BoinxTV for OS X review

Sections: Audio / Video, Mac Software, Reviews

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Category: Video Compositing
Developer: Boinx
System Requirements:PowerMac G5, 2GB RAM, ATI required on PowerMac G5, e.g ATI Radeon X800 XT with 256MB VRAM, OS X 10.5.8, Quicktime 7.6.6, 1280-by-800 pixel resolution
Review Computer: 13” Macbook Pro, 2GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of DDR3 SDRAM
Processor Compatibility: G5 PPC, Intel
Version tested: 1.8.3
Price: $499.99
Availability: Out now

BoinxTV is an ingenious compositing program, designed for people who want to do professional webcasts. The program works in layers, allowing you to do dynamic backgrounds, multiple video sources, overlays, live web searches and fly-ins using a simple, intuitive user interface.

BoinxTV interface

The program comes with several templates that can make your video look like CNN, a G4 segment, a sports show, an astrology show (really!), or a two-screen webinar. The included templates are visually arresting as well as highly configurable, and after a few hours of poking around them, you’ll be ready to create your own from scratch.

webinar layout

As a compositor, BoinxTV works in layers; in a news cast you’d have the background image, the spinning globe or waving flag (if you’re the Colbert Report), then the reporter. On top of the reporter you might have a Chiron with their name, the date of the reporter, and the show. On the bottom of the screen over that you’d have a ticker of current news. Flying in and out you’d have graphics, a map showing the area, or another video source if you’re doing a video interview. If you really want a live TV effect, BoinxTV can do an up-to-the-minute Twitter search based on terms you define.

The program is simple to learn. The layers are labelled well and contain variables that are easy to understand. Do you want your graphic to fly in or dissolve? You can easily resize graphics, and depending on the layers settings, revolve them in 3D. The layers work in an obvious manner: elements at the top of the list appear in front of elements lower on the list. Each element contains a number of user-designed variables. You can easily assign where your images will appear on the screen, what your 3D spinning globe will look like (wireframe, glowing, or a more realistic representation), as well as choices that will make your presentation your own: using your company logo to create a spinning ball effect, or rotate an image or video on all three axis.

boinxTV news template

With all this customizability, the only thing BoinxTV is really limited by is your video card’s VRAM, because the video card is what’s processing the live video. It can record live video (using your Facetime, iSight, webcam, or external camera), but this obviously eats up a lot of processing power. A better idea is to record your video beforehand, then drop that in to your project, allowing you more time to do effects. It uses less processing power, and if you’re recording your videocast solo, allows you to activate the effects and transitions more easily.

As you’re recording, a handy meter lets you know how much of your VRAM you’re using. If it goes over 100%, expect stuttering video and missed transitions. However, on my 2009 Macbook Pro, it was easy to avoid this by prerecording the video. Here’s an example of something I put together in about 30 minutes total (altering the template, recording the video (and editing out a few muffed lines), recording it in BoinxTV, and processing).

Once you’ve got your video, BoinxTV records it raw, then gives you the option of processing the video into different formats (FCP, Apple TV, iPhone, or Divx, among others). You can save the completed video to your hard drive or upload it to YouTube.

BoinxTV is astonishingly easy to use. It’s a great tool for the purpose of creating a professional-looking webcast, and is easily configurable to your needs. It’s not cheap; at $500, this is strictly for pros, but there is a limited version for consumers known as BoinxTV Home (you can compare the products here). You can give BoinxTV a 15-day trial before you have to shell out half a grand, but if you need to create the look of a studio on a fraction of the budget, this is the one.

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BoinxTV review

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