Engineering Service, Inc.
Until June 1st, 2020, the NDI X Camera app for iOS from NewTek is temporarily free. Let’s see how it compares with the NDICam app.
What’s in common for these two iOS camera apps for multicam studios
- Both access the iPhone/Touch/iPad’s camera to stream using the NDI protocol to an NDI enabled video mixer.
- Both can stream at 1080p.
- Both offer AF Lock (autofocus lock) and AE lock (auto-exposure lock) to override the automatic circuitry and make the exposure and focus stay fixed on a stationary subject.
What is present in NDICam which is missing from NDI HX Camera app
NDICam fortunately offers framerate selection (currently 25p and ≈29.97p, illustrated above) which are two of the four most desired framerates for live streaming, especially if not covering sports. (This coincides with my long-term observation that most mobile devices in use are incapable of displaying over ≈29.97p and will only play half framerate if fed a faster framerate. As a result, using a higher framerate would cause an inconsistent cadence among different screens, as well as causing a waste of bandwidth.) I have found no frame selection at all in the NDI HX Camera app from NewTek, nor has Jeff Taylor of Beaker Films who thankfully installed it and looked for it on my behalf.
According to Mark Gilbert, CTO of Gallery SIENNA, creator of NDICam for iOS, NDICam is currently: “the only iOS NDI Camera app which supports Full NDI and NDI HX2”.
So far, NewTek has been unavailable for comment about whether these features are planned to be added to its NDI HX Camera app, or to explain (while there is no framerate selection) which is the default framerate.
What is currently missing from both apps:
- The traditional broadcast-friendly ≈23.976p framerate (which also works fine for the web and mobile devices).
- The digital cinema DCI-friendly exact 24p (which also works fine for the web and mobile devices and is better for non-4K Apple TV devices which can’t play non-integer framerates without skipping).
The capability of setting the shutter angle or shutter speed, a feature available in iOS apps like FiLMiC Pro and MoviePro for iOS since at least 2018.
I hope to see these added in the future to both NDI apps.
NDI HX Camera app from NewTek normally costs ≈US$20 but is currently free.
NDICam from Gallery SIENNA (Mark Gilbert) costs ≈US$10.
NDICam specifically supports wiring up the iOS device with Ethernet for better performance and reliability than wifi. NewTek has not yet confirmed this capability with its NDI HX Camera App.
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