One of my projects for the year is to create a Mac360 video series. Hey, all you need is a Mac, an internet connection, and a video camera, right?
Oh, and the right video production apps. Here’s one that bills itself as a consumer broadcasting app, a personal TV truck (sans truck), that brings all the video production elements together on one little Mac. Does it? I’m going to say yes.
Home TV Broadcasting
BoinxTV (and the companion Home app) aims to bring video production to your Mac. This isn’t iMovie or Final Cut Pro X. it’s designed for live video production that can be recorded.
Why on earth would you want to do live video production on your Mac?
Digital video recorders are high quality and easily plugged into any modern Mac. Video recording is digital, which results in high quality and easy production.
Finished videos can be used for webcasts, school productions and instruction, sports and concert events, company training videos, and a whole bunch more. YouTube, anyone?
The Basics You Need To Start
Any recent Mac with plenty of RAM and a good graphics card has sufficient horsepower to become the center of a single camera video production system (USB cameras tend to have lower quality than FireWire cameras).
Faster MacBook Pro or desktop iMac and MacPro models can handle multiple cameras at the same time. BoinxTV becomes the production app that pulls all the cameras together, and combines them with video production effects in ready-made packages that are point and click.
For example, BoinxTV brings special effects and animated backgrounds, titles and text. There’s also picture-in-picture, lower thirds, screen casting, outros and credits, plus onscreen drawing, video switching, and Skype input.
Here’s what the Home version looks like on startup (complete with a number of ready-made templates:
That startup screen won’t be intimidating at all. That’s also the last time video production will look easy.
The next step is to select a video production template for your project. This is where it gets interesting. Remember, this is the simplified Home version, single camera.
Simply put, the various video production effects are displayed in the center of the screen and can be stacked, one on top of the other.
Grab one effect and move it up or down in the effects hierarchy to change how it’s viewed onscreen.
Each of the effects goes live by simply clicking the big red Live button to the right. Multiple videos can also be dropped into the stack, as can many of the other effects included in BoinxTV or BoinxTV Home.
Boinx does a good job of describing the video effects tools with a series of video examples on the company website. You’ll need them. Video production may be digital point and click, but dozens of elements, preferences, and settings are floating onscreen at the same time, so start slowly, build a simple video, then progress to more complex productions.
Also useful are BoinxTV’s export options. Most of the QuickTime movie settings are available, as is a single-click option to upload your production to YouTube.
And, it covers a wide spectrum of usage, from a simple single video source (your built-in FaceTime or iSight camera), to multiple video sources. Add a live Skype video stream to the production.
BoinxTV will stretch to nearly full-screen on your Mac, but isn’t yet a full-screen aware app for OS X Lion. This is more than a fun or toy app. It’s capable of serious quality production, but requires plenty of time to master.
Caveats? A few. BoinxTV isn’t officially ready for OS X Lion, though I had the Home version running on my Lionized iMac. The Home version is one tenth the price of the more capable version, but has limited capability, and less resolution, though it’s very good for dazzling YouTube video productions.