Pearl FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

All three models of Pearl have the same features and can simultaneously capture, switch, stream and record four 1080p audio/video sources at 30 frames per second. With dedicated inputs for SDI, HDMI™ and VGA, Pearl captures just about any video content you give it; either directly or with a simple adapter.

How many sources can Pearl capture simultaneously?

We’ve tested Pearl with four 1080p sources at 30 frames per second and two 1080p sources at 60 fps.

How many hours of recording can I store?

With 1 TB of onboard storage in the portable model and 512 MB in the rackmount models, Pearl can hold between 100 and 260 hours of recording at HD resolution.

What is the maximum frames per second (fps) can Pearl capture and stream?

Pearl can simultaneously capture 4 HD sources at 30 fps or 2 HD sources at 60 fps.

When using the video output ports, we have the following rule of thumb: Pearl can stream a total of four 1080p outputs at 30 fps. For example 4 channels, 3 channels plus one video output port, or two channels and two video output ports.

Although we don’t have official characterization results for other resolutions, 720p streams are half the size of 1080p streams, so you could have more outputs at 720p. The exact values depend on the load you’re putting on Pearl’s processor.

Can I output from Pearl to a local monitor or projector?

Yes. Pearl has two video output ports (Mini DisplayPorts) that can display any channel or source on a local monitor or projector. The channel’s embedded audio is also sent through the video output port, and you can optionally create a large local AV monitor by addding the audio VU meter to the displayed output.

DisplayPort chips with two outputs (like the ones on Pearl) have some usage considerations when both output ports are being used. For best results when using both video output ports, we recommend monitors that support DisplayPort directly, or two identical monitors. Pearl’s user guide has more information.

How do I know which Pearl model to buy?

All three Pearl models have the same functionality. Where you plan to use and install Pearl, and how many you want in close proximity will guide your decision.

For example, if you will be using Pearl at a number of events and plan to hand-carry or ship with a person (e.g. not freight ship), the portable model may be your best choice. Its included carry case makes it easy to bring it to your next event. If you’re planning to freight ship a portable rack, one of the two rackmount models is a better choice.

For fixed installations, space may dictate your choice. If you need two systems in close proximity and have limited space, Pearl Rackmount Twin is the perfect choice. For limited space when only one unit is needed, the portable model is smaller and may be just what you need.

Does Pearl reduce the resolution of the images it captures?

Pearl by default, preserves the original resolution of the images captured and matches the output frame size of with the resolution of the source.

Pearl can also perform real time scaling of the incoming source resolution and render it to the frame size chosen in the stream setup configuration menu. When creating multi-source layouts with multiple sources, you can crop and scale each source.

If you’re using Pearl under heavy load, we recommend you provide the input signal at the desired output resolution to reduce the overall system load.

Can Pearl capture from IP cameras?

Yes! Pearl can capture from RTSP sources over a network (such as IP cameras). See our online user guide for a list of RTSP cameras we have tested so far.

Decoding a 1080p RTSP signal at 30 fps consumes approximately 10% of your Pearl’s CPU power. RTSP sources which are connected but unused in a channel have only key frames decoded to preserve CPU resources.

Can I plug my USB web camera into Pearl?

Yes! The USB video ports on the back of Pearl can accept video and audio from a single USB web camera. You can change the settings on the cameras using the source controls on the admin panel, and put them in your layouts just like any other video source.

Can Pearl function over a Local Area Network (LAN) or does it need a constant connection to the Internet?

Pearl does not need LAN or Internet connection to do video capture and video recording. Pearl functions as a stand-alone device or connected to the Ethernet port of a computer.

The user-friendly, touch screen displays the video encoder’s stream for confidence monitoring and provides a fast and easy way to apply configuration sets, control recording or recording and view system information. If connected to a a computer by Ethernet cable or to a LAN or the Internet, Pearl provides a web-based control interface for configuration and operation.

The video mode or source resolution that I am using is not listed in the list of supported modes for Pearl.

Pearl’s capture cards analyze the source signals to automatically determine the incoming source resolution. So even if your screen resolution isn’t listed specifically in our tables, it is still supported, as long as it is no larger than the maximum 1920×1200 for DVI, HDMI and SDI and no larger than 2650×1600 for VGA.

Additionally, if Pearl’s video capture process doesn’t automatically match the incoming resolution, you can input a custom resolution through the web interface or upload an EDID to the system.

If Pearl does not support the resolution you provide, please contact us. We are always looking for ways to improve our products to add support for this mode.

How do I control Pearl?

For confidence monitoring and easy switching, recording, and live streaming control, you can use Pearl’s touch screen or Epiphan LIVE, which is a tablet and mobile friendly web interface designed for easy control of your Pearl. And secure remote login allows you to control your Pearl from just about anywhere there’s access to the Internet.

How do I configure Pearl?

Pearl is ready to use right out of the box! Plug in a source into row A and/or row B and you can capture, stream and record right away! For additional configuration, use the web-based Admin panel interface on the same local network as your Pearl. With secure remote login, you can access the web-version of the Admin panel from just about anywhere there’s Internet access to do rescue troubleshooting and channel configuration.

The touch screen lets you control switching for Pearl’s video mixer, load saved configuration presets and perform recording or streaming control.

Advanced users can use Pearl’s HTTP or RS-232 APIs to integrate with larger systems.

Is remote login secure?

Yes! A secure propriety tunnel over port 443 is used to access the Internet so you can do rescue troubleshooting, recording control, and even channel configuration from just about anywhere there’s access to the Internet.

How long does my channel stay paired with my AV Studio account?

When you’ve paired a channel with your free AV Studio account to enable secure remote login, your Pearl stays paired until you manually unpair the channel.

Can I use Pearl as an HDMI capture card?

Yes. Pearl has capture cards that are capable of capturing HDMI, DVI, SDI, and VGA inputs. You can capture any HDMI audio and video signal, provided it is not protected by HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection).

Pearl will record and optionally stream your captured content.

Is Pearl a video encoder?

Yes, Pearl is a video encoder, and also so much more than that! Pearl is an all-in-one standalone live video production mixer. You can capture, encode, stream and record multiple inputs at once, and even switch between them in a live broadcast.

What compression does Pearl use?

Pearl is compatible with many different video compression formats and codecs. By default, Pearl uses H.264, performed with hardware acceleration, but the video encoder’s codec is user-selectable. Consult the Encoding menu or the Pearl user guide for an up-to-date list of codecs supported by Pearl.

Does Pearl stream to iPad, iPhone, iTouch?

Yes. Pearl uses Apple’s HTTP Live Streaming technology to create a separate native stream for Apple iOS devices such as iPad, iPhone, and iTouch.

Does Pearl stream to tablets and smartphones?

Yes. Pearl supports HLS streaming. When this feature is enabled viewers can access the stream using a tablet or smartphone device. Tablet and smartphone viewers can also view other media streams depending on the device and viewing application.

Can I use my own storage with Pearl?

Yes. Pearl records to the internal hard drive, but these recordings can be automatically transferred to a locally connected USB drive, or to network storage via SCP, FTP, SFTP, RSYNC or CIFS. Additionally, Pearl can act as an ftp server, allowing you to download files directly from the video recorder’s hard drive.

Can Pearl stream to 10-20-100 or more viewers?

Absolutely. Pearl supports a wide range of streaming formats and protocols enabling it to stream video to media players, Content Delivery Networks, multicast networks and Content Management systems.

Pearl can stream to approximately 50 simultaneous unicast viewers without the need for streaming servers, or a CDN. The actual number depends on many factors including encoding format, bitrate, available network bandwidth and network speed.

Pearl is compatible with all major Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) offering a truly scalable streaming solution to millions of internet viewers on various types of devices.

Can Pearl stream to set top boxes and media servers?

Yes. Pearl can stream live to media players, smart TVs, set-top-boxes, digital signs etc. via UPnP or SAP. You can configure Pearl to make videos recorded in MPEG-TS format accessible via UPnP.

Can I customize my stream with my corporate logo, colors, branding. Can I add copyright notices and timestamps to my streams and recordings?

Yes! Pearl has a visual layout designer that lets you build layouts exactly the way you want them.

Combine video capture from your sources with images used for backgrounds, logos and overlays (transparent PNG is supported). Add text or time stamp overlays as well and metadata to the file to tag it with your company name.

Can I crop my video source using Pearl?

Yes. Pearl can crop your video so you can capture, stream and record your video while cropping out confidential information, removing black bars, or using digital crop and zoom to emphasize a specific area of your video!

What is the difference between Pearl and VGADVI Recorder?

Pearl is a live production video mixer featuring dual HDMI, DVI, SDI and VGA inputs whereas a VGADVI Recorder is a streaming and recording video capture device featuring a single HDMI, DVI, VGA input and an S-video/composite input.

Pearl offers better audio support with audio over SDI and HDMI and balanced audio through TRS audio ports. Pearl has a more powerful processor that supports video capture and streaming at 60 fps. It has 1 TB of storage. By contrast, VGADVI Recorder offers audio through a 3.5mm audio input, supports video capture at 30 fps and provides 32 GB of internal storage.

How can I use Pearl with chroma keying?

You can connect a 720p 30 fps video source that has a green screen background to Pearl or connect an effects computer that has titler software loaded on it. Using the custom layout editor, layer your chroma key video source on top of your background source in the same custom layout and choose the color to key on (usually green). When chroma keying is enabled, the background video source shows through all the chroma key colored areas. Just note that to optimize Pearl performance, we recommend you crop out any unused areas in your chroma key video source.

You can achieve upstream and downstream chroma keying effects using custom layouts. For an upstream chroma keying effect, enable chroma keying for only one custom layout in the channel. For a downstream chroma keying effect, enable chroma keying in all custom layouts in the channel.

Using chroma keying can affect the performance of Pearl. We recommend that you enable chroma keying on only one channel and that the input resolution of the chroma key video source is set to 1280×720 at 30 fps. We also recommend that you avoid scaling a video source that has chroma keying enabled using the custom layout editor in Pearl.