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Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Backing Up Your TriCaster Session - Best Practices

You've got your TriCaster session set up precisely as you like, all your content is loaded, you've built a couple dozen lower thirds, setup a bunch of macros and comps. You're ready to go. Then something goes horribly wrong, your hard drive gets corrupted or fails and hours of work are gone.

Well not if you had made a backup.

NewTek has built in a lot of functionality to help you keep your sessions organized and safe from disaster but it's up to you to take advantage of them.

I suggest you start by creating a Template session with all your inputs and outputs pre-configured so you don't have to re-create this every time you want to make a new session. Especially if you use a lot of NDI sources and have complicated audio routing. This will save a lot of time and prevent Stupid Errors.

You do this by making a New Session from the main TC menu and configuring everything the way you like. Then only use this template for creating working sessions for your actual productions.

Create a Session Template

  1. Start a New Session with the proper output resolution.
  2. Give it a name like Setup_Template.
  3. Configure video inputs, the audio mixer and various output settings as necessary.
  4. 'Import' any content you intend to use i.e. audio, video or still images.
  5. Add these imports to the appropriate media players.
  6. Setup M/Es as necessary.
  7. Set up any comps, macros etc. that you need.
  8. Set the switcher to a convenient state for starting your production.
  9. Exit the Session

Now that you have the perfect session back it up.

Back Up a Session

  1. From the Session menu select the 'Manage' icon
  2. On the Manage panel click 'Backup Session'
  3. Navigate to the location where you wish to save the backup file. It defaults to d:\Session Backups. This is a pretty good place for them.
  4. Click 'Save' to write the backup file. This will take anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how much 'content' you have loaded into the session.
  5. Exit back to Windows and copy this file to several other locations on and off the TriCaster so that if you have any hardware failures you will have multiple copies of the template session.

Now you can create a new working sessions from the new template. This will make a copy of the template with whatever new name you've entered for the new session. All the configuration, content, macros etc. will be loaded into the new session leaving the template session unmolested.

Create a Working Session From a Template

  1. Go to the New Session Panel from the main menu.
  2. Enter a name for identifying the session.
  3. Use the Template pull-down to select the template file we created previously.

If the worse happens you can always restore the template session from the backup you made. On the Open Session panel select 'Restore Backup' and navigate to the session backup file we saved earlier.

A few notes:
Only content that has been 'Imported' will be saved as part of a session backup. Any content loaded into a media player that didn't go through the import procedure will be linked to but content that's not in the original location, has been renamed or is missing entirely won't be accessible.

Import is either on the Manage panel (from the session menu) or can be found on the 'File' tab of the Live user interface depending on which TriCaster version you are running.

Be aware that if you import large files the backups will be large and may take a long time to copy and may not fit on flash drives and the like. For your templates I would keep the imported files small, things like your 30 second intro and the like.

Similarly session backups will also contain any files you captured during the session so in general make your backup before you record the three hour football game.

Using and Saving Presets

While session backups will save media player, switcher and M/E presets you sometimes might want to back them up by hand. This is also a handy method of copying a preset between sessions.

The media players all have Presets (sometimes called mems). You'll find these on pop-out panels on the side of the player. You can open a preset by clicking on it. Then add and arrange content for that preset. To switch to a different preset simply click on it in the pop-out panel.

The M/Es and the main switcher also have presets on pop-outs on the left side. To use these first configure the M/E or switcher the way you want it then click the camera icon on the desired preset to snapshot the current state.

Presets can be exported (saved) and imported (loaded) by right-clicking in a preset and selecting the appropriate function.

Saving Macros

Again session backups will keep session macros but  macros can also be exported and imported via the right-click menu from the Configure Macro panel. You can import/export individual macros or whole folders of them. Global macros are not saved as part of a session.

These instructions should work for Standard Edition, Advanced Edition and the IP Series. Older machines like the TC 450/850 will have more limited functionality.