera broadcasting platform with exceptional connectivity. You can monitor, record, switch, edit and stream live HD-quality video wirelessly to any streaming platform, or to your own streaming-capable government websites. Being able to monitor up to four cameras wirelessly makes multi-camera shoots practical, but the unit can also stream with modern iOS or Android devices, as well as conventional cameras. (However, note that it needs the CameraLink accessory to accept HDMI camera outputs.) Once set up, SlingStudio Hub is easy to use, and popular with organizations of all kinds due to its versatility.


HIGH-END CAMERAS

FOR CHALLENGING VIDEO ENVIRONMENTS, HIGHER-END CAMERAS PROVIDE THE OPTIMUM SOLUTION.

PTZ (Pan, Tilt, and Zoom) cameras have become an industry standard for many applications because of their increased functionality, advanced technology, and small footprint. Here are two of our favorites that yield impressive results, yet remain cost-effective.

Panasonic AW-UE4

$995.00

Panasonic

Its wide-angle lens and zoom make this camera suitable for both large and small courtrooms. And with the capability to shoot in 4K, you can provide the highest-resolution video stream available with current, common technology. This translates to exceptional detail.

Vaddio ConferenceSHOT 10 HD USB PTZ Camera 

$1,573.20

vaddio

With super-fast autofocus, smooth pans and tilts, and its ability to accommodate multiple video scenarios, the Vaddio ConferenceSHOT helps any operator look like an experienced live streamer—even under challenging conditions.

A WORD ABOUT LIGHTING

You don’t need to light the courtroom like a movie set or a Broadway play, but there are some basic guidelines. Sunny windows and bright bulbs behind a subject will put that person in shadow, and often all you’ll see is a silhouette. When possible, it’s best to place light sources in front of, or parallel with, the main subjects. You may even want to consider mobile studio lighting. To find out how to optimize lighting for video streaming, please refer to our guide:

See the Light: Lighting Basics for Video Streaming.

Ultimately, experiment and see what looks best on your screen, but also be aware that we specifically recommend cameras that work well under fairly low-light conditions.


CAMERA AND CONTROLLER BUNDLES

THESE PLUG RIGHT INTO YOUR COMPUTER TO SIMPLIFY THE VIDEO PRODUCTION PROCESS.

Having a joystick camera controller allows broadcast-quality pans, zooms, and focus. You can go in tight on a witness giving testimony, then pull out to take in the reaction in the courtroom. Please note that these two camera and controller bundles require a dedicated computer to act as an encoder.

Marshall Electronics PTZ Camera and Controller Bundle

This package includes:

  • 12MP Generation 2 USB 3.0 PTZ Camera With 20x Zoom
  • Compact PTZ Joystick Camera Controller

Total Bundle Price: $1,299.99

401778

This versatile, easy-to-operate camera fits virtually anywhere. The controller provides brightness and manual focus controls in addition to the expected pans, tilts, and zooms.

PTZOptics Camera & Controller Video Bundle

This package includes:

  • 12MP Generation 2 USB 3.0 PTZ Camera With 20x Zoom
  • Third Generation IP Joystick Keyboard, Power over Ethernet (PoE) Capable

Total Bundle Price: $2,399.99

401779

The controller offers advanced PTZ controls, such as focus lock, and an on-screen display menu. This camera also shoots in true HD format with a 1920 x 1080p resolution, at up to 60 frames per second.


SINGLE-CAMERA BUNDLES WITH STREAMING DEVICES

For the initial system setup you’ll need to hook the encoder up to a computer or tablet, but after that, these two bundles are all you need for high-quality live streaming.

Sony PTZ Camera, RMIP10 Controller, Datavideo NVS-33 Video Streaming Bundle

This package includes:

  • Sony SRG300H/W Full HD Desktop and Ceiling Mount PTZ Camera
  • Sony IP Remote Controller
  • Datavideo H.264 Video Streaming Encoder and MP4 Recorder

Total Bundle Price: $4,379.99

SonyBundle

This Sony camera is desktop or ceiling mountable, and features a powerful 30x zoom while capturing up to 60 frames per second. The three-axis joystick is particularly notable, because it gives you finer camera motions than what’s usually provided by other controllers.

BirdDog 200 PTZ Camera, PTZ Controller, AJA HELO Video Streaming Bundle

This package includes:

  • Eyes P200 1080P Full NDI PTZ Camera with HDMI/3G-SDI
  • BirdDog PTZ Keyboard
  • Professional H.264 HD / SD Recorder & Streamer

Total Bundle Price: $5,499.99

Birddog

This camera incorporates professional features from Sony, like the CMOS Backlit sensor and true Sony Image Module. However, its unique feature—the BirdDog custom full NDI® silicon chip—optimizes communication among devices for the highest-quality stream possible.


DUAL-CAMERA BUNDLES FOR LARGER COURTROOMS

Using more than one camera requires a video switcher so that you can choose the right camera at the right time. These last three bundles accommodate a common broadcast studio scenario, which has a dedicated wide shot on one camera, and a dedicated close-up on the other. These packages are solid workhorses for any type of streaming situation.

Two PTZOptics Cameras, PTZOptics Controller, Roland VR-4HD AV Mixer Video Streaming Bundle

This package includes:

  • (2) 2.07MP 1080p PT30X-SDI-G2 Cameras with 30x Optical Zoom
  • Third Generation IP PT-JOY-G3 Joystick Keyboard PoE Capable
  • Roland VR-4HD AV Mixer

Total Bundle Price: $6,699.99

PTZOptics Bundle

The Roland switcher provides a fully-functional desktop studio, with an on-board multi-viewer to set up the next shot. The matching PTZOptics HD cameras have a 30x zoom, and support both 3G-SDI and HDMI for a higher-quality video stream.

Two RoboSHOT 30E USB Cameras, ProductionVIEW Controller, ATEM Mini Switcher Video Streaming Bundle

This package includes:

  • (2) RoboSHOT 30E HDMI Cameras
  • ProductionVIEW Precision Camera Controller
  • ATEM Mini Video Switcher

Total Bundle Price: $7,999.99

Bundle6

These RoboSHOT Elite cameras come equipped with enhanced wide dynamic range, which compensates for uneven lighting by making over-lit or dark areas more visible and defined. The ProductionVIEW Controller allows for advanced image adjustments like red and blue gain, detail, and iris. And the ATEM Mini switcher was built from the ground up specifically for streaming applications.

Two Panasonic PTZ Cameras, Panasonic Controller, Roland V-1HD, Monarch HD Video Streaming Bundle

This package includes:

  • (2) Panasonic AWHE40WWPJ9 Full HD Indoor PTZ HDMI Cameras With 30x Optical Zoom
  • Panasonic AWRP50NJ Remote Pan/Tilt Camera Controller
  • Roland Compact 4 HDMI Input 1080p Video / Audio Switcher / Mixer
  • Monarch HD Professional Video Streaming and Recording Device

Total Bundle Price: $8,499.99

2Panasonic

The two Panasonic cameras offer excellent installation flexibility, as they support Power over Ethernet Plus (PoE+), which means you have fewer cables to manage. They also include all the technology you’d expect in higher-end PTZ cameras, like a 30x zoom and full HD resolution. The Roland V-1HD switcher incorporates cameras plus playback sources like smartphones, computers, and Blu-ray players into the stream to enable fully-produced presentations.


ACCESSORIES

Sometimes it’s the little things that count. Microphones benefit from wind or pop filters, and of course, you’ll need cables and, in some cases, adapters. Even with something as simple as a smartphone-based setup, you’ll need some sort of tripod to hold the phone. Again, we have the experience to make sure you don’t have a last-minute hitch caused by missing some small, but crucial accessory.

 

WE’RE HERE TO SERVE

We hope this has helped you understand how live streaming works, and how easy it can be to broadcast to remote locations. We’re fortunate that today’s technology provides products and packages for spaces and budgets of all sizes. Even as life slowly returns to normal, full in-person trials will likely continue to be discouraged for quite some time. And remote participation, which has been an important tool in many courtrooms for years, will only grow in usefulness.

For over 40 years, Full Compass has been helping businesses, schools, and government agencies find solutions for all types of audio, video, and networking applications. We’re here to answer your questions and find solutions that best suit your courtroom’s specific needs and budget. Your personal Full Compass Professional is just a phone call away: 800-356-5844 (Monday-Friday, 7:00am-5:30pm Central time).

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