ground-up redo of the app, and that changes the
pricing for the options (Figure 4). Teradek lets
you add the capabilities you need without paying
for things you don’t. If you don’t need six cameras, you don’t pay for them. If you do need six
cameras, you buy the options. Once you pay for
it, it’s yours, and there are no additional costs.
Switcher Studio (the app and the company) is
a subscription service. The app is free, but you
need to have it activated and working for streaming, in which case you need to pay a monthly fee.
You can pay by month, as needed, or subscribe
for a year for a slightly lower per-month cost. The
app needs to verify your active account via an
internet connection. After that, it does not need
an active internet connection to work.
Wait, no internet? I thought these were streaming apps!
They can also be used for just producing a
multicamera switched show recorded for on-demand viewing via the video service of your
choice, or for more editing later. They aren’t
streaming-only apps, and that’s a great feature.
Because if you record the show, you can stream
it to one service, and then upload it to others
later. Moreover, local recording can save you if
there’s a streaming glitch. Your local recording
Switcher Studio’s subscription gives you everything: support for up to nine cameras, built-in motion titles, recording, picture-in-picture
capabilities, streaming, recording. It even features a “director’s mode” that records a much
higher bitrate, FullHD version on each phone,
then collects all those individual recordings and
can compile them on the iPad. Alternatively, it
can all be copied to a desktop for editing.
For a continuous need, Switcher Studio may
cost more over a couple years than paying Tera-
dek for all the features once. But I think Switch-
er Studio has more internal capabilities and a
bit more polish, and it even syncs up all of the
cameras automatically. I find it easier to use.
Does that make it the stand-out winner? No.
Teradek has an ace up its sleeve. The request
I see most often in the Switcher Studio forums is
to be able to connect a real camera with a real
zoom. You can’t do that with Switcher Studio,
but you can do it in the Teradek app by using one
of the wireless camera adapters that Teradek
makes. This even works in the free Solo version.
Here, also, is where that third solution, Sling
Media’s SlingStudio, comes back into play. Right
now, the base unit starts at $1,000, and that
doesn’t even include the iPad or phones you
use with it. But it does have an integrated wireless hub/access point, which you will need to
add for the other apps. Sling also gives you the
ability to plug a real camera directly into the
unit, plus a physical HDMI output. Those features alone can run you up to $1,000 otherwise.
What’s more, SlingStudio features an SD slot
so you can record your program right to flash
media or USB drives. Plus, like Teradek’s product, it has optional hardware accessories to add
even more “real” camcorders to the mix. It’s also
the only solution of the three that lets you use
an Android device as a camera if you choose.
The HDMI Out typically used to record a program feed can also be used for a “quad view” of
the sources. You still need to add an iPad to see
the sources and to operate the Console app to
do your video mixing. SlingStudio also enables
recording of each source camera for full editing
control in post.
Now that you have your video app selected,
I find that good audio gets the least amount
of attention in all types of live production, when
actually it is the thing that deserves the most attention. With good audio, you can look away from
the screen and still get the content. If you have