Padcaster Finds Robust Live Switching With Teradek’s Live:Air App

Wed, Mar 29, 2017
iPad with Padcaster case at Sight Sound & Story Workshop
iPad Mini 4 with Padcaster cage filming to Live:Air

Founded by Apter in 2011, Padcaster is credited as being the first company to create iPad/iPhone cases with reliable grips for firm control of rear cameras, turning typically untrained hands into mobile production studios. They’ve received some major press since then, being featured in Apple’s “Your Verse” iPad commercial and Visa’s “Visa Checkout” commercial. Check our their website at https://padcaster.com/.

The Sight, Sound & Story Workshop is an annual event held at the New York Institute of Technology that brings together the world’s masters of production and post-production - the people who make movies come to life. Just last year, they were host to some huge names in the production industry including Leo Trombetta (ACE, Editor of Mad Men) and Kate Sanford (ACE, Editor of Boardwalk Empire).

For the last two years, Josh Apter, has live streamed the event using iPhone/iPad rear cameras alongside Teradek’s Live:Air camera switcher app. The Live:Air app enables multi-camera productions to switch between different cameras, add graphic overlays, record footage and much more. The best part is that it can link up to four iOS devices or Teradek encoders in the same wireless network and use them all as camera sources.

“We were looking to do two things: get a much broader outreach and have an archive so we can access the videos later,” explained Apter. “We wanted to have 3 cameras shooting but needed the setup to be as easy as possible. How do you connect all of these without tons of equipment?”

iPhone mounted to Padcaster cage
iPhone 6s mounted to Padcaster cage filming with rear camera

For last year’s Workshop, Apter employed an incredibly simple and robust multicam setup using mostly iOS devices and the VidiU Mini. To capture from multiple angles, Apter and his team placed 2 Padcaster cages on both sides of the stage and equipped one with an iPhone 6s and the other with an iPad Mini 4, both using rear cameras to record. A VidiU Mini was then mounted to a Panasonic AF100 video camera in the back of the auditorium to capture the entire stage.

Assistant camera tech using Live:Air to switch between camera feeds
Assistant camera tech using Live:Air to switch between multiple iOS cameras

Once connected to the same wireless network, all feeds (iPhone 6s, iPad Mini 4, VidiU Mini) were automatically connected to Live:Air. From the app, the director was able to easily switch between camera feeds, preloaded footage and graphic overlays and stream directly to Facebook Live.

Live:Air offered a cost-effective and convenient solution to Apter’s workflow. Instead of hauling in a heavy, expensive professional switcher, he was able to accomplish all of his switching needs with just an iPad. Also, having a wireless workflow allowed them to keep their workflow free of cables, making for a much more efficient setup and safer auditorium.

Live:Air switcher app from back of auditorium Sight Story Sound
Panasonic AF100 with mounted Teradek Mini. iPad with Live:Air aggregating feeds

Thanks to Live:Air, Apter was able to streamline the entire process and create a professional-grade production at a fraction of the cost and effort of large-scale projects.

“Because I was MCing for the shows, I wasn’t in a position to operate the cameras. Instead, I taught a venue assistant how to operate the app. It only took 20 minutes before she was able to understand everything about it,” said Apter. “For the first time since hosting this show, I was able to sit in the audience and watch without having to worry about the technical aspects. It was just that easy.”