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BoinxTV review

Originally released in 2011, BoinxTV has recently been upgraded to deliver your own TV studio, right on your Mac. Most of the enhancements are performance-related and add Lion and Mountain Lion support as well. You won’t notice some of these, like removing JavaScript from inside layers, but the fact that the app won’t crash like it used to will be noticed. The original resolution of projects has been increased to 1280x720 but full HD still isn’t supported. For those running BoinxTV on a Retina-equipped Mac the difference will be immediately noticeable as it now supports the Retina display while loading movies works better thanks to the addition of automatic looping and using memory better. Where you found the app running out of steam once a clutch of layers had been added, now it will keep on running. The keyboard shortcuts, used to activate features, now also work where ever you are in the app. 

If you’ve never seen BoinxTV then, it’s a broadcast studio on your Mac. It features a live updating screen to show what the project is currently looking like, alongside a layer stack of media features. These cover everything for a video broadcast from live camera feeds, overlaid graphics, updating time, news tickers, lower third info displays, animated objects and sound. The news feed can use RSS feeds but you’ll need to know the exact URL to type in to add your own.

Everything from the on-screen graphics to the background display behind the presenter can be changed to your design.

The system uses a layer-stack, just like in Photoshop, so any graphics on the top will automatically display over the top of the ones underneath. A Live toggle turns the feature on or off, or a keyboard shortcut can be used. Clicking on the layer brings up the options for it, including positioning, triggers, appearance and content. Using these to position elements is accurate, but it’s slow, whereas clicking and dragging visually would have been much quicker. The interesting items are using the video feed, which can be any cameras attached to the Mac or the iSight webcam. This is great for home enthusiasts, as the cheaper version of the software is ideal for creating YouTube broadcasts. The video feeds can be chroma-keyed to remove backgrounds and isolate the subjects over the backgrounds.

While there’s not much in the way of media graphics to use – you’ll be making your own – there’s a number of effects and media layers to choose from. These can be added to introduce animation, scores, special effects, panoramic images and highlighting tools like shadowing out the display except for a focus point, or using a magnifying glass to zoom in. This can get quite complex when you use them in combination with features like a Google Map on satellite view. What’s actually difficult is to arrange a long video clip, which uses different news elements and requires specific graphics for them. You end up writing out the script for what’s happening along with the shortcuts and when to activate them. At this point the system is a little ungainly and messy, but for individual stories it can create some quite complex and engaging displays.

There are a good number of media layers that can be utilised, including Google Maps to add extra detail to your broadcasts.

Once completed and recorded the video can then be exported or uploaded directly to YouTube. There’s a few different video codecs to use as well as format templates like iPhone and AppleTV. AppleScripts can be used on the rendered video and it can also be uploaded to PodcastProducer.

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