Been busy and there hasn't been much to blog about.
But we finally got our demo TCXD 850! Months late but it's finally here. NewTek is having the machines built by an outside vendor and there have apparently been teething pains in working out that relationship so machine are rolling out slowly.
I shot my first basketball game with it Friday night and I liked it a lot. The TCXD300 was never my favorite for this because we like to use three cameras plus one for the scoreboard clock so three inputs was too few. We made good use of the positionable, rotatable, scalable, crop-able DSK for our clock camera which was very cool.
I'll have an in-depth review up in a week or so.
Serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Been busy and there hasn't been much to blog about.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
Many people are having trouble using the MPEG files recorded in the TriCaster with Final Cut Pro. Dr. Andrew Cross of NewTek engineering posted the following on the NewTek forum Friday:
The following outlines why this happens and what you can do about it :
In order to play MPEG-2 files on FinalCutPro, or with the Mac in general you need to have the "QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component for Mac OS X" installed on your system. This component ships with FinalCutPro as standard and so from a clean install you should be able to work with NewTek MPEG-2 files. Unfortunately, if you download a QuickTime update from the web, it will replace your entire QuickTime install and so the MPEG-2 playback component is no longer available and files will not play. The solution that Apple recommend for this problem is to use your account on the Apple store to download the plugin for the new version of QuickTime and install it manually.
There are three limitations of the "QuickTime MPEG-2 Playback Component for Mac OS X" that one should be aware of:
- Unfortunately QuickTime does not support high profile MPEG-2 files; as such you will need to use the "normal profile" files as the recording format inside the TriCaster. For all normal use there will be almost no perceptible difference between normal and high profile MPEG-2 files. Both far exceed the quality of competing formats (e.g. DV).
- Embedded audio. It is a limitation of FinalCutPro support that it cannot read the audio embedded within an MPEG-2 file. For this reason, TriCaster writes out an MP3 file that you can lock to the video file for editing purposes.
- Unfortunately FinalCutPro does not tag MPEG-2 files as "an optimized file format" and so for areas of your time-line where there are transitions of effects you might need to render before you can get perfect playback.
For more information about MPEG-2 support in QuickTime, please visit
In another post a user posted a small AppleScript that re-wraps the Xd300 HQ MPEGS for use directly in FCP. It is available here. He's considering it beta so if you find it useful keep an eye out for updates.
Sunday, September 12, 2010
TriCaster VSE is accessed from the HD TriCaster control panel, using functions familiar to TriCaster users such as position, scale, rotation, color correction (brightness, hue, contrast and saturation), media browser for image selection, and the T-bar to set custom start and end points for zooms. Once a TriCaster HD virtual set has been customized, it is automatically saved for use in your live production.
NewTek TriCaster Virtual Set Editor provides the ability to:
- Change or insert logos
- Customize the "beginning" and "end" zoom, and pan positions
- Change the color of selected elements
- Change background images
- Switch background monitors on and off
- Switch furniture (including desks and other furniture options) on and off, allowing easy creation of standing sets
- Position and scale green screen area to accommodate multiple people whether sitting or standing
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
...to the tune of $10,000!
NewTek is offering a $10k trade in for your old VT towards a new TriCaster TCXD850. Unfortunately there is now an expiration date November 19.
VT owners get $7500 while VT, VT and VTNT owners get $5000
Log on to your NewTek registration profile to download the voucher then call us at 1-800-692-6442 to place your order. We have a special agreement in place with NewTek so that you don't have to turn in your VT card until your TCXD850 arrives so you won't be shut down while you wait.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
As of Monday NewTek was no longer accepting orders for the TriCaster Pro - surprise! The good news is that the TriCaster Studio's list price will be reduced to $8995 as of September 6th. The educational price will be reduced to an amazing $4995.
If you purchased a Pro or Studio after August 1st contact us about special offers from NewTek.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
The X-Games 16 Los Angeles production team used several TriCaster TCXD850s to produce extensive coverage of events for display on large screens throughout the venue. Their reviews are positive.
“With each update to the TriCaster, we see features and benefits that we suggested,” she says. “It is great to give feedback and then see that taken seriously in the product-development process. In some ways, the XD850 feels like a custom X Games model, since it has almost everything our engineers and operators have asked for.”
Read the whole story over at SVG
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
NewTek missed the scheduled release date of July 15th but looks like we are on the verge of customer units shipping. Early production units are currently shipping as demo units to dealers (Digital Arts should have one very soon) and shipments to end users should commence in a matter of weeks.
The TCXD850 will ship with lots of new features beyond what was demoed at NAB take a look at this for more detail see the Feature Update PDF. But some highlights:
- Frame Buffers for virtual inputs and overlay channels. Now each of these sources can have their own still store/titler. This effectively adds ten still/titling modules to the existing sources independent of the media players.
- The 'video output formerly known as Video Output 3' has been renamed AUX, can now be freely assigned to Program Out, Program without overlays, preview row, effects row any fra,e buffer or any camera input.
- Optional Aux output recording
- Alpha Channel Input support
- Livematte 3.0 with independent crop
- Native 1080P support
Sunday, July 11, 2010
metaSETZ has announced their new TL-XD tally light for use with the TriCaster TCXD300. The TL-XDs connect to the TriCasters tally ports and provide both program and preview tally indicators for the camera operator and an ultra-bright LED tally for the on-camera talent.
The TL-XD lights are also compatible with the TLC-6 tally controller for the Standard Def TriCasters. For more details see the metaSETZ website or Digital Arts.
Saturday, July 10, 2010
On September 6 NewTek is going to launch the VT Customer Appreciation Program a special "Thank You" to the loyal VT user base. The deal is for up to $10,000 trade in value towards a TriCaster TCXD850!
- Registered VT owners will qualify for a $10,000 trade in credit
- Registered VT owners qualify for a $7000 trade-in credit
- Registered VT or earlier owners will qualify for a $5,000 trade-in credit
Eligible owners will be able to download a voucher from the NewTek registration web site. fill it out and bring it to Digital Arts. NewTek will issue an RMA for the VT card when he order is received but you don't have to turn it in until the TCXD850 is delivered.
This is probably the best trade-in deal ever.
In case you haven't heard TriCaster TCXD850 is designed to meet the most demanding HD production requirements. This 22-channel HD/SD live production switcher comes in a rack mount form factor, with redundant power and removable storage; eight external sources, eight virtual/mix channels; new live HD virtual sets and advanced matte generation; overlay with rotation, positioning and scaling in 3D plus animated effects; HD live streaming; increased media player capabilities, and multi-view monitoring of all inputs and outputs.
Friday, July 9, 2010
NewTek announced that the original TriCaster (TC100) is being discontinued effective August 6 or while supplies last. They say remaining stock is limited so if you were looking at a TC100 act quickly.
For the educational market NewTek is lowering the educational list price of the TriCaster Pro to $4995. The commercial list price of the TC-Pro remains $7995.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
NewTek is hosting a live product demonstration Thursday July 15 at 3:00 PM Eastern. This is your chance to see the new HD TriCaster in action. Go to NewTekTV to register for the event.
Digital Arts should have a demo unit soon so call us at 1-800-692-6442 and we can arrange a personal demo either in person or via the web.
The TriCaster TCXD850 demo recorded at NAB:
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
The TriCaster TCXD300 works in a similar fashion to the previous five incarnations of the TriCaster but NewTek has taken all the user input and tweaked the user interface quite a bit. There is an entirely new paradigm for the virtual set that is a vast improvement to the way they were sort of tacked onto the standard def units.
The TriCaster TCXD300 has a thirteen input switcher with three video inputs, a DDR to play media clips, a network input to use with iVGA or LiveText, a CG input, a still store, a black channel and five 'virtual' inputs. More about these later. The video inputs will accept composite, S-Video or component analog and SDI digital video. You can mix and match SD and HD sources. The TriCaster has matching outputs and can simultaneously output SD and HD.
The switcher includes hundreds of transitions. The assortment is varied but more tasteful then previous NewTek products. A touch of whimsy is still evident though as a sheep transition is included.
The top of the user interface screen is dominated by the video preview windows. The default config is a large program output window on the right with eight smaller previews for the three cameras, network input, still store, CG, DDR and a preview bus.
There are three tabs so that you can re-configure the previews so you get large Program, Preview and Waveform Monitor/Vectorscope windows or large Program Preview and Effects bus windows. This preview section on the main interface can also be re-sized or removed allowing more room for the tabbed panels in the lower part of the screen.
You are free to remove the previews because the DVI output on the back of the TCXD300 can be configured as a preview output. You have a choice of a number of different layouts including all sources, full screen preview, preview and WFM/Vectorscope etc.
One of the biggest improvements to the interface is the addition of little 'gear' icons sprinkled about. When these are clicked configuration panels pop up so it's easy to quickly access a particular feature's settings without the interface being cluttered with rarely used controls.
The other big interface change is the way the LiveSets (NewTek's virtual set system) is configured and used. Previously the LiveSets were sort of integrated into the chroma keyer but in the TCXD300 the switcher has now sprouted five new virtual inputs. These virtual inputs are configured using tabbed panels just below the switcher. On this panel you'll find what amounts to a mix/effects bus.
Here you can select two sources that will be used by the virtual input with individual positioning and scaling controls so you could, for example, create a picture in picture effect by resizing and positioning one of sources. Or you can load one of the included virtual sets and insert your talent into a virtual environment. Some of these environments include on-set 'TVs' which are fed from the second input source.
NewTek has made improvements to Live Sets so they can now be zoomed in real time so you can do a nice smooth zoom between the presets. The presets can also be easily modified just by dragging little sliders this all makes the LiveSets much more flexible. Over a dozen sets are included plus several split screen effects and a PiP preset. The new sets are really slick looking and include multiple camera angles, double boxes, over the shoulders, stand-ups and closeups.
In addition to the two input sources each virtual input has an overlay channel. In a big change from previous NewTek products you can use any of the switcher sources as an overlay and again, the overlay is both positionable and scalable. Another new feature is the ability to use any of the transitions to bring the overlay on and off.
On top of the upstream overlays in the virtual inputs NewTek has also included in the TCXD300 two downstream keyers. Any of the switcher sources can be re-sized, positioned and brought on and off with any of the transitions. A cool feature lets you selectively lock the two independent overlays together so that they can be simultaneously activated or by locking them when one is active and the second isn't - toggle between them. Multiple downstream keyers has been a requested feature since forever and it's great to finally get it.
One of the weaknesses of the standard def TriCasters was the audio section. The TCXD300 has two balanced (XLR/TSR combo jacks) inputs with switchable phantom power, and two four channel balanced line level inputs_1/4" TSR jacks) and three, four-channel AES/EBU digital inputs (BNC jacks) and it also accepts embedded SDI audio. You can't use all the various line and digital inputs simultaneously but you can mix and match them to a certain extent.
The mic pres have enough gain to make my Shure SM-2 headset microphones work like champs, unlike the preamps on my TC Studio. Input and output levels are a good match for a Mackie mixer. Like the Mackies the levels sort of split the difference between the -10dBu consumer and +4dBV pro standards. As an audio engineer I'd prefer they were switchable between the two standards but this is a workable compromise.
The TCXD300 sports both analog and AES/EBU audio outputs, both four channel. And a 1/4" headphone jack with enough oomph to actually drive real headphones is right there on the front. A great new audio feature is the assignable aux out. You can now choose between the DDR,the Still store (which can double as and audio player - go figure), both or the main mix to be output on dedicated connectors. You'd mainly do this to feed audio generated by the TriCaster to a house mixer which on previous TriCasters required soloing the DDR and feeding the headphone output to the external mixer.
The audio mixer interface has nice big meters and level 'sliders' for each of the inputs plus independent output level controls for the stream and aux outputs and a volume control for the headphones.
This review could probably go on for a couple more pages but I need to cut it short so I'll skip details on audio follows video, improvements to iVGA, one click preset loading in the DDR, audio, titles and still panels and SpeedEDIT2 and probably a dozen other things.
The TriCaster TCXD300 is one heck of a machine, it's a lot more then just an "HD TriCaster". I've been running it for several months and it's been rock solid. It seems to be well built and the user interface is well thought out. The only real limitation is the number of video inputs. But if you can make do with three cameras you'll be able to use the TCXD300 to produce video of the highest caliber. If not NewTek is going to be shipping the TCXD850 with eight video inputs in July.
Updated with pictures
Saturday, May 1, 2010
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
iVGA™ for Apple® OS X, is now available. This new version of iVGA supports the latest Apple operating system, and provides the ability to deliver graphics and content (including Keynote®), using a Mac® computer as a switcher input, to your TriCaster™ or VT. Registered owners may download the file at: http://register.newtek.com
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Videography Magazine Vidy Award
NewBay Media's Broadcast & Video Group of products, which also includes videography.com, DV.com, Digital Video Expo, and the Creative Planet Communities, is uniquely poised to recognize the full spectrum video technology on display here at NAB. A select panel of engineers, editors, and production and post professionals joined the magazine staff to judge the Best of Show Vidy Awards for Videography.
The Best of Show Vidy Awards recognize outstanding achievement in the advancement of the art and science of video technology. The Videography Vidy Awards is the longest-running NAB awards program.
TV Technology Star Award
2010 marks the 10th anniversary of TV Technology's STAR Awards. The STAR Award (for Superior Technology Award Recipient) are designed to celebrate and showcase the preeminent technological innovations available to the media industry. A panel of judges consisting of TV Technology editors and columnists reviewed a variety of products and services, examined the technical applications and their overall contribution to the industry, and then submitted their award nominees. The 3Play won a STAR award last year.
DV Magazine Black Diamond Award
The Black Diamond Awards recognize the best products making their debut at the NAB Show, specifically those that will appeal to our readership of independent video professionals.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
NewTek briefly demoed a new program they are working on called Artisan that lets you customize live sets. Keep in mind that LiveSet Artisan is a technology demo at this time and details are sparse and all details are subject to change. No ship date was announced. Artisan is likely to only work with the TCXD line of HD TriCasters.
The following is from NewTek's John Perkins
LiveSet Artisan loads new LiveSets that have been specifically designed to be modified.
Highlights of some current functionality:
- Per angle control of min/max zoom position and zoom level
- Enable/Disable set pieces. (desks, monitors, etc.)
- Place the talent within the set.
- Change the color of selected objects within the scene to match your color scheme.
- Change/remove logos on 3D objects in the scene (flat or curved surfaces)
- Position/size/rotate/add adjustable transparency to logos
- Adds surface attributes to your own logos (texture, specularity, diffusion) so that they blend into the scene properly
- Add/remove shadows on objects
- Replace video objects with "burned in" images, save a stills player
- Replace "outside" window shots with your own
- Burn in bugs/logos/titles that do not zoom with the set, saving another stills player
- Create custom double box and other simple foreground/mid/background LiveSets using standard image files from any application
And in all cases, shadows, reflections and multiple angles are kept in sync so you don't have to manually match up changes.
- 22-channel switcher with eight digital or analog inputs, two DDRs, two network inputs, titles, stills and eight virtual/mix channels
- Advanced overlay capabilities include rotation, positioning and scaling in 3D plus animated effects
- New live virtual sets in HD include double box effects with options for stand-up and one or two presenters
- Photorealistic LiveMatte™ virtual sets system with advanced matte generation and spill suppression for every switcher input
- Two network inputs deliver graphics from LiveText™, presentations from a PC or Mac® using iVGA™ or other computer sources to the switcher or overlay channels
- Simultaneous monitoring of all switcher inputs at full field-rate and signal integrity verification with color Waveform/Vectorscopes
- Using any combination of either embedded digital, AES or the16 balanced analog XLR audio inputs to bring in microphones, stereo or quad line level sources
- Audio mixing capabilities with audio follows video support and auxiliary routing to integrate into an external audio setup
- HDMI and VGA program outputs for projector (IMAG) or other monitoring applications
- 36 hours of 1080i recording capacity that can be extended by using the three removable drive bays
- Three video output rows provide flexible simultaneous HD and SD video output
- Durable rack mount 4U case with redundant power supply
1) LIVE PRODUCTION provides control of an entire multi-channel HD production. Connect up to eight HD or standard definition (SD) cameras, digital or analog audio, and go live with simultaneous output to video, projector and the Web.
2) LIVE VIRTUAL SETS in HD give you the flexibility of expansive, professional sets even though your location may have limited space. With live, multi-camera smooth zooming, show your talent in a network-style studio without the need for a camera operator or expensive motion control system. Sets include double box effects with options for stand-up and one or two presenters.
3) ON-SCREEN MONITORS let you select shots with confidence. Displays include cameras, clips and iVGA™ networked computer inputs, along with the ability to send all monitors to a second display, and enlarge your workspace.
4) PREVIEW AND PROGRAM MONITORS let you display titles or a transition on-screen, while showing what source is up next. Innovative color Waveform Monitors and Vectorscopes ensure perfect signal quality for your live production.
5) ADVANCED VIDEO SWITCHER gives you unprecedented control over all inputs. Select a live output on Preview, and use either the on-screen T-bar or the optional LC-11 hardware to transition easily from one source to another. Versatile production tools such as Virtual Inputs and dual downstream keys provide the ability to easily create dynamic overlays and graphics.
6) VIDEO TRANSITIONS add interest and impact to your live production. Use any of the 200-plus HD broadcast-quality effects to transition from one source to another and fly titles and inserts on and off screen.
7) LIVE TITLES give you a broadcast look with graphics, titles and animated overlays on top of your live video. Lock a title or bug to a camera or virtual input and set the in and out motion for each.
8) ONE-BUTTON INTERNET STREAMING allows you to use Adobe® Flash® or Windows Media® to deliver a live stream directly to the Web, in 720p HD and other streaming profiles with simultaneous archive for later viewing. ONE BUTTON RECORDING captures your live production as a full HD resolution video file.
9) AUDIO MIXING gives you complete control over microphones, line inputs and clip playback levels. You can also adjust input trim levels for the best possible audio. In addition, the system provides both AES and embedded digital audio for pristine sound.
10) DIGITIAL MEDIA PLAYERS include two DDRs for video playback, titles, stills, music and sound, making it easy to add video clips and imagery to your production, as well as auto-insert clips captured during a live event for immediate playback. HD and SD resolutions are supplied in a variety of popular file formats.
11) VIRTUAL INPUTS provide eight customized inputs to configure virtual sets, layer live elements, assign titles, set upstream picture-in-picture elements and much more. These settings can be used as templates for easy creation of other mix effects, and are instantly available in the preset bin along the left.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
NewTek unveiled the newest TriCaster the TCXD850 at NAB. It's a pretty amazing machine; eight SDI/Component/Composite/S-Video inputs, two DDRs, three HD/SD SDI outputs, three HD/SD Component outs. NewTek hasn't neglected the audio section either with sixteen XLR mic/line inputs, eight AES/EBU digital inputs and up to eight embedded SDI audio channels.
The video is processed internally in 32 bit floating point 4:4:4:4 along with four channels of 32 bit floating point 96kHz audio. You can mix SD and HD sources and record up to 36 hours of 1080i HD video to the three removable hard drives.
The switcher also has eight virtual/mix channels that let you mix two sources along with overlays or virtual sets. The main DSK has two independent keys with positioning, scaling, cropping and 3D rotation. All sources have on-screen previews The switcher is rounded out with two iVGA inputs, a still store and titles.
The TriCaster TCXD850 includes SpeedEDIT 2.0 and the LiveText CG. It's all housed in a 4U rack mount box with all the I/O connections on the back. I got a peek inside and this looks to be the best built machine ever from NewTek, nice and tidy.
Oh, the price - $24,995. The projected ship date - July 15. That was a stunner. It doesn't look like we will have to wait six months for it ship.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
Long time no post!
NAB is once again upon us, NewTek looks to have some new product up their sleeve - maybe a big brother for the TCXD300, I don't know exactly but I've been promised it will be cool. If you can make it to Vegas you should go, NewTek is sweetening the pot with $60,000 of prizes (a TCXD300 everyday) simply register at the booth or at the Live Production Mini parked in front of the South Hall.
First Quarter 2010 is turning out to be full of win for Newtek. TriCasters are everywhere, ESPN Winter X Games, NBA All Star Week, Pro Soccer, The Morgan's Wonderland Opening, LG Fashion Week, Miss Teen USA, Bill Cosby Townhall, MTV, and too many big time video blogs and web TV shows to list.
Lightwave was used to create the VAD real-time environment during the production of Avatar. NewTek then hired Rob Powers who was Avatar's Animation Technical Director and Visual Art Dept. Supervisor to be director of Entertainment and Media Development. So expect to see even more of Lightwave in movies.
SpeedEDIT 2.0 was released, updates were released for 3Play, TCXD300 and the long awaited VT5.3 patch was also released.
If you are going to be in Vegas April 12 - 15 and want to meet up just give us a call at 1-800-692-6442. That number will also be being forwarded to a cell phone while we are out of town.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
The TriCaster™ high definition/standard definition (HD/SD) portable live production system will be used by the NBA to live stream the 2010 All-Star Jam Session Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown and NBA D-League Dream
Factory on February 12 at www.nba.com. TriCaster will also be used throughout the All-Star Jam Session February 11 to 13 to drive live venue video of all the action taking place in center court to courtside video boards as well as to on-site plasma screens.
“The NBA All-Star Weekend Jam Session is filled with exciting games and contests, including the ever-popular Slam Dunk and Three-Point Shoot-out competitions,” said Shawn H. Smith, vice president of business development and chief marketing officer, NBA Development League. “With NewTek TriCaster, we are able to give fans at home a virtual front row seat, ensuring that they don’t miss a minute of the action.” "The NBA is one of the first sports organizations to capitalize on portable live production and streaming using NewTek TriCaster,” said Philip Nelson, senior vice president, strategic development, NewTek Inc. “This aggressive strategy has placed them at the forefront of the new media revolution.”
The schedule of events to be live streamed from Center Court on www.nba.com is:
Friday, February 12, 2010 8:00 p.m. CT:
Sprite Slam Dunk Showdown featuring Guest Judges LeBron James and Darryl Dawkins
9:15 p.m. CT:
NBA D-League Dream Factory Friday Night
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
The long awaited update to NewTek's SpeedEDIT has shipped.
The major new features are support for more HD codecs. Sub projects are now treated as video clips so you can overlay them etc. Transitions can be applied to overlays. Better and faster MPEG rendering. SE now supports output to Blackmagic Design cards
There are lots of small improvements and bug fixes. I'll have a more in-depth artlicle up soon. (I'm still working on the TCXD300 review.