HELP: "Broadcast" Titler

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by ChrisBrightwell, Mar 27, 2006.

  1. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    I posted this in the "Broadcast Video" forum, but this place may have a better Mac-centric answer for me. :)


    Hi Everyone,

    I did a bit of searching, here and online, but didn't find much help. Maybe I've got too much n00b in me to be any good at searching for this kind of stuff. If this is in the wrong place, just lemme know. :)

    I do a lot of Scouting-centric production, including live presentations to audiences of 300+ people. We currently use live camera feeds (for guest speakers and what-not) and project the image on a large 9'x13' projection screen, but we don't have any way of putting live lower-third titles on-screen.

    Is there an easy way to do this?

    We have a cheap Panasonic video mixer but aren't opposed to buying a new mixer if it'll give us this sort of freedom in our presentation.

    Basically, we have a live video feed coming on one channel, a DVD player (or two) on another channel (or two), and an Apple PowerBook G4 on another channel (or a "title" channel). We'd like to be able to use the PowerBook to lay titles over any video feed. Is "keying" the proper jargon for this sort of thing?

    I found a kluge involving PowerPoint and the apparently primitive "Chroma" function in our mixer, but it's very cumbersome. I'm hoping to find something a bit more polished and easier to use. We have a 3D animator, so being able to import video clips and/or animate titles would be useful.

    So, in summary, we're looking for an OS X software solution for titling with some guidance on how to lay it over the video feed(s) going through the mixer.

    Any help? Thanks.
  2. evil_santa macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2003
    London, England
    To use Motion or similar to do this live, you would need to have a video card that outputs the key(matt) & video in real time. I dont think there are any card that can go on the power book that can do this.

    What you need is a stand alone character generator.

    Here is a list of manufacturers
  3. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    Let me recap so I know we are on the same page. You provide A/V solutions for live speaking events. When Bob steps up to the podium to give his speech, which is being projected on a big screen, you want a lower third for Bob to appear on the big screen. Correct? And you have a 3D animator guy so, if possible, you'd like to put his talents to use. So, you make the lower thirds at the office, you are just looking for a way to mix them into your live project. You don't make the graphics on location, correct?

    If I'm understanding you correctly you have three options in my not so well education opinion for this kind of stuff. Keep doing what you are doing. Buy a better video mixer (w/better chroma keying abilities) and use FCP/E to output the titles into the mixer (basically what you are doing now, but better quality). Or buy a character generator like evil_santa suggested.

  4. ChrisBrightwell thread starter macrumors 68020


    Apr 5, 2004
    Huntsville, AL
    That's basically it, yeah. The only caveat is I have to be able to change the name/title for the lower third on relatively short notice.

    This is basically what I had in mind, but I was wondering if there was a software package out there that would let me play an animation (to transition in the lower third) and set the text for the overlay more or less on the fly. Final Cut will let me render it and I can play it back with VLC or something, but it's not as intuitive or flexible as I'd like.

    Any suggestions for a good low-end chargen that doesn't look cheap, create cheesy graphics, or break the bank?
  5. hotwire132002 macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2004
    Cadillac, MI
    A couple options to consider (not knowing your budget)

    If you want to do graphical lower thirds, there's a company called Compix Media that makes the cheapest pro-level character generators I could find. (And I've done a lot of reseach on the topic -- we're looking at buying a new CG at the local access station I work for.) The sytems start a bit on the expensive side -- around $3000 -- but as I said, that's rather cheap compared to something like a Chyron which could run anywhere from $20,000 to $100,000.

    If you can settle for plain text with no graphics, a good, cheap solution might be something like the old Videonics Titlemaker 3000. These can be bought new from B&H Photo Video ( for about $800, or gotten used from eBay pretty inexpensively.

    Hope this helps! :)
  6. Sharewaredemon macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    Cape Breton Island
  7. Texas04 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 2, 2005
    Well I know that you are looking for a Mac Solution... but maybe if you buy a cheap WinPC you can use ( inscriber. We use this at the station we have for our School District. Its pretty reliable for the most part. And it has the ablity to import to the mixer without a black background. (I didnt set it up and im pretty nooby as far as chromaing live so i might be wrong) But maybe somthing like this could work...

    Edit: We use it for our Homework Hotline Broadcasts with live callers, i am able to easily change the callers name on short notice of them going live

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