Live or On Demand?
Live video Webcasts can be daunting, indeed. High-end broadcasts typically require a switching system, with separate inputs for video sources such as cameras and video decks; integrated titling and character generation; and full input-selection, switching, and dissolve capabilities.
VoD, on the other hand, has traditionally called for the use of nonlinear-digital editing software -- such as Adobe Premiere or Apple Final Cut Pro -- for saving files in streaming formats. Tools like Adobe After Effects have then been used for titles and special effects. More third-party tools have come into the picture for integrating "interactive" features such as chat windows and polling.
Meanwhile, though, Microsoft and RealNetworks are now selling video production software meant to work with their own respective media servers. Outside of their production capabilities, these products are starting to include manageability functions such as bandwidth simulation, the ability to save encoding settings in job files, and server-side playlists for hands-free multimedia playback.
Wanted -- Better Tools for Content Creation
Even so, Microsoft Producer, in particular, is "inaccessible" to many users, according to Aberdeen's Hoch. "Many of the enterprise bandwidth issues surrounding streaming media are now being solved. A bigger need is for easy-to-use content creation tools," the analyst argues.
Some simplified tools, though, are finally emerging. Serious Magic's Visual Communicator is a template-based, drag-and-drop software program for creating either streaming video or PowerPoint presentations. Serious Magic now has dozens of enterprise customers for Visual Communicator, including Hertz, ExxonMobile, UCLA, and Princeton University.
Altuit Inc., an enterprise software developer, turned to Visual Communicator after repeatedly signing on outside production houses for video projects. From these outsourcing forays, Altuit CEO Chipp Walters said he's "seen first-hand how difficult, expensive, and time consulting it can be to get truly professional results."
Walters claims he was able to produce a quick video only an hour after opening the Visual Communicator software. Soon afterward, Altruit used the product to create a video for one of its clients -- a Texas-based corporation -- in less than a day.