It’s hard for me to be really interested in a new app or startup these days. So many ideas, so few honest assessments. At a recent meeting to discuss the startup scene in Louisville, Tony Schy of Velocity Indiana — an accelerator just across the river in Southern Indiana — said our market has the problem of being afraid to call each other’s babies ugly.
It’s not just a Louisville problem. It’s a startup problem.
But every now and then a pretty baby comes along. I love talking about those. Switcher Studio is one such baby. This application, available today as an iOS application for tablets and phones, allows one device (such as an iPad) to stream video from up to four different iOS devices in one directing/editing (or “switcher”) console. The primary user can then direct the recording (or streaming) of the main video source just like a television producer or movie director can.
It essentially democratizes video production. You no longer have to purchase a crazy editing suite of equipment or spend hours in post production editing different camera angles. You don’t have to have an expensive TV truck to produce a multiple camera live stream, either.
Say you wanted a four-camera (up-shot, two on the 25-yard-lines and one field roving camera) production of a high school football game. Instead of a TV truck and microwave or satellite transmitter, all you now need are three iPods, an iPad and strong Internet nearby. Well, and the Switcher Studio app, of course.
The basic version of the app (which is free) gives you the editing suite plus 30 minutes of streaming per day. The Pro version ($49.99 per month or $500 in advance for a year) allows for unlimited high-definition streaming, digital zoom (the director controls the other cameras with pinch to zoom finger actions on the editing interface), camera-roll image access for graphics and computer screen casting.
CEO and co-founder Nick Mattingly said he and co-founder/partner Dan Petrik, who work together in a video production house, didn’t have many customer asking for live streaming. And when they did, they would say things like, “This costs too much,” or “Who’s going to run all this?”
“We wanted to build something that would make a small business or even a communications person at a larger business self-sufficient,” Mattingly told me. “We tried to find a cheaper solution than a $5K minimum, one-camera setup and couldn’t find one. So we build something that is portable, cheap and scalable. All you have to do to add a camera to your production is put the app on another device.”
Mattingly noted the additional app downloads on the other devices are all free. The bells and whistles account only has to be on the main switching unit, if you upgrade to pro at all.
The Louisville-based company’s partnerships already include Motrr’s Galileo project which will allow users to pan and tilt cameras remotely from the Switcher Studio app. They’ve also partnered with hardware offerings for such camera setups, like that of iOgrapher, to open sales channels.
This opens up a new world of possibilities for online education, conferences wishing to stream or record their events, live music or entertainment, sporting events, press conferences or media events, internal communications and investor relations activities or even radio stations wishing to supplement audio content with video — essentially put all their hosts on live streams ala Mike and Mike on ESPN. Frankly, with college and high school sports alone, this thing could take off and be a huge hit.
I liken it to a platform like Blogger/Wordpress or even SoundCloud. It could be the underbelly that makes video publishing as mainstream as blogging or podcasting. They’ve taken a cost-prohibitive, closed system and made it both affordable and open. Well done.
What do you see a cheap, accessible and intuitive video production software doing for your business? For the marketplace in general? I’m sure they’re as interested in your answers as I am and something tells me they’ll be watching the comments. Dive in and let us know.
Oh, and go check out Switcher Studio for yourself. It’s free to download and use the basic version.