Ordinarily, when you consider an app that is designed with the iPhone at its heart, it would be hard to see how you can expand support for it. But the gang over at Switcher Studio have done just that with Version 3 of the app. Harnessing the power of the latest generation iPhone to run live broadcast streams, as well as work as the camera for it, this may be the best Switcher Studio yet.
“Switcher Studio 3.0 is the culmination of incredible user feedback – from professional broadcasters to social media influencers looking to significantly improve their live streaming experience for their audiences. With this release, we’re putting more control literally in their hands, be it via their iPhones or iPads, they’re able to insert video directly into a live stream, add graphics, utilize DSLR-like control over the shoot.” – Nick Mattingly, Co-Founder and CEO, Switcher Studio
In version 3, Switcher has freed users from having to use an iPad as its main control hub. By retooling the interface, they’ve managed to make ever feature accessible from the smaller screen of an iPhone. Not that the iPhone is small these days, but it’s more mobile, and if you’re using multiple iPhones driving Switcher Go and then feeding video wirelessly into the Switcher Studio app, being able to work form the palm of your hand is a welcome new feature.
Additionally, Switcher has added some advanced camera controls, which will enable the interface to control each camera remotely. With a built in gray card to balance each image for consistency, Switcher Studio now has a slider-based system with which to adjust everything from exposure to white and color balance, shutter speed and ISO. With a simple pinch and zoom, the focal length can be adjusted for a tight close up. Switcher also gives you the ability to create more depth of field with the camera with the Focus Slider, by sliding the foreground or background in and out of focus to get the look you like.
Switcher has also added the ability to insert pre-recorded “b roll” video directly from your camera roll. And not only from Switcher Studios, but this new feature is also supported in the Switcher Go app for the camera itself, where you can do a single live stream and insert B-Roll of up to 4 videos, or 4 stills, directly from your camera roll.
The graphics and overlay feature has also been streamlined so users can put a lower thirds or other overlay into your camera roll, and place it over your video signal to give it a more professional look. Switcher has also given users the ability to mute each iPhone’s audio in the chain.
Switcher is also planning a new update later this summer, which will offer support for Windows screen sharing, so interviews can be done over the internet. Already those with OS X can participate in live streams, and once Windows sharing is in place, Switcher will be able to work from mobile to desktop and back.
Other housekeeping features include improved Facebook live audio/video sync and improvements to the backend, and there will be access to chat for Q&A directly from the interface in their upcoming summer update.
New features include:
- Video Insertion. Also supported in Switcher Go (4 still/4videos)
- Mute Audio directly through the iPhone.
- Camera controls. Sliders. Pinch to zoom. Adjust depth of field of iOS devices. White balance, exposure, shutter speed, ISO, etc. Gray card feature to match camera color through sliders.
- A new graphics element tab: Overlays and graphics
- Can now use the iPhone as your main switching device. iPad no longer required.
Price for Switcher Studio 3.0 is $299 a year, or $25 a month. That may seem a bit steep for an app, but remember Switcher handles the stream to Facebook Live directly and it’s also worth mentioning that a comparable multicam live streaming set up can easily cost in the thousands of dollars, or more. So that alone makes Switcher Studio worth a look. In addition, single camera operation with Switcher Go is free.
All in all, I think Switcher is an outstanding option for small broadcast teams looking to harness the Internet and build their own IPTV presence online. I can see it not only for broadcasting local news and sporting events, but also weddings, corporate training, and other events where not everyone can be in attendance personally, and still enjoy a professional grade broadcast presentation. It’s a bold new world out there online, and Switcher aims to lead it.