Digital Arts Is A NewTek Elite Partner
Serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan
1-800-692-6442


Friday, December 26, 2008

Think Different?

YouTube Changes the Way We Think

This is what's so fascinating about online video culture. DIY tools for shooting, editing, and broadcasting video aren't just changing who uses the medium. They're changing how we use it. We're developing a new language of video—forms that let us say different things and maybe even think in different ways.

I guess we're on the cutting edge of sociaital revolution (with apologies to Rush)

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Improvements at YouTube

HD Support and a bigger player: More

TriCaster Spotlighted on Wired News Site

Wired News - TV Studio In A Box

Nate Flannery of the Horizon League (one of our customers) is interviewed for the article. The Horizon League has ten TriCasters, one for each school and they produce over 400 live events a year.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

New LiveSets™ Released

NewTek announced the release of LiveSet™ Pack Volume 1, a series of five virtual sets designed for use with TriCaster PRO™, TriCaster STUDIO™ and TriCaster BROADCAST™ portable live production and virtual set systems and VT[5] production suite.

"NewTek LiveSet Packs allow video producers to add high production value without adding to their budget," said Rex Olson, vice president, content development, NewTek Inc. "Now, it's easy to get a large expensive studio look in a very small production space."

Inspired by major news, sports and entertainment shows, NewTek LiveSet Pack Volume 1 enhances live production with two-person sets. It also offers additional set locations to enable the inclusion of reporters or guests from a secondary reporting station and double box effects, which allows the background display to be either video or the virtual set environment.

LiveSet Pack Volume 1, a series of five virtual sets. These sets are inspired by major network news, sports and entertainment shows. LiveSet Pack Volume 1 adds variety to your program with two person sets for on-camera interaction. Additional set locations enable you to include reporters or guests from a secondary reporting station. Each set design includes a variety of double box effects allowing the background display to be either video or the virtual set environment.

Each LiveSet™ offers a variety of shots, including:

* Three camera, main position – single person seated
* Three camera, main position – two person seated
* Two camera, second position – single person standing – head to toe
* Two camera, second position – single person standing – close up
* Double box with embedded LiveSet

Update: Pictures! More here.

 
  
  
 

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

NewTek Customer Appreciation Special

NewTek is determined to make your production more flexible and powerful than it already is with the Triple Play bundle for TriCaster™ and VT[5]™. Get LiveControl™ external switcher, TimeWarp™ slow-motion, instant replay device, LiveText™ remote titler and TriCaster Software Upgrade 2.0*, adding Flash streaming, character generation (and virtual sets for TriCaster PRO) to your system, all for one low price of $2,995 - a savings of up to 60%.
LiveControl LC-11 + TimeWarp + LiveText + TriCaster Software Upgrade 2.0 for just $2995
This offer is valid only for customers of TriCaster PRO, TriCaster STUDIO and TriCaster BROADCAST in the United States and Canada. These accessories require TriCaster Update 2.0 or VT[5] version 5.2.
*TriCaster Software Upgrade 2.0 included only for qualifying systems.

Offer good through December 22

Call Us at 1-800-692-6442 and we'll hook you up!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

NewTek Sports Graphics Paks Ship

At long last the Sports Graphic Paks 1 and 2 are now shipping. Both paks contain five different styles with fourteen different pages each. These include:

  • Lower third ID with text only
  • Lower third ID with text and image
  • Center player ID with image
  • Lower third or center stats with image
  • Left or right border
  • Scoreboards including lower third (large or small), upper third, center and full-page
Here are a few examples:

 
  
   
The NewTek Sports Graphic Paks are $195 each and are available from your local NewTek dealer.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Lightwave 3D Best 3D Product Acording to MacUser Readers

MacUser readers have awarded LightWave 3D® the 2008 MacUser Award for Best 3D Product. MacUser, the most frequently published Mac magazine in the United Kingdom, surveyed more than 3,500 consumers to determine that LightWave® was among the best Mac products across 15 product categories. All MacUser Award winners are listed at: http://tinyurl.com/5k43h2.
"We want to thank the 3D graphics community for choosing LightWave as best among all 3D products on the market," said Jay Roth, president, 3D division, NewTek Inc."Our passion is 3D, and to have those who share our enthusiasm recognize our efforts is beyond rewarding."
"The MacUser Awards have become the United Kingdom Mac industry’s most anticipated awards," said Nik Rawlinson, editor, MacUser. "It means you don’t have to make a buying decision on the trust of one friend – it’s like having the support of 3,500 people, providing Mac users with a list of products they should be coveting."
Responsible for more artists winning Emmy Awards than any other 3D application, NewTek LightWave 3D combines a state-of-the-art renderer with intuitive and powerful modeling and animation tools. The version 9 series represents a major upgrade to this award-winning 3D application with new capabilities including FiberFX, a complete hair and fur solution, a new lighting system and many improvements to animation, rendering and workflow. Known for its fast workflow and ease of use, LightWave also integrates well with other popular production tools for 3D and for compositing, with support for a wide range of formats. Tools and support that may cost extra in other professional 3D applications are part of the product package, including unlimited render nodes, hard- and soft-body dynamics, hair, fur, cloth simulation and more. LightWave is enjoyed worldwide as a complete 3D production tool for visual effects in television, film, broadcast graphics, games, visualization, print and web.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

TriCaster Duo



More information here.

My original post was correct the TriCaster Duo is basically a TriCaster minus the built in editor and the DVI projector output.

The price point is pretty aggressive Educational $2995 including curriculum
Commercial $3995
























Specs:

Video Input 3 Y/C
3 Composite (RCA)
Audio Input 2 Unbalanced Mic Inputs (1/8”)
1 Stereo Line In (RCA)
Video Output 1 Y/C
1 Composite (RCA)
Audio Output 1 Unbalanced Line Out (RCA stereo)
1 Stereo Headphone Out
iVGA™ Input 1 Ethernet Network Connection

TriCaster Special!

Call Us at 1-800-692-6442 for details

Free Software Bundles Plus a Free IPod

Friday, November 14, 2008

Low Cost TriCaster Model Announced - TriCaster Duo


NewTek has announced a new lower cost TriCaster model called the TriCaster Duo. Details are to be available early next week but it's a little smaller than a TC100, leaves out the editor and the projector output and has 1/8" phone jacks for microphone inputs. Other wise it looks to have the features of the base TC-100. The educational version of the Duo also includes a complete video production curriculum.

The commercial version of the TriCaster Duo lists at $3995 and the educational price is an amazing $2995. This is a perfect starter system for schools or for basic multi-camera web streaming.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

NewTek TriCaster™ to Live Stream Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp

NewTek announced today that its TriCaster™ portable live production and virtual set system will be used to stream live video from the Rock 'n' Roll Fantasy Camp™ performance at the famous Cavern Club in Liverpool where the Beatles first established themselves. This is the first multi-camera live stream since a performance by Paul McCartney in 1999 and the first-ever using a portable live production system at the Cavern Club.

Throughout the week-long event, campers will be jamming with rock legends Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones, Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Pete Best, the original drummer of the Beatles and many other surprise guests. Camp events will take place at famous rock venues throughout the week, including: John Henry Studios, Abbey Road Studios, the Cavern Club and more. NewTek TriCaster will deliver live streaming from the events throughout the week, check www.newtek.com for regular updates. The Cavern Club finale concert will be live streamed to worldwide audiences on Sunday, November 9 at 1:30 p.m. CST at www.newtek.com and www.rockcamp.com.

“This is a great opportunity for us to offer our campers, the ability for their fans, family and friends to see them live out their rock and roll dreams as they unfold,” said David Fishof, founder and chief executive officer, Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp. “In addition to enhancing the participants’ experiences, we are excited to deliver the Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy camp to many more would-be rock stars that may sign on as future campers.”

The stream will be hosted by Chuck Silber, senior vice president, worldwide sales, NewTek, who as a camp participant, will be performing on drums.

“Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for musicians of all skill levels to take the stage in historic venues and jam with the rock legends that made the music that they grew up with,” said Silber. “With the portability of TriCaster, we are able to offer music fans a glimpse into a vital place in Beatles’ history and at the same time, we can expose campers to a larger, Internet-based audience who will watch them live out their life-long musical aspirations.”

Election Day

As Aragorn said:

Hold your ground! Hold your ground!
Sons of Gondor, of Rohan, my brothers,
I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship,
but it is not this day.
An hour of wolves and shattered shields, when the age of men comes crashing down,
but it is not this day!
This day we fight!!

By all that you hold dear on this good Earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!!!

And Patrick Henry:

There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free–if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight!

An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us! They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength but irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us.

The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.


Now go vote.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

More High Profile TriCaster Users

Cali Lewis at geekbrief goes behind the scenes at Leo LaPorte's TWiTlive. Two cutting edge video streamers discuss the TriCaster.

http://www.geekbrief.com/geekbrieftv-451-leo-laporte

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Photoshop Part 6

This is the sixth in a series of tutorials on Photoshop by Guru Dan Peters. Since the TriCasters don't ship with a paint application many users are using Photoshop to build graphics for use in CG designer or directly in the DDR so Dan the creator of  a series of video tutorials called Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop in under 2 Hours is here to help us out.

 "Learning Photoshop - The Toolbox"

Learning to use Photoshop does not have to be difficult. In fact, the more you learn about Photoshop and the wide range of applications available the more excited you will be able the possibilities for creating professional quality images and graphics for web sites, marketing materials and more.

The Photoshop toolbox is where it all happens. Almost every single thing you do in Photoshop will involve using tools from the toolbox.

Learning to use the Photoshop toolbox will require a good Photoshop tutorial but the following should give you an idea of the functions available.

The following are a list of the tools included in the Photoshop toolbox and their applications. This is not a comprehensive list but includes the most commonly used tools.

Marquee tool

This tool is part of the selection tool and allows the user to selections.

Move tool

The move tool is used to move layers and selected objects within the canvas.

Brush tool

The brush tool paints brush strokes.

History brush

You will want to learn to use the history brush tool as it can take you back to the original state of the selection. You have a lot off fun with this tool. Once you learn to use it properly you will be amazed by the professional photo effects you can produce.

Eraser tool

This tool erases solid colored areas.

Dodge tool

This tool lightens areas of your picture selectively.

Burn tool

This took make areas on your image darker. Burning and dodging are techniques that were original practiced by photographers in traditional darkrooms for the purpose of lightening or darkening images.

Type tool

The type tool is used to put text on your image.

Type Mask tool

The type mask tool is a tool located on the toolbar that allows you to create a selection in the form of text or type.

The real benefit of Photoshop over some of the lesser photo editing software applications is the toolbox. Many of the cheaper photo editing programs do not provide such a wide selection of tools allowing the user to have total control over the creative process.

Photoshop puts total control over your final image in your hands. That is why so many professions use Photoshop.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Troubleshooting an SX-8 or SX-84

I typed up this as an email to a customer the other day and I thought I'd share an expanded version with everyone 'cause it might come in handy as it's sometimes difficult to track down exactly where the problem is if your VT breakout box (either an SX-8 or SX-84) isn't working. So here are the steps to take to narrow which part is the culprit. Occasionally we will see software problems masquerading as hardware issues so keep this in mind.


No Video In or No Video Out

  1. If one works but not the other try swapping the Video In and Video Out cables with each other and see if the problem moves with the cable.
  2. If this makes no difference Shutdown and disconnect the SX-8(4) and hook up breakout cables. 15 pin connector at one end, five BNCs at the other, two of these should have come with your VT. The grey connector is composite video. If you get video in and/or out with these your SX-8(4) is bad.
No audio but video works - VT Classic Card (shipped with VT[3] and earlier)

Double check that you have the 1/8" plugs going to the correct jacks 80% of the time this is the problem.

Plug directly into the 1/8" jacks on the VT card. Hint:The output will drive walkman style headphones but not loudly. If the jacks work your VT card is OK.

Swap out audio cable. Easy to say but it's a custom 15 pin to dual 1/8" stereo deal but 19% of the time it is the problem.

Otherwise it's a bad SX-8

No Audio but the video works - VT Pro Card (shipped with VT[4] and later)
  1. Problems with just the rear channels are probably the internal ribbon cable
  2. Swap audio cable between the computer and the SX-84. You can borrow one of the SX-84's video cable for testing purposes. If this gets the audio working you have a bad cable
  3. Plug into the 1/8" jacks on the VT card itself. The Front channels are on the same backplate with the Video In and Out. If this works your SX-84 is bad.
  4. If the front channel 1/8" jacks are dead so is your VT card.

No Video In and Out of the SX-8(4)
  1. Make sure the internal power cable is attached to the VT card. This is what powers the SX-8(4) and if it's not connected it won't work.
  2. Make sure the Control cable is correctly attached at both ends and tightened down.
  3. Restart the computer after checking the first two items.
  4. From the main VT menu open the Virtual Breakout Box module. It will inform you if the BOB isn't recognized.
  5. If the BOB is recognized proceed to Troubleshooting Video I/O
  6. Swap out the Control Cable (you can use the Video In or Video Out cable to test). Reboot and try again.
  7. If BOB is still not recognized it could be the internal control ribbon cable, but you probably don't have a spare so skip to Troubleshooting the Daughter card.
Troubleshooting Video I/O
  1. Double Check that the Video In and Video Out cables are connected properly and tightened down. Note that the connectors are out of order on the SX-8(4).
  2. Shut down the computer, Disconnect the SX-8(4) and connect a breakout cable to the Video In connector.
  3. Connect a known good video source to the breakout cable. The Grey is composite in.
  4. Restart the machine and the VT.
  5. Select Composite in on the switcher you should get video.
  6. If not you probably have a bad VT card. But it could be a mangled software install.
  7. If you do get video your VT card is good. Try reconnecting the SX-8(4) but try a different 15 pin cable on the Video In (temporarily use the Video Out cable it's wired the same).
  8. If it's not the VT card or Video In cable you have a bad SX-8(4)
Troubleshooting the Daughter card
  1. Exit the VT software
  2. On the Windows Start Menu select 'Run a Program'
  3. In the panel that comes up type CMD and press Enter
  4. This will open a command window. At the prompt type: newtekrtme and press enter.
  5. If you get a message that says "... Server Daemon already running..." run newtekrtme a second time
  6. Now you will get a long list of gibberish. Scroll back and look for a line that says either "Analog Daughter on..." or "Analog Daughter not found" (these messages may vary slightly depending on the version of your software and rev of your hardware).
  7. Analog Daughter not found means your daughtercard is bad (presuming the internal power cable is connected and good).
  8. If the Daughter card is found but the SX-8(4) still isn't working you have a bad SX-8(4) (presuming the internal ribbon cable is good)
If you follow these steps before you call you can reduce the amount of time you will spend on the phone with NewTek tech support in the event of a failure.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Content Delivery Network for Streaming

SimpleCDN is worth taking a look at for your streaming server needs. They charge 8.9 cents a GigaByte which is a great deal. There is a one time setup fee of $75 but it comes with tech support. The best part is they know about TriCasters and how to deal with them.

I haven't actually used there service at this point but if you have any live streaming in your future you should take a look at SimpleCDN they probably can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Photoshop Part 5

This is the fifth in a series of tutorials on Photoshop by Guru Dan Peters. Since the TriCasters don't ship with a paint application many users are using Photoshop to build graphics for use in CG designer or directly in the DDR so Dan the creator of  a series of video tutorials called Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop in under 2 Hours is here to help us out. Todays hints are especially handy for cutting out elements to re-use on a CG page.

 "Precise Photo Editing is Made Easy with Photoshop’s Grow Tool"

If you have been learning to do digital photo editing in Photoshop and have been going crazy trying to do precise object selection the following information is going to be music to your ears.

Just about everything you do in Photoshop seems to involve selecting objects or people for purposes such as copying, color correction, special effects, and more.

Have you ever wanted to cut an irregular shaped object out of the photo for use with another background?

It can be difficult if not darned near impossible to perfectly select the object using your mouse and the selection tool.

Let me introduce you to the “grow” tool. The grow tool give you the ability to easily select an object with a photograph with almost perfection.

What used to be an enormous source of frustration is now a breeze. In fact, the “grow” tool makes what was previously often considered impossible possible.

Here is how the grow tool works. Let’s say you have an irregularly shaped object that you need to select for the purpose of extracting it from the original image for use in digital photo collage.

Without the grow tool you would have to increase the size of the image and slow move your curser around the object until you had selected the entire object and even then your selection would probably be off quite a bit.

Another option might be to use he magic wand tool but the grow tool works wonderfully for this purpose.

When you select an area within an object the grow tool makes the selection grow or expand to the areas adjacent that are similar in color.

Using the grow tool you don’t need to worry about selecting your object perfectly to the edge. Just select the best you can and let the grow tool expand your selection to the edge of the object.

Friday, October 10, 2008

VT[5].2b Released

Mainly a fix for RS-8 users. Available from register.newtek.com

Thursday, October 9, 2008

NewTek Releases DataLink

Today NewTek announced the release of DataLink™, a TriCaster™ and VT[5]™ plug-in that links data from external feeds, files or databases to display real-time, rapidly-changing information, such as statistics, scores, times and other dynamic information.

"NewTek engineers understand the pressures involved with producing and switching a fast-paced event," said Dr. Andrew Cross, executive vice president of engineering. NewTek Inc.  "By automatically providing accurate real-time information, DataLink reduces stress and enables producers to focus on other key aspects of the event."

DataLink provides dedicated support for several different brands of existing systems, including Daktronics®, IDS™, OES™ and White Way™, and is compatible with any application that supports connection strings, including database servers. (For a complete listing of compatible applications, see www.connectionstrings.com).


I'll have a detailed review once I figure out a good way to borrow a scoreboard!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tis the Season - Propaganda

So your assignment tonight is to read this: Recognizing Propaganda Techniques and Errors of Faulty Logic
and then put your new knowledge to use finding all examples of these techniques during tonight's Presidential Debates.

Discuss in Comments if you like.

PhotoShop Part 4

This is the fourth in a series of tutorials on Photoshop by Guru Dan Peters. Since the TriCasters don't ship with a paint application many users are using Photoshop to build graphics for use in CG designer or directly in the DDR so Dan the creator of  a series of video tutorials called Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop in under 2 Hours is here to help us out.

 "Layers - The Backbone of Photoshop"

Adobe Photoshop is not cheap. There are certainly more affordable photo editing software applications available on the Internet but there are reasons why Photoshop is so popular among professional web designers, photographers, and graphic design specialists.

The ability of Photoshop to allow you to work in layers makes otherwise complex designs easy.

If you are learning how to use Photoshop to do your graphic designs than make sure you pay special attention to the section on how to use layers.

To illustrate how layers work imagine you have a piece of paper. This piece of paper is your background. You could leave the background white or paint it any color you wish. Now, let’s assume you want to add a photograph of a sunset.

Your photograph of the sunset is on a transparent paper and you lay it over the top of your background. The sunset image is on your first layer. Now, let’s assume you want to add some text.

Your text is on another sheet of transparent paper and you lay it over the top. This is your second layer. You can add as many layers as you wish. You can also change the order of the layers.

For example, if you decide you want the text layer to be behind the sunset layer you can move the layers easily with a few clicks of the mouse.

This is essentially the same way you create graphics and complex images in Photoshop.

The beauty of layers is that if you decide for instance that you don’t want a sunset and you would rather have an image of a beach you can simply delete the sunset layer and add an a new layer for the beach image without disturbing the background or the text layer.

Working in Photoshop with layers allows you to experiment without fear of damaging your original image. Layers also allow the user to make changes without disrupting other elements of the image.

Friday, October 3, 2008

VT[5] Website Update

All new look for the NewTek VT[5] website. Take a look

Thursday, October 2, 2008

VT[5.2] Update Day 1

OK, the long awaited 5.2 update has been out for about 24 hours now and here's the latest status:

Some users are reporting difficulties installing the patch. It seems under certain circumstances some DLLs are "in use" and can't be overwritten. This can be worked around by killing the winrtme process in the task manager before installing.

On some systems after the upgrade the RS-8 stops working. At least in some cases you can uninstall a human interface controller in the device manager then re-plug in the RS-8 and plug and play will properly install the driver.

Also be aware that the patch nukes the VT[5] folder so any customizations or presets will be deleted.

Other than these two minor install issues no show stopper bugs have appeared as VT[5.2] was pretty thoroughly beta tested. But as always if you are in the middle of or about to start some critical project I'd hold off on installing the update for a few days to let the early adopters and NewTek work out any problems.

VT[5.2] Is Shipping!

VT 5.2 is shipping. You can download it from http://register.newtek.com
It's 469 MB so don't even think about it unless you have a fast connection.

Live Production Enhancements

  • Title Templates – added support for DataLink™
  • CG Designer™
    • performance and reliability enhancements
      • New ToasterScript commands:
      • ExportSelectedPageToTemplate()
      • ExportProjectToTemplate()
      • ExportSelectedPageToTemplateFile()
      • ExportSelectedPageToLiveSet()
      • ExportProjectToLiveSet()
      • ExportSelectedPageToLiveSetFile()
  • DDR
    • enhanced file readers, including Apple® QuickTime™ 7 support
    • Scrubbing performance significantly improved
  • VGA - Support for remote application sources such as LiveText™
  • Capture - record I-frame MPEG-2 clips, with optional separate MP3 audio.
  • Streaming - Video for Windows driver improvements
  • Control Surfaces – Added support for TimeWarp™ and LiveControl™ LC-11
  • LiveSet Update™ The collection of LiveSet™ virtual sets that is included with VT™ has been updated. This update features four new LiveSets entitled MiddayReport™, WorldUpdate™, NewsLine™ and SkyBox™. The new LiveSets will replace NewsNight™ and MorningShow™. Three of the new LiveSets (MiddayReport™, WorldUpdate™, NewsLine™) also include Double Box effects to complement the new set design.
Post Production Additions
  • SpeedEDIT™ CG Post™ – performance and reliability enhancements
  • SpeedEDIT VT - improvements in the file readers, including Apple(R) QuickTime™ 7 support, capture driver improvements, TriCaster™ 2.0 project support and MPEG-I frame video files
Miscellaneous
  • VT Driver - improvements for greater reliability while reducing system resources
  • Improvements - various bug fixes affecting live production, post production and control
I'll be posting a review in a few days

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

SpeedEDIT Keybord Commands

NewTek has posted a nice PDF file that you can print out that has all of the keyboard commands in SpeedEDIT on a single page. Download it here.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

PhotoShop Part 3

This is the third in a series of tutorials on Photoshop by Guru Dan Peters. Since the TriCasters don't ship with a paint application many users are using Photoshop to build graphics for use in CG designer or directly in the DDR so Dan the creator of  a series of video tutorials called Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop in under 2 Hours is here to help us out.

"Merging Two or More Images in Photoshop First Things First"

Have you ever noticed how magazines, newspapers and some web designers are able to combine multiple photographs together to create cool collages of merged images?

Merging two or more images into one image has become the standard. Everywhere you look you will see examples. Whether you are a web designer, graphic artists, or photographer you can benefit from the ability to merge photographs.

Photo merging techniques will allow you to create original logos, advertisements, backgrounds for web sites, and much more.

If you have Adobe Photoshop then you already have everything you need to create amazing digital collages from multiple photos. Photoshop is the professional’s choice for digital photographic editing and manipulation.

Before you start merging two or more photographs to make a digital collage it is important that you spend a little time planning your final image.

While technical knowledge in how to use Adobe Photoshop to merge photographs is essential don’t downplay the importance of planning your final image before you even start working in Photoshop.

With that being said, the layers function in Photoshop is perfect for allowing you to experiment with different options.

The following are areas to consider when planning a photo collage image.

Choosing Photographs

The most important part of merging multiple photographs is as simple as choosing the right photographs for your photo collage. The photographs you choose can compliment each other in terms of a general theme or color scheme. Try using the eyedropper in Photoshop to check colors and look for complimentary colors.

Composition

Once you have chosen the right photographs for your photo collage it is time to think about your composition. Browse the Internet and look for example of digital photo collages and look for images that you feel are particularly effective in relaying the message intended by the advertiser or artist. Pay attention to the composition of the images. Consider what makes the images blend well together.

The great thing about Adobe Photoshop is that you can work in multiple layers which will allow you to play around with your composition before permanent placement.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Photoshop Tutorial - File Formats

This is the next in a series of tutorials on Photoshop by Guru Dan Peters. Since the TriCasters don't ship with a paint application many users are using Photoshop to build graphics for use in CG designer or directly in the DDR so Dan the creator of  a series of video tutorials called Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop in under 2 Hours is here to help us out.

"A File Format for Every Occasion"

As you learn and become more familiar with Adobe Photoshop you will likely notice that Photoshop allows you to save images in many different formats or file types.

Having a working knowledge and understanding of these different image formats is essential to making the most of your digital photo projects.

While they are many different image types the following is a description of the most common file types you will use when working in Photoshop.

Digital Image File Formats

PSD

If you use Photoshop for your digital photo editing then PSD is probably the most important file format that you need to know. A PSD file is a Photoshop file format and is your best option when working on digital photos for two main reasons. First of all, PSD files allow the user to work in layers and channels and save work being done without compressing the layers. This of course usually results in a large file size. Secondly, PSD files do not lose image quality as you work on images because there is no compression when the file is saved resulting in lost data. It is always best to save your work as a PSD file until your image is finished and then you can save into the format most appropriate for your project.

JPEG

JPEG, which stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, is one of the most common and well known file formats. JPEG files are good for web use as well as a variety of applications due to their small file size. Due to compression JPEG images loss data (image quality) each time change the file is saved.

GIF

GIF, or Graphics Interchange Format, is a popular file format for web use and other Internet applications. These files are typically small in size and load quickly in Internet browsers. GIF files are limited to a maximum of 256 colors. 


PNG 
PNG is the new replacement for GIF that is popular for web use and is actually the preferred format in the TriCaster and VT systems. They can contain up to 16 million colors and include an alpha or transparency channel.

TIFF

TIFF, or Tagged Image File Format, are high quality images but are not really used that often and are not good for Internet use.

Although there are more file formats than we have listed here these are the formats you will want to use in your Photoshop photo editing projects.

For the most part, the only formats you will use on a regular basis are PSD, JPEG, and GIF or PNG.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Another TriCaster 2.0 Update

  • Flash Audio Quality Enhancements
    Flash audio now supports higher sampling rates and includes improved fidelity in PAL Flash streaming.
  • Flash Audio Quality Enhancements
    Higher bandwidth profiles have been added for PAL Flash streaming.
  • Multiple CG Pages Load in Edit Text Module
    Import multiple CG pages from separate files using multiple selection.
  • Improved Video File Compatibility
    Video recorded to the hard drive is now compatible with a wider variety of applications, with MPEG Layer 2 audio now encoded into the MPG file. MPEG Layer 3 (MP3) audio is also recorded as a separate file that can be used within non linear editors that do not support embedded audio in MPEG files. Apple Mac users that cannot play files written by the TriCaster, may require a QuickTime update, or a third party MPEG decoder. For more information on the former, please visit : http://apple.com/quicktime/mpeg2
  • Improved Video Recording Quality
    Video files captured and rendered to disk have improved encoded chroma quality. Additional improvements have been made to the quality of files recorded in PAL.
  • Improved Quality of Text Scrolls and Crawls in Edit Media
    The motion is now much smoother with CG pages using scrolls and crawls at slower speeds.
  • iVGA Output Quality
    The quality of the scaling and de-fielding performed for iVGA when displayed on a SD resolution video output monitor has been significantly improved.
  • LiveSet™ Update
    The collection of LiveSet™ virtual sets that are included with TriCaster™ products has recently been updated. This update features three new LiveSets entitled MiddayReport™, WorldUpdate™ and NewsLine™. All three of the new LiveSets will also include Double Box effects to complement each new set design. 

NewTek HD Rumors

Check out the updates at the end  of this post.

I was going through my logs yesterday and found that a bunch of people have been searching Google for "NewTek HD Rumors". I thought that was a pretty good topic for a post so here it is.

It's actually no rumor. NewTek's first High Def product will be shipping in the near future. It's called the 3Play and is a three channel instant replay box. It will do both HD and SD and is based on NewTek's new HD hardware. I've actually seen a prototype being waved around at last April's dealer meeting but not actually operating.

It was tentatively expected to be released by the end of the year according to NewTek insiders at NAB last April but that's definitely not a firm or even verified ship date. Retail price has not been announced but the 3Play will probably be the most expensive product in NewTek's history, I'm guessing between $12k and $14k but don't come yelling at me if I'm wrong. This may seem expensive but best as I can tell the next cheapest solution is north of $100,000.

I suspect that the only real difference between the 3Play and a TriCaster HD is the software so we'll probably see a TriCaster HD sometime next year, Hopefully by NAB.

2/2/09 Update: I was way off on the MSRP. It's $21,995. Still a good great deal for what it does.

2/12/09 update: More details here: http://newteknews.blogspot.com/2009/02/newtek-announces-3play.html and you can preorder and see pictures here. Or call 1-800-692-6442 to arrange a demo.

4/16/09 Update: TriCaster XD300 leaked: http://newteknews.blogspot.com/2009/04/hd-tricaster-news-leaked-xd300.html

4/24/09 Update: TriCaster XD300 Preview 
8/19/09 Update 3Play Hands On Review

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Guest Blogger - PhotoShop Tutorials

I'm going to start a new feature here and let Dan Peters post some brief PhotoShop tutorials. As a long time Aura user I'm a complete novice at PhotoShop so I would be little use but Dan is the author of Master The Basics Of Adobe Photoshop In Under 2 Hours  video tutorials so he knows what he is talking about.

"Understanding Photoshop’s Color Modes and How to Use Them"

The color modes and color models of digital imaging seem to be a mystery to many first learning to use Photoshop.

Many are so intimidated by the various color modes that they simply ignore the issue because they do not understand the impact color modes can have on the final printed image.

Color modes determine the color model that should be used to display and print digital pictures.

Anyone serious about professional quality digital imaging should learn about the color modes and models and how to apply them in Photoshop.

Certain color modes are best for particular applications and so on. Most good Photoshop tutorials and training aids will teach user how and when to use which color modes for the best results depending on the particular project.

Before you even begin working with the color modes in Photoshop it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of what the color modes are and why there are different models.

Digital images are displayed using several different color modes. The following are the main basic color modes you will encounter when working with digital images.

RGB

RGB stands re Red Green and Blue. In the RGB color mode colors are created by mixing these three primary colors. You are basically working in three color channels in RBG mode and you can adjust the intensity of each channel to obtain various degrees of colors. White is made by combining all of
the three colors.

CMYK

CMYK is for cyan, magenta, yellow and black. While RGB creates colors by mixing colors CMYK essentially creates color by subtracting varying degrees of each color. For example, if white is needed all colors would be reduced to zero.

Learning about the color modes will result in big improvements in your digital imaging work. Printers use CMYK color while monitors use RGB.

This is why there is sometimes a difference in what you see on your PC monitor and what you see on paper. Fortunately there is now software
that you can install which will calibrate your monitor colors with your printer so what you see on your monitor is what you get when you print.
 

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The ol' Burrito Bump

A guy in South Dakota says to me that he was in the control room at an Iowa Hawkeyes football game and they have a promo called Bump The Burrito that plays on the jumbotron where someone on the crew can bounce the image of a burrito keyed over a shot of fans in the stands giving the appearance that the fans were bumping the burrito up and down. Then he asks how can I do this with my TriCaster Pro.

Well, I like a challenge so I came up with three ways that you might be able to pull off something like this on a TriCaster.

  1. Completely canned animation with an alpha channel of the burrito bouncing up and down in time with music and the fans can just sync themselves to the animation using the driving burrito beat as a guide. Just route the DDR to the Overlay.
  2. Same animation, no music this time, but shuttled back and forth in the DDR for manual bumping control. Again route the DDR to the overlay.
  3. Burrito picture in paint program on another computer. Burrito picked up as brush (attached to the mouse pointer) solid color background for chroma key. Then use iVGA to grab screen from secondary computer, use LiveMatte to chroma key and crop then put the Ext (iVGA) input on Live bus, shot of fans on Effects Bus. Burrito operator bounces burrito as desired.
Use this information wisely.

A few Interesting Links

Brand new tutorial site by long time user: Jose Burgos of BurgosFX
Not much there now but I expect great things

NewTek centric podcasts by Rich Lawrence and Bill Panagouleas.
Episode 4 with an interview of Leo Laporte was just released.

Speaking of Leo the video on his site Twit TV is streamed using a TriCaster Studio.

Those should keep you occupied for a while!

Friday, September 5, 2008

MVT Video Music Awards and TriCaster

Right this second you can watch them set up tents or something. This is waaay behind the scenes stuff!

This year, TriCaster is being used to stream the MTV Tr3s Party, this pre-party takes place on Thursday, September 4. To view the coverage being posted on Friday, September 5, 2008 visit: http://www.mtv.com/ontv/vma/2008/.

Philip Nelson will once again be taking one for the NewTek team. and again  here and again here

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

All New Lightwave Web Site

Tomorrow (Thursday) NewTek will unveil an all new LightWave site and wans that the site might experience periodic outages as they make the change over. So head over and check it out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

More NFL Streaming with TriCaster

Philip Nelson's job sucks:
http://www.philipnelson.org/2008/08/giants-webcast-went-great/

Light Blogging - So Busy

Sorry about the light posting but we've been running flat out at the store for the last two months. NewTek has had three or four record months in a row now and we are certainly doing our part! TriCasters and the VT are both selling well and the future looks bright. A VT[5] update should be happening soon* so keep an eye out for a VT[5].2 hands-on as soon as it's released.

*Should not be construed to mean any particular time period.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

TriCaster to Stream Republican National Convention

Pajamas TV will be streaming live coverage of the Republican National Convention September 1st through 4th from Minneapolis using TriCasters. They will one of the few, if not only, online media companies overlooking the convention floor.

About Pajamas TV:

Pajamas Media is announcing Pajamas TV -a Media 2.0 internet TV venture focusing on coverage of news, opinion, and issues of the day. We are currently in Alpha phase with the Beta phase beginning on September 1 with coverage from the Republican National Convention.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Film Contest Winner

One of our customers, William Reliford of Real Images in Indianapolis, recently took part in the 48 Hour Film Contest his team's entry won Best Use of Genre. Congratulations!
Take a look:

http://www.realimagesvideo.com/cassandra

From his email to me: 

2Day Productions (our team name) as well as the other 23 competing teams had 48 hours to write, cast, shoot and edit a 4-7 minute film. Each team picked a genre from a hat and was then assigned a required character, prop and line of dialogue that had to appear in the film. These were, Dr. Dennis Olsen, a dentist; a helmet; and the line "Let me set the record straight".

TriCaster 2.0 Update - Update

NewTek is shipping an update to the TriCaster 2.0 software. It includes three new LiveSets and mysteriously removes two of the old ones, NewsNight and MorningShow. NewTek "no longer authorizes their use".

TriCaster 2.0 owners can go to the registration site to log in and download the new software or use the 'Check for Software Updates' funtction on their TriCasters. The update is for TriCaster, TriCaster Pro, TriCaster Studio and TriCaster Broadcasts running the 2.0 Software.

New Feature list:

  • Improved Video File Compatibility
    Video recorded to the hard drive is now compatible with a wider variety of applications, with MPEG Layer 2 audio now encoded into the MPG file. MPEG Layer 3 (MP3) audio is also recorded as a separate file that can be used within non linear editors that do not support embedded audio in MPEG files. Apple Mac users that cannot play files written by the TriCaster, may require a QuickTime update, or a third party MPEG decoder. For more information on the former, please visit : http://apple.com/quicktime/mpeg2
  • Improved Video Recording Quality
    Video files captured and rendered to disk have improved encoded chroma quality. Additional improvements have been made to the quality of files recorded in PAL.
  • Improved Quality of Text Scrolls and Crawls in Edit Media
    The motion is now much smoother with CG pages using scrolls and crawls at slower speeds.
  • iVGA Output Quality
    The quality of the scaling and de-fielding performed for iVGA when displayed on a SD resolution video output monitor has been significantly improved.
  • LiveSet Update
    The collection of LiveSet™ virtual sets that are included with TriCaster™ products has recently been updated. This update features three new LiveSets entitled MiddayReport™, WorldUpdate™ and NewsLine™. All three of the new LiveSets will also include Double Box effects to complement each new set design.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Lightwave 9.5 Released

NewTek announced the release of LightWave® v9.5 for Windows®, a major update to its award-winning 3D application, LightWave 3D®. LightWave v9.5’s new capabilities include FiberFX, a complete hair and fur solution, a new lighting system and many improvements to animation, rendering and workflow. The update is available to registered owners of LightWave v9 series at no charge. 

A highlight of LightWave v9.5 is FiberFX, a proprietary polygonal fiber modeler for creating realistic hair, fur and feathers. It provides artists with a full suite of tools to model and style each fiber, create volumetric shadows, render-in reflection and refraction and more.

LightWave v9.5 also offers improved rendering quality and speed, with major upgrades to the radiosity sampling system and interpolated modes. Also, there are new disk-based caches for radiosity: the Static Cache, for animations where only the camera moves; and the Animated Cache, where any element of the scene can move. Both types allow the user to pre-render the cache and apply the solution when doing the full scene render – either locally or across a render farm. LightWave radiosity can now be rendered at reduced resolution and applied to the full size final render, providing a higher quality output with even faster render times, a huge benefit for today's time-pressured production environment.

LightWave v9.5’s IK and animation system includes numerous improved character animation controls. Adding to LightWave’s z-axis bones, artists now have joint-type bones, which is more familiar for users of other programs with joint-based metaphors. It also adds a "stretchy bones" capability to LightWave.

The lighting system is now a plug-in API, allowing third parties to create custom lights and lighting plug-ins. IES lights have been added with a thumbnail preview of the luminaire with other information and controls. Also available are new size-selectable spherical lights and dome lights.

LightWave v9.5 allows the import and export of FBX and Collada scenes and objects. This greatly improves compatibility with other 3D applications, as you can now seamlessly transfer meshes, rigs, materials and animation information. The LightWave OBJ I/O plug-in now provides extended import capability for this file type.

LightWave v9.5 Update Includes:

Character Animation Enhancements

  • Hair and Fur System
  • Collada, FBX and OBJ I/O support
  • Enhanced IK and Animation Systems
Lighting, Rendering and Surfacing Enhancements
  • Lighting System is now an API
  • IES, Spherical and Dome Light types
  • Enhanced Area and Linear Lights
  • Faster and higher quality GI Rendering
  • Disk-Based GI Caching
    • Static Cache (only the Camera moves)
    • Animated Cache (anything moves)
  • Interpolated Soft Reflections/Refractions for Node-base surfacing
  • Oren-Nayar Shading Option for Many Materials
  • Optimized Materials and Shaders
SDK and LScript Improvements
  • Light Plug-in Class for Third Party Lights and Light Plug-ins
  • SDK Support for New GI Functions and Disk Cache
  • SDK Support for New IK and Animation Capabilities
UI and Workflow Enhancements
  • Composition Tool Overlays in Camera View
  • OpenGL GLSL Enhanced View for New Lighting System
  • Audio Waveform in the Graph Editor
NewTek will be providing a free trial edition of LightWave v9.5 on disc and by download. Artists should note that there are now more than 24 hours of free LightWave training at www.lightwave3d.com, in addition to an extensive library of printable tutorials.

Numerous visual effects projects benefited from LightWave's world-class capabilities such as "Iron Man," "The Dark Knight," "Hancock," "Jumper," "The Ruins," "300," "The Guardian," and Visual Effects Emmy-winning "Battlestar Galactica." LightWave has been used in other hit shows, including, "The Sarah Connor Chronicles," "Jericho," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "CSI Miami," and "Dogfights."

Friday, August 8, 2008

UStream and the TriCaster - Announcing TC Launch

UStream(at UStream.tv) is a free live streaming service. It can stream from any standard windows video capture device on your system. The good news is TriCaster 2.0 has a Windows Video driver installed that will work with UStream as well as other applications. The bad news is the TriCaster user interface takes over the machine and disables all the multi-tasking features of Windows. So it was impossible to switch back and forth between the TriCaster and another application without actually shutting off the TriCaster interface.

I've solved this problem with a little program called TC Launch that you can drop onto the Admin screen and use to launch the TriCaster in a special multi-tasking mode. Now you can use free services like UStream on your TriCaster with 2.0.

A few other hints to streaming with UStream:

  • Use the standard encoder not the "High Quality Encoder" I couldn't get the high quality encoder to work on my TriCaster Studio.
  • Watch out for the cropping. UStream does a pretty radical crop of the TriCaster's output so if you frame normally you will trim the top of peoples heads off.
  • Make sure you set the UStream audio capture to the VT audio device. It wants to default to the windows audio device.
  • I had better luck with FireFox, IE crashed on be a couple of times.
I'm selling TC Launch for $10 over on www.digarts.com you can go directly to TC Launch here. Be sure to change the payment system to PayPal from credit card if you want to download the program immediately. You can still use a CC with PayPal. Our normal CC processing is done by hand to it can take up to 24 hours.

If you have any trouble with or have any questions about TC Launch you can email me at jcupp@digarts.com

Important Update: The guys over at NewTek want me to make it clear that you use TC Launch at your own risk and if you have problems while using it don't go crying to tech support (they put it a little nicer than that but you get the idea). TC Launch makes no permanent changes to your TriCaster so if your application doesn't work just delete it and you're good to go.

Lightwave used on Iron Man - Bobblehead Available

NewTek announced that they will be showcasing the role of  LightWave 3D® in rendering the "Iron Man" at NewTek booth #159 at SIGGRAPH 2008. Michael Blackbourn, lead 3D artist at The Embassy Visual Effects, will be at the NewTek booth to discuss his use of LightWave® to render the iron-clad Mark 1 suit used at the beginning of the feature film.

"LightWave played an instrumental role for The Embassy Visual Effects in rendering all the digital shots of Iron Man’s Mark 1 suit and enhancing several scenes with animation and particles," said Michael Blackbourn, lead 3D artist for "Iron Man." "LightWave 3D gave us the power to create exactly what the director envisioned, from duplicating the complex look of the amazing practical suit, the animation of doors that get punched off their hinges, to the volumetric smoke and debris when the Mark 1 is flying and crash landing."

"LightWave 3D is a work horse for extremely talented artists, like Michael and his team, who push it to the limit every day. LightWave fits within any budget and pipeline," said Jay Roth, president of 3D division, NewTek. "NewTek is honored that The Embassy chose LightWave to help put Iron Man into action."
                        
In celebration, NewTek is giving away Iron Man Mark 1 bobble-heads at SIGGRAPH. Complete a brief 3D animation survey at http://tinyurl.com/5hl5fr to pick up yours at NewTek Booth # 159, while supplies last.

Welcome CGTalk Readers !

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lightwave used in The Dark Knight

It's SIGGRAPH Time and here come the Lightwave Press Releases!

LightWave 3D® was used by artist Stuart Penn at Framestore, for key scenes of one of 2008’s biggest box office successes, "The Dark Knight." A highlight of the LightWave®-generated work appears during the movie’s notable Hong Kong sequence.

"I prefer to model in LightWave 3D because of the interactivity of its comprehensive modeling toolset which allows me to turn around accurate models very quickly. All these shots were in IMAX® resolution and LightWave ensured that the models would hold up and look realistic," said Stuart Penn, joint head of environments, Framestore. "LightWave also allowed us to build a complete model quickly while giving us the flexibility to replace as little or as much of the original plate as was needed on the fly."

Using LightWave, Penn modeled two Hong Kong buildings that Batman jumps between, and from which he is later extracted by a C130 Hercules transport plane. Penn also modeled the damaged sections of one building, seen after the corner has been blown off, as well as larger areas of the building that were replaced or extended.

"Every day, I am reminded about how versatile LightWave 3D is – it is used for $300 million-plus blockbusters, as well as for television, animated shorts, ad work, video game design or any other graphics project," said Jay Roth, president of 3D division, NewTek. "The fact that Framestore chose LightWave 3D for modeling key scenes of 'The Dark Knight,' which is on its way to being one of the biggest movie box office successes ever, is gratifying for the NewTek team."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Batman vs. Batman vs. Batman

The fake movie trailer may be the highest form of the cinematic arts.
I'd go see this movie:

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Streaming Media Readers Choice Awards

The TriCaster has been nominated to the Streaming Media Readers’ Choice Awards in the Encoding Hardware category.  To vote go to the Readers' Choice Awards page, enter your name and email, and you’ll be taken to the voting page. Voting is open until August 25 and while supporting NewTek you are also entering to win an 8GB iPod Touch! 
Check the TriCaster box under the “Encoding Hardware” category and write in NewTek TriCaster under the “Webcasting Platform” and “IPTV Hardware” categories.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

NewTek LiveText Hands On Review


LiveText is NewTek's standalone CG (character generator) with Ethernet connectivity to the TriCasters and VT (TriCaster 2.0 or VT 5.2 required). This lets you off load CG editing to a second computer or laptop so you can either pre-produce your CGs or have a dedicated CG operator during a live switch.

One of the drawbacks to the TriCaster has always been the fact that it was originally envisioned to be run by a single operator. This is great for a simple production but as you add cameras replays and dynamic CG pages the work load can pretty quickly overwhelm one person. NewTek has been addressing this with several of their recent new products like the TimeWarp Instant Replay controller and now LiveText.

Installation of LiveText on my computer (WinXP SP3, 2.66 GHz Core2Duo with two gigabytes RAM and an Invidia GF8400 graphics card) was straight forward and no configuration was necessary. It installs and you are ready to go. On the TriCaster (or VT) you just select the LiveText machine just as if it were running iVGA by picking it, by name, off a pull down list in the 'External' (iVGA) panel. This presumes your network is up and running and the two computers can 'see' each other.

The TriCaster 2.0 software sports an 'Ext' button on the overlay section of the interface that once engaged it feeds the signal from LiveText directly to the overlay. All the TriCaster operator has to do is verify that the CG in the overlay display window is the one he wants and then either 'Fade' or 'Take' to display the CG.

The LiveText operator can create pages on the fly and then assign them to the TriCaster's overlay by simply clicking the red 'Live' button or by double clicking the pages thumbnail. If the overlay is live on the TriCaster the page will be displayed instantly so it's possible to update a page while it is being displayed.


Creating or editing pages is very straight forward using the large page edit window. The interface is almost identical to the Edit Text panel in TriCaster 2.0 and very similar to the CG Designer in VT[5] so current users will have no problem adapting. LiveText uses whatever fonts you have installed in Windows and the font selection list actually displays the fonts so they are easy to choose.

You can interactively resize text, apply face colors or even complex gradients in addition to apply outlines and several different types of shadows. LiveText ships with about fifty predefined gradients and user text styles can be added to style preset lists with a mouse click. Of course you get a full compliment of horizontal and vertical alignment, layer ordering, and grouping controls.


LiveText also includes a selection of basic drawing tools so that you can easily create graphic elements directly in the program. If you need to import more complicated graphics - LiveText supports most common bitmap graphic formats with alpha channels intact. PSD from PhotoShop. Are supported but have their layers flattened on import so be aware.

You can easily create scrolls and crawls with full control over speed and end behavior i.e. Loop, scroll off screen or stop on last frame. It's also possible to lock elements on the page so that they don't move and you can even combine scrolls and crawls (scawls?)on the same page if you care to.

Ninty-nine fully editable templates are included so you don't even have to start from scratch with everything from full screen promos to lower thirds. These serve as both pre-done pages you can and examples of some of the things you can accomplish in LiveText.

The last cool feature is LiveText supports both 4:3 and widescreen 16:9 aspect ratio and automatically configures itself to match your TriCaster 's output mode.

The bottom line is anyone doing sports with their TriCaster should consider LiveText a must have. For everyone else, including VT owners, you should give it a closer look because it might really make your life easier. By off loading the whole CG process to a dedicated operator you can reduce the stress of a live production by whole orders of magnitude. You can also free up your TriCaster during pre-production allowing you to build CGs on a separate computer.

Unlike some versions of the VT's CG Designer LiveText seems to be rock solid reliable, the installation was painles. The only thing I'd like to see added is away for the LiveText operator to remotely fade the overlay on the TriCaster up and down and cross fade from one overlay to another. But as it stands this is a great addition for both TriCaster and VT users.

LiveText requires a cpu with SSE2 instruction set (typically a Pentium 4 or better) A DirectX 9 compatible graphics card (AGP or PCI-E recommended) and at least 1 GB RAM (2 or more preferred) and a VT with version 5.2 software (shipping soon) or any TriCaster (Tricaster, TriCaster Pro, TriCaster Studio or TriCaster BroadCast) with 2.0 software.

TriCaster to Stream Criss Angel Imploding


We'll, actually Criss Angel's attempt to escape the SpyGlass Resort in Clearwater Florida before it implodes. The live webcast or A&E's Mindfreak hosted by Tim Vincent will be at both www.aetv.com and www.crissangel.com Wednesday, July 30.

The Local ABC Affiliate:
Large video screens will provide a feed of the TV coverage. Illusionist Criss Angel will attempt to leave the building in time before the strategically placed explosives fire off destroying the building's columns. If all works as planned the building will collapse on to itself. At the same time, Criss Angel will be taken away to safety after he escapes his binds.

Criss Angel does some pretty freaky stuff so I'm sure this will go beyond the escape-from-straight-jacket-and-run-out sort of thing.

And look for my hands on review of NewTek's LiveText tomorrow. I'll try to get that posted early in the day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Visual Effects Emmy Nominations

For the eleventh year in a row all the nominees for the Visual Effects Emmy are Lightwave Users. Proving once again that NewTek owns the TV market.

2008 Emmy-Nominated LightWave 3D Users:

Outstanding Special Visual Effects for A Series:

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles • Pilot • FOX • C2 Pictures in association with Warner Bros. Television
James Lima, /Visual Effects Supervisor/
Chris Zapara, /CG Supervisor/
Lane Jolly, /Compositing Supervisor/
Steve Graves, /3D Modeler/Animator/
Rick Schick, /Compositor/
Jeff West, /Compositor/
Bradley Mullennix, /Modeler

Jericho • Patriots And Tyrants • CBS • CBS Paramount Television
Andrew Orloff, /Visual Effects Supervisor/
Blythe Dalton, /Visual Effects Producer/
John Stirber, /Special Effects Supervisor/
Chris Jones, /Compositing Supervisor/
Michael Cliett, /CGI Supervisor/
Lane Jolly, /Lead Visual Effects Compositor/
Johnathan R. Banta, /Lead Matte Artist/
Josh Hooker, /Lead CGI Artist/

Battlestar Galactica • He That Believeth In Me • Sci Fi Channel • Universal Media Studios in association with R & D TV*
Gary Hutzel, /Visual Effects Supervisor/
Michael Gibson, /Visual Effects Producer/
David Takemura, /Visual Effects Coordinator/
Doug Drexler, /CGI Supervisor/
Kyle Toucher, /CG Artist/
Sean Jackson, /CG Artist/
Pierre Drolet, /CG Modeler/
Aurore de Blois, /Senior Compositor/
Derek Ledbetter, /Compositor/

Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Miniseries, Movie or A Special:

Life After People • History Channel • Flight 33 Productions for History Television Network Productions, A&E Television Networks
Matt Drummond, /Visual Effects Supervisor/
Max Ivins, /Visual Effects Supervisor/
Steffen Schlachtenhaufen, /Visual Effects Producer/
Melinka Thompson-Godoy, /Visual Effects Producer/
Andrea D'Amico, /Visual Effects Producer/
Danny Kim, /Matte Painter/Compositor/
Dave Morton, /Lead Visual Effects Artist
Jim May, /Digital Artist
Casey Benn, /Digital Artist/

NewTek expands Tech Support Hours

NewTek Tech support now is open seven days a week, 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Dude, the TriCaster is, like, Totally Tubular!



From the press release:

Go211.com, the leading social networking website for action sports enthusiasts, has chosen TriCaster™ portable live production system to produce and web stream Go211 Live, the largest action sports, music and lifestyle festival in North America, which takes place July 24-27 from Huntington Beach, California. Go211 Live features the world's largest professional surfing competition- Honda US Open of Surfing presented by O'Neil- along with BMX, skateboarding, freestyle motocross demos, live music and fashion.



“Go211.com is proud to deliver Go211 Live and the Honda US Open of Surfing presented by O'Neil to world-wide fans,” said Sean Aruda, CEO, Go211.com. “TriCaster portable production system gives us a reliable and affordable way to produce and web stream four full days of activities, in their entirety, to online users.”



“Go211 Live featuring the US Open of Surfing isn’t shot in a controlled studio,” said Philip Nelson, SVP Strategic Development, NewTek. “One of the key benefits of the TriCaster is portability. You can do a live web stream with TriCaster from almost anywhere on the planet: a BMX Track, skateboard park or even the beach. As long as you have power and an internet connection you are ready to stream.”

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cage Match - TriCaster vs. Sony Anycast

Update Aug. 2010: At the end check out my newest updates to this article covering HD varient of the AnyCast, the AWS-G500E. More info on the various TriCaster models.


------------------------------
People keep asking so I'll tell you what I think. First let me begin by saying this isn't going to be a fair fight so don't whine when your favorite Japanese company's product comes up bruised and bleeding. :)


OK so the most striking difference between the two is obviously the price. The TriCaster Pro setup is half the price of the Anycast. The Anycast wins on inputs but of course we could always upgrade to a TriCaster Studio and still beat Sony's price by eight grand. The Anycast also wins on convenience as it's an all in one unit whereas the TriCaster has a separate monitor and external controller. Oh, and the Anycast has a VISCA controller. The TriCaster requires a third party add-on for this.







In every other area it's a take down for the TriCaster. My major complaints with the Anycast are: Real Media Streaming! what's up with that? A rubber slider is a poor excuse for a T-bar. All the configuration is done through a menu system with a little scroll wheel so it's not practical to make any changes during a production. You cannot make changes to a CG during a production, all imported graphics must be put on a memory stick and then copied to the internal hard drive before you can use them. And you have to use the stupid menus to move the file. Assigning one of the wipes to the wipe button was is also clunky and again not really practical to do during a production. The monitor may be built in but it's kinda small. Running big, long RGB cables from the presenters laptop all the way to the Anycast is no fun.




On the plus side for the TriCaster Pro: Update CGs on the fly even while one is being displayed. Sophisticated external controller, see my review of the LC-11 here. Simple point and click user interface with a mouse. Complete live virtual set and chroma key system built in. Built in video editor. Windows or Flash streaming. Record the production to the hard drive. iVGA makes it easy to input a presenters screen via a network cable or even via WiFi. Four different models and several different controllers to choose from so you can configure a system to meet both your needs and your budget.

So I don't see many reasons to go with an Anycast over a TriCaster the AnyCast is just too limited. Even if you absolutely need Real Media Streaming I'm pretty sure I can get Real Encoder to run on a TriCaster.


Next Time We'll beat up on a GlobeCaster! It won't be pretty.



Sony Anycast Basic Specs
Video I/O

  • 4 Composite or Y/C video inputs
  • 2 RGB (XGA or SXGA) inputs
  • 1 Composite, 1 Y/C and 1 DVI (RGB) output
Audio I/O

  • 2 XLR and 4 1/4" Phone Jacks for microphone in
  • 1 RCA pair for line level input 
  • Phantom Power 
Streaming

  • Real Media 
Transistions

  • Cross-Dissolve
  • 16 Simple Wipes 
DDR

  • No 
Other features

  • Built in monitor
  • Built In Visca (robotic camera control)
List Price $20,000

TriCaster Pro with LC-11  Basic Specs
Video I/O

  • 3 Composite, Y/C or Component video inputs
  • 1 Composite, 1 Y/C, 1 Component and 1 DVI (RGB) output
  • 3 iVGA inputs (VGA, XGA.SXGA, WXGA via network)
Audio I/O

  • 2 XLR/Phone Jacks for microphone or line inputs
  • 1 RCA pair for line level input  
  • Phantom Power
Streaming

  • Windows Media
  • Flash

Transistions

  • Cross-Dissolve
  • 200+ Wipes, Curls and DVEs
DDR

  • Yes + Still Store 
Other features

  • Virtual Sets
  • Chroma Keyer
  • Animated Overlays
  • Record Entire Production To Hard Drive
  • Video Editor 
 List Price $10,000 ($10,300 if you include a monitor)

Aug 2010 Update:

Sony is now shipping the Anycast AWS-G500E which has interchangable I/O modules. A few other new features include a chromakeyer and a built in CG (still can't make changes on the fly). Almost everything else is the same.

Pricing for the AnyCast:

$13,000 for the base unit with no input cards.
SD SDI I/O (2 inputs) $2,200
HD SDI I/O (2 inputs) $3,200
SD analog I/O (2 inputs) $1600
HD Component Analog  $3,000
RGB I/O $1,700

So a four input HD system will be pushing $19,400 while a SD analog system is over $16,000

The TriCaster TCXD300 three input HD model with LC-11 controller is going to run under $17,000 so for about the same price as an SD Anycast you can get a full HD TriCaster. NewTek also has the TCXD850 with eight inputs if you need even more. Both models of TriCaster TCXD have feature sets that exceed even what the SD TriCasters bring to the table.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

LiveControl LC-11 Hands On Review

The new LiveControl LC-11 controller surface for the TriCaster and VT is now shipping and I just spent a couple of hours putting one through it's paces. The LC-11 is a step up from the RS-8/VM controller that's been around for years. The most obvious difference is the eleven inputs rather than the eight of the original.


VT owners might ask why eleven inputs and not twelve? Eleven corresponds to the number of inputs on the TriCaster Studio and Broadcast. All three buses are now accessible from the controller which is an important consideration to those using either LiveSets or a TimeWarp. Below the three rows of inputs you'll find the Auto and Take buttons and to the the right the aluminum and plastic T-bar.

Also in the Transition section in the center we have buttons to choose between a cross-fade or the selected DVE, a knob to adjust the auto transition speed and one to select a DVE from the current bank. This second knob can be pressed to enable the reverse function so that transitions are played backwards so that a fly-in becomes a fly-out.

Next are a Fade to Black button a button labeled Alt that is for "future expansion". And below these are the Fade All and Take All buttons that do both a transition between the main and preview buses while simultaneously fading or taking the overlay. Previously you had to do this with a keyboard command.

On the left we find the overlay section of the controller with it's large Fade Overlay and Take Overlay buttons, buttons for selecting the overlay source and three knobs. Two knobs for controlling DDRs and a third for title templates. These let you scroll through the clips or CGs you have loaded or by pressing the knob in you can preview the clip. Above these are two joy sticks one is, again, for future expansion and the other acts as a shuttle wheel for the selected DDR.

I was never all that enamored of the RS-8/VM because it just seemed to be missing some of the functions I like to use like the Fade All and the ability to easily go between a fade and a DVE. These are now integrated in and it really makes the thing really useful. One thoughtful ergonomic touch is there are actually two USB connections on the box. One on the back and a second one on the bottom to make it easy to inset the unit flush into a desk top. As on the TimeWarp, the edges of the case are a little sharp but NewTek assures me this will be addressed in the next production run.

Cosmetically the unit is an improvement over the RS-8. The face plate is brushed anodized aluminum and the t-bar has been anodized a matte silver color. The whole unit is well built with no cheap plastic bits to break off in the heat of battle. While the buttons are of course plastic they are well made and should hold up to a reasonable amount of punishment.

On a side note NewTek is renaming the VM as the LC-8 to reduce confusion.

LC-11 are available now at www.Digarts.com
Update: Actually placed the pictures . Doh!

Friday, July 11, 2008

TriCaster to Stream Events Surrounding All Star Game

The TriCaster owns the web streaming market! And why does it seem that the radio guys are streaming all these events? I gotta re-think some of my marketing ... hmmm...

From the press release:

Knockout Digital Media has chosen TriCaster™ portable live production system to produce and web stream the ESPN Radio All-Star Game radio shows in New York City to ESPNRadio.com. The July 14 and 15 web streams will give the world’s sports fans live access to Mike & Mike in the Morning from Grand Central Station from 6-10am and to Tirico and Van Pelt from Mickey Mantle’s restaurant from 1-4pm.

“TriCaster is allowing us to give live access to the events surrounding the last All Star Game to ever be played at Yankee Stadium, with a savings in cost, space and time,” said Gil Chavez, President of Knockout Digital Media.“The online presence of this day in baseball brings the ESPN Radio fans another opportunity to be part of the excitement.”


“Space is a premium when you are broadcasting live from venues like Grand Central Station or Mickey Mantle’s restaurant,” said Philip nelson, NewTek SVP of Strategic Development. “The portability of TriCaster is allowing Knockout Digital Media to web stream from both venues without expanding their radio broadcasting footprint.”