Over the past several years, school broadcast programs around the country have been investing money to put industry standard equipment into the hands of their students.
But how can a program get started on a very limited budget? What if a program wants to expand to a more portable setup for live streaming? This is where Live:Air by Teradek enters the market.
What is Live:Air
Teradek, LLC, internationally know for their encoders and wireless solutions, has recently released an iOS solution that meets the need to get content on the web, but adds the professional features missing in most existing options. Live:Air, pronounced “Live to Air”, is a fully functional production switcher, audio mixer, content playback, character generator, web encoder, and more! It seems a little impossible to have all of these features built into an app that runs on an iPad, but that’s exactly what Teradek intended.
Live:Air is designed to integrate a multitude of sources including a GoPro™, camcorder, or DSLR using any WiFi-enabled Teradek encoder, including the VidiU Mini. Every source is automatically discovered and configured for instant use. For those without a camera, Live:Air can use live video from other iOS devices or you can simply begin streaming with nothing more than your iPad’s built-in camera.
While some schools may have a fully operational production studio, others may not. Live:Air can be used as a primary production setup or as a training option. By mixing iPads, iPhones, iPods, or other devices, one can easily create a multi-cam setup complete with custom graphics, transitions, and playback. This takes up very little room in a class space and is very portable for students to move around and practice framing, composition, and working together to get that perfect shot. The system can work using the existing Wi-Fi in the building, or can run through an inexpensive access point for better reliability.
My Personal Experience
At Cleveland High School, we are fortunate to have a broadcast studio and control room that is similar to a small television station. We have been using Live:Air for our beginning level students to start learning live production without having to take over the studio during the day. Within the classroom, they can setup the different devices, sync them to the iPad running Live:Air, and very quickly start their production while serving in the different technical roles. Live:Air has an option to record or even stream when the students are ready to share their product publicly.
We have also used Live:Air in conjunction with our multi-cam setup for event production. By taking the program out via the HDMI output from the iPad, we can integrate the inexpensive iOS devices into our regular production feed. This allows us to have additional cameras in unique places to enhance the overall look of the broadcast.
Live:Air is built on a concept that any user, professional or entry level, can live stream content while adding the professional features that audiences have come to expect. Finding an app that can push out a live stream is fairly easy, but these apps typically provide a method of encoding and stop there. Live:Air works the opposite way by providing a suite of production tools that also includes the streaming options. The app has native integration with Ustream, Livestream, and YouTube Live, however the user can customize the streaming options to output literally anywhere on the web.
One of the best parts of trying Live:Air is that it is completely free. This version is fully functional but limited to 30 minutes of streaming and includes the Teradek logo on the output. Get ready to take your content Live:Air!
Jon Souders is the Director of Digital Media Production at Cleveland High School in Tennessee. During his eight years at CHS, Souders has developed the program from small beginnings to an award-winning production with more than 250 students involved each year. Most recently, the program received “Best Overall School Broadcast Program” from the NFHS Network. He has worked in live production for over 19 years. You can reach Jon at [email protected] and enjoy more about Cleveland Schools in School Video News.