n g • Camera 2 from AP to iPad
• iPad master program to AP
• Master program from AP to
cell phone for upload to web
Another key feature of the device I chose
was that it was also self-powered. It was one
of these little “media hubs” designed to share
movies or content on a USB stick or memory
card with several people over Wi-Fi. I didn’t
use the sharing capability—just the fact that it
connected to my phone—and shared that con-
nection with multiple other devices. It did this
all afternoon and the battery level went down
only one tick.
The downside with this solution was that
everything has to go wireless, and even these
six streams may have been too much for this
very basic 2.4GB AP. I have since purchased a
small USB-powered AP that can connect to my
phone via a wired connection, and that also offers a wired LAN connection that I can use to
deliver all the streams to the iPad (via an Ethernet adapter). This means the only wireless
data it would need to handle is the camera to
the AP. Everything else would be on wires.
Additionally, the little pocket AP I used re-lies on internal antennas. These are not the
best solution when you need distance, or are
competing against a bevy of existing Wi-Fi signals (i.e., noise). You can see this in the second
sample clip from the event where the close
camera looks good, but the distant camera is
operating at a much lower frame rate. In the
middle of an office park, there may have been
50 or more different Wi-Fi access points all congesting the airspace.
The new AP has two external antennas I can
swap out for larger antennas with additional
gain. This means it can hear the cameras better and from a greater distance with more reliability. There is actually two-way communication going on because I can remotely control
the distant iPhone cameras—zoom, set focus,
and other aspects—from the iPad. So a reliable
connection is an important goal.
There are lots of portable streaming solu-
tions out right now. These options range from
computer-based solutions such as Telestream
Wirecast and vMix to standalone solutions that
require dedicated hardware, such as the New-
Tek TriCaster and Sling Media SlingStudio.
SlingStudio has the lower-cost initial purchase
with its $1,000 Hub (Figure 4), and you need an
iPad to run the switching app. I have been test-
ing two iOS apps that use an iPad, but require
no additional hardware purchase.
Teradek Live:Air Action is a free app with
paid upgrades to add cameras, enable recording while you stream, and other features. But
once you pay for them, you’re good. The other solution is Switcher Studio. The app is free,
and it’s all in. You get built-in titles, nine cameras, picture-in-picture effects, but there’s a
monthly fee to be able stream or record. There
are other differences but this is not a comparison app review.
For this event, I used Switcher Studio on my
iPad Air. The iPad is the control surface for everything. Camera 1 is the iPad. Camera 2 is the
one I’m holding in the video that accompanies
the online version of this article ( go2sm.com/ios).
Camera 3 is the other phone with the telephoto
lens on it. With Switcher Studio, I can even do
Cameras 1 and 2 at the same time, or even Cameras 1, 2, and 3 (see Figure 5 on the next page).
These effects look pretty polished.
Using the Switcher Studio to pull together
this live-switcher shoot at the Frisco Arts Walk,