What I’ve Learned using Switcher Studio for 6 Months

Whew, we’ve now recorded over 30 episodes of Onward with 1804, 8 Startup Grind events, as much of Rise of the Rest as I was allowed without getting the boot, and nearly 10 episodes of the Bits and Bolts Brothers show! Not coming from a videography background, I’ve definitely learned a ton. Through this recap, I’ll let everyone in on some of my missteps and some key things I’ve learned both using Switcher and from the Switcher team.

Made for Beginners

First, I can’t state enough that I came to Switcher Studio as an absolute beginner. My video portfolio prior to 1804 consists of filming my dog playing in the snow and catching unexpected songs at live concerts. As expected, those are shaky, dark, and now dusty because I never actually go back to watch any of them. So we at 1804 basically asked the Switcher team what we should buy, and then we were alone to figure it all out.

I have no problem saying I haven’t learned all of the possibilities that Switcher provides, or honestly even 25%.

For starters, the Switcher team’s explanation is real-time video editing. I think of the app as
The Today Showon an iPad. You can upload different images or quick video clips, or set up titles such as names and companies directly through your iPad or iPhone. So you could do an entire show’s production through the Switcher app – you could have an opening image or quick video, flash the host’s name below them, and loads of other editing techniques.

Our first interaction with Switcher was to get a brief overview of how to make a video using Switcher. All you really need is an iOS device(iPadin our case) that shoots video and some content. However, Switcher’s most common use case is for live video streaming – Facebook has listed them as one of 10 approved global partners for live streaming! So to get streaming, you’ll need either a facebook or youtube account. Thanks to some nifty thinking by the Switcher team, you can sign into each of these directly through their app. Just look at their FAQs for how to make that happen for YouTube, as it’s a little more involved. We use Facebook, so after signing in and pointing the camera in the right direction, we’re ready to hit the big red button and get to streaming! BUT, there are some crucial things at this step that can make your life a LOT less stressful if you plan ahead. Unlike I did. For the first few months.

If you know what the content will be for your live stream, why not go ahead and load in the“sources”as they call them beforehand?!? Well, I finally learned how much this could help. We now load in all of the images we’ll need for an episode, if we need any video clips those are loaded in, and the names of the hosts and guests are loaded. And any other graphics, like“Livefrom 1804 NuLu HQ”. Imagine me flying around the app trying to create these during the live stream! It was chaos for a while.

So those are the Getting Started and Live Streaming with ease tips from my first few months of using Switcher. Now on to the greater production quality tips and some equipment we’ve purchased or had donated that help us put out our shows.

For Rookies Who Want to Look like Pros

Aside from video stream quality, audio quality might be the most important aspect of filming our show. We like to think the content is evergreen and can be referenced for many months or years after the initial recording. So, even without video, the audio should be as crisp as a Gala Apple.

When we first started using Switcher for our shows and events, I simply thought we could have a stand and go through the main switcher iPad to get good enough quality. But rewatching after that first event, we all decided we needed to spend a little time to really get to know the app itself.

Namely, we should have utilized some of the core functionality the app offers: multiple video feeds and on-screen graphics. For the video feeds, we simply needed to get as many iOS devices as we have in the office hooked in and pointed at the subject from different angles. Switcher allows up to  9 video feeds, so our meager list of a couple iPads and a donated iPod touch wouldn’t be a problem. Just make sure all the devices are using the same wifi network, otherwise they won’t link to the director device. On screen graphics are a different tool we now use for every single video, live streamed or just recorded. I’m sure the fine folks at Switcher will cringe when I describe these graphics like this, but what the heck.

Basically, there are graphics that go on top of the video feed and there are ones that are used in place of a video feed(inour hypothetical one screen option). I’m now a huge fan of each, but they have their own distinct uses. We think of on top of feed graphics as names, locations, and anything else that we typically put down at the bottom to add information. We use in place of feed graphics for full screen images, notifications, flyers, etc. We’re usually talking about the information included in the graphics, but they’ll almost always have some information that won’t be mentioned– because it’s on the graphic!

Additional Resources

For deeper dive uses of the app, see Switcher’s website at switcherstudio.com and their many FAQs, primer lessons, and examples. You’ll see how to use multi-display screen options, how to link directly to youtube, and loads of other incredible tips, tricks, and information there.

I’m sure after a few more months of learning more about Switcher and after more application updates, I’ll look back at this post and think“howquaint.” But for further info, just head over to the Switcher FAQ and Tutorials for the professionals explanation. I’m only trying to show that even an absolute beginner – who didn’t really even use a phone for video – can use and somewhat master a fantastic product like Switcher. So don’t be scared, start filming and let us know what’s on your mind.