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Tutorial: Telestream Wirecast 5

With Wirecast 5, Telestream has significantly improved usability with a redesigned interface, beneficially expanded the product's input capabilities, and upgraded the product's plumbing with features like x.264 encoding and HD-SDI output via Blackmagic Design Intensity or DeckLink cards. Learn more in this video tutorial that guides you through the new release.
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With Wirecast 5, Telestream has significantly improved usability with a redesigned interface, beneficially expanded the product’s input capabilities, and upgraded the product’s plumbing with features like x.264 encoding and HD-SDI output via Blackmagic Design Intensity or DeckLink cards. All told, these improvements make the $129 upgrade price ($295 for the Pro version) a no-brainer decision, and strengthen the product’s value proposition vis a vis other software and hardware production switching tools.

 

Overview

As an overview, Wirecast is a production tool that can input audio, video, and graphics content from a number of sources. For live video, input will depend upon the capture hardware installed on your computer. I tested with a Blackmagic Design 4K Extreme that can input HD-SDI, HDMI, and a range of analog formats. I tested with the first two, but not the latter. Wirecast can also capture DV and webcam input, and input from some versions of Skype, Google Hangouts, Go To Meeting, and FaceTime (depending upon operating system and versions; check www.telestream.net for more details).

Using the Desktop Presenter plugin, Wirecast can input audio and video from applications running on the same computer or on any computer on the same local area network. Desktop Presenter is a great tool for those combining traditional video inputs with PowerPoint presentations or software demonstrations, or for integrating Skype calls into the program. Finally, Wirecast can also play disk-based files in commonly supported formats like MOV, AVI and MP4 and load most still image graphics formats.

Once you’ve got your sources configured, Wirecast can overlay bugs and titles over these sources, with a functional titling utility and lots of useful titling presets. Using the Shot Editor, Wirecast can integrate two or more streams into a virtual stream, allowing you to present your various inputs side by side in an interview situation, for example, or a small video of the speaker next to a software demo or presentation. Wirecast can also chromakey a video into a virtual set, though this isn’t a feature that I’ve ever used or tested.

When you’re ready to broadcast, Wirecast can send QuickTime, Flash, and Windows Media (Windows-only) streams to any RTMP, QuickTime (unicast and multicast), or Windows Media server, with presets for popular destinations like Bambuser, Brightcove, Justin.tv, Ustream, and YouTube. During my testing, I successfully sent streams to Ustream, Brightcove and YouTube.

For an in-depth review of Wirecast 5, look for the full version of this article in the January 2014 issue of Streaming Media magazine. Not a subscriber? Click here for your free subscription.