The Mevo Plus is a pocket-sized camera designed to make live streaming easy. Ben Griffin gave it a go to find out just how easy.
It seems everyone and their cat wants to be a YouTuber or at least share their life with others on the likes of Facebook and YouTube. Hence why there are now a number of devices that let you live stream whatever it is you are doing, the latest of which is the Mevo Plus.
The Mevo Plus works in conjunction with the Mevo app, available on Android and iOS for free, and is a very small device – no more than 3 inches in height and 2 inches in width. It does, however, feel weighty (142g) and well-built.
You can just stand the Mevo Plus up, but it does come with a detachable base that lets you attach it to a 1/4-inch tripod or mount and remove it without having to unscrew anything. This allows you to get it to the height you want.
Optics-wise, the lens aperture is f2.8, which means it can handle filming in darker conditions, and the Sony sensor records in 4K detail in a 150-degree field of view. It is worth bearing in mind that the Mevo Plus is unable to live stream at 4K resolution, instead the footage is saved to a MicroSD card, and that it needs external power for 4K, which can be done by plugging it in to the mains but more on that later.
Is the Mevo Plus easy to use?
Very much so. The start-up procedure takes little time and once connected using WiFi you can see what you are filming via the screen of your smartphone or tablet. There is a large red button for starting and stopping recording, while you can tap the screen or pinch to zoom in on certain areas.
You can also change the look of your footage on the fly as opposed to in post production, with options including black and white, vivid, sepia, high contrast and flat (better for colour grading later), and manually adjust the white balance or set to auto and increase or decrease the brightness.
There are five viewing modes. Normal is normal, custom lets you adjust things to your preference and there is also Stage, Back Lit and Outdoors that compensate for their respective lighting situations.
Tapping on the adjustments menu allows you to swap between auto, shutter ─ so you can manually adjust the shutter speed to ensure your footage matches other recording sources ─ and manual, which goes one further by letting you control the ISO from a range of 200 to 6,400.
Being able to choose the shutter from as slow as 1/25 (a common option for GoPros and digital cameras and camcorders) to as fast as 1/240 means you can capture a wide range of movement although obviously increasing this option means decreasing the amount of light you are getting.
At 6400 ISO, a very dark room can be viewed fairly brightly but obviously the quality suffers, with higher levels of noise (noticeable large pixels). But it’s not too bad and we doubt many people would use the Mevo Plus for, say, filming outdoor at night.
In addition, you can adjust the viewing angle in case you want to focus on a smaller area and reduce the fish-eye effect that occurs at the edge of the frame or enhance it. Choosing whether the camera does metering across the while frame or cropped is also possible.
Then there is the option to flip your footage on its head, in case you have the camera mounted upside down, and set to auto so it will change this option depending on the orientation of the Mevo Plus.
Usefully, the anti-flicker mode means you can film using the Mevo Plus under different types of lighting and avoid seeing, erm, flickering. It will do it automatically, or you can choose between off, 50Hz and 60Hz, covering your PAL and NTSC bases.
As for the rest of the adjustment options, the Mevo Plus has adjustable brightness, contrast, saturation and sharpness, with the default for that last one set to medium instead of low and high, while you can adjust the audio stuff in a separate menu. All the stuff you would expect from a proper camera.
Mevo Plus: The live streaming stuff
Once you are happy with your image, you can then press the cog to go into settings and choose your live streaming destinations from a choice of Facebook Live, Periscope, YouTube and Livestream. Here you are able to add a signature for the end of all live stream titles, if you like.
Said menu also shows you how much storage space remains, what network you are connected to and how much battery life is left. One a full charge, you can expect around one hour of filming or more if you connect an external battery pack using the micro USB port at the back.
Take a step back in the menu and you revert to the main screen. Press record and you can then choose where your live stream will take place or use the record function and see it stored on the memory card for use later.
Usefully, there is a toggle button called ‘multi-destination’ that lets you live stream to more than one social media destination, although this involves paying £17.49 per month for the Vimeo Producer service or £159.99 for the year if you pay in one go (£13.33 a month). A free 7-day trial is available to test it out.
So what’s neat about the Mevo Plus?
Apart from the video quality, which appears decent, the Mevo Plus is wonderfully painless to use and get used to. The menu layout is simple and effective, while the camera’s LED lighting around the top tells you whether it needs a charge and other useful stuff such as red for ‘recording in progress’.
Little things elevate it above the norm, too, such as the fact that if you move the picture-in-picture image to something else mid-filming it will make the move in a smooth, professional-looking fashion. Even the in-built microphone is passable, although pros will want a higher quality solution.
You can also choose how fast the Mevo Plus follows your face, which is also done smoothly and accurately, and choose how large the box is in case you need to make a certain subject or object in the frame easier to see.
Really useful is the ability to setup multiple cameras and use the grid view to swap between them while recording, allowing you to jump between, say, the face of one person to another or from a wide view to an up close of something else like a product. You can choose up to nine points, which is like having nine cameras.
During testing, we found the quality of the Mevo Plus recorded video to be more than sufficient for live streaming and even normal use. Even at 1,080p it’s a nice image that would certainly look more than respectable on a small display and even a monitor or television. At 4K it’s even sharper.
Mevo Plus: What about the bad stuff?
The Mevo Plus camera is less rugged than the likes of a GoPro or Sony equivalent, which may put some people off for general video use who want one camera to do everything.
It is also rather expensive, at £449.99 (US499.99) for the standard bundle, which lacks the Mevo Boost battery pack, case and stand you get with the Mevo Plus Pro Bundle that costs an eye-watering (£809.96) (US$899.96). You can, however, buy the accessories separately although it works out more.
To be fair, the stand can be substituted for any tripod that costs less than (£89.99) US$99.99, and there are protective cases that cost less than £44.99 (US$49.99). But then if you buy anything direct from Mevo you can enjoy the temporary ‘HOLIDAY20’ 20 per cent off discount code. But then Amazon UK appears cheaper still.
The Mevo Boost, meanwhile, is useful for prolonging the battery life by 10 hours and allows you to connect an LTE USB modem, external audio devices and use an Ethernet cable for a potentially stable data connection.
As previously mentioned, recording in 4K requires an external power supply to be used. You can get away with using an external battery pack of your own as opposed to the eye-wateringly pricey £224.99 (US$249.99) Mevo Boost official accessory or use the supplied USB cable.
Mevo Plus: The verdict
For making it easy to film a live stream, the Mevo Plus is a great device that is somewhat good value for money if you bear in mind the quality of the aforementioned 12.3-megapixel 4K Sony sensor and that it can utilise a 3G and 4G data connection.
Annoyingly, though, is the fact you need the pricey Mevo Boost accessory to connect a better microphone using the USB connection and a 3.5mm adapter, which significantly bumps up the price. But if your subject is within a reasonable distance and there is little background noise, it’s not so bad. In fact, it’s fairly clear and crisp – particularly if you are in a room with minimal echoing.
Ultimately, the Mevo Plus is versatile and adjustable enough to cope with a wide range of shooting scenarios and can cover them live, while some of its on-the-fly editing functions are unique to the Mevo cameras such as the ability for one camera to act like nine. It’s certainly well worth considering.