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searching for a simple character generator

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philipp hahn
searching for a simple character generator
on Mar 25, 2011 at 3:17:56 pm

hello everybody,
i googled quite a bit but am somehow a little lost since unfortunately i do not know much about live broadcasting... basically i'm looking for a simple character generator for an installation setup. it would need to generate some sort of "speech bubbles" with text in them. this image (on black or blue) would be fed (via composite/s-video/vga) to a video mixer to superimpose it (luma-/chromakey) onto the rest of the video in realtime.
it would need to be capable of the following:

- needs to be operated in a simple way (preferably by some non-video guy).
- the bubbles should be customizable (a couple of image-presets from which to choose)
- there need to be an archive of prefabricated texts from which the operator could choose, but as well there should be the possibility of typing in something new.
- the bubbles need to be positioned in different areas of the screen.
- pal format (720x576@25fps - actually in the end the final video will be streamed in the internet so quality is not that big an issue...)
- could be hardware or software standalone. software would be preferred.
- has to work in realtime. output could be either via a video card or vga/dvi (in that case i would convert it into pal).
- should be (surprise, surprise) cheap!

hm... i'm pretty sure this is nothing special really, but all i've found was more postproduction centered and usually worked as plugin for editing suites... and in any case did not directly produce a video feed...

any help is really much appreciated, all the best!
philipp


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Bouke Vahl
Re: searching for a simple character generator
on Mar 28, 2011 at 11:44:39 am

how about Photoshop and any image viewer you like?
Or AE...
Both are scriptable...

Bouke

http://www.videotoolshed.com/
smart tools for video pros


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philipp hahn
Re: searching for a simple character generator
on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:09:32 pm

thank you for replying!
actually i thought about this too but something like this would just be way to complicated i guess...
the options the operator should have in the end are:
- choose prewritten text (say 1-30) OR enter text (x characters max)
- choose between 2-3 preset positions
- show/hide text bubble

that's it really. and i wouldn't really want to use these types of apps in a live environment... apart from that, speed is an issue and if you have to select the preset in the after effects browser it will take ages. best would actually be to directly link the prefabricated texts to some midi input device...

currently i'm looking at vj software like modul8 but somehow i feel their should be some broadcast approach to this too - i mean subtitling with lower thirds has been done for decades, there should be zillions of solutions, shouldn't they?

any other suggestions? any help still very much appreciated!!
philipp


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Bouke Vahl
Re: searching for a simple character generator
on Mar 28, 2011 at 12:17:18 pm

There are a zillion of title generators that can import images as backgrounds, and are used for live applications.

If you have any switcher that can do the key, it should also allow you to key in / out, so you don't need more than one screen.

I can make you something custom if you like, if it is as simple as you describe, it should not take more than a couple of hours.

Contact me direct if you like, bouke at videotoolshed dot com

Bouke

http://www.videotoolshed.com/
smart tools for video pros


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Mark Suszko
Re: searching for a simple character generator
on Mar 28, 2011 at 2:30:44 pm

What it sounds like you're doing is one of those live event gimmicks where you pose people on a green or blue screen and insert them into a goofy background for giggles? I've heard of this kind of thing done at some wedding receptions or corporate retreat type affairs.

If you can describe the technicals etup for your operation, and what gear you already have, I could make better suggestions. Meanwhile, photoshop on a laptop, hooked into a switcher, would be able to handle this. For your collection of various pop up phrases, you could just build a photoshop file with a LOT of text layers, and just put each phrase on it's own layer, then you can quickly call up whichever layers you want to feed to the switcher, over a base layer of blue or green. Each layer remains positionable and scalable. We used to have a plug-in called echofire that let photoshop generate a live video output, you may or may not need that, depending on the setup.

A CG program I have used for years is Image north Inscriber (or just Inscriber now). A pretty capable program and not hard to master. But there are certainly others out there.


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