This review will highlight the Magewell USB Fusion and will explore its capabilities as a video production switcher and how it can be used in a remote production environment with live streaming and video conferencing tools.
The USB Fusion (Figure 1) is a device that can be used in a production environment for local content feeds/sources. It can be used to input various sources such as HDMI devices, webcams, USB microphones, videos, images, screenshares, and other items. The USB Fusion is touted as a tool to make your online lectures and virtual events more engaging and to easily combine numerous sources into attractive live presentations for remote education, webinars, live streaming, and video conferencing.
Figure 1. The Magewell USB Fusion
Setting Up the USB Fusion
Before we get started, there are two items to attend to when setting up the USB Fusion. First, you’ll need to connect to the Web UI on your computer, and additionally you’ll need to connect to the USB Fusion App on your iOS or Android device. The App supports iOS 12 and later and Android 7.0 and later.
To get started with using the USB Fusion, make sure the device is powered on and the device is connected to your computer. The USB-C cable should be connected to the USB output on the device, and the other end connected to the USB input on your computer. You also need to connect the Ethernet cable for your network to the USB Fusion, or configure it to connect via Wi-Fi. Both your computer and the USB Fusion should be connected to the same network (Figure 2).
Figure 2. USB Fusion I/O
Once your device is powered on, you can start using the Web UI. First, you’ll need to open your web browser and type in the IP address included in the Quick Start Guide for the USB Fusion. Once the Web UI log-in page appears, type in the credentials provided (Figure 3).
Figure 3. Logging into the USB Fusion web UI
Once you’re logged into the Web UI, you can also connect using the USB Fusion App. Download and install the app to your Android or iOS device from the app store. Once installed, open the USB Fusion App and click the Connect button to connect to the USB Fusion. The USB Fusion App should open to the Default Presentation.
Using the USB Fusion
The USB Fusion has numerous features and will allow you to support your production in myriad ways. Mostly important, the USB Fusion works using Presentations, and within a Presentation are a number of Scenes. A Scene can be a video, webcam, image, PDF, screencast, webpage, or HDMI input.
All of the work of organizing a Presentation can be done in two ways. Users can create Presentations in the Web UI or in the USB Fusion App. Media must be added to the USB Fusion as Scene in a Presentation. The USB Fusion can also be used as traditional switcher by selecting buttons 1 (HDMI-1 source), 2 (HDMI-2 source), and 3 (Web camera source) on the device. There’s also a button for picture-in-picture and side-by-side that toggles between the sources.
To add media from the WebUI, navigate to the Media tab and press the plus (+) button to upload a picture, video, PDF, or music (Figure 4).
Figure 4. Adding media to USB Fusion in the Web UI
To add media to your Presentation within the USB Fusion App, click the plus (+) button at the bottom of the Presentation. When the options appear, select the media you would like to add (Figure 5).
Figure 5. Adding media to a Presentation in the USB Fusion App
To create a Presentation in the WebUI, navigate to the Presentation tab and select the Presentations link on the top right of the page. On the window that appears, click New Presentation. To add a new Presentation on the USB Fusion App, click the button in the top right and choose Presentation. Then select New Presentation.
The USB Fusion has two HDMI inputs, and a USB Web camera input. It also has an HDMI (Program) output and a USB Out. The USB Out connects to your computer used for streaming or video conferencing.
On the Dashboard of the Web UI, you can see details about your connected device. This allows you to see whether a video signal is coming in and what the resolution and frame rate is. It also provides details for the Program output (Figure 6).
Figure 6. Dashboard for Web UI