Back in the 1960s, pirate radio heralded a revolution. In more recent years, streaming-radio stations have given a voice to many a techie techno-fan. Live Channel takes the free-broadcasting idea to a new level, offering the opportunity to create a TV station, albeit on the Web.
The application brings together various tools to create a virtual vision-mixing desk. Just like in a real studio, you can cue-up clips or live feeds, smoothly mixing them with sound to create a slick TV-like broadcast. It’s fairly easy to get your show up on the Web, though you’ll need the right connection – and it should be a fast one. A 56Kbps modem connection uploads only at 28.8Kbps – not enough for broadcasting video at any size. If you have a leased-line or the right kind of ADSL, you should be fine. Ideally, you’ll have a fixed IP-address, and if there’s a router or firewall involved, you may need access to its settings. If unsure about the configuration involved, try out the demo on the cover CD.
To use Live Channel, first import some footage – unless you intend to broadcast live. The program is refreshingly unfussy about the format of size of the files. You can use .mpg, .avi, or .mov files, and they’ll be automatically sized to your broadcast window (up to 320-x-240 pixels). This should leave you a palette of clips ready for action. Next, connect your live video feeds using the FireWire ports. You can have two – plus a live audio-feed. For a professional touch, you can add a logo. You know the style: a discreet, embossed channel ID in the corner of the screen.
The application also acts as a streaming server, which is far easier to handle than a separate streaming application. Users cue-up clips in the preview windows, then fade, cut, or wipe into the live window. There are plenty of transitions, though most live work will involve cuts between cameras.
The distributors are pitching Live Channel as an education tool, but it’s just as likely to be used in business. Training sessions or company-report broadcasts would benefit from the program, too. There are many situations that will benefit from a simple streaming-video solution.
The applications for Live Channel are endless, so if you have a video camera and a bit of imagination, you should be able to find a reason to try it. The program’s education price is £379; otherwise it’s a hefty £749. This might stifle some, but businesses should get their money’s worth. That said, it might be nice to have an amateur price for budding the Waynes and Garths of this world.