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Review: Telestream Wirecast 6

With version 6, Telestream has converted its premier live production software application to 64-bit operation, which should enhance performance and stability. Telestream also added several key features, including playlists, social media support, input from iOS devices, and instant replay.

Twitter Integration

Integrating a Twitter feed is a great way to keep your audience engaged and add a professional look to your productions. In Wirecast 6, Telestream has made this function very simple to implement. You begin by entering your Twitter handle and password, and choosing the type of feed you want, which can be your home timeline, a user timeline, a favorites feed, or a search string. I used #superbowl in my tests.

Entering this information creates a message feed that you can update manually or at a specified interval. Within the feed, you can either manually select the messages you want to display, or auto-select them all, as well set how quickly the messages rotate through. I chose to auto-update every 60 seconds, auto-select all messages, and updatedthe feed every 15 seconds. Next, click Social > Create shot to create the shot shown in Figure 2 (below). It’s a standard title, which you can modify as desired. In Figure 2 I’ve enlarged it for readability in the frame. Overall, this is a great feature, very elegantly implemented.

Figure 2. Wirecast 6 makes it very easy to integrate Twitter feeds into your productions. Here the feed is overlaid over video coming in from my iPhone.

Instant Replay

It would be unthinkable to watch a sporting event on TV that didn’t have instant replay; now you can add the same feature to your Wirecast Pro productions. You start by configuring your instant replay settings, selecting between standard or high video quality, and choosing the default replay duration. Because replays can consume lots of disk space, you’ll also need to set the maximum duration of replays captured. You can designate which layer to insert the replay into, or to insert the replays into a playlist, which makes it really simple to create a playlist of game highlights.

Once you activate replay, Wirecast starts recording video to disk, and displays a Create Replay Shot button beneath the Preview window, which you can see in Figure 3 (below). When you click the button, Wirecast places the shot into the selected layer or playlist, which is the highlighted clip in Layer 2 in Figure 3, and also shown in the preview window. From there, you can set in and out points, and take the clip live like you would any other clip. You can play the clip at quarter speed, half speed, full speed, or 2x full speed using the controls shown on the lower right of the Preview window in Figure 3.

Figure 3. An instant replay clip is in the Preview window (and top line of level 2). Note the slow and fast motion controls for playback.

Under the hood, Wirecast stores the video in 30-second chunks. These bear no relation to the default replay duration that you set; they’re just convenient durations for the housekeeping operation of storing and/or deleting chunks of content. If you don’t create a replay that uses a particular chunk, Wirecast will delete it automatically to save disk space. When you’re editing an instant replay clip in the Preview window, if you drag the playhead too far back, you may encounter a message informing you that the chunks have been deleted. This can be a bit jarring, but Wirecast always saves all chunks necessary to preserve the designated default replay duration.

In other words, let’s say you set the default replay duration at 90 seconds. As the event proceeds without any replay creation, Wirecast will start to delete unused 30-second content chunks. When you press Create Replay Shot, Wirecast presents a seamless 90 seconds of video in the designated layer, without reference to the 30-second chunks (which, again, are used only for under-the-hood housekeeping). If you drag the playhead back too far to the left, you may encounter deleted chunks, and the associated message. Overall, the feature operates exactly as it should, but if you see the deleted chunks message, now you’ll know why.

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