This app targets those shooting with iOS devices, including the 4K-capable iPhone 6s
By Randi Altman
Last year at NAB, postPerspective was shooting interviews with product makers and users on the exhibit floor. We called on iPad minis housed within the iOgrapher mobile media filmmaking case and Studio Switcher software for our multi-cam and graphics needs.
Switcher Studio is a video app that allows users to record and stream live video using iOS devices to create a multi-camera experience. Switcher Studio can also be used to insert images, graphics and manage multi-view picture-in-picture effects.
The latest version of Switcher Studio features something called Director Mode , which allows users to capture 1080p HD video to upload to the web. Some users are taking advantage of this mode to record video using iOS, then airing the final product on television. One recent example is Kentucky’s Hardin County Educational and Community Television (HCEC-TV). They produce instructional, informational and governmental programming on local cable access channels and for the Hardin County Schools, while training students in television production.
With the iPhone 6s capable of shooting 4K video — and some already using it to make short films and for other productions — it seemed like a good time to reach out to these guys and find out more. Let’s see what CEO/co-founder Nick Mattingly has to say:
Can talk about Director Mode?
Using Director Mode, users can disable the built-in camera on the primary mixing device and connect up to four additional sources. When you start a session, each connected device then starts its own local recording. This allows users to edit on the fly using the main device and stream live video to the web at a lower resolution and bit-rate while retaining full quality video from every angle during production.
When the session ends, the main mixing device wirelessly copies over the files from all connected devices and builds a composition with every cut and transition that you made during your production. This results in a full-quality HD video that is ready to post to the web for on-demand playback.
What if you want to then air your video on TV or need to make additional edits?
You can assign a fixed frame rate for the final composition and push the file into Final Cut Pro X using our beta desktop app, Switcher Media Manager. Switcher Media Manager allows you to open your production in Final Cut with all angles already time synced and every switch between cameras already in your timeline, so you just have to tug at the cuts to tighten up your production before exporting.
Now that you have broadcast quality multi-cam, that opens up your user base a bit. Was this a request you were getting?
Many of our features and updates are a direct result of user feedback. When we first launched, Switcher Studio was primarily a live video streaming tool, but after numerous customer requests for HD recording capabilities — especially at NAB 2015 — we went back to the drawing board.
We didn’t want to just improve the recording capabilities of the app, we wanted to find a way to improve the workflow and experience of the entire production process. That’s where the new Director Mode capabilities come into play with fixed frames per second support and seamless FCP X integration. [Editor’s Note: support for other editing systems is on the horizon.]
Who do you expect to be using your app? Pros, prosumers, a bit of both?
In many cases we have customers using Switcher who are thinking about video for the first time. However, we also have customers who come from a production background and are used to running cables, big cameras and hardware-based video switchers with lots of buttons.
What is the learning curve for the app?
We have built the app with an intuitive layout that is easy to navigate and is visually driven and responsive so that it feels natural for someone that may not be familiar with video mixing. We also have a series of tutorials and quick-start videos available in the dashboard when you first create an account on our website that help walk users through connecting cameras and starting their first production.
Many users are up and running their first production on day one, but a few words of caution: if you are doing a live video stream you may want to give yourself a little more time. There are a lot of wild cards when it comes to live video production, especially when broadcasting from one location to the next. Even when broadcasting with apps like Meerkat and Periscope, bandwidth can be an issue. So we encourage users to do live video streams to scout out the location, test their data connection and do a run-through prior to their official broadcast so they can trouble shoot any problems and make adjustments as needed.
Can you walk us through how someone typically runs the app? From shoot to lower thirds?
1. Create an account on our website.
2. Download Switcher Studio Pro from the App Store on each of your iOS devices and connect to the same WiFi network.
3. Select one device as the primary video mixer, add any graphics and overlays from your camera-roll and sync your other iPhones and iPads.
4. When you are ready to start, tap “Rec + Broadcast.”
Lucid Potato shot the band Jukebox the Ghost.
Can you give examples of how people have used it?
We have had Switcher Studio users record and broadcast athletic events, local government meetings, concert productions, talk shows, parades and conferences.
Brian King, director at Lucid Potato in LA, used Switcher Studio on a production he did for a concert recently. He blogged about shooting and directing live music with iOs, Switcher Studio and the band Jukebox the Ghost.
What have you seen in terms of trends in video and production?
The way we create and consume video has drastically changed since YouTube first started. In 2005, consumer video cameras still recorded on linear tape while miniDV camcorders dominated the landscape. Today, everyone has a video camera on hand all the time via their cell phone. As a result it’s easier than ever to create video content. This has resulted in an exponential increase in the opportunities to create video and enabled the YouTube generation to produce video at a level of quality that was once only available to the pros.
This new tech wave is also driving creativity — people are becoming more innovative in their approach to attracting audiences in new ways. We have more access to video than ever before. In fact, by 2019 it’s projected that it will take two years to watch the amount of video that will be uploaded every second.