Setting Up A Blackmagic Design ATEM Switcher

The Blackmagic ATEM mini switchers are truly a breakthrough because they do amazing things while costing very little. They can easily bring together all of the functions you need so that all of your live broadcasts are professional and clear. Setting up the switchers is not difficult because each of them comes with a user manual that is easy to understand and which gives you step-by-step instructions that will have you using your mixer in no time. Even if you’re new to live production switchers, not to worry because they practically set up and operate themselves.

How to Set up Blackmagic ATEM Switchers 1

Getting Everything Set up and Ready to Go

Remember first that these switchers connect automatically to your computer via the USB port. This plug-and-play capability means that you don’t have to be a tech genius to get them all set up and ready to go. When you first look at one of these mixers, it can be a little intimidating, but you’ll quickly learn how to use all of its keys so that you can experience live productions with all of the fancy footwork. When you get your mixer out of the package, the first thing you’ll have to do is plug it in, and you do this by plugging the power cord into the “Power” button on the back of the mixer. Keep in mind that each mini mixer has its own power cord, and you should only use the proper one each time. Never try to switch any of the power cords with that of another mixer.

You’ll plug in your video sources first by connecting your cameras with an HDMI cable. One end of the cable will go into the camera itself and the other end will go into the HDMI input on the mixer. There are usually four of these HDMI inputs. Next, you’ll want to plug in your monitor and test the inputs. You can do this by first plugging your HDMI television into the mixer by following the same rules you did for the video camera. If you press the numbered input numbers on the control panel then see the lights switch between one another, you’ll know that the inputs are all working correctly.

Next, you’ll want to connect a microphone to the mixer. Doing this is simply because all you have to do is plug the microphone into one of the 3.5 mm audio inputs available. Many people use microphones for PowerPoint presentations and videos. When conducting an interview, you can plug the second microphone into one of the other audio inputs, and if you like, you can plug a music player into one of the audio inputs, which is good for mixing music into certain productions.

You’ll connect your computer next by plugging the mixer’s webcam output into the computer’s USB input. When you do this, the computer recognizes the mixer as a webcam, which means you can use it when live-streaming events and using OBS Studio, Skype, or other such programs. With this action, you’ll also have to set the webcam source and to do this, the following steps are needed (instructions are for Skype, but other settings are similar):

  • Go to Skype’s Menu bar and look for “audio and video settings.”
  • Click on Camera, then select Blackmagic Design. In the Preview window, you will then see the video from your ATEM mixer.
  • Finally, go to the “Microphone” drop-down menu and under Audio Source, choose Blackmagic Design.

These are the basics for getting set up and ready to go with your Blackmagic ATEM mixer. At this point, you are ready to broadcast your video so that others can enjoy it as much as you will. Naturally, there are a lot more fancy perks to using the ATEM mixer, some of which we’ll describe below.

Switching the Production

After you’re set-up, you’ll want to install your video-streaming software, and whether you choose OBS, vMix, or any others, you can usually get the software for free. During your broadcast, you may want to switch from one video source to another, and using your ATEM mixer to do this is simpler than you think. There are actually several ways you can make these switches, including the following:

  • By using a cut. Once the red Input 1 button is illuminated to show that that camera is on the air, press Cut then press the Input 2 button. Input 2 will now be illuminated in red.
  • By using an auto transition. There are several types of these, including a Mix transition and a Wipe transition. For a Mix transition, simply press the Mix button, then press the key associated with the duration you want, press the Auto button, and press the Input 2 button to perform the action.

As with almost everything else you do with the ATEM mixer, the process is very simple because the buttons are mostly self-explanatory. It’s not that you can learn all of this in an hour or even a day; however, you will learn it faster than you think if you simply work with it a few times.

Using Picture in Picture (PiP)

With the ATEM mixer, using the picture-in-picture feature is not at all complicated. To enable this feature, here is all you have to do:

  • The video that is to be inside of the box has to be plugged into HDMI Input 1, which is the default input for the picture-in-picture feature.
  • Plug your main video into HDMI Inputs 2, 3, or 4.
  • Look for the picture-in-picture button on the control panel, then press the On button.

Once again, you can understand why the Blackmagic ATEM mini mixers are so popular. Their ease of use is one of the biggest perks of buying one of these mixers, and another huge advantage is the fact that you can do so many fancy things with this mixer.


Getting one of the Blackmagic ATEM mixers all set up and ready to go is much easier than most people think, and so is using some of its many fancy, high-tech features. You don’t have to be a tech genius or have a lot of experience with mixers to make this happen. Indeed, all you need is a little practice and you’re all set to make some magic happen every time you’re a part of a live broadcast in your studio.

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