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Telestream Wirecast 16 and The Next Generation of Professional Live Streaming Software

This Telestream Wirecast demo was presebnted as a sponsored Tech Talk at Streaming Media Connect 2023.

Telestream recently released Wirecast 16, which I have to say is our most feature-rich release to date, especially for longtime Wirecast users. There are some features that were recently released that are game-changers in live streaming production.

What Is Wirecast?

Let's start with a quick overview. Wirecast is a cross-platform, Mac and Windows application that allows you to capture, produce, and stream. For capture, Wirecast has done a phenomenal job of adding flexibility to HDMI. SDI, USB, iPhone, NDI, IP, and a hybrid of those source--you can mix and match. It's really easy to connect your devices. And I have a few connected here today for this demo.

UI Overview

In the UI, you have a preview window and your live output, meaning that you can monitor your live output as you are looking over and composing or building out your next shot. In your preview live window, we use five master layers where you can add your logos, lower-thirds, PNGs, PSDs, obviously cameras, video playback--whatever you need to tell your story or for your live production.

You can look at each layer itself in the Shot Properties panel. So, essentially, in the UI itself, as you're adding your camera sources or your visual sources, everything's here. The whole tool sits right in front of you. There isn't really any digging needed to go in and find what you need to scale, move, add, or adjust in your master layers of your production.

AI-Driven Virtual Assistant

On to Wirecast's recent releases. In the Virtual Assistant, we fed 10 years of workflows, troubleshooting, and technical advice into this machine learning/AI Assistant, and I threw the kitchen sink at it in testing.

I was asking it random questions, and questions that I've answered multiple times for customers, and not only did the Virtual Assistant provide a clean, precise answer, but it was also more of an educational thing: "Check these things outside of Wirecast, like in this peripheral, or it may actually be in a driver or it may be actually be in the cable or connection."

Wirecast's Virtual Assistant is 1) a very robust walkthrough technical advice troubleshooting tool; 2) it's support at the instant you need it. So the Virtual Assistant is probably, I'm going to have to say the #1 new release for Wirecast 16.

New Video Filters

The #2 new feature--coming from my production background--is video filters. Each camera has its own image sensor with its own color temperature, and you can change that color temperature digitally. You could use an actual white balancing card and balance out the color temperature of that camera, but say none of that is available to you. You can do it with Wirecast's video filters.

So we look at a video--this MP4 here in the demo--and we can go to Video Filters and add our filters. We have our table stakes of every key. So we can pull a live green screen, we can pull a live key, but they also have LUTs and if we go there, it's just adding a cover overlay. But for producers in the professional world of color correction cards or warming cards, I can now go into Photoshop and I can actually create warming and cooling filters and bring these into Wirecast, and I can adjust the color temperature of my shot. So if I noticed that my video looks a little warm. I can just throw on a color filter. I have these filters available. If you don't know how to make a cube file in Photoshop, reach out to Telestream, and we'll get these color filters out to you. I use these two cooling and these two warming most of the time. And sometimes I use a curves as well just for a little bump in saturation.

Video filters can be applied to the source itself or they can be applied to the every layer inside of that source. So let's just say if there was a camera, a lower third, and a logo all in one shot, I could single out the camera and add the filter to that specific source so you could do the whole shot or particulars in that picture-in-picture.

Lockable Regions

Our third new feature was a large customer request for our house of worship education, sports, entertainment customers who would on a Wednesday, build out their Friday or Saturday production using placeholders, building out the lower-thirds, putting in all the titling, and the logos. And then a producer would come on Friday for the show and sometimes the producer wouldn't quite understand the full features of Wirecast and maybe bump their production and not know how to kind of retract or go back and fix that.

So we actually added lockable regions. If you go to Edit Lock, you can lock the main layers, so you can't be moving the main layers around covering a lower third with a video source, or you can lock the preview window so you can't drag anything like I accidentally just did. Or you can lock the Shot Editing panel into any scale, positioning, rotation. Or you could lock the entire UI, so all I can do is switch and stream, switch, or record stream.

Lockable regions may not make sense for everybody, but really when you have multiple cooks in the kitchen, it's a great tool for kind of not letting mistakes happen.

SRT Ingest

In previous versions we have had SRT output, and now with Wirecast 16 we have SRT ingest. We can now pull in an SRT from anywhere as a contribution feed to Wirecast. Maybe a use for that would be a Vegas SkyCam over buildings.

Now we can pull that feed and we can dress it up with our lower-thirds, our logos, our information, and use Wirecast to pull that in and push that out to whatever destination you were trying to go to.

Zoom Integration

One highly anticipated release was our Zoom integration. So now we can go to Zoom and we can actually add an invite link or their meeting info or join that Zoom meeting, which will allow us to pull up to 15 remote presenters.

So, a use case--in that everyone's familiar with Zoom--let's say you send out four Zoom links to your presenters like today. And then we could pull those presenters from Zoom to Wirecast over WebRTC and have them as individual sources in Wirecast. So again, Zoom being familiar for your presenters, but Wirecast being your full production tool to dress up with lower-thirds logos, presentations, title cards, whatever you were doing, and you could take that Zoom meeting to a professional level, like a professional production.

Other New Features--Honorable Mentions

Those were the five biggest releases in Wirecast 16. Just a couple honorable mentions: One is the PTZ camera control. We actually have PTZ camera control built into Wirecast, and it's not just pan-tilt-zoom; it's pan tilt, zoom, focus exposure, white balance adjustments, and--most importantly--presets. With a PTZ camera, you could make one camera with multiple shots. Wirecast makes that really straightforward for you. You can put in, say, three presets prior to the show. Preset one could be a push preset, two a pull. So with that camera you could have a push/pull and you're just toggling presets. But of course it's PTZ cameras, so we do have pan, tilt, and zoom. So again, complete control over the PTZ cameras and as many PTZ cameras as you have hooked up. So you would have to select each PTZ camera, and you can go in and make those adjustments.

Another big one for us is social media. When you're streaming to Facebook, Twitch, and YouTube, comments will come into Wirecast, and now you can moderating them here. You can select individually or batch select and push those comments to your live stream.

We also have up to five separate what I call "little skins" or players for those. So you can choose how you want that social media comment to come in and be displayed.

Third, we have the stock media library. This one doesn't get mentioned a lot, and I use it--if not weekly, at least monthly with my own personal productions. Stock Media Library is our partnership with StoryBlocks and they're offering us over 600,000 elements of video, photos, music, all royalty-free. So with your Wirecast subscription, which we'll talk about in a moment, you will get free access to Stock Media Library, where you can pull in things to enhance your stream. Maybe you don't have a drone shot over a mountain and you need that for your story. You could pull that in. Let's say you need some music for your production. Again, all royalty-free, as we used to say, clear chain of title. Stock Media Library is a very big asset available to you.

Wirecast's New Subscription Model

Lastly, Wirecast is moving to a subscription model. The entry point used to be $599 for Studio, $799 for Pro. Now we have a subscription model where an annual subscription for Studio is $299, and Wirecast Pros is $399. But a lot of people are coming from the contract world,. Maybe they only have a couple live streaming productions and they're done, so they only need it for two months. We also offer a monthly subscription for Wirecast Studio and Wirecast Pro, trying to make it the most flexible kind of entry-level usage as well. So whether you have one production or you need it yearly, we've got a subscription model for you.

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