just released a public beta of Version 3.0 for its live video production system product families Mica and Granite, simultaneously re-branding them as video control centers. "We think that access to immediate control of all your sources, devices, and macros is a huge benefit for producers," says Director of Marketing Paul Lara. "One of the things that differentiates us from everyone else is the amount of control you have in your fingertips from the switcher panel or the touchscreen monitor."
Director of Marketing Paul Lara
One of the new features is a more sophisticated Fluent View for multi-view set-up. With Fluent View, users can share across two monitors with Mica and across four with Granite with totally customizable configurations. "We knew that some customers enjoy using USB-powered touchscreen monitors for live production but some things weren't easy to access by touchscreen," explains Lara. Version 3.0 has refined the interface to make the switcher, titles, cameras and macros much more accessible in touchscreen mode.
Lara believes increased use of the touchscreen mode is a trend. "Lots of Technical Directors grew up with game systems and they're very comfortable with a keyboard mouse or in this case a touchscreen," he notes.
Many users, such as houses of worship, no longer have to set up a complicated multi-view. "If all you have is three cameras, you can just set up those sources, a key layer, a PixPad for clips and devices and now we have an on-screen UI where you can pan, tilt and zoom the cameras with a visual joystick," says Lara. "It's quick to learn, and easy to use. The buttons and tabs are larger so it's easier to put a finger on the screen. Density of the interface can definitely affect your accuracy, and we've made that a lot nicer."
Another new feature in Version 3.0 is virtual sets for up to eight sources that can be locked to the input and then punched on the Program row. "There's nothing to synch up now," says Lara. "You cut to Camera 1 and it has the hosts with the wide shot and Camera 2 for the tight shot. The nice thing about our virtual set implementation is that with eight different sources locked to virtual set, you still have three key layers on top of that, so you can still bring up multi-layer titles, a 3-box or 4-box. And you can also have motion backgrounds, so behind all these virtual sets, you can use an animation sequence."
Video Control Center Version 3.0
"The nice thing is that all of this is customizable," he adds. "You can scale any of these windows. You can have a 3-box and since it ties into our macro system, you can just touch a macro and it'll zoom any one of those to a full screen."
Broadcast Pix has also come out with a second generation Rapid CG, a Mica and Granite option. Rapid CG2 offers up-to-the-second updates linking databases to titles, scores, temperatures, prices and more. "Rapid CG 2 is now a dual channel system, so you can update two different graphic sets at the same time, allowing you to manage a score and clock at the same time" says Lara. Broadcast Pix is also adding in connectivity with EZ News
new production and automation system and Daktronics
Version 3.0 includes support for VOX, voice-activated video production that was introduced in November 2011. "VOX lets you create a sophisticated live production without an operator," explains Lara. "Each microphone source gets connected to this one rack unit VOX box and it is now video-follows-audio instead of the other way around." For a City Council meeting, for example, when the Mayor begins to speak, VOX will cut to him and bring up and then fade away his title. The user can program in rules for the pacing of the production so the system will cut away from a wide shot after a certain amount of programmed time on a single shot. "We can also set priority for the mics," adds Lara. "So if the junior council member speaks and the Mayor interrupts, the Mayor's mic can have higher priority. There's even a host over-ride box you can have on the table so if you want to roll a show open or closing credits, or just stop the automation temporarily, you just tap a button." VOX has been so successful, notes Lara, that one cable operator told him that "VOX pays for itself in three city council meetings."
Broadcast Pix Mica. Click on image to expand to larger view.
Additional features in Version 3.0 include a Timer Control right on the panel which lets the user activate count-up or count-down clocks to keep tabs on show or segment times. Sony Camera Control is also extended to allow control of 12 cameras right from the panel.
Most if not all of the new features in Version 3.0 come from customer requests, says Lara. "When repeated customers come and ask for the same thing, that's when you sit down with the programmers and say, guys let's make this happen," says Lara.
"It's all about control and how we offer singular and extendable control," he concludes. "You can actually switch Granite or Mica from an iPad or laptop. We have TDs that love it. They can walk out in the house and certainly pre-show do checks of monitors and brightness anywhere in the house."
Broadcast Pix Mica and Granite have a history of providing tools to create dynamic and compelling live video, from big broadcasting organizations such as CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox to organizations such as Microsoft, HP, Cisco as well as universities, houses of worship and government studios. Version 3.0 increases the power of the toolset at the same time that it makes it easier than ever to produce the quality live video productions required to compete.
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