Live Channel, described as “the first and only software solution for producing and broadcasting live media,” was previewed at this week’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
Live Channel is designed to empower any person using a DV-equipped Mac to produce and broadcast on any network — it replaces the functionality of a traditional TV studio, requiring no special hardware or technical expertise, according to the folks at Channel Storm, the company behind Live Channel. Plus, it has an integral streaming server so it can broadcast, both in local networks and over the Internet, without any external server.
Live Channel — which is a free download — is based on Live Render, a proprietary technology for real-time video rendering. Channel Storm has several patents pending on the fundamental algorithms of Live Render. Live Render enables transitions between sources, a combination of multiple sources, and 2D and 3D video effects; all in true color, with real-time anti-aliasing. Among its functions are video transformations, 3D wrapping, convolution filters, color-correction, color-keying, blending, alpha and compositing.
Live Channel enables the incorporation of multiple live sources (such as video cameras, microphones, and Internet streams), recorded audio and video clips, as well as still images, graphics, animations, and text titles into any broadcast. The software enables switching between different video and audio sources; mixing of multiple audio sources; video transitions, such as fades, dissolves and wipes; and overlaying of text and images — all in real-time, according to the company.
Live channels can be viewed on any Mac or PC, and can be embedded within Web sites, and viewed using any Web browser that has the QuickTime plug-in. Or they can be viewed in a separate window, using QuickTime Player.
Live Channel runs on any Mac with built-in FireWire and requires Mac OS 9.0.4, QuickTime 4.1.2 or higher (version 5 is recommended), and at least 64MB of RAM. To produce live content, Live Channel requires audio and video input devices, such as DV and USB cameras, analog and digital microphones, and more. To broadcast, Live Channel requires a connection to a local network or to the Internet. An Internet streaming service isn’t required unless the broadcast is aimed for a mass audience.
At the July 2000 Macworld exhibition, Channel Storm made its first public appearance. At the time, it used Live Channel and three different cameras to produce and broadcast a live news program. The broadcast included a live Tae-Kwon-Do demonstration that was simultaneously shown on a big screen where real-time switching, compositing, transitions and special effects were performed on the live Tae-Kwon-Do signal. At this week’s Macworld, Live Channel demoed a live TV show, “The Spinoff Game,” in which expo attendees could participate and win a variety of prizes.