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Why We Chose Wirecast

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Boinx.tv didn’t have an option to stream out to the web – we had to hack it with a screencasting tool. Vidblaster was only for the PC and the interface was confusing – tech support was poor.

Camtwist was free but it didn’t offer output quality settings and the interface was bulky and time consuming to learn. Procaster slowed our computers down to a crawl. Ustream Producer was promising but the output quality was limited and the interface too simple- Flash Live Media Encoder pumped out great quality- at times- but that was only on a PC.

DV Switcher and RayCaster were free but annoyingly unstable.

It took over 4 months of testing plus trial and error to find out Wirecast from Telestream was the clear winner.

Why we like Wirecast:

  • It’s for the Mac or PC
  • Every computer in the office is hooked up as an input into Wirecast so we can show anyone’s desktop as a camera with a click
  • Simple and very easy to use – we thought there would be a learning curve and initially set aside 4 hours to get into the nuts and bolts of the software. We got everything up and running in less than 2.
  • HD capability
  • We can view what our frames per second are, CPU usage, our datarate and the exact time of the webcast – this is a huge plus so quality can be monitored.
  • High quality recording to desktop for .mov or .flv output and archiving to the web later
  • Lower 3rd graphics, titles, video, separate audio inputs
  • Multiple cameras
  • The list goes on…

Starting this Sunday night (5/2/10) at 8 p.m. EST, we’re going to throw Wirecast straight into the cold water and go live on the web with it for the first time.

Feel free to Join us to see it in action as we record our live podcast and interact with listeners on the subject of digital video production.

One Comment »

  • Melissa Sykes said:

    Hi-

    I found this post and it sounds like you’ve actually used the products you are reviewing. Plus desperate times call for desperate measures and I’m pretty much there.

    I’m a public school teacher in a lower SES school teaching broadcasting class for the first time. I have NO experience and our “school news” program basically consists of students reading a blown up Microsoft Word file off a TV that we rigged up. We have 3 cameras that we use for stationary shots that have no batteries or Firewire capabilities. The video feeds then travel via wires to a downstairs closet where I have 2 computers set up, an audio board, a graphics mixer that only kids with small fingers can operate because the buttons are all sunk down (and the roaches sometimes like to visit), and a video mixer with a pilot lever for camera transitions. We run the graphics through Powerpoint and then rig the shots and key out the green with the mixer to have graphics. Currently, we can play music from the other computer, but any accompanying video that we want to include flies somewhere far away and we can’t find it.

    The administration is giving me $3,000 – a HUGE sum for our school – to try and get some updated equipment so that we can develop school new broadcasts that the students can take pride in and that will hopefully boost school spirit and morale. Ideally, we’d like to be able to get the kids to want to go to school functions/games and video tape stuff because they know we will then show their footage on the news. While one half of the class is taping the news, I’d love to have the other class working on character education video projects that could be included in the news and learning editing software so they are advancing their exposure to technology (some of our kids don’t have computers at home). The goal is to get to the point where the students can actually take cameras and do little skit tapings of the daily announcements and then bring them all together into one broadcast to form the news – things like teacher announcements, what’s for lunch, football game footage, etc. The admin also wants us to be able to show our production via the internet and through the school television system.

    I need help figuring what is the best equipment for us. We just got “new” computers this year, Dell Optiplex 780, but the kids are finding they tend to freeze up and because they don’t save their work frequently they lose stuff. We are an all PC school simply because we have no money for Macs (plus our 1 IT guy is totally not a fan). I have 90 minutes and 25 kids in my class (the admin wants to add more but it gets iffy with 25 high school kids in a closet with video equipment). I was thinking of getting a Mac, WireCast software, and using whatever money is left to get some flip cameras or something the kids can take with them. My other option is to use the current version of Sony Vegas that came from God knows where, get WireCast software for the PCs and hope they don’t freeze on us. I’m seriously out of my league, but the kids actually are into the class because it’s hands-on right now and I want to make sure I do what’s best for them. This will probably be the only opportunity I have to get any technology for the class for at least 4 years or more. Help! I can’t screw up the minds of our youth. Ok, I’m kidding, but I really do want to get these kids excited and productive.

    Any thoughts or referrals to someone who can help (my admin’s help was telling me to use Google).

    Thanks for all your techieness!

    Melissa Sykes
    melissamiller88@hotmail.com

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