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Thursday, April 14, 2011

More Thoughts on the TriCaster 850 Extreme

Browsing around on the web you'd think that the biggest new feature of the 850 Extreme is the Apple AirPlay support. Now don't get me wrong AirPlay is cool but the Extreme can record 8 streams of HD at once! While doing everything else it does.

I think this is a great feature. You can obviously use it to record camera isos for posting later or as backups. But think about it, you can record several different versions of you main switch: HD and SD versions, 1080i and 720p, with and without overlay graphics. This will save hours of time re-rendering productions just to repackage them for different uses.

The next most useful features are the improvements in the audio section of the 850 Extreme. I carried around a mixer just so I could use it to insert compressor/limiters in the signal path. With the 850 Extreme's built in compressor/limiters I can eliminate the mixer, the compressors and a whole bunch of cable failure points. If you are doing music events that require complex mixing you'll probably still want the mixer but for sports and meeting type projects you can reduce the amount of equipment you drag around quite a bit.

The audio grouping in conjunction with the audio follows video will make it easy to manage mic muting during commercial playback and the like. In the original 850 it had the audio follow feature but without the grouping it wasn't really all that useful in most situations.

Color transitions with sound effects are de rigueur for sports production and the 850 Extreme delivers. It looks like it will be easy to import animation sequences and audio clips an compile custom transition.

I also like the new streaming configuration panel. Presets for all the major CDNs will eliminate a lot of the cutting and pasting that was necessary to get the streaming configured. And the built in browser eliminates needing to carry around a lap top just to confirm your stream.

TriCaster 850 Extreme is a cool piece of kit.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

NAB 2011 But Wait There's More - UPDATE

SpeedEDIT 2.1 - Free Upgrade

Features& Fixes
  • New keyer using LiveMatte technology
  • 24bit audio support
  • Improved Filebin performance with large still image sequences
  • Improved compatibility with JVC Mov, Sony EX, FinalCut MP2, and Blackmagic clips
DataLink 3.0 - Free Upgrade for DataLink and LiveText 2 owners
 DataLink 3.0 also adds support for RSS feeds from multiple network data sources, including Twitter feeds, all of which can be independently configured for use in LiveText 2.

"The new DataLink 3.0 streamlines the configuration and management of data sources," said NewTek Chief Technology Officer, Andrew Cross. "The added hardware sources and the support for RSS feeds provide a wide array of creative possibilities. DataLink 3.0 provides yet another advantage for TriCaster users who need to deliver constantly changing information that is accurate and looks great."

TriCaster Studio - New Lower Price $7995

TriCaster TCXD 300 - New Lower Educational Price $11,995

Lightwave 10.1 - Read the press release for details

NAB 2011 3Play 820

Pre-NAB rumors were that NewTek was going to announce a new four input instant replay unit. But instead we are going to get a 10 channel replay server! The 3Play 820.

I mourn the 4Play that never was. :)

Ten channels translates to 8 inputs and 2 independent outputs all in a 4U rack mount that looks a lot like the TriCaster 850.

Some of the new features:

  • Record up to eight inputs
  • Two outputs so you can have one replay on-air while another is being cued up by the operator.
  • Mult-Tier Failsafe. Similar to the 850 Extreme (see the previous post).
  • Multi-view output.
  • Mix input formats HD/SD etc.
  • Import Clips So you can add opens and closes to your highlights along with music beds.
  • LTC Timecode Support
  • All new user interface making it easy to manage everything.
  • All new super-smooth controller
List is $39,000. 3Play owners can upgrade for the difference in price.

Again, no one can touch these capabilities in such a compact unit. More details to come.

Update: I watched the 3Play 820 in action and the workflow is quite a bit different then the original 3Play (3Play 300). It's much more like an EVS so it will make EVS operators feel right at home. This is good news since the 820 is aimed directly at EVS and their preeminent position in the production truck market.

The ergonomics of the controller are also much improved over the 3Play 300's. The original controller wasn't well thought out in my opinion. 

NAB 2011 TriCaster 850 Extreme

NewTek definitely came to NAB 2011 playing for keeps. Several big new product announcements which are probably going to bring tears to the eyes of their competitors including the new TriCaster 850 Extreme.

A quick overview of the 850 Extreme's features.

All the features of the TCXD850 plus almost everything that users have been asking for.

Multi-Tier Failsafe - The software is actually created from a suite of independent modules that monitor themselves so if, for example, you load a clip into a DDR that causes it to glitch the DDR will re-start without effecting any other operations. In the event of a catastrophic failure as long as the unit has power it will pass through audio and video from input 8.

IsoCorder - Record 8 streams of HD video. You can record all eight inputs or record the output in several different formats or record redundant copies of you output to different hard drives. These recording all include embedded time code so it is easy to re-sync the files in post.

Animation Store Transitions - Full color animated transitions. With sound! Animation Store creator is included so you can create your own.

Apple AirPlay Support - Any AirPlay source (Mac, iPod, iPad or iPhone or other iOS 4.3 protocol device) can be used as an audio/video input to the TriCaster.

Advanced Audio Configuration - Seven band EQ, Compressor/Limiter, Grouping and Multi-Bus Routing. You can now apply the audio follows video to groups of inputs. Groups can also be routed to the Aux or streaming outputs.

LTC Timecode Support - Hook up an external TC generator to the TriCaster and any recorded file (that supports it) or output will include the timecode.

Stream Configuration Panel - A new panel with easy, automatic setup for most common CDNs. There is also a built in browser window so you can monitor your stream directly from the TriCaster Extreme.

There's more new stuff in there I'll post more details as I get them but the TriCaster 850 Extreme is an amazing piece of equipment. Once again NewTek re-defines price/performance.

List will be $39,995 NAB special is $37,995. Upgrade your existing TCXD850 for the difference in price.