NDI, which stands for Network Device Interface, is a standard that allows cameras, video switchers, computers, and other devices to send and receive high-quality video over a regular IP network. NDI streams can contain video at any resolution, frame rate, aspect ratio, and format, as well as multiple channels of embedded audio, control signals, and metadata. Starting with QLab 5.0, you can use incoming NDI streams as sources for Camera cues, and publish Stages as NDI streams for other devices to receive.
QLab uses the format
DEVICE_NAME (NDI_SOURCE_NAME) to uniquely identify NDI streams. For this reason, it’s best not to have two (or more) devices on the same network which have the same name. If there are multiple devices with the same name, NDI automatically adds a numerical suffix which prevents problems, but is difficult to troubleshoot. Furthermore, there is no guarantee that the same-named devices will appear in the same order after a restart of the system, so the numerical suffixes can change.
To use an incoming NDI video source with a Camera cue, first go to Workspace Settings → Video → Video Input. Then, either create a new video input patch using the button on screen or the keyboard shortcut ⌘N, or identify an existing video input patch that you want to use.
When you click on the Device pop-up menu next to the video input patch you’ve chosen, you’ll see all available video input signals listed by category. NDI video sources are listed towards the bottom under the rather appropriate heading NDI sources. Select the source you wish to use.
Now, in the cue list, you can create a Camera cue, navigate to the I/O tab of the inspector, and select the video input patch that you just configured. If the NDI source that you selected includes audio, you can also choose how many channels of that audio you wish to use within the cue.
Camera cues using NDI sources behave just like any other Camera cue.
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NDI has fairly low-intensity networking needs, with no esoteric hardware or stringent technical requirements. There are a few basic rules, though, and some helpful minimum specs to keep in mind.
While NDI does not require specific networking hardware, NewTek provides some guidelines which can be helpful:
Examples below include 16 channels of embedded audio.
|Example NDI video stream||Approximate bandwidth required|
|1 × SD video stream||20 Mbps|
|1 × 720p60 video stream||90 Mbps|
|1 × 1080i60 video stream||100 Mbps|
|1 × 1080p60 video stream||125 Mbps|
|1 × UHDp30 video stream||200 Mbps|
|1 × UHDp60 video stream||250 Mbps|
The total bandwidth of your network should be high enough that all NDI traffic combined does not exceed 75% of the capacity of the network.
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