Just recently we took a look at the various TV channel creation tools that allowed you to create both scheduled and live 24/7 TV channels.
Powerful TV creation tools were put under the spotlight by Michael Pick highlighting the ‘shoot and boradcast’ live streaming abilities of uStream.tv, along with the more advanced channel creation services like Operator11 that let you mix in your web videos with live webcam broadcasts.
Mogulus – A New Contender
But the ante has just been upped by another contender, and what’s on offer is very impressive indeed. Here is a totally web-based service that will allow you to:
- Create live online channels with the capacity to stream footage 24 / 7
- Collaborate with multiple producers from anywhere in the world, whether on camera or behind the scenes
- Add motion graphics with ‘coming up next’, station idents, ‘lower thirds’ and other great looking TV-like effects
- Create auto-pilot playlists that will continue to serve up your content, even if you are offline
- Mix all of these elements live and on-the-fly from an intuitive studio interface
To find out how easy it is about to become to create professional, embed-anywhere, always-on live web TV, read on
Mogulus – Overview
Mogulus has been designed to bring professional-looking live video tools to an audience of everyday people like you and me. With a simple interface that takes you through the process of creating a live Internet TV channel from scratch, it only takes a matter of minutes to get video imported, motion graphics prepared and live cameras rolling.
The company was founded by Max Haot and has raised about $1.2 million in angel funding.
In this video from Mogulus.com you can get an idea of exactly what the platform is capable of:
One of the things that really sets the platform apart from its competitors – great looking graphics and transitions aside – is the focus Mogulus places on collaboration. In an industry first, Mogulus makes it easy for people around the world to act not only as guests or presenters on a friend’s show, but also to serve as producers at the same time.
Mogulus simplifies the process of working together whether you are mixing together storyboards of video content brought in from YouTube or your own computer, or preparing captions and motion graphics to display between live straight-to-camera presentations and pre-loaded video clips.
Effectively, I can be speaking straight to camera, while my co-producer at the other side of the world is cueing up the next clip, adding graphics to the screen or putting together a storyboard of news videos to run concurrently as soon as I hand over control.
And you don’t even have to be in the room to broadcast your channel live, thanks to the addition of an ‘auto-pilot’ feature that will run through a list of videos that you have presented it with, sending them out as a live broadcast.
What we have here is no less than a micro-TV studio packed into a web browser. Let’s take a look at the details.
Getting up and running with Mogulus is very straightforward. Once you are signed in, you choose a name for your channel and are given a Mogulus.com URL that people can go to in future to view your station, if you haven’t embedded it into your own website or blog.
The first time you use a new channel you are asked to set up a number of simple features, from the full name and strap-line of the station, to the images you would like to use for your channel logo and test card. You can also choose from a range of motion graphic templates that will appear behind your text during interludes, such as station idents and ‘coming up next’ screens.
These templates are set to expand as the Mogulus platform evolves and moves from its closed beta to open beta status, expected by summer. At the moment, though, the templates available look really good and create a professional look that makes for a great way to separate and announce your live and recorded content.
In the next video clip I talk you through the set-up process:
As you will have seen, once you have set up the details and graphics choices for your station, you can easily add in other Mogulus users to join you in collaborative channel production. This is as easy as typing in their username, and seeing them added to your list of channel members. From that point on, you can freely collaborate on your live channel, and work together in real-time in the preparation and broadcasting of your content.
Another thing that separates Mogulus from the likes of the popular Ustream.TV is the ability to import video from what will be a range of online sources, but is currently fixed on YouTube, in addition to being able to bring video right in from your desktop.
These clips are fully imported into Mogulus, so you don’t have to worry about downtime at YouTube slowing down or otherwise causing problems for your live stream. Once they are imported, you can arrange them into ‘storyboards’, and re-sequence the playing order of the clips. In this way you can quickly create a whole string of pre-recorded videos to be broadcast live from your channel, so you are in no way forced to speak directly to your webcam twenty-four hours a day.
In this next clip I talk you through the import process:
What I love about Mogulus collaborative aspect is that different producers working on the same show can interact in real-time. Just as I can run searches, create storyboards and set clips playing live in the channel, so anyone else collaborating with me can do the same, and I can see onscreen exactly what they are doing. If someone decides to re-sequence a storyboard I am looking at, I will see the video items move before my eyes.
This gives teams a lot of flexibility to role-swap between directly presenting a show, preparing and mixing the live stream, and setting up videos for broadcast at a later point in time.
Another feature that I was wowed by is the vast range of motion graphics that Mogulus is capable of. I can bring in a lower-third splash that tells viewers who is currently speaking, make a transition to a full-screen ‘now and next’ screen with a graphical background, bring in a news ticker with custom-made news items, and even add photos and logos to the corner of the screen as the presenter speaks.
All of the major features you would expect to see on the TV news, you have at your disposal in Mogulus, and much of the content can be created on-the-fly by simply typing the required text into an appropriate dialogue, and bringing it on and off screen as appropriate. This isn’t something I have seen anywhere else, and it really can make a difference to the over all look and quality of your productions.
In this next video clip I talk you through the different graphic types that can be added:
As you’ve now seen, bringing both live and recorded video feeds into your live stream is as simple as clicking the ‘cue’ button, having the video load into the player, and choosing just the right moment to make your transition. I like the fact that I can either have one clip automatically segue into the next as one finishes and the other begins. But it’s even better that I can jump between clips at any time with a smooth transition, effectively splicing the currently playing clip then and there.
And then of course there is the ‘Auto-pilot’ feature, which is another of the central tools in the Mogulus studio.
Auto-pilot allows me to easily drag-and-drop my storyboards into a long playlist, so that should I for some reason stop mixing live, or else decide to go out for a stroll and leave my channel running, Auto-pilot will play through the clips I have arranged in sequence. If it gets to the end of all of the clips, it will go back to the beginning, so effectively, you can have your channel running twenty four hours a day.
The extent to which you use direct live footage is entirely up to you then. It would be quite possible to create a channel that existed of nothing but clips arranged in sequence and left to play, with occasional motion graphic interludes and updates of the news ticker.
However, as live broadcasting is so easy with Mogulus, I am sure that it will be one of the main draws that the platform has to offer. Being able to easily move between the cameras of producers, and even bring clips in between them, you can easily create dynamic multi-presenter shows that bring variety and personality into the live web broadcasting process.
In this final clip Max Haot, CEO of Mogulus, and myself put together a quick live broadcast. You can see both the simple recording process, and then the embeddable Mogulus player that can be plugged into any website, blog or social networking profile:
At the moment, Mogulus is in closed beta and isn’t implementing its proposed source of income. However, as the platform evolves and goes live this summer, the key monetization source of the platform will be through the delivery of advertising to user channels.
Advertising will be placed at roughly eight-minute intervals between clips, although there will be some flexibility and a degree of control over when it begins by channel producers. As such, you won’t have to worry about you clips or live broadcasts suddenly being stopped dead by ads.
This sounds like a good approach to me, and is in keeping with Mogulus’ otherwise TV-like feature-set. It is worth noting that there will also be an ad-free pro-edition, paid for by the amount of bandwidth served. Mogulus will primarily be focusing on consumer-level production, however, and the pro-edition is likely to be offered to larger companies alongside bespoke customization options.
Beat the Crowd to Beta Testing
Mogulus is currently in closed beta and is only letting in a small handful of people in its initial release, as feedback is gathered and improvements made. If you fancy yourself as a live video pioneer, though, we may be able to help you out.
Mogulus brings you the capability to collaborate with a team of producers anywhere in the world to create great-looking live streaming video. Whether you want to conduct interviews, have reporters out in the field, or just introduce a series of pre-arranged clips, Mogulus makes it very simple.
While Mogulus is in closed beta at the moment, and as such is still evolving and having different capabilities added to its line-up, it is already an accomplished step forward in the world of live web video.
By adding the ability to collaborate with a team, mix your videos on the fly, add fantastic TV–like motion graphics and embed the resulting stream anywhere on the web, the possibilities opened up here are huge. I can see Mogulus being of great use to citizen journalists, veejays and local communities alike as events, news and video mash-ups are streamed live across the web.
What really sets Mogulus apart from other contenders in the evolving live web video landscape is its ability to bring the TV production process into the hands of the masses. This isn’t just turning on your webcam and talking into it – which can very quickly become tiresome to watch. This is a tool that allows you to create compelling mixes of pre-recorded video, motion graphics and live action just as you’d expect to see from TV programming.
What’s great is that after five minutes of playing around with the interface, you know pretty much all there is to know and have a powerful set of broadcasting tools at your disposal. That is an achievement in and of itself.
Live web video just took another giant step forward. Mogulus is definitely one to watch.