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

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Chin TV

A friend of mine has a new venture he's working on: CHIN TV International. This is a streaming video service for Burmese expatriates. It turns out there is a huge Burmese community in Indiana. Who knew? They don't have a TriCaster yet but we're working on that so they can produce live programming.

Friday, September 28, 2012

TriCaster 8000s are shipping

Got mine yesterday. I'm planning on spending the weekend locked in a room with it. Watch this space.

TriCaster 8000 at IBC:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Access to tools is no longer sufficient

Seth Godin:

If you want to get paid for your freelance work then access to tools is no longer sufficient. Everyone you compete with has access to a camera, a keyboard, a guitar. Just because you know how to use a piece of software or a device doesn't mean that there isn't an amateur who's willing to do it for free, or an up and comer who's willing to do it for less. READ THE REST

What he's saying really does apply to the independent videographer, amateurs are eating their lunch in a lot of markets where they used to make a comfortable living. You've got to up your game to the next level.

So putting two and two together: Digital Arts is a testing center for the NewTek Certified Operator tests

Friday, September 14, 2012

New TriCaster 850 & 850 Extreme Patch

Even though the 850 has been superseded by the TriCaster 855 NewTek continues to release maintenance patches. You can download the newest patch from the registration web site.The latest release is version  4f, changes include:

  • An isolated case producing occasional HD video output glitches on a small number of 850 systems under heavy load has been resolved
  • An issue that could result in audio sync drift when streaming 720p projects has been corrected
  • More-robust Apple® AirPlay® device recognition and support including iOS 5 devices in congested wireless environments
  • Over-the-network support for utilizing 3Play (running Rev 2) outputs as network-input live sources
  • Import Media application with transcoding supported in all TCXD models
  • Better-quality streaming video and SD output
  • New audio encoding supports streaming to a number of popular mobile devices (such as iOS) – natively
  • Higher-quality streaming audio and enhanced streaming performance
  • Additional functionality for Timewarp TW-42 control surface 
  • Improved Network Performance
  • Improved UI performance of bundled Live Text 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

TriCaster 40 vs TriCaster 455 Redux

Over at the main Digital Arts web site I've posted an essay and chart comparing and contrasting the new TriCaster 40 with it's bigger brother the TriCaster 455. It's mostly the previous post but scroll down to the end for a link to the new chart.

So if you're curious how the two all-in-one production systems compare take a look.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

TriCaster 40 vs TriCaster 455

So the number one question we're getting on the phone is what's the difference between the 40 and the 455?

While the TriCaster 40 and the TriCaster 455 both have four video inputs there are a number of differences between the two units. In general the TC 40 is targeted to a different type of user then the TC 455. The user interface has been simplified somewhat and some features have been left out to keep the cost down.

Video I/O
The TC 455 has composite, S-Video (via two BNCs), component and serial digital (SDI) inputs. The component and SDI inputs support High Def video. The TriCaster 40 doesn't have SDI inputs so your HD cameras need to connect via the component inputs. The TriCaster 40′s component, composite or S-Video inputs can be used for SD cameras.

Both units have composite, S-Video and component outputs but the TC 455 also has SDI outs. The main output is at the resolution and frame rate of the current session. The TC 40 also has a dedicated SD program output. The TriCaster 455 has a configurable ‘aux’ output. This can be set to output a camera iso, program, preview, the source selected on the Aux bus, the FX bus or a clean program output (no overlays) all at a selectable resolution.

The TC 455 also has a dedicated HDMI output that carries the program audio and video signals.

Audio I/O
The TC 40 has very simple audio I/O. The inputs are stereo pair of RCA jacks and a single ¼” microphone jack along with an RCA pair for the output and a ¼” headphone jack.

The TC 455 sports a pair of XLR jacks that can be configured as either mic or line level inputs along with three pairs of ¼” jacks for additional inputs. The main output is a pair of XLR jacks. The TC 455 also has an a pair of ¼” jacks as an ‘aux’ audio output that can be configured with various sources in the software.

The 455 can also except embedded SDI audio on it’s SDI inputs and embeds the program audio in the SDI outputs. The TC 40 lacks the compressor/limiters, graphic eq and audio grouping found on the TC 455.

On the TC 40 you can use the multiview output (either VGA, DVI or HDMI selectable*) for Program, Preview of FX bus output. The multiview output on the TC 455 is DVI and can be configured as a true multiviewer and display multiple sources and previews in several different configurations.

Media Players
The TC 455 has two DDRs that can play video, audio, still and Title pages. The 40 only has one.
The 455 has two GFX players that can play stills or titles and a dedicated audio player. The 40 also has two GFX players that can play audio as well, but no dedicated audio player.
On the TC 455 the various media players have quick preset buttons that can load an entire playlist almost instantly the feature is missing in the 40.
The 455 has ‘frame buffers’ that let each virtual input and the main switcher have an individual graphic loaded that can be dynamically updated over the network.

The 455 can use ‘Animation Store’ transitions. These are transitions that have an animated element and sound effects. The 455 also includes the Animation Store Editor.

Other Features
The TC 40 supports standard def (480i) in both 16:9 and 4:3 aspect ratios and both 720p and 1080i HD. The TC 455 also supports 1080p and 24 frame video.

The TriCaster 40 can record your program back to the hard drive in either Quicktime or H.264 format. The TC 455 can record four streams of video in various different formats and codecs using the Isocorder function. Select your four streams from program, an iso’ed input, the Aux bus etc.

TriCaster 455 also includes an integrated title page editor (LiveText) and a SpeedEDIT license. The stand-alone versions of both are available to the TC 40 owner to purchase**.

Although neither machine requires genlocked cameras the TC 455 has a genlock input so that it can be locked to house sync.

So if your on a tight budget the TriCaster 40 isn’t so stripped down that it can’t do the job and can give your productions a polished look; you'll just need to live within certain limitations. While the TriCaster 455 has all the features you need to push your production to the next level and of course the TriCaster 855 offers more inputs if you need them.

*The TC 40 has three connectors on it’s video card a 15 pin VGA, a DVI and an HDMI. You can use any two of them, one for the user interface the other for the multiview.
**Educational units include a free copy of LiveText

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Flash - All New Low cost HD TriCaster - TriCaster 40

NewTek just announce the newest member of the TriCaster family the TriCaster 40.

TriCaster 40 Features Set:
4 HD/SD analog video inputs; component (HD & SD), Y/C (SD), composite (SD)
Stereo audio in
Microphone in
Stereo audio Out
Headphone jack
Two video outputs (one at the session resolution the other a dedicated SD output)

1 DDR for video playback
2 DSKs down stream Keyers for overlays
2 Network Inputs (inputs for computers, 3Plays, LiveText or Apple AirPlay)
2 Title/Still Player
4 Virtual Inputs w/LiveSets and up-stream key
Record Program Video to Hard Drive
Built in streaming encoder

Basically the 40 has most of the software features (doesn't include LiveText or SpeedEDIT.) of the TC300 plus an extra input and a second Network Input for $4995. That's right half the price of the TriCaster 300!

The TC40 is Shipping Now.
A new control surface will be available but no ship date has been announced. I'll post more on it as info becomes available.

Designed to be easy to setup and portable but provide professional level features and performance.

Now just because your on a budget you don't have to settle for standard def or some complicated, half baked solution. You can get real TriCaster power and ease of use.

The TC 40 shares a software platform with the TC455, 855 and 8000 and has a similar user interface. This makes it a good choice as a backup unit for the 855.

The shared platform across the line also allows NewTek to more easily develop updates in the future.

Both the TriCaster Studio and 300 are being discontinued so if for some reason you must have one of those models call us immediately.

I can hear you now "What's the catch?" Or "how did NewTek add an input but cut the price in half?"

  • No video editor included. - Standalone SpeedEDIT is available.
  • No CG editor included - It comes with hundreds of templates but you'll need to purchase LiveText if you want to create your own.
  • No SDI - Most cameras that the target user of the TriCaster 40 can afford don't have SDI anyway.
  • No HDMI - While most inexpensive cameras have an HDMI output it's not appropriate for long cable runs. But if you need to (your camera doesn't have component outputs) you can convert HDMI to analog component for about $50 a camera.

All in all, for the money, the 40 is the most powerful and complete live production suite available.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

TriCaster 855 Hands On

The TriCaster 855 and 455 are the latest in NewTek's TriCaster line of all-in-one production devices. The 855 incorporates a 24 input video switcher with 8 camera inputs, audio mixer, overlay graphics, live streaming and clip play back all in a single 4U rack mount box. The 455 has four camera inputs and is housed in a 2U rack mount case.

When the original TC100 first crawled from the primordial ooze at NAB 2005 and was showered with awards we all knew it was something special but I'm not sure we would've believed at the time how far its descendants would go. Almost every year NewTek released more and more powerful versions. At this year's NAB the new 855 and 455 were overshadowed by the announcement of the up-coming TriCaster 8000 but in any other year they would've been big news.

This latest iteration of the TriCaster have a well thought out user interface that makes it pretty easy to use. If you're a complete neophyte you'll need to study a little but I give Steve Bowie at NewTek top marks for his clear and concise manual. Users of the TC850 or 850 Extreme will feel right at home though, as there have been only small changes to the user interface.

The 855 is basically the next generation of the 850 Extreme and replaces both the 850 and the 850 Extreme in the line. It's more expensive then the base 850 was but now includes the 855CS controller which used to be a $6000 option. Now even with the controller it's under $30k. That's $16k less than the price of the 850 Extreme and controller when it shipped in 2011.

The 855 is also joined in the lineup by the TriCaster 455 which shares all the software features of the 855 but only has four camera inputs and few other differences in I/O in a compact 2U box. Since there are only a few differences between the eight input 855 and the four input 455 I'll concentrate this walk through on the 855.

Under the hood NewTek claims plenty of improvements to efficiency and reliability along with lower latency. As well as a more modular approach to make updates easier. This is all probably side effects of TC8000 development trickling down. I haven't performed any controlled tests of the latency but it looks to be less than two frames.

Inputs and outputs 
The back of the 855 sports DVI connectors for both the user interface and the multi-view monitors as well as an HDMI port for a program monitor. You also find four USB2 ports, a gigabit Ethernet connection and an eSATA port to connect an external hard drive. The bulk of the back panel is taken up by all the various audio and video I/O. On the audio front there are 16 XLRs inputs for analog audio (both mic and line), 8 BNCs for AES digital audio input. A set of  audio outputs (four channels) in both XLR and AES flavors are included as well as an independently configurable set of aux outputs. Rounding out the audio is a 1/4" headphone jack. The TriCaster 855 can also input and output embedded SDI audio.

The 855 has eight video inputs that can be configured as component, composite, Y/C or SDI standard def or component or SDI high def . All common formats are supported, 1080/30p, 1080/24p, 1080/60i, 720/60p, 720/30p, 720/24p, 480/60i. The multi-standard version also supports the PAL equivalents. There are two sets of outputs plus an aux output. The aux out can be configured independently of the two main outs. There is also an HDMI out that also carries the program audio.

The audio and video aux outputs are one of the  reasons the TriCaster is so flexible. The audio aux can be used as a second copy of the main out, be assigned to the internal media players either singly or as a group, the solo bus or to an arbitrary group of sources. The video aux is just as flexible. While the two main outputs are locked to your main output format. The aux out can be configured to a different format. So you can do things like output HD and SD or 1080i and 720p simultaneously. Other options include a clean output with no overlays, camera isos, a preview out or even use the utility bus to do a separate cuts only switch.

24 Input Switcher
In addition to the I/O connections on the back panels the TriCaster 24 input switcher also has a couple of what NewTek calls 'network inputs'. These can used to feed, via Ethernet,  Apple Airplay sources, the output from NewTek's live CG LiveText, real-time screens captures from either Windows or Macintosh computers, the output of a 3Play instant replay unit and eventually other 3rd party products. The only real drawback to the network inputs is that there is only two of them.

The screen capture utility, iVGA, has both Mac and PC versions and works pretty well as long as the machine you are capturing from has a pretty decent video card. If you are using a low-ball laptop don't expect to get a good frame rate. A new version of iVGA is supposed to ship soon that is upgraded with support for sound and the ability to capture only selected windows or screen regions.

Other switcher sources include two DDRs that can play back a wide assortment of audio, video and still media formats.a Sound player dedicated to audio, a dedicated still store and a template based title module.

Virtual Inputs / LiveSets
The real core of the TriCaster are the eight Virtual Inputs. These can be used as 'sub-switchers' for creating picture in picture effects, upstream keying effects, chroma-key overlays or  accessing the TriCaster's LiveSets virtual set functions. The 855 ships with 24 LiveSets that run the gamut from basic split screens to elaborate high tech set that rival those used on network television.

Setting up a virtual set shot is quite straight forward. Select a Virtual Input (VI) and then load a LiveSet using a pull down menu. Most of the sets include multiple camera angles so select an angle that matches your intended camera shot. Select your camera on the 'Input A' bus of the VI. Using the controls on the Setup - LiveMatte tab for that source configure your chroma-key. As a side note the keying in the TriCaster 855 is very good and usually very easy to setup.

Frame Buffers
Another group of sources that are often overlooked are the nine frame buffers. Right click on a still image in any of the media players and you can assign it to either the main buffer or any one of the eight Virtual Input buffers. Once you've done this you can remove the image from the media player but it will remain available from it's assigned buffer. You can then use this as an over-layed bug, for example, without tying up a media player. Now the really cool thing about the frame buffers is that the TriCaster will watch those files on the hard drive and if they get updated the new file's image will automatically be displayed.This gives you the option to remotely update your graphics on the fly.

Media Players
The TriCaster 855 includes two DDRs for playing video clips, a dedicated still store, audio player and CG player. All the players can instantly load presets so even if the the number of players is limited you can pop a whole new set of content into one with just a couple of mouse clicks greatly extending their capabilities. The 455 re-arranges the media players a bit. It includes the two DDRs, but combines the Still and CG players into an integrated "Graphics" player.

The top third of the UI is taken up with various preview windows. You can monitor all the switcher sources along with a large Preview and Program window or configure it to display only the external camera sources or just the internal media players & network inputs. The back panel of the unit also has a second DVI (HDMI on the 455) output that can be used as a dedicated multi-view output with similar configuration options. This makes it easy to bring up previews of all your inputs arranged the way you prefer.

The streaming panel has an integrated web browser and presets for most of the common CDNs. It's easy to set up a new preset so if NewTek doesn't support the one you're using in just a few moments you can be up and running. The streaming interface in the SD TriCasters required, in some cases a little juggling to get configured the first time. The new panel makes it a snap and once you get a CDN configured it's just one click to start streaming. If your CDN requires you to log into their site to configure the back end that's easy to do using the browser without having to carry a second computer just to log in.

The switcher interface since the 850 departs a little from NewTek's previous offerings. The 'T' bar can now be assigned ("delegated" in NewTek's parlance) to control the main switch between the program and preview buses, Fade to Black or to control either or both DSKs. You can also mult-select those functions using dedicated buttons on the CS controller or by ctrl-clicking the buttons on the UI.

This allows the director to coordinate switching sources while triggering overlays etc. Another related feature is the third row on the switcher now can be delegated to four different functions: Controlling the FX bus (mostly used to assign a source to multiple virtual inputs at once), assigning sources to either/both of the DSKs or controlling which source appears on the AUX output. This again is accomplished using dedicated buttons on both the controller and the UI and makes it easy on the TD.

The 855CS and 455CS controllers are included with their respective machines and are laid out so that experienced users will feel right at home and the novice can learn to use it without too much effort. The controls are clearly labeled and grouped in a sensible fashion so performing common actions requires as few button pushes as possible and even complicated moves can be performed with ease.

This review only scratches the surface of the power of the TriCaster if you need more details feel free to call us and arrange an online demo.


Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ray Bradbury Dies

A sad day.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The TV Business (As We Know It) is Doomed...

...and it's a good thing for TriCaster users!

'Bottom line, as it has in newspapers, the TV business is going to have to get radically more efficient. It won't disappear--newspapers haven't disappeared--but the fat and happy days will have to end.
As for the other question, "when," the answer may be "now."'

This plays right into our hands. We, as NewTek users, are perfectly positioned to make television programming more efficiently. Plus with new products like the TC 8000 supporting second, third and fourth screens (computer, 'Pads and Phones gets even easier.

The last bastion of traditional TV will be live sports and what better way to produce live sports 'efficiently' is there than a TriCaster? I think if you don't have a TriCaster your lunch is going to be eaten by someone who does. A lot of our customers used to make comfortable livings doing things like weddings, editing together picture slide shows and producing local TV commercials. These businesses are in serious decline and the revenue needs to be replaced somehow.

Over the next few weeks we're going to be adding customer success stories to our web site. If you have a story to share please contact us.

Now get out there and make some TV.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Friday, April 27, 2012

NewTek NAB Press Roundup

From Around the web:

SF Examiner -  TV Industry Stews Over Social Media

Sports Video Group - TriCaster 8000

Creative Cow - Interview with NewTek CTO Andrew Cross

TVB Europe - TriCaster 8000

Intel - Inside Scoop with Andrew Cross

Leo Laporte - Interviews NewTek's Phillip Nelson

Studio Tech - Interview with Phillip Nelson

Internet Video Mag - The TriCaster Line

TriCaster, It's Everywhere!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More NAB 2012 News

NewTek also unveiled the new TriCaster 855 and TriCaster 455. These units replace the 850, 850 Extreme and the 450, 450 Extreme respectively. The 855 and 455 are shipping now so there will be no waiting.

The new units have all the Extreme features including the Isocorder technology to record multiple video streams and the advanced audio features (audio grouping, compressor/limiters etc.) plus some new features.

Native Quicktime support is standard. Plus Mac versions of the NewTek SpeedHQ codecs are available now.

The new TransWarp effects engine is also included to you can create 3D warping transitions with sound effects using the included editor. The editor includes a second license so you can run it on a second machine.

A new and improved IVGA is also included. You can now specify regions of the screen to grab and iVGA now supports sound.

A lot of the underlying TriCaster code has also been massaged to make operation more robust.

The best part is that NewTek has given these units a great price. The 855 including the 850CS controller is only $29,995 and the 455 is priced at $19,995 including the 450CS controller. These prices are actually a slight reduction from the old non-Extreme machines so once again NewTek throws down the price/performance challenge.

For users who already own various 450 and 850 models there are upgrades available, give us a call for details.


Monday, April 16, 2012

TriCaster 8000 OMG

Well, I was completely wrong about the 9.4 times better even though I got the model number right (850 X 9.4 = 8000). The new TriCaster 8000 is mind blowingly better than the the 850. I'm still am trying to wrap my head around its capabilities and I'm not even sure where to start So I'll just jump right in.

In no particular order:

8 re-entrant M/E Buses. You can set these up with up to four live sources each including using an M/E as a source in another M/E.

4 Down Stream Keys (use any source including M/Es) plus four channels of overlay on each M/E

24 New Live Sets with virtual camera moves including panning, pedestal and zooming. You can adjust the moves on the fly. Optional LiveSet Editor.

Macros - configure complex switcher actions to a single button push.
8 configurable hot spots per input, let the talent run the show by triggering macros using these interactive hot spots.

Social Media Publishing - Integrate your live production into Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Flickr, and other social media sites in real time.

Record multiple (8) video streams with timecode to the hard drive. Native support for Quicktime.

Animated transitions using the new TransWarp 3D effects engine. Includes a transition editor so you can create custom transitions.

Fully configurable multi-viewer.

Integration with Black Magic Designs Matrix Routers.

Motion tracking effects - I'll try to post a video showing this, it's hard to explain.

iPad audio control app - Turn your iPad into a remote, wireless audio control surface.

Oh, did I mentions it can do all this stuff in 3D? That's right built in support for 3D cameras and anaglyphic stereo imaging.

They were demoing the M/E buses by doing effects with literally millions of layers on screen at once. I was impressed last year by the 850 Extreme showing 5 layers at once so to say this is a bit of an improvement is a major understatement.

The price? You better sit down.

$39,995 including the control surface!

That's right less than the price of a TriCaster 850 gets you a TriCaster 8000. There is nothing on the planet with these capabilities. To even come close would require hundreds of thousands of dollars and probably a whole truck full of equipment. You have got to get one of these things!

Digital Arts will have one of the first units to roll off the assembly line, probably in late May. Units are scheduled to ship in quantity sometime third quarter of this year. Give us a call to schedule a TriCaster 8000 demo, remember we can do these on line. 1-800-692-6442

Some pictures:

Friday, April 13, 2012

NAB 2012 Predictions

NAB starts next Monday so it's time for may yearly predictions about what new stuff NewTek will be showing.

NewTek employees are dropping hints that whatever it is it's going to be a game changer so I predict it will be at least 9.4 times as cool as the TriCaster 850. I also think we'll probably see an upgrade for the 850 and 450 software.

Check back Monday and we'll see how close I am.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

TriCaster 300 Instant Rebate

For a limited time.

  • $2,000 off the TriCaster 300 commercial price of $11,995, making the effective MSRP $9,995.  
  • $1,000 off the TriCaster 300 Educational price of $9,995, making the effective MSRP $8,995.  

Call Digital Arts at 1-800-692-6442 for more info.

NewTek is streaming live from SXSW

Take a look.
NewTek is streaming live from SXSW (South by Southwest).