Telestream Wirecast 4 & Wirecast Pro 4 Live Production System Reviewed

Wirecast 4 from Telestream is a program created for webcasting, live event recording, and broadcasting projects to the world. Conveniently placed on a laptop, this is one of the most mobile recording/broadcasting tools out there. If you are looking to produce high quality news reports or just shoot a class lecture, this is the tool for you.

To Cast or not to Cast

Your first step in purchasing one of these webcasting programs by Telestream is to look at what your need is. What will be your main use for a program such as this? There are many ways to utilize this program and many different settings it can be applied to. Live news reports or a corporate event, church services, sporting events, and even streaming live concerts are some of the main ways to utilize this application.

I am using the application to record a wedding ceremony and transmit it back to family members across the country who couldn’t make it to the service. Telestream Wirecast 4 was easy to use and set up, plus I was able to add in a few nice effects and record the ceremony for future use. With Wirecast 4 you have the ability to add titles and transitions, additional movie clips, photos and much more. Wirecast is not just a thrown-together application; it has many options for streaming to Flash, QuickTime, and Windows Media. For the wedding, I was able to put together a collage of photos over the top of the ceremony video and cast that to my family as well – all from my laptop.

The Competition

I have looked into shooting live events in the past, but have never been able to afford any of the video mixers on the market. You can spend thousands of dollars on a video mixer, and then you might also need to buy cases to keep your investment safe. After all of that, you end up with a large, heavy application to mix and record live video. Now there is a much easier way to do all of this. With Wirecast 4 it’s all in your computer. We plugged a camcorder into a laptop using the FireWire port and fired up the program. If you are running on a desktop computer, you can plug in a live USB camera or live FireWire camera and start broadcasting or recording right away. If you produce your own personal live webcast or shoot your webcasts and then upload them to a live stream, Wirecast has some incredible features for you. Adding in titles and transitions can give your project that extra edge to make it look more polished and professional. You also have the option to add in sound effects, photos, movie clips and text to your project. With Wirecast 4 being so portable it makes capturing multiple live events much easier than when using a big heavy system. Wirecast does the same job at a fraction of the price. Wirecast is available for Mac and PC and has average system requirements.

New Upgrades and Options

Wirecast 4 is the second release from Telestream (following its acquisition of Vara Software and Wirecast in 2008). Telestream first released Wirecast 3 with basic recording and broadcasting options. Still a wonderful piece of software, but now it has released Wirecast Pro 4 with more encoding options, a lot more graphics, 3D virtual sets, support for wireless IP cameras and other additions. A downside is the company doesn’t have an option for the person wanting to get started into home webcasting. $500 is inexpensive for a program with features such as these, but for the average users at home just wanting to start a basic webcast to keep their family informed on what’s going on in the family’s circle, or the mom who just wants to share recipes with fellow cooking friends, it’s a bit expensive.


The Future with Telestream

Purchasing Wirecast 4 would be a great investment for your application folder. Having a versatile, and useful program such as this is always nice to have. Also, if you are a constant vlogger or uploading your church’s sermons every week this is a must have for you.

Telestream has released a product to supply users with the tools to webcast, vlog, and produce multiple camera shoots live. Wirecast 4 is a convenient tool for broadcasting from the comfort of your own computer.

Tech Specs

OS Requirements: Macintosh – OS X 10.5 or later. A Quartz Extreme capable graphics card. A supported GPU is required for Core Image and GPU video compression acceleration.

PC Requirements: Windows 7 processor: 2.3GHz 32- or 64-bit, 1GB RAM, or Windows Vista processor: 2.3GHz 32-bit (x86), 1GB RAM, or Windows XP, SP2 processor: 2.1GHz 32-bit (x86), 512MB RAM . QuickTime 7.5.

Live Streaming: Requires sufficient upload speed of 300kbps for low quality, 700kbps for good. 1.3MB and up for HD streaming.

Features: Full scale video production studio for desktop or laptop computers. Capture live video from multiple cameras. Control switching between cameras. Import pre-recorded video, audio, graphics and slides 3D graphics and transitions. Stream live and/or record to hard drive. Encode to popular streaming formats (Flash, Windows Media & QuickTime)

Strengths

  • Ability to use IP Cameras
  • Simple User Interface
  • Portability
  • 3D virtual sets and graphic effects

Weaknesses

  • High Cost for the average consumer

Summary

While containing a higher cost for the average blogger, this is still an application that can be operated by anyone. Wirecast is an easy-to-use program with a simple interface.

Telestream, Inc.

848 Gold Flat Road

Nevada City, CA 95959

www.telestream.net

Wirecast 4: $500

Wirecast Pro 4: $1,000

Tyler Faires is a Northern California filmmaker pursuing a career in international cinematography.

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1 COMMENT

  1. You didn’t mention one of the biggest weaknesses of Wirecast – its hardware requirement of using a high-end system with a quad-core processor and a dedicated video card with its own ram memory.

    I am a wirecast user and have since v. 3.5 came out, have stopped using the product because of significant errors and slowdowns in broadcasting – there was a steadily increasing lag between the capture into my system and the time at which the viewers could see the stream. This was found to be due to Wirecast and not the CDN (the problem was not seen using Flash Live Media Encoder).

    I was using a Core2Duo system with 6GB ram but an integrated video card, which was apparently the cause.

    If Telestream wants to popularize the use of this software for live event service providers such as myself, they should not require it to have such heavy hardware demands. I have been sending feedback to Telestream on this issue since last year and have seen no resolution of this issue.