VidBlaster - software vision control system

Ideal for webcasting using "broadcast TV production" techniques, but without a broadcast-level budget

VIDBlaster
VidBlaster is produced by CombiTech, a Netherlands based company owned by Mike Versteeg, who has been developing software for over 15 years. Programs like Mscan Meteo, Mscan SSTV, StudioRack and WinPodder all have high quality and ease of use in common.

VidBlaster - a video production control room in software

Demo AvailableVidBlaster is an innovative software vision control system for Windows PCs that emulates many of the functions found in a TV studio or OB production control room video mixer. It is highly modular, allowing a wide variety and number of video sources to be combined together. The program output can be encoded directly and streamed to various on-line services, linked to 3rd party encoders like the Adobe Flash Media Encoder, and/or archived to disk. As such, it is an ideal production tool for streaming live video for webcasts, webinars, product launches and live events in general.

VIDBlaster Camera moduleThe input modules include Camera modules to allow input via 1394 & USB video converters, or capture cards like those from Blackmagic, Magewell & Viewcast. Input from IP video cameras is also supported, as well as being able to screen grab from any defined area of the PC's own display. With multiple display monitors connected, it is therefore possible to include any sort of PC content in the broadcast, including web pages, presentation graphics & slides, or the user interface of other software. The other main type of source module is the Player, a virtual-VTR which can load either still images, audio or video files, or the AudioPlayer which just plays sound files. A Playout module can be used when a number of video files are to played in succession, with no other user intervention.

Moving on from the video source modules, there is an Effect module for DVE effects & ChromaKey, an Overlay (cap-gen+DSK) module for title graphics, a dedicated two-team Scoreboard module for generating on-screen match scores, and an instant Replay video module. Multiple instances of all these modules can be generated (up to the limit of the particular VidBlaster edition), allowing any number of permutations of cameras, players, effects and overlays to be created.

VIDBlaster modulesSwitching between sources can be carried out by clicking the Cut or Trans button on each module, or on the higher editions there is a two bank Switcher module with separate monitor window for the preview bank. In some editions the Program/Preview displays can be routed via an Output module to an external PC display, if available, or to the video output of a Blackmagic card (or USB3 device like the Intensity Shuttle). An Audio module allows adjustment of the input level and an on-screen level display, although all audio mixing must be carried out externally (we can help and advise on this too).

The remaining output modules are the Streaming and Recording modules, the latter generating a video file on the local disk in either compressed or uncompressed format. The streaming module will either encode directly for services like UStream, link to Adobe FMLE, or emulate a video source that can be used as an input to other encoding software running simultaneously on the same PC. As such, it is advisable to use a fairly high-spec PC like an i7-based workstation, which we can build and configure for the purpose*, if required.

Key features of VidBlaster include:-

  • Video resolutions up to full HD (1920x1080) - if/when your PC is powerful enough!   * Read more on this here
  • Support for up to 40 simultaneous video inputs
  • Support for video sources including USB, firewire & PCI capture cards, plus IP cameras
  • Video effects like PiP and multi-camera splits
  • Streaming of  video to other applications via the VVD (Virtual Video Device)
  • Support for playback of popular Windows & Apple video and graphic formats
  • Flash and Windows Media streaming
  • VIDBlaster screen shotEasy-to-use chroma keying

Additional benefits include:-
  • Extremely flexible modular design
  • Load & save custom profiles
  • Support for showing PowerPoint files
  • Can be used with Skype & Google+ Hangouts
  • Multiple video overlays
  • Delayed video for sports replays
  • Video switcher includes auto switching
  • Supports Windows XP, Vista & Windows 7

VidBlaster feature comparison - by edition Home Pro Studio Broadcast
Video resolutions up to full HD (1920x1080) X X X X
Stream video to other applications X X X X
Supports multiple video sources, inc USB, firewire, PCI cards & IP X X X X
Use screen capture as virtual cameras X X X X
Extremely flexible modular design X X X X
Number of simultaneous modules supported (in v2.x) 7 15 25 50
Video effects like PIP and split screen X X X X
Easy to use chroma keying X X X X
Advanced chroma keyer   X X X
Support for video output through Blackmagic cards   X X X
Delayed video for instant replay X X X X
Supports many popular Windows & Apple video and graphic formats X X X X
Load & save custom configuration profiles X X X X
Supports Windows XP, Vista & Windows 7 X X X X
Flash & Windows Media streaming at up to - 1Mb/s 1Mb/s 1Mb/s 30Mb/s
Video switcher, including automated switching     X X
Preview monitor (in addition to Program)     X X
Advanced video renderer selection       X
Exclusive "broadcast" user interface       X
Anamorphic video streaming       X
TCP Module & API allowing for 3rd party application integration     X X


VIDBlaster screen shotCustom system integration, installation & training

We can help you put together complete video production facilities based around VidBlaster, from building the PC, installing the video input devices to setting up the external audio mixing and routing connections. We have experience of both studio and OB environments, and help configure the system for your specific video production requirements, and then provide training in its use, or even supply freelance operators when required. We may also be able to offer "wet hire" should you wish to see a full VidBlaster system in a "real-world" test before purchase. We have a demo system at our Salford base, and you can also download a trial version.
 

Learn more about VidBlaster

Martin Kay has written or contributed to many of the articles on the VidBlaster Wiki, including:-

Chroma Key in VidBlasterChoosing Hardware - including cards from Viewcast & Blackmagic

Audio Overview and General information about Audio Mixers

Working with Chroma Key - including information about choosing cameras for green-screen work

Using VidBlaster with Skype or Google+ Hangouts

Combining Video Effects and Using Overlays

Streaming to DaCast, Livestream, Ustream or any Flash Media Server
 

VidBlaster add-ons

Suitable video input cards for use with VidBlaster include Blackmagic, Magewell & Viewcast Osprey, although we can supply and advise on other capture hardware that can be used with VidBlaster, including USB and 1394 adaptors and the Teratek Cube on-camera video streaming device.
On the audio side we can supply a variety of audio I/O devices and cabling to meet most operational requirements.

Note - all prices quoted on this site are UK pounds - ex VAT & delivery 2.5% surcharge on Credit & Company Debit Card payments

 

NOTE - VidBlaster has been replaced by VidBlasterX, available in two editions, Studio & Broadcast,
both available on an annual subscription basis only. Pricing TBA

Single-user VidBlaster software licences Price (per year)
VidBlaster Studio - up to 25  modules, inc API, Video Switcher & Preview 84.00
VidBlaster Broadcast - up to 50 modules, with extended feature set 850.00
More info on Capture cards and accessories for VidBlaster here  

What we're about . . .      ZEN is not a traditional Audio-Visual dealer who started selling computers, nor is it a computer shop that also sells video products. You won't get any salesmen giving you the "hard-sell" when you call, just straightforward advice and information - which for some callers is the knowledge that they don't need to buy whatever it is they thought they needed! Above all you'll be dealing with someone with a wide range of experience and knowledge of both PCs and video production. We're not the biggest, nor necessarily the cheapest, but we are one of the longest established computer/video specialists in the UK.

Company history . . .      ZEN was started in the 1980s by Martin Kay, then working for ITV at Granada's Manchester studios, who built his first 6502-based computer in 1979 from an Ohio Scientific kit, bought in the USA whilst working as a Sound Recordist on a film shoot for World In Action. With the advent of the Amiga, which could be gen-locked to a video source, Martin started writing a variety of video-related software. This included subtitling & tele-prompting, ident clocks, scoring software for sports & gameshows, and specialist software to mimic other computer displays for use in TV film dramas like Cracker, Prime Suspect and A Touch of Frost. Martin left Granada in 1993 to concentrate on his computer-video activities with ZEN, following a natural path into non-linear editing systems, for many years the main business activity, although he still maintains an active interest in video production.

ZEN - Home Page Phone 0161 736 5300Copyright 2017 Zen Computer Services.
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Revised: 24 January, 2017