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Review: Switcher Studio

If you're looking for an iDevice-based video mixing solution, Switcher Studio should be on at the top of your short list.

Director Mode

Another feature worthy of note is Director mode (Figure 6, below), which solves the problem of outputting low-resolution streams from locations with limited outbound bandwidth. Assume you’re broadcasting from a remote location, and the bandwidth is so limited that you can only push a 360p stream to the live servers. In normal mode, you can record the 360p stream for uploading to a VOD service, but the quality will be subpar. You could also record all inputs at their full quality, and assemble the multicam manually, but then you’re starting from scratch.

Figure 6. Director mode lets you store a high-quality live recording while broadcasting at lower resolutions.

In Director mode, you stream your outbound mixed stream as normal. However, the software captures the full-resolution output from all live cameras, with all camera switches, and creates a full-resolution version of the live stream that you can upload to a VOD service immediately. It also works with Switch Studio Media Manager, a service available on the Switcher Studio site, to create a composition you can send to Final Cut X with all media and all cuts inserted. There you can tweak as necessary and output. The only downside is that in Director mode, you can’t use the camera on the host device.

Broadcasting to Facebook Live

During my tests, I broadcast to Facebook Live and stored multiple camera feeds to disks, all without running into any dropped frames, CPU limitations, or other hitches. Given the advancements in CPU technology built into current tablets, and lenses and CPUs now available in smartphones, producing live events using smartphones and tablets can deliver quality and reliability unavailable even 24 months ago.

Lack of Android/Windows Support

The only major weakness of Switcher Studio is the inability to work with Android devices and Windows-based computers. Regarding this, the company hopes to deliver updates that enable the use of Windows computers and Android devices as sources by the end of 2017, though only plans to continue to support the iOS platform for mixing.

If you’re looking for a mobile-based video mixing solution, and you can live without Windows and Android until then, Switcher Studio should be on at the top of your short list.

Switcher Go

Finally, note that Switcher Studio also offers Switcher Go, a free one-camera solution that can connect to the same services and insert overlays and even stream VOD files during the production. If you’re streaming to Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and similar services, and want to enhance your productions, it’s worth checking out.

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