There are some excellent contenders for the best TV production software for Mac that turn your Mac into a professional broadcasting studio. Years ago, live TV production on a Mac would have been impossible and would have required a team of people and thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment. Nowadays, all you need is a Mac and some software and cameras and you’re good to go. If you’re starting your own internet web streaming channel or are a student of video production, the following live TV production software provide all the tools and software you need to use your Mac for live video production. The software covered here is also suitable for those that need to film a lecture, a conference or a presentation. Although they don’t come cheap – most packages cost around $500 – they’re a lot cheaper than buying a professional studio setup which can run into thousands of dollars. Below then is the best TV Production software for Mac in order of ranking.
mimoLive was known for many years as BoinxTV and is probably the best TV production software available for Mac as it’s designed specifically for OS X and offers so much power for your money. Boinx is a German company that makes a range of multimedia software with BoinxTV being it’s most popular “Prosumer” (i.e. aimed somewhere between Professional and Consumer level) broadcasting software suites for Mac. However, in mid 2016, it decided to change the name to mimoLive and withdraw it from the Mac App Store. The reason Boinx did this is to “reflect the giant leap in user experience, functionality and technology” as Boinx became a Multi-in, Multi-out Live Video Engine (hence the new name mimoLive).
Since it’s one of the few video production software suites designed specifically for Mac, it works seamlessly with OS X and even won an Apple Design Award in 2009. mimoLive is expensive at anything from $199 to $1,999 depending on whether you choose a Personal, Commercial or Broadcast plan but the power it gives you is comparable to a mobile outside broadcasting studio costing several times more.
mimoLive works by adding layers. It uses QuickTime in order to capture and record video which is your bottom layer and then it allows you to build other layers – such as titles, effects and backgrounds on top of that.
What’s really nice is that mimoLive too is that it also includes lots of ready made themes such as Sports and News which give your production a real professional touch straight away.
And it’s incredibly easy to grasp the basics for such a powerful package. To get going, simply select a theme:
Select an output format in Template Format at the bottom (iPhone, NTSC, PAL etc) and you’re then presented with the “Document Window” which is basically your workspace where you’ll see a Preview of your video input on the right.
Select the video source you want to use:
And then you’re pretty much ready to broadcast although from there you’ll definitely need to refer to the extensive user guide and tutorials in order to configure encoding settings, frame rates etc.
mimoLive supports just about everything you need for professional live TV production from blue screens and multiple cameras or webcams to programmable special effects. It also allows you to combine video, photos, 3D effects, live broadcasts and more. mimoLive is ideal for live broadcasts with multiple cameras making it easy to switch between them and title layers during transmission. It can also encode and export your footage into just about any major format including exporting directly to YouTube and PodcastProducer:The downside is that inevitably with such a complex package, there’s a lot to learn to get the most out of it but the documentation and tutorials are very clear and in-depth and it’s worth the time investment in order to learn the package properly. However, if you find it too overwhelming and need something simpler, Boinx also offer BoinxTV Home aimed at home users although it’s not clear if this is still available with the switch to the new name, mimoLive. Note as well that BoinxTV Home is not a professional solution as it lacks support for multiple cameras, unlimited layers and resolution is limited to 950 x 540.
Unlike mimoLive, Wirecast Studio is cross platform making it suitable for those working across Mac and PC on TV projects although it was originally designed on Mac. It’s the biggest rival to mimoLive on Mac and offers many of the same features, albeit without quite the same slick OS X style interface of mimoLive. It’s also geared more towards web streaming and recording gameplay than mimoLive.
From a cost perspective however, it’s nowhere near as competitive as mimoLive. Wirecast Studio costs $495 and for this you get video capture and encoding of live streams for broadcast to multiple servers and platforms simultaneously. However, for features such as integrated HDV input support, support for more capture devices, IP cameras, live scoreboards, 3D virtual sets, and advanced audio controls, you must purchase Wirecast Pro for $995 – more than double the cost of mimoLive 3 year license which includes many of these features by default.
However, from a usability perspective, the learning curve with Wirecast is not quite as steep as with mimoLive. When you first open Wirecast, you’ll see a more simplified interface than with Boinx. You get a Live Broadcast Area with a preview of your camera input:
Simply select the Framerate you want to use:
Select the Video format you want, select your streaming settings and encoding format, select the Source you want to use:
Wirecast automatically detects any capture cards or devices connected to your Mac which will be visible in Source Settings, including IP cameras:
For those intending to produce videos for webcasting, you then need to select an Output Source depending on the service you’re planning on using (such as Twitch.tv) and from there, you need to configure your encoding settings which will depend on various factors such as the speed of your internet connection, hardware, capture card etc. There’s extensive Wirecast help documentation and video tutorials to help you with the rest.
Although it’s hard for most amateurs TV program makers to justify the cost of the Pro version for $995 there’s no doubt that Wirecast Studio is a very complete and reliable tool for those that intend to stream content over the web. It’s also arguably better than mimoLive if you want to stream video gaming footage online as it gives you a high degree of control over streaming settings.
Like Wirecast, UStream Producer Pro is cross platform and works on both Mac and Windows and is tailored more for web streaming than live TV or video production. It’s also more suited to those that have never used a broadcasting studio and are new to live video production. Ustream is one of the most popular streaming services on the net and although the production suite isn’t quite up there with mimoLive and Wirecast TV, it does offer an ad supported free version if all you want to do is stream video content online and little else although you must sign-up for a Ustream account first.
However, you’ll need Producer Pro to have anything comparable to mimoLive or Wirecast with support for HD broadcasting, multi-camera support, titles editing, scoreboards etc. Note that there’s no way to add IP cameras though.
Unlike mimoLive and Wirecast, Ustream Producer is also very good for those that intend to integrate their video with e-commerce sites or need to find way of monetizing content. You can setup pay-per-view channels or easily add advertising to web streams too. Ustream is also better integrated than mimoLive or Wirecast with social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter so that you can tweet broadcasts.
StudioBinder isn’t a TV production suite but it’s a useful web based film production software for Mac and PC which focuses on the job of organizing your video production project efficiently and smoothly. StudioBinder helps you manage cast and crew contacts, create customized, professional call sheets and backup everything to the Cloud.
StudioBinder is particularly good at helping you create call sheets quickly with useful localizers for weather and hospital details in the local area. You can also assign such things as individual call times, private notes, custom parking instructions and shooting schedules. A Stripboard allows you to create multi-day shooting schedules which you can then easily import into call sheets. There is also a useful approval system built-in so you that you can send drafted call sheet to clients for approval before officially sending it out. The result is highly professional and personalized call sheets that can be sent by email, PDF or put online which can be updated and tracked so that cast and crew can confirm their call times.
StudioBinder is free to sign-up for and use although to access all Premium features, you need to upgrade to a paid plan ranging from $25 to $85 per month. The difference in plans mainly concern the number of Projects you can open, the amount of online storage space you have and the number of templates and branding customization available. To help get the most out of the TV production software you use on your Mac, StudioBinder is an easy to use, well thought-out too to organize and setup filming efficiently.
TV Production Software Tips
First some things to consider before purchasing any TV production software for your Mac.
- We highly recommend using the highest end Mac you can afford for running live TV broadcasting software on Mac. The demands the software puts in your processor and RAM are very high – especially when dealing with multiple streams or video inputs – and slow or old equipment will make life very difficult. At the very least, we recommend a MacBook Pro or iMac from 2010 onwards with at least 2GB of RAM but preferably much more.
- We’ve focused on video production packages that are available specifically for Mac. There are other options that work on PC that can be installed on Mac using Windows in Boot Camp but we do not recommend trying to run video broadcasting software on Mac this way. Trying to run Windows software of this type on Mac is more prone to bugs and does not integrate as well with essential components such as the Graphics Card and iSight camera that TV production software relies heavily on. Also, if you have any issues or technical problems, developers are less likely to be able to help if you are running their software via Windows on a Mac. Live TV production and web casting can be stressful enough without having to worry about the stability of the software you are using so that’s why we’ve stuck strictly to Mac software.
These are the best software TV production software tools for Mac. Overall, Wirecast Studio and in particular, Wirecast Pro is still the most professional TV production software for Mac. The fact that you can stream to multiple destinations at one time will be a major requirement for most serious broadcasters and BoinxTV does not offer this. However, BoinxTV has come a long way in the form of mimoLive and offers a more accessible, user friendly and value for money alternative. Boinx TV is also Mac only although Wirecast was also originally designed for Mac even though it’s now cross platform. However, the mimoLive monthly subscription model will work out more expensive in the long run and while Wirecast costs a lot up front, it’s definitely worth it for pros.
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If you have any questions about any of the live video production software for Mac covered here, let us know.