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NewTek's TriCaster

NewTek's TriCasterô
A Creative COW NAB 2005 Review



Robert Wilson's article on NewTek's TriCaster
Robert Wilson
Robert Wilson
UnCommon Grafx
Indianapolis, Indiana USA

© 2005 Robert Wilson and Creativecow.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
CreativeCOW leader, Robert Wilson says of NewTek's TriCaster™: Smothering Doubts with Awards, "This years NAB delivered on the promises of bigger, better and cooler. NewTek's TriCaster™ came away as the coolest of them all and for good reason: it's insanely fantastic."


Labeled, “The TV Live Truck in a BackPack”, TriCaster offers some phenomenal power at an unheard of price point of $4,995. TriCaster is a three video input (composite or svhs), 8-sourced switcher with 6 hours of 4:2:2 storage built-in. If that were all, it would be great for so many presentation venues. But no, it goes on: built-in CG, non-linear editor with a storyboard, and timeline interface, in its real-time editor.

Were this the end of it, this would be a tool that most presentation facilities could make use of on a daily basis. Well, there's more. TriCaster, owing to its name, simultaneously outputs to three formats: video, live webcasting through Windows Media, and output to projectors. NewTek has developed a very functional and Sinatra-esque (you know, Cool…) applet, iVGA, which runs on any Pentium 4-based personal computer. iVGA allows the monitor output of the pc to show up as an input on the TriCaster as one of its 8 sources.

If only it ended there! The small (90k) iVGA file allows all computers on the network this type of access. This means that each of the presenters can be presented an Ethernet connection and be an input to the production as a source on the switcher. Finally, TriCaster allows you to bypass the switcher and send the crisp and clean output of the computer directly to the projector while continuing to switch and stream the production without disturbing the projection output. (This is one of those things you have to see to understand and believe - it's an amazing function)

The other sources are a stillstore, background generator, Black, and a VCR to save any production person's sanity!

For simplicity's sake, what most of us know as a DDR has been labeled “VCR”, as an easy-to-use tool TriCaster presents itself to be. With the “Cue” function, switching to and from the VCR will pause and play the VCR automatically while simultaneously transitioning back to your source when the videoclip is done; this is a very slick function to keep any CEO from embarrassment while hosting presentations.

So far, NewTek's TriCaster has made an impression as an award-winning achievement. In February, NewTek was fortunate enough to be invited to present and launch at this year's DEMO Conference (http://www.demo.com/demo2/) and selected as “Producer's pick of the Show”. At NAB, TriCaster was selected “Best of Show”, which is an amazing feat, in this author's opinion, considering all that was shown. Additionally, Government Video selected NewTek “In Recognition of Innovative Achievement in the Advancement of Video Technology”. For the trifecta, TriCaster also garnered an Innovation award from the 4EVER Group (Event Videography Education and Resources)

On other fronts, next week, at winHEC 2005, NewTek will demonstrate LightWave® 3D in all its 64-bit glory. This week NewTek also announced two free upgrades: LightWave [8] version 8.3 and VT[4] version 4.5.

As always at such important events, there were things demonstrated that can't be talked about. Paul Lara, NewTek Video Evangelist, gave the most apt quote at this HD-laden NAB, “NewTek is well aware that HiDef will soon wash over the industry”. And man, it sure is clean! Wink wink. Seems those over at NewTek have put up their dukes and want to kick some arse!




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