Jordi Duran i Batidor, co-founder & CTO, of Biz-News.com, has road-tested Bonix Software’s new tool for video podcasters.
In his interview with hdtv.biz-news Oliver Breidenbach, CEO and co-founder of Bonix Software, explained that he believed BonixTV is a “game changer” providing tools to create “TV-style” quality recordings at an affordable price.
We had the opportunity to play with the application and here you have our first insights.
As with any Mac Application, installation is straightforward – you simply have to drag & drop the application into the application folder.
On the extras folder we can find a great introductory video (link to the video), some interesting links and some sample files (Basketball Scores and Bonix Crawler).
When starting the application for first time, it will run the installer, request a licence be installed, accept terms and conditions and we are done.
The normal start-up screen shows several templates from which to choose. Some of the default ones are great, with everything from chroma, lower thirds, logo, ticker, and closing
We can also set up the output size, where they have conveniently pre-set the most common video formats.
The application is devised in five zones:
- a header zone with the logo of the company
- a control button to manage the layers
- a central clock to manage the timing with a record button
- the sound bars and audio adjustment.
- At the bottom of the application there is a folded window that allow users to find and define sources and layers.
The central part of the application is split into three columns: on the left we can define the parameter of the current layer, in the middle we can see, organize and control the layers, and on the right there is a video player displaying the output.
The system is really simple to understand and is based in layers that are applied one on top of the other, adding or modifying the previous signal. It is similar to what you find in photoshop.
Each layer it has a red button or switch. When clicking on it we activate or deactivate the functionality of this layer. Also layers can be reorganized and we can save our layout as a template for future usage.
There are plenty of layers in the default installation of BonixTV. We can find layers to manage: Video Input (Single video, Video Switcher up to 4 cameras, Interview with 2 simultaneous videos), Backgrounds, video backgrounds, Transitions, Efects, 3D effects Audio only, Clocks, Lower thirds,headline tickers, RSS tickers, Logo, etc
Two promising layers are the Basketball scores and Weather Map. Those layers are made with the idea of demonstrating the possibilities of BonixTV. But the current customization interface for the layers doesn’t allow you to, for example change, the background map, so unless you want to do the forecast of Germany it will be useless for you.
The good news is that those layers are programed in Quartz Composer – a free and easy to use developer tool that you can get if you are member of the Apple ADC program.
Also if you don’t want to learn Quartz, Bonix has an option to request a customized layer for an introductory price of USD $999.
Every layer has its own parameters, for example the weather layer asks conditions and temperature for the four regions in Germany, while the lower third lets us define the background image, the animation, position, text…
Every layer can be activated via a shortcut, that can be defined. Also the layers can be activated via trigger, for example, when we click on "stop recording" the layer of credits can be activated automatically.
We have tested the application with two cameras, and several other sources like video files, images and audio files. Defining a new camera is quite easy, we connected a firewire camera while the program was running, clicked on sources, added devicdes, and then selected the video and audio device.
A great addition to this program would be the possibility to use Internet video streams as sources. For example, if we want to interview somebody via skype, use the Skype video-in as source for the program. If Skype is too complex, they can use streaming protocols mostly used in live broadcasting site like Ustream.tv, or Kyte.tv, for example.
Creating your own studio
Hidden in the Extras / Links folder, there is a gem, a link to the Studio Equipment page. At that page, they feature two interestingoptions:
- The first is the PowerKeys for iPhone, to remote control BonixTV by assigning keyboardshortcuts on a virtual iPhone keyboard.
- The second one is a Firewire repeater or extender, allowing to connect firewire devices up to 65m from your computer thanks to a ethernet conversion (it uses a cross cable).
BonixTV is a great application, easy to use and powerful. We like the extensibility of the layers via Quartz Composer, but we would love to see sooner rather than later a less complex tool to manage weather maps, and basketball scores inside the BonixTV application.
A missing functionality, is a strong streaming capability, in our opinion this tool is for live broadcasting, and has to make it easy to plug the output of BonixTV into Ustream.tv, kyte.tv and others.
And as said before, it would be great if streaming video could be also used as camera. This could be used to do remote interviews, but also to use wireless webcams as input source.