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


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Behind the Scenes At the Miss Universe Pagent with the TriCaster

I didn't realize this is such a big event. 


...TriCaster™ is being used to produce and live stream exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage of the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant on Sunday, August 23, beginning at 8:00 pm CST on NBC.com and Miss Universe.com.
Coverage includes the first interview with the newly crowned Miss Universe, the post-event Coronation Ball and interviews with VIPs including Donald Trump, Flo Rida, Heidi Montag (from MTV’s The Hills) and others.
More than 250,000 viewed a live stream of the 2009 Miss Universe Presentation Show (preliminary event) on August 16 without an accompanying broadcast event to drive traffic.  The television audience for the 2009 Miss Universe Pageant is expected to exceed one billion so this live stream could rival the most-viewed live streams of any event to date.
 USA! USA! USA! :)

The Amazon Kindle eBook Reader

I wrote this a few months ago but forgot to actually post it. This is a review of the first generation Kindle. The currently shipping model is thinner and has slightly re-configured controls to improve the egonomics.

OK here's the deal: I'm a blogger and I got, as a Christmas present, an Amazon Kindle and so therfore I am required by law to blog it.

To summarize - I love the thing, I've already read several dozens of books on it and it's a threat to my credit rating.

I've read lots of reviews online and most of them get it all wrong. First the device is a book reader, not a replacement for your cell phone, mp3 player, laptop and espresso maker. As a book reader it's top notch. Any other features the Kindle has are just icing on the cake.

It connects directly to Amazon using "Wispernet" (provided by Sprint) and you can browse, buy and download books from anywhere on the Sprint network. There are no charges for the wireless! There is also a simple web browser so you can view other web sites. The browser works pretty well with text heavy sites but don't expect it to replace your computer.

Amazon charges $9.95 for most best sellers but back catalog books range all the way down to pennies, I bought Asimov's I Robot for .35 and a few more recent books that are out in paperback for $5.95.

And the internet is stuffed with free books. I bought a DVD on ebay for about $10 that has 13,000 public domain books on it. So now I can get caught up on all the classic lit that I shouldn't have avoided in college. I could've downloaded them for free but they are pre-converted to a format the Kindle can read and are organized by genre and author so it seemed easier.

It does take a little getting used to holding the Kindle. With the large page turn bars on both sides it's pretty easy to fumble around and accidentally turn pages but after a while you get used to it. I generally hold it in my left hand with my thumb placed just to the left of the logo on the front. This way I can turn pages my just reaching with my thumb to press the next page button. Most of the keyboard is disabled during normal reading so you can grasp it by the keyboard if need be.

The eInk technology screen isn't back lit which makes it useful even in direct sunlight and increases the battery life by quite a bit. I use mine pretty heavily and I charge it about every five days. If you leave the Wispernet turned on all the time the Kindle would probably need to be charged every couple of days or so.

My biggest complaint is that the built in dictionary. It works great, scroll the cursor up to the line with a word you want to look up and press down on the scroll wheel, select lookup from the pop up menu and a screen with definitions of all the major words on that line appears. Want more detail just use the scroll wheel to pick the word and a more in-depth definition pops up. Press the back key and your back to your book. The problem is the dictionary is too small. The Kindle can use alternate dictionaries and I'd buy a big unabridged one in a second if it becomes available.

The bottom line is if you are a reader the Kindle willquickly  become your favorite possession. More good news is that used and refurbished Kindle Ones are available cheap now.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NewTek 3Play - Hands On Review

The 3Play is a three channel instant replay/slo-mo/field recorder device from NewTek . This is NewTek's first foray into the HD jungle and probably a little higher-end then they have attempted in the past. The TriCasters and the VT are all aimed at, priced for and dominate the church/school/independant producer market. While the 3Play is aimed squarely at a market dominated by EVS and the Thomson K2 but still at a game changing price point.

The basic features of the 3Play are straight forward - three input channels that will accept either SD or HD signals via composite, S-Video, component analog or serial digital (SDI). Each channel also includes four audio inputs with your choice of balanced analog, digital (AES/EBU) or embedded SDI. The outputs duplicate the input connections.


All three video and twelve audio inputs are recorded simultaneously in a single multi-stream file to ensure that everything always stays synchronized. The 3Play's output can be configured as either three separate streams to feed a downstream switcher or with a single output to which any of the streams can be switched by the operator.

The 3Play work flow is also straight forward. When you begin a new session you select which video format (1080i, 720p, 4:3 SD or 16:9 SD) you want to use and whether you will be using the three output or single output mode. The only restriction is that all three inputs and outputs have to be the same format as the 3Play can't transcode between them. You can then configure the input connectors you will be using. 

In the triple output mode when you begin a session the 3Play is simply passing through the live audio and video from all three inputs. Simply presses the 'Record' button on the included  3P-10 controller and the unit begins recording all three streams to the internal RAID. My unit has enough storage for 11 hours of 720p multi-stream and 8 hours of 1080i multi-stream. So even if the game goes to extra innings you have plenty of space.

In single output mode you also get to select which of the three streams is active on the output simply by clicking the corresponding small preview window or using the three selection buttons on the 3P-10 controller.

Once recording, you as the 3Play operator, become a wizard of space and time. You can build a replay list in real time using the 'Mark In' and Mark Out' buttons and completely control play back. While you're playing back a segment the 3Play continues to record so you never have to worry about missing any action. This is great for sports that don't stop like auto racing or soccer.

The slo-mo is interpolated so that no matter how slow you go the motion remains very smooth. The engineers at NewTek have obviously worked hard on the slo-mo algorithm. You can control speed with either preset buttons for 25, 33, 50, 75 and 100 percent playback speed or adjust the speed interactively using a t-bar.

The 3Play can be operated entirely from the 3P-10 and the only time you need to use the mouse and keyboard once you have begun a session is to label replay list events. The controller has a jog/shuttle wheel for cueing up events, controls for managing the replay list and the play back transport.


The replay list is the heart of the 3Play. There are actually six replay tabs. As you add events to the master list you can color code them. These color coded events are automatically added it to one of the five color coded tabs. This allows you to organize your events in order to build highlight reels or to make it quicker to pull up a particular type of event you might need.

The replay list is completely non-destructive so you can add, remove, modify or reorder events at any time. The events in the replay list have a selection for camera. You use this to set the primary camera for playback in single output mode. This selection is also used when you export a list. If you want to replay an event from several cameras you can clone an event and change the camera for the second angle.

During the export process the mult-stream file is split apart and individual files are saved as per your replay list. The exported files are in a standard mpeg2 format so they can be edited with almost any editor. The cool thing is how fast this export function works, it's apparently just a simple file copy process so it's both fast and lossless. There is no degradation of the video quality.

The 3Play has other applications besides instant replay. It's a cost effective field recorder since you can record three cameras and twelve audio tracks it has uses for recording concerts and other live events. All three streams can be exported for post production editing. Sports motion analysis is another application since you can playback the same action recorded from three angle in perfect sync.

The bottom line is that you can't touch the 3Play's features for any where near it's $21,995 list price. NewTek has really brought network quality instant replay to the masses. The video quality is top notch, the workflow is easy to use and the price is a bargain.

NewTek 3Play available from Digital Arts call us for a price at 1-800-692-6442

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

SchoolTube

YouTube for students. A user generated video site that's safe for kids. Some pretty cool stuff and no smut!
http://www.schooltube.com

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TriCaster does Infiniti Introduction

The TriCaster™ portable live production and virtual set system will be used by High Impact Television to produce and live stream the first ever virtual new car introduction from the legendary Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance®, featuring the Infiniti® 2011 M Sedan. The live webcast will be available on Friday, August 14 at 6:30 p.m. PST (9:30 p.m. EST) at www.hittv.com/EviteMlaunch1.html.

“People will see a cool life-size computer-generated rendering of the new M, using special video mapping technology,” said Tore Dietrich, president, High Impact TV. “Infiniti is the first automobile manufacturer to unveil a vehicle in this way. And we’re excited to use TriCaster because of its versatility to switch a live TV show for the onsite audience, as well as stream it to the Web. We found the portability and flexibility of TriCaster unmatched and it’s a great way for Infiniti to reach people around the world who are interested in seeing this car.”

“When people think of live streaming, they often think of news, sporting and entertainment events, but there is huge potential for marketers who are trying to establish brands and influence potential customers,” said Philip Nelson, senior vice president, NewTek Inc. “This event shows how NewTek TriCaster maximizes the impact of any presentation with the immediacy and vitality of live video that can be seen almost anywhere.”

With TriCaster, anyone can simultaneously produce, live stream, broadcast, project and record a network-style production that can be archived for on-demand viewing. A single operator or small team can produce and stream a live show while switching between as many as six cameras with two DDRs, multi-channel effects and NewTek’s proprietary LiveSet™ virtual sets. In addition to being used by High Impact Television and Infiniti, TriCaster is used by broadcasters, schools, sports organizations and government agencies and others to provide a new level of extended programming and content to their audiences.

TriCasters at Digital Arts