Thursday, 14 April 2016

Magix Youcast

Magix Youcast

Get your vlog or YouTube videos online quicker with the new Magix Youcast

There’s no doubt we live in a very visual age, where people share their lives (however boring) online and vloggers offer us news, rants and reviews and introduce us to hobbies we never knew existed. Most of these are lashed together with some flavour of video editor or simply uploaded to sites like YouTube straight from smartphones, warts and all. Nevertheless quite a few internet stars have risen in this genre, with followers to rival those of pop and film stars. To be fair, though, these folk have crafted their content to quite a sophisticated level, using highend graphics products, produced using professional cameras and microphones. Many of these also host live streaming events, to bring their particular brand of 'entertainment' to their ever hungry followers.

If you’d like to join this select bunch and create some of your own notoriety, you don’t have to spend bucketloads of money on such expensive equipment, because Magix has produced a new product that in theory should get you up and running much more easily.

Youcast is the name of this new product, and it’s totally different from any other video-based product from the company. It’s very much based on a live interface, which is designed specifically for hosting live shows, creating game walkthroughs or documentary style tutorials – in fact, any type of production that would incorporate video with a live host. That doesn’t mean you need to have a live host; if you’re camera shy, you can still use it to create your podcasts or whatever type of production you dream up.

Although the interface is considered to be intuitive, I found it somewhat confusing at first, because of its almost unique design. I must admit I didn't delve too deeply into the online help at first, so I think you’d better consider this your first port of call.

There are three modes of operation, determined by the template you chose for your project: GameCast, ScreenCast or LiveCast. With GameCast, a game can be selected and will launch when you start your broadcast. At the same time, you can insert a live video stream from a camera or webcam, then you can appear and comment on the gameplay as it’s played. ScreenCast is mainly used for vlogging or tutorials that would be prepared beforehand. Like GameCast, there's the facility to overlay video, text or images to enhance your production. Finally, LiveCast uses your webcam as the primary video source, and once again you can pull other elements into your productions from the media trays. These are common to all the templates and can be controlled with keyboard, mouse or, if you have a touch screen, gestures.

If your webcam supports Intel RealSense, it should be capable of extracting your image from the background without the need for the conventional green screen used in chroma key effects. As I don't have a compatible camera, I wasn't able to test this function.

Unlike most Magix products, the effects that come with Youcast are rather limited; the same applies to text effects, which fall far short of what we’ve come to expect from Magix. And considering the ethos behind the product, I don't think it delivers what it promises. It’s not particularly easy to get to grips with, and the interface is rather cumbersome. When you think of the sophistication of most of the Magix range, Youcast has a decidedly amateur look and feel to it.

However, don't take my word for it. You can try it for yourself, because the company offers a free 30-day trial of the full product to get you hooked, then if you like it, you have to pay a monthly or yearly subscription. I must say I’m not a fan of buying software like this; I prefer to pay once and then decide if the next upgrade is worth paying for. Joe Lavery

Doesn’t really deliver what it promises.