The Softron OnTheAir Video Software is a Mac-based playout application capable of fully-automated playout of video playlists or of serving as a clip store for live operations. OnTheAir Video is an efficient, intuitive, highly simplified way of running a TV station.
It imports video files from almost any editing software in almost any format. These files, all in different formats, can then be dragged and dropped into the same one or more playlists, and the playlists can then be broadcast in full automation or with more hands-on involvement.
OnTheAir Video does come in three versions -- PCI, DV, and PCI Express.
PCI Express is the junior of the three and reads and outputs through Quicktime as opposed to Softron's output engine. Such and other reasons limit it in many ways including making it incompatible with many add-on features that very, very highly enhance OnTheAir Video. The product that you've clicked on is a choice between the PCI or DV versions.
The way it works is your purchase overnights to you an envelope containing a serial number. Then you download the PCI or DV version -- whichever suits your needs, or you download both. And then you enter your serial number into one of the two and thereby activate that version. You can at anytime deactivate that version and enter your serial number into the other one.
Also -- there are many optional software and hardware add-ons, such as the Logo Overlay, the Character Generator, or the GPICommander options, that can be purchased and integrated into OnTheAir Video for enhanced functionality. These add-ons are also activated with serial numbers.
So let's now discuss which version and which features are what and why.
- PCI vs. DV
- Your purchase overnights to you an envelope containing a serial number with which you can activate either the PCI or the DV version of OnTheAir Video.
OnTheAir Video PCI
- Works using a PCI video card.
- Supports almost every I-frame format in the same playlist as long as the frame sizes are identical.
- Supports ProRes, M-JPEG, MPEG IMX, MPEG-4 (I-Frame only), DVCam, DV, DVCProHD, DVCPro, DVCPro-25, DVCPro-50, DV50, AVI, and uncompressed video. Uncompressed video (analog or SDI) requires a video playout card. Only codecs working with GOPs, like HDV, H.264 or MPEG-2, are not supported.
OnTheAir Video DV
- Works using a FireWire port. Broadcasts through a converter, a camera or a deck connected to a Firewire port. This version thus consumes very low processor speed and so can run on simple laptops and MacMini.
- Only supports DV stream files.
- The main advantage of this version is it can output several video channels from one computer when integrated with the OnTheAir Video DV Multi-Channel option.
- After files are imported from an NLE, they can be dragged and dropped into playlists, and the playlists thereafter broadcast. Even entire folders can be dropped in, and the color of their finder label gets retained.
- Once the playlist is created, it can be saved and later recalled.
- While a playlist is playing out, another one can be created and worked on. Many can be created and worked on. And they can all be copied and pasted between -- even the one playing out.
- A playlist can be as long as -- there is no limit, but one with about a few hundred clips instead of a few thousand is recommended because it would be easier to manage, especially in the case of making a mistake.
- Two different playlists can be played out concurrently from one computer, as long as the two are being output from separate OnTheAir Video licenses on that computer. And as simple as copying and pasting is between two word processor documents, copying and pasting is just as simple between two playlists playing out from two separate licenses on one system.
- The playlists are XML-based. Any text editor can be used to create them. They can, for example, be created in a spreadsheet and the spreadsheet then exported into OnTheAir Video.
- The file format of the playlists is not proprietary. It is completely open and documented.
- A clip in a playlist can be trimmed into segments with in and out points, or it can be shortened, but the actual stored clip itself remains unaffected because OnTheAir Video uses pointers to identify the starting and stopping points.
- A clip can be paused and restarted during playback. It can also be resized and its playout position changed even while the playlist is being output.
- The Scheduler is an add-on option with which playlists can be scheduled weeks in advance to play out at specific times on specific days in full automation.
- Just like video files can be dragged and dropped into playlists, playlists can likewise be dropped into the Scheduler. Schedules can alternatively be created from a menu or in any text editor such as a spreadsheet.
- Logo Overlay
- The Logo Overlay is an add-on option that overlays static logos and other graphics onto individual clips of a playlist or onto the entire playlist as the playlist plays out.
- Device Control
- OnTheAir Video can control and be controlled by separate devices.
- The Softron GPICommander can be controlled by AppleScript commands from within OnTheAir Video. Any GPI device can be controlled from OnTheAir Video.
- OnTheAir Video can be controlled through MIDI -- each clip on each playlist can be assigned to a specific MIDI note/channel combination and therefore GPI to MIDI converters can be used with OnTheAir Video.
- OnTheAir Video comes with a stereo pair -- left and right. However, a Multi-Channel Audio add-on option is available to provide six channels of audio, and each be assigned and saved in an NLE.
- OnTheAir Video is an SD application. But an add-on HD option is available to provide full HD capability. It supports full HD output of ProRes, DVCProHD and uncompressed files. The HD option is only compatible with the OnTheir Video PCI.
- OnTheAir CG is a standalone character generator application that can be integrated into OnTheAir Video to overlay text or animated graphics, such as tickers and animated image sequences, onto video being played out.
- OnTheAir Video is a playout application only. It does not capture video. But the add-on option of MovieRecorder or MovieRecorder DV can be used to record video clips.
- More Add-Ons
- There are other add-on products that can be of use with OnTheAir Video. There's OnTheAir Switch for controlling matrix video switchers. There's the GPICommander -- a USB to GPI Converter and its software. The OnTheAir Video PCI Multi-Lingual option is for playout of playlists with multiple audio tracks for different languages. And OnTheAir Video DV Multi-Channel option is for using multiple DV converters to play out multiple playlists concurrently from one computer.
- An add-on dongle option is available to be used instead of a serial number in instantly activating or switching between versions of OnTheAir Video, and in activating add-ons, or in deactivating any of these. The dongle is a USB with the serial numbers of OnTheAir Video and any of its add-ons stored on it.