Livestream announce new Livestream Studio™ models just in time for NAB

Livestream Store — Models – Livestream Studio™.

Livestream have just radically expanded their Livestream Studio line of multi Camera “studio in a box” solutions. The New range now starts with an entry level software solution (PC only ) : Livestream Studio Software $1,999 and now runs up to the Livestream Studio HD1700; a 16  x HDSDI Input Rack mount frame thats powered by 4 x BlackmagicDesign DeckLink Quad cards and a BlackmagicDesign DeckLink Studio card $24,999. Filling the space between these two polar opposite solutions is the Livestream Studio HD50 $6,999,

the Livestream Studio HD500 $8,500 (which I have blogged about previously) and the Livestream Studio HD900 $14,999 which, like the top of the range HD1700, is based in a rackmount frame.

If all these solutions seem too far out of reach for your budget don’t forget that the Livestream Broadcaster  is still shipping at the pretty incredible price of $495 for a single camera self-contained streaming solution.

Click any image or the link at the top of the post to visit the Livestream Store for all the information and specifications.

NOTE ALL THESE HARDWARE SOLUTIONS ARE LITSED AS US ONLY for direct purchase from Livestream with the sole exception of the Studio software. The Livestream Broadcaster is available worldwide*

(*with some exceptions)

MicW announces the release of the iBoundary mic for iOS

 

MicW. announces the latest addition to their iSeries microphone line up for mobile devices, the “iBoundary”. I just up a preliminary press release on this so I dont have a lot of information but heres what it says on the MicW website:

The iBoundary microphone has very high sensitivity with half-omni directional pickup. It is recommended for use in presentations, meetings, dictation and other applications where speech intelligibility is high on the agenda. It can also be used for recording via Skype or MSN video or capturing your musical idea’s while traveling.”

No price indicated yet either but will let you know if and when I get more information. Click the image or link at top of post to visit the MicW website for more.

UPDATE! RØDE iXY Stereo Microphone for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch @rodemics

UPDATE: So today I took the Rode iXY and the Tascam iM2 and iM2X into one of our radio voiceover booths to record some samples. This is not a scientific experiment by any means but if you can excuse the occasional audio pop ( I had no pop-shields for the Tascam devices so didnt use the one that comes with the iXY either)  it is as fair a comparison as I can make under relatively controlled circumstances.

Here are the details: I used the Rode Rec App for ALL RECORDINGS and the sample rate was a constant 44000Hz with the exception of the last (as stated at 96KHz)

I tried to keep the phone in the same position and the same distance from my mouth for all these recordings- as shown. The iPhone was switched to Airplane mode to avoid any interference. Gain (within the Rode App was constant accross all mics except for the iPhone internal which I state in the recording, however both Tascams have an audio dial on the device itself, I tried to set these both around 75%- 80%.)

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What do you think? Comments welcome.

Final point the Rode iXY retails for around €179 which includes a protective case, and windscreen. The Tascam Im2 retails at around €75  and the iM2X at around  €77 with no additional accessories included.

Original Post >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

RØDE iXY Stereo Microphone for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch.

I previously blogged about the Rode iXY after it was announced at CES and have been waiting to get my hands on one since. Last week I was at the #roodagen conference in the Netherlands delivering a presentation on Mobile Journalism with Karol Cioma from Circom Regional. I had included the iXY in the presentation and mentioned that I was waiting to get one and a member of the audience said he had ordered one direct from Rode and had it with him if I wanted to see it.

So at the end of the presentation, as is now customary, I invited the audience up to see and play with all the accessories I have amassed for use with the iPhone and iPad, and I finally got my hands on the iXY.

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First impressions:

To begin with can I say I have several Rode Mics and have always been impressed with the build quality (with the sole exception being the fidgety battery cover on the VideoMicPro). Anyway the initial product images certainly made it look impressive but until I held it in my hand I really couldn’t appreciate the absolutely beautiful build quality.

I have tested lots, and I mean LOTS,  of iPhone audio accessories, Tascam, IKMultimedia, Fostex, etc etc but I have never picked up a product and immediatley went – Oh Damn this feels good – not until the iXY. The brushed aluminium is beautifully finished, the weight suggests a quality product and the clever accessories (Windshield and Pocketpack) are all of really great quality.

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I downloaded the Rode Rec App (€5.49 on the App store) only to realise it is in fact a customised version of the Fire2 App from Audiofile (which by the way is the same price on the App Store).

I should point out that there is also a free version of the Rode Rec App (which has some limitations imposed that can be removed via an in-App purchase). Im familiar with FiRe 2 because Audifile had previously licensed a limited version of the App to Blue Microphones under the App name BlueFire which was Free. We had used this in RTE in the early stages of our MoJo project to record simple audio clips and FTP them back to base. This was before we opted for LuciLive as our Radio solution for iOS.

Ive ordered a RODE iXY from Thomann (€179) as they are showing in stock. The price tag is steep by comparison to some other plug-in audio accessories like the Tascam iM2x ( RRP €77) but again you simply cannot compare the two devices as the plastic build of the Tascam simply cannot compete.

Once the iXY arrives Ill take it in to one of our audio booths and do a test recording with the App which very cleverly will allow me to post directly to SoundCloud, Dropbox, FTP, iTunes sharing or Email. Ill update the post then. For more info click the image or link at the top of the post or visit http://www.ixymic.com

Wide Open Camera Combat Cage For The @GoPro Hero 3. by Jared Abrams — Kickstarter

Wide Open Camera Combat Cage For The GoPro Hero 3. by Jared Abrams — Kickstarter.

Jared Abrams from Wide Open Camera has a Kickstarter campaign running at the moment for the production of the Combat Cage for GoPro Hero3. Sounds like a complete no brainer to me…Its a fantastic idea and the multiple mounting points make securing the GoPro in a professional production environment much more accessible. Click the link or photo to head over to the KS page where a $110 pledge will secure one of the first 100 production units. You can follow Jared on Twitter @goforjared or @wideopencamera

First impressions: Canon IXUS 255 HS – Digital Compact Camera. A must have for your MoJo bag?

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Canon IXUS 255 HS – Digital Compact Camera – Canon UK.

Ethics statement: Canon Ireland sent a review model of the IXUS 255 to me, I am not being paid for or receiving any form of sponsorship for this review. I am giving my impartial opinion at face value as I think the IXUS is potentially  a worth while addition to a mobile journalist’s equipment.

I have a confession to make – Ive been an IXUS owner for a number of years. I also bought the IXUS 220 for my better half a bout a year ago in anticipation of the arrival of our baby girl. Yes Im a big supporter of iPhoneography. Yes I have filled my iPhone  several times over with shots of my baby but I still use the IXUS even now and I have to say I would buy again. Its been robust, reliable and it has never left me down.

So you ask, why would someone who travels around evangilising and pontificating about the iPhone and mobile journalism even need a pocket camera? Heres one BIG reason 10 X ZOOM. Not massive by any standard but one hell of a lot better than trying to strap a dslr lens onto an adapter etc to compensate for the lack of zoom in the iPhone. Anyway the key thing to note is that you can always use the IXUS as a second unit camera when shooting mojo content…

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Let me give you a scenario:

Im a journalist (not true) and I pick up a trend on Twitter that suggests there is a very large collision on a nearby motorway. I know from my iPhone geolocation that Im relatively close by so I head to the scene. When I get near, the traffic jam is bedlam, there is no way of driving anywhere near the actual scene of the crash, this also means there is no way a SNG sat truck is getting near either. I have my iPhone, with my MoJo Bag and I have my pocket camera too. Heres what the pocket camera adds to the scenario…

With the iPhone I have connectivity, so I can file an audio report from the scene for our Radio service and I can even broadcast live on radio using Luci Live or Report It Live. I can shoot some pictures and sequences of the traffic jam for our online team but what they WANT is pictures of the crash. With the IXUS I can use the 10 X zoom to see whats really going on at the scene but without putting myself in jeopardy. I can shoot 1080p h.264 HD video at the end of the zoom without picture quality loss and I can now transfer the video and stills to my iPad via the integral WiFi so the footage can be edited with iPhone footage in iMovie or Pinnacle studio. You will need to download the Canon CAMERAWINDOW App for wireless transfer (Free)- Ive tested this by the way and its beautifully simple and works a treat. Then I can FTP the finished video back to my station for online or even for use on our TV output and Finally use an App like Quicklink LNG or Dejero Live to broadcast a Live Q&A for our TV service. Having a pocket camera like the IXUS in my MoJo bag gives me greater flexibility and it dramaticlly compensates for one of the biggest weaknesses with the iPhone: Lack of Zoom (Did I mention that already?). I’d also like to point out that unlike the Samsung Galaxy Camera, the IXUS allows you to zoom WHILE recording video.

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Anyway lets get back to the camera. Heres a snapshot of the features:

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There is a substantial list of “dynamic” photography modes available in the IXUS 255. Smart Auto, Hybrid Auto, P (Program mode), Portrait, Smooth skin, Smart Shutter (where a wink at the camera will trigger the face detection system to fire the shutter!) High Speed Burst mode (at 3Mpx) Night scene, Fisheye, Miniature Effect,  Toy Camera mode, Soft Focus, Monochrome, Super Vivid, Poster effect (high contrast) Colour accent / swap, Snow mode, Fireworks mode Long Shutter and Stitch Assist for Panoramas. Interestingly there are a number of these that work in movie mode also:  Smart auto, Portrait, P (Program mode) Miniature Effect, Super Vivid, Poster effect (high contrast) Colour accent / swap, Snow mode, Fireworks mode Super Slow Motion Movie. Add to this the fact that if you drop the resolution of the video from HD to 640×480 you can shoot at 120fps.

In summation there is a lot packed in to the IXUS 255 for the RRP of €289. If you consider that an Olloclip lens adapter for the iPhone is about €70 – just for three alternative shots (wide, Fisheye and Macro) this is  potentially a substantial addition to your kit list. Yes I accept its an extra piece of gear to charge and carry etc etc, but one of the biggest gripes I get from journalists is how much the battery life of the iPhone drops when shooting video and at the end of the day the journalist MUST be able to stay in touch with base, so having a spare, versatile pocket camera in the bag may be just the solution.

Its clear that Canon have put a lot of thought into the IXUS 255 in an attempt to claw back some of the pocket camera market share from the smart phone space.  Just a comment though, it would have been really nice if there had been a provision made for using an external microphone with the camera, lots of the entry level dslr have this by default and its becoming more common on point and shoot cameras in general. It would have added one important extra feature: good sound into the equation.

Bottom line: I would buy one again.

Click Canon IXUS 255 HS – Digital Compact Camera – Canon UK. to go to the Canon UK site for more info.

Panasonic HX-A100K – A100: Point-of-View Lifestyle Wearable Full HD Camcorder

Panasonic HX-A100K – A100: Point-of-View Lifestyle Wearable Full HD Camcorder – Overview.

I just saw a press release for this. The Panasonic HX-A100K. The PR suggests its Panasonics attempt at clawing back some of the High Octane Sports Camera market that is dominated by the likes of GoPro and Contour. Whether they achieve that goal or not remains to be seen. There is one feature that I really like about the camera though: LIVE BROADCAST in FULL HD via Ustream – while simultaneously recording in 1080p HD to the local Micro SD card. Now I should clarify the Realtime broadcast feature is via Wifi (not a built in 3G SIM though that begs the question why didn’t they consider using 3g or making it 4G capable/ready?) Anyway you can create a WiFi tethered hotspot with your smartphone and pair with the HX-A100K to stream live. It also remains to be seen if there will be a remote control App to compliment the recorder module. I could see this having a use in covert camera situations and as it records .MP4/H.264 it is widely supported and compatible with lots of non linear editing software. Price point is competitive at $299 and its expected to start shipping by the end of March. Click image or link to visit the Panasonic website for more info

50% discount on TouchEdit App for iPad – reduced to €21.99 for a limited time

TouchEdit App for iPad. When the first whispers of TouchEdit surfaced (HT to @LenND1) I was quite excited at the prospect of a new, independent editing Platform for iPad. Ive been using Pinnacle Studio (formerly Avid studio) for projects since version 1.1 was released and its a powerful and intuitive interface which, for €11.99 I think is worth the money. Before the Release of Studio I had been using Apple’s iMovie but the inability to easily split audio from video and move it around in the timeline was a major limitation. Fast forward to a a few nights ago. I spotted that TouchEdit had been released in the App Store but was pretty stunned when I saw the asking price: €49.99! Im sorry but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay that for an App that was new to the App store and hadn’t yet proven itself. Subsequently a colleague tweeted to me to let me know that Touchedit had gone on sale at half price. Somewhat grudgingly I decided to bite the bullet and buy it for a test.

I try out a lot of Apps – its part of my job to assess and recommend Apps that may have an impact in journalism or tv/film production. I have a few simple criteria when assessing: Function: does it do what it claims it can do? Useability / User Interface :Can I figure it out using just intuition, does the UI make sense instinctively? Design: Does the App use the multitouch interface well and is the layout simple and clear, Reliability : Does it crash much?  and finally Cost : does the price match the function and design?

When you read the function information on the TouchEdit website  it really does sound like an exceptional piece of editing software:  including “TouchEdit is frame accurate and carries timecode and can export a list -fcpxml with others to follow. It carries 8 tracks of stereo sound. It uses classic source/record monitors that can attach via HDMI to a monitor to use a client screen (monitoring not mirroring). It can download media from Dropbox.” 

With an intro like that I had very high hopes. Unfortunately my experience hasn’t lived up to those expectations. The first thing that really threw me is that the timeline at the bottom of the screen plays right to left. The Record / Source reels also play “backwards” (as opposed to in reverse) The Dual screens (Source/Record) are a great idea and I thought this might have been borrowed from High End NLE solutions like Avid Media Composer but to be honest I found the simple process of Mark-In, Mark-Out Insert or Overwrite almost impossible to figure out using intuition – because it doesn’t follow any of the norms from NLEs. (Non Linear Editing apps). So I, after an hour of frustration, gave in and viewed the tutorials on YouTube. Then I came back to the App and tried it again – this time admittedly with more success. But heres my problem, I can assemble a series of clips in iMovie or Pinnacle Studio in mere seconds, I didn’t have to open help tutorials or the like to figure it out, it just made sense. Back to TouchEdit, in order to access the 8 channel audio mixer you turn the iPad to Portrait and the audio mixer is revealed. Here again I tried the simple task of copying an audio clip from the source monitor to track two on the record side. Nope couldn’t do it – back to the reference video. At that point I gave up!

Bottom line, I spent a lot more time than average trying to figure the interface out – for me thats a bad start, the functionality sounds amazing-if I could get to test it even better. However as a trainer I need an App thats both POWERFUL and INTUITIVE. In my humble opinion reinventing the wheel was unnecessary here and may prove to be a costly mistake by the App Makers. That said I genuinely welcome feedback from you on your experience using the App, if you have a great experience tell me why, better still if you post a video on YouTube showing how easy it can be once you understand the interface Ill even embed in here to counter my review, but in my opinion the €21.99 I spent was not a worthwhile purchase so at full price I would have been even more critical. Interestingly @TouchEdit did subsequently tweet to me to justify the price tag citing the fact that TouchEdit is frame accurate – unlike (according to them) Pinnacle Studio.

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