Figure 1. The Wirecast AV.io bundleThe bundle quickly, easily, and affordably converts any Windows or Mac notebook or desktop computer with USB 3.0 connectors into a live production station.
Telestream WirecastLet’s start with the software. As you probably know, Wirecast, which runs on Mac and Windows, enables capture, live production, and encoding of live streams for broadcast to multiple servers simultaneously (Figure 2, below).
Figure 2. Telestream Wirecast.
With Wirecast, you can stream multiple live cameras and other real-time inputs, like DVI or VGA input from another computer, while dynamically mixing in other disk-based media like movies, images, and sounds, and adding production features like transitions and titles.
During your event, you can stream live to any RTMP or Windows Media server--or both--with presets for many popular CDNs and live streaming services
Figure 3. Live streaming options in Wirecast
You can also record a copy of your event to disk for archival or further production.
The Epiphan AV.io frame grabbers (Figure 4, below) connect to your computer via USB. While the units are backwards-compatible with USB 2.0 ports, you’ll need USB 3.0 ports for maximum performance.
Figure 4. The Epiphan AV.io USB 3.0 frame grabbers.AV.io is a USB Video class device, also called UVC. This means that it installs on Mac and Windows computers without drivers of any kind. Just plug the unit into your serial port and you should be ready to go; separate AC power is not required. AV.io comes with cables and connectors that let you capture from three sources: HDMI, including audio; DVI; and VGA. In operation, the AV.io units transfer uncompressed video to Wirecast at whatever resolution you configure. In the configuration shown in Figure 5 (below), I’ve got one AV.io inputting the VGA output from a notebook, the other video from a camcorder.
Figure 5: Creating a Composite Shot
One very cool Wirecast feature is the ability to mix the two streams into a separate shot that I can switch to during the production
Figure 6. A composite shot combining the presenter and the presentation created in Wirecast.
You create the shot by choosing Add New Shot
Figure 7. Choosing Add New Shot
Then you double-click the shot to load it into the Shot Editor window.
Then you choose a template to get started
Figure 8. Wirecast’s Template Chooser
In the Shot Editor, click each shot (A and B), and then the video to assign the video to the shot. Then click the icon indicated in Figure 9 (below) to resize the videos. In this project, I’ll make Shot A larger than Shot B by pressing the Alt-key and dragging with my mouse and adjusting the PowerPoint and the talking-head video in turn.
Figure 9. Customizing the composite shot in the Wirecast Shot Editor
You can also crop the sides of the shots by clicking the familiar crop icon. You can even import a still image to insert into the background. Once the composite shot is created, you deploy it in your program just like any other.
Figure 10. Click the composite shot as you would any other shot to make it live in the program. Click the image to see it at full size.
Using Wirecast on Multiple Computers
You can only use Wirecast on a single machine at a time, but you can have the demo version installed on multiple machines. Use your serial number to activate Wirecast on the machine you need at that time.
The AV.io units do not require drivers to install so they can easily moved from one system to another and are the perfect solution for creating a live production system on a laptop. If/when you do need to use a laptop you can connect the AV.io units and make sure everything works perfectly using the Wirecast demo software to test it. Then when you're ready to go live and use the laptop for your production, you simply need to deactivate the Wirecast license from your desktop PC and use your licensed serial number on your laptop and Voila! you no longer have the demo version.
Combined with the inherent portability of the AV.io units, you’ve got the ability to broadcast from any system in your office with USB 3.0 ports. Or, since the bundle is so inexpensive, you can just buy multiple copies.
Portability and Affordability
If you’re looking for a portable and affordable way to add live streaming capabilities to one or more computers in your office, the Wirecast AV.io bundle is a great option. The Epiphan Video Grabbers bundled with Wirecast Studio 6 is actually available in three bundles of your choice. The AV.io HD bundle is perfect for HDMI productions while the same bundle is also available with the SDI2USB3 Grabber for SDI productions.