Digital Arts Is A NewTek Elite Partner and
Eight Time Top 10 North American Reseller

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lightwave Core

NewTek has been running a viral marketing campaign for the last week or so to promote a mysterious new product called Lightwave Core. This looks like the long awaited Lightwave 10 but from the hype may be much more than just a run of the mill update.

The big announcement will be made on Wednesday Feb. 4 at 1:00 PM PST at

Open Letter from Jay Roth, President 3D Division:

Hello Everyone,
Thank you all for being a part of LightWave CORE. We hope that you are enjoying it. As you know, we have been giving some clues as to what this is all about, it is very exciting. I wish that I could tell you more right now, but I can't, not just yet. No, for that you will have to wait until February 4th. I want you to keep your eyes open for a very important email (so please make sure you have signed up below) that will contain the specific whereabouts of the reveal on Monday. Until then...
Jay Roth
The main thread on the subject at the NewTek forums has around 4000 posts at this time so the excitement is building. NewTek marketing may just have it's mojo back. We'll have to see how it goes with the next big announcement that's coming up in mid Feb.

Other coverage:
Sense For The Elements
Digital Arts Online (no relation!)
3D Today
Digital Media Online

Friday, January 23, 2009

TriCaster Duo Hands On Review

We got our first TriCaster Duo and I've had a chance to spend a little time with it now. This is NewTek's newest offering in their line of all-in-one production units It's very similar to the base model TriCaster 100 but designed with the K-12 educational market in mind. It is also available to commercial buyers. The educational list price is $2995 and the commercial list is $3995. You can call us at Digital Arts 1-800-692-6442 for an actual price quote.

The Duo is housed in a simple silver box with all of the A/V connections on the front. It's a little smaller and lighter than the original TriCaster. The back has the computer monitor, mouse and keyboard connectors along with four USB2 ports so it's easy to connect external drives or memory sticks.

The TriCaster Duo is a three input video switcher with RCA jacks for composite video and the conventional 4-pin mini-din jacks for s-video input. For audio input it sports a pair of RCAs for line level audio and two 1/8" mini jacks (like those used on computer sound cards) for microphones. There are no input trims on the mic inputs so you shouldn't use them with line level sources.

For outputs you get both an RCA composite and a mini-din s-video outs that are both usable simultaneously along with a pair of RCAs and a 1/8" headphone jack for audio. As with the other TriCasters the Duo can be set up to use the headphone output as a second audio bus by using the solo buttons to route selected sources directly to it.

The interface is almost identical to the TriCaster 100 with one major exception. NewTek's video editor is not included. This allowed them to use a less powerful and therefore less expensive processor in order to get the retail price so low.

The TriCaster Duo ships with around 250 different DVEs including a large number of wipes, fades curls and trajectories. So you have enough different transitions for just about any situation these load into a single bank of ten on the interface so you can have your favorites at you fingertips. You also get a large selection of title templates. Professionally designed, you can use these as a base for overlays and other graphic screens.

If you prefer to create your graphics from scratch NewTek also includes a full blown CG just like the other TriCasters and the VT[5]. With the CG you can create title templates from scratch and import graphics done in another program like Photoshop.

Graphics and text are keyed over your video from the Overlay control panel you can use Title Templates, the picture viewer or NewTek's external CG editor Live Text as a source.

The Duo can either record your production to the hard drive as a high quality MPEG file or stream it live using the Windows Media Codec but not both at once. You'll need to step up to the TriCaster Pro to do both at once. My unit had about 200GB free on the hard drive which should be good for more than 16 hours of video.

A few noteworthy negatives: The Duo ships with XP Home rather than Pro, this will only be an issue for corporate buyers who try to connect to a network that has domain controllers. XP Home can't connect to a domain.

The unit has a place to mount a 120mm fan in the back but NewTek doesn't include one. I've always felt the more cooling the better but this would be pretty easy to have your dealer install and probably isn't necessary unless you are going to be operating in extreme conditions.

There is no firewire port so if you want to capture video for use in the DDR you must use either the composite or s-video connectors. Again not really a big deal but it would be a nice feature to have.

The bottom line is the TriCaster Duo is a good value for the money and has all the features you need for basic video production and webcasting. You should carefully evaluate your needs to be sure you get the right TriCaster for your particular situation but if your on a tight budget, don't need Virtual Sets or an editor the Duo might be just the thing.

Update: I forgot to mention that the academic version also includes a curriculum handbook and a 40 minute video tutorial. I'll post some more info on the curriculum in a few days after I've had a chance to look it over more closely.

See the TriCaster Duo at Digital Arts

All New Digital Arts Web Site

The new site is live. If you have any problems or even any suggestions let me know. will be going away 'cause we absorbed the ecommerce into the main site.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cryptic Message from NewTek

Lightwave 10?

Update: Viral Marketing.
On the link above it says (in Galactic standard I'm told) "Cross The Threshold"

I was trying to keep this updated but it's hopeless. The discussion thread over in the NewTek forums has a couple thousand posts now.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

NewTek Winter Bundle-Up Promotion

TriCaster Studio with Free Sports Graphics Pack and LiveSet Pack ($590 Value)
TriCaster Broadcast with Free Sports Graphics Pack, LiveSet Pack and SpeedEDIT ($1185 Value)

The fine print:
  • Offer is good on new TriCaster STUDIO and TriCaster BROADCAST systems purchased between January 16th and February 28th 2009.  
  • Systems must be purchased from a NewTek Elite Partner or Authorized Reseller to be eligible.  
  • Promotion is not retroactive, and cannot be combined with any other offer.  
  •  Applies to Commercial sales only
    Call Us at 1-800-692-6442

Lightwave 9.6 Is Released

LightWave v9.6’s new capabilities include improvements to animation, rendering and workflow, with FiberFX cloning, Layout snapping and automatic drag-and-drop file loading. More than 625 feature requests and reported issues have been implemented and resolved between 9.5 and 9.6. LightWave v9.6 is the fifth free update in the LightWave v9 series.
"This LightWave update again illustrates NewTek’s ability to quickly provide artists with the latest innovations to stay at the top of their games and do their best work,” said Jay Roth, president 3D division, NewTek. "Now more than ever, LightWave’s many benefits, including the ability to be used in tandem with other applications, make it a necessary part of the pipeline for those doing 3D projects of any kind.”
Numerous visual effects projects benefit from LightWave's world-class capabilities, including the 2008 Visual Effects Emmy-winning "Battlestar Galactica" and National Geographic documentary “Inside the Living Body.” 
LightWave v9.6 numerous benefits to artists include:
·       FiberFX Cloning Provides the ability to place multiple instances of hair on an object
·       Layout Snapping Allows the quick connection of one item to another, saving time and additional steps
·       Drag and Drop – Allows an icon of an object or scene to be opened by dropping the icon into Modeler or Layout  
·       New and Improved Export Buffers– Enables multi-pass pipeline users to output more buffers (layers) in high dynamic range, rather than be limited to 8 bpc (bits per channel), for greater flexibility
·       Multi-threaded Pixel Filters – Provides faster rendering of projects that integrate pixel filters
·       Depth Buffer Normalizing – Allows 3D scene elements exported into film or video footage to automatically blend properly, even if moving relative to one another
·       Ray Cutoff Enables artists to decide at what point to cease ray bounces when rendering a scene with numerous reflections, refractions and transparency, significantly shortening render time 
·       Open to other render engines – Other rendering engines conforming to the LightWave v9.6 SDK can be used directly from within the LightWave interface 
·       Three New Nodes  
o         Car Paint: Greatly eases the creation of complex polished surfaces
o         Flake: A simple procedural texture based upon the flakes often seen in car paint
o         Curve: Allows the creation of complex gradients  
Pricing and Availability
A free trial edition of LightWave v9.6 is available by download from There are now more than 30 hours of free LightWave video training at, in addition to an extensive library of printable tutorials.