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View Full Version : Not A Happy Camper XD855 Extreme Audio/DDR Features



Editec
03-05-2014, 05:18 AM
Hi All,

It's been nine months since we purchased the TriCaster XD855 Extreme, and shortly after using the device realized the shortcomings of the XD855 with regards audio and DDR recorder/player. We also purchased the TW-42 Timewarp believing that slow-motion replays could be undertaken. Alas, all is not so. Despite documenting the lack of audio features and the issue with the DDR slow-motion with the Australian retailer and importer, as well as an engineering representative who visited Australia during the course of the year, no further action or communication with Newtek has followed. This has been followed up with the Australian importers several times, but with little/no feedback from the Newtek. The Australian Support company has been outstanding during this period.

The issues of concern:

Audio scrubbing not available on the DDR media clips when using the TW-42 Timewarp jog wheel.
Audio breakup during slow-motion playback when using the TW-42 Timewarp T-Bar in variable speed modes.
Audio monitoring of the current preview video source is not available. No simple method to preview sound prior to on-air.
No facility to route an audio source to the IsoRecorder Channel, other than the default audio input specific to that channel. No break-away like the 3Play.
No ability to reverse jog/shuttle the dedicated single record channel of the TriCaster whilst recording, and cue-up the required footage/shot like the 3Play.
The operator must mark IN & OUT to create a clip, rather than access the footage on-the-fly (delayed playback) like the 3Play. This is not the 1990's.

These issues have been demonstrated and discussed at length with representatives from the Australian importer, the local retailer, and the Newtek engineering personnel both here in Australia and in the U.S., but to no avail. All agreed that these issues shall be attended too ASAP. The lack of basic facilities have been mentioned many times on this and other forums, yet those discussions are no longer viewable on this site. Audio appears to have become a poor second cousin for what potentially is an outstanding presentation system.

As a registered user of Newtek products this is a disappointing outcome, since I have actively promoted the systems and provided support for a number of our local purchasers. The Australian Newtek road show in November for the TriCaster 4800 revealed after some discussion, the concerns by many, the lack of features before mentioned. Perhaps the Australian workflows are somewhat different to the US. Would be grateful for a response from an engineering representative from Newtek.

Kind regards and many thanks to all.

PIZAZZ
03-05-2014, 08:25 AM
Perhaps the Australian workflows are somewhat different to the US. .

You completely correct in that. I would expand it even further though, Workflows in different sports are different, Workflows in different levels of sports are different. High School vs College vs Professional all have different expectations and workflows. Something that is a major difference I have found after working and training operators all over the world, audio on replay is something here in the States that isn't a major need. So what you see as a big omission just isn't something we need here so it never hit the feature set request list in NewTek's development.

I do understand what you are saying about your needs and situation. IF you were led to believe that just adding a TimeWarp TW-42 will give you the equivalent of a single channel 3Play machine then you misunderstood. As you have found out, the TimeWarp gives you some replay capabilities but a $2495USD addon will not give you the same feature set as a $22kUSD 3Play box.

I love having one box that can do as much as the TriCaster can but at some point it makes more sense to break up the responsibilities across multiple operators and machines if you want to keep up a certain level of production. My suggestion is to save up and purchase a 3Play 425 for the future. You still will be light years ahead in cost savings and features versus the alternatives in the 4 in 2 out Replay arena.

Best of luck to you in the future.

Editec
03-05-2014, 09:36 AM
Thanks Jef for the support. The audio situation is disappointing. As for the 3Play and the pricing, well said. At $20,000USD for four channels, at 5,000 USD per channel, and having already the hardware in place (TriCaster, Keyboard, Mouse, TW-42 TimeWarp), I would be happy to part with $2,000 for the feature on a single channel of simultaneous record/replay within the TriCaster, which is all that the TriCaster can facilitate. What a great opportunity for NewTek to promote and even tease the User to something greater, like the 3Play 425 or the 4800. Our usage is simply to turn-around video overlays (B-Roll) in delay and the occasional interview. Imagine trying the cue-up an interview to first audio, when there is no simple facility to hear the sound. These are really elementary features.

PIZAZZ
03-05-2014, 09:42 AM
Thanks Jef for the support. The audio situation is disappointing. As for the 3Play and the pricing, well said. At $20,000USD for four channels, at 5,000 USD per channel, and having already the hardware in place (TriCaster, Keyboard, Mouse, TW-42 TimeWarp), I would be happy to part with $2,000 for the feature on a single channel of simultaneous record/replay within the TriCaster, which is all that the TriCaster can facilitate. What a great opportunity for NewTek to promote and even tease the User to something greater, like the 3Play 425 or the 4800. Our usage is simply to turn-around video overlays (B-Roll) in delay and the occasional interview. Imagine trying the cue-up an interview to first audio, when there is no simple facility to hear the sound. These are really elementary features.

So not really Replay in the sports sense then?? What you are describing is much simpler. Simultaneous record/replay is more or less there already in the TriCaster. Continuous recording is not like in the 3Play units but Simultaneous is. ie.. I can record something and play something else back simultaneously.

Why not simply route your DDR audio out the Solo via Headphone or Aux outs to your Audio board for cueing capabilities? Those features are there already in the TriCaster. Maybe more details of your typical production needs and workflow might help us further explore the capabilities in your existing setup.

Editec
03-05-2014, 10:42 AM
It is Replay in the sports sense, to say that our production needs are as follows:

Continually record for eight hours a single video/audio source (the Network O.B. Truck upstream of the TriCaster facility), which provides the main core of the program for local consumption. We introduce exclusive interviews, both live and pre-recorded and, "delayed" overlay or B-Roll sourced from the O.B. Truck to cover the Local Broadcasters commercial breaks. We are essentially the uninterrupted World Feed.

Therefore we require the ability to pre-record interviews, and cue them to first sound, ready for air. Hence the need for a facility to preview sound. I am aware of the functioning of the audio mixer. The Aux Bus is used to feed the DDR1 recorder, as the sources/iso feeds from the O.B. Truck will change. Solo will put the sound to main program, unless the Director mutes the channel. This is not convenient or a correct method of operation. Preview sound should be available through, say the headphone outputs and routed to a suitable speaker/amplifier. Program and Aux sound should not be interfered with, as manipulating the audio mixer controls through the use of the mouse are a distraction the Director can ill afford.

The DDR1/2 facility currently will only playback the overlays or interviews when a clip is created. This never occurs at a convenient time in sports production. The scheduling of events rarely occur exactly as per the rundown. Hence the need to be able to delay the footage, cue the footage up whilst continuing to record the footage or interview. As you would on any modern DDR replay system. Technically, this feature is simple to implement, and only for one channel (either DDR1 or DDR2). The Director makes the choice as part of his/her workflow requirements.

PIZAZZ
03-05-2014, 01:58 PM
I
Solo will put the sound to main program, unless the Director mutes the channel. This is not convenient or a correct method of operation. .

That is not how Solo should work at all. Solo should only interrupt or "Solo" something going to the Headphone output. Our trucks all have the ability to listen to the Program output, Aux output, and the Headphone output to the nearfield monitors. We also have done setups with the PGM out going to decent desktop power monitors and the Headphone output going to a power speaker for cueing or isolation purposes.

Do you have a wiring diagram you can post of the setup? That might help us pinpoint a solution.


For the most part of what you are asking for, we have done the exact same thing before with older TriCaster setups so I am sure you can still.

Editec
03-05-2014, 05:47 PM
The method of operation of the audio mixer is somewhat unconventional, due to the limitations/non-existent ability to route (break-away) audio signals into the IsoRecorders. The Network O.B. sound/vision is recorded into the IsoRecord Channel. All good there, as the audio & video are paired. The main program output (TriCaster) is also recorded into the IsoRecorder (PGM). But the source of the master program audio is an external apparatus, Yamaha LS9-32. Therefore the LS9 audio is feed to Channel 8, and routed into a sub-mix (Green) and fed to the TriCaster channels 1 & 2. There TriCaster can then record the master program using the TriCaster vision and the Yamaha LS9-32 sound. The outputs of the DDR's 1 & 2 and any other source (transition sfx) are routed to a sub-mix (Red) and fed to the TriCaster channels 3 & 4. When Solo with Mute is selected to preview the desired sound, the Solo's source is routed to the Master Channel Outputs. This may indeed be a flaw in the TriCaster system.

This however does not address the major issues of concern:

Audio scrubbing not available on the DDR media clips when using the TW-42 Timewarp jog wheel.
Audio breakup during slow-motion playback when using the TW-42 Timewarp T-Bar in variable speed modes.
Audio monitoring of the current preview video source is not available. No simple method to preview sound prior to on-air.
No facility to route an audio source to the IsoRecorder Channel, other than the default audio input specific to that channel. No break-away like the 3Play.
No ability to reverse jog/shuttle the dedicated single record channel of the TriCaster whilst recording, and cue-up the required footage/shot like the 3Play.
The operator must mark IN & OUT to create a clip, rather than access the footage on-the-fly (delayed playback) like the 3Play. This is not the 1990's.

A simple button located beneath the Preview Monitor, say "Audio Preview", which would route the audio from the Video Preview Bus to the Headphone outputs, would be a simpler solution. No having to open the audio mixer applet, and selecting Solo and Mute etc. A much simpler workflow.

Given the lack of response to our concerns despite demonstrating the issues to the Newtek engineer last year, in the company of the reseller and distributor, we have decided to not proceed with any further purchases of TriCaster and 3Plays. The solution offered, is to purchase a Grass Valley iDDR Turbo for $2500 USD second-hand or iDDR T2 for $12500 USD new. This will provide a solution to all our workflow issues. Complete with audio scrubbing, audio monitoring, slow-motion, simultaneous record/replay and with two independent outputs. The TW-42 TimeWarp will become a door stop.

SBowie
03-05-2014, 09:12 PM
Given the lack of response to our concerns despite demonstrating the issues to the Newtek engineer last year, in the company of the reseller and distributor...I started to reply to this first thing this morning, and discussed several aspects of it with the Chief Technology Officer (who is in every sense of the word the head over Engineering) at that time, but an extremely busy day prevented me from getting the post finished. I will try to do so at the first opportunity, but as it is, I put in a 12 hour day already and have to pick up where I left off first thing in the a.m., so regrettably your post can't be at the top of my list.

That said, there are some fundamental problems involving the things reported in the sentence quoted above. I am very well acquainted with each and every member of the Eng. team, and none of them have been any where near Oz in the past few years (if ever) ... certainly not on official business. (There are some individuals on staff referred to as "Sales Engineers", belonging I think to the Customer Support team, and Engineering does receive feedback from them at times; I'm not privy totheir whereabouts, nor will I either criticize or attempt to defend what one of them might have been understood to say, or mean.)

I'm sure you met with someone, and we can get into details about who said what to whom and when, and what followed from that ... suffice to say there are some incorrect impressions here. Now - that said - your remarks have kicked a few of my own favorite cans another step or two down the road, and I'm happy these topics have arisen if for that reason only.

Editec
03-06-2014, 04:11 AM
After preparing an in depth white paper with our concerns regarding the implementation of several audio and DDR functions, or lack there of to the Australian distributor, I was pleased that the report was passed onto the Chief Technology Officer, who in turn responded positively, and praised the depth and accuracy of such. I have also had phone and skype audio/video contact and an demonstration of the issues at hand with both the Vice President of Services and the Senior Video Specialist. As for the Sales Engineer from Newtek, we had a breakfast meeting at some length in September, 2012. The names of the Newtek representatives will not be discussed in this forum for privacy reasons. I will close the matter on this forum by sending you an invitation to discuss the issues privately. Your contribution to this forum continues to be of the highest standard, for which I have the deepest respect. Kindest regards.

SBowie
03-06-2014, 06:43 AM
After preparing an in depth white paper with our concerns regarding the implementation of several audio and DDR functions, or lack there of to the Australian distributor, I was pleased that the report was passed onto the Chief Technology Officer, who in turn responded positively, and praised the depth and accuracy of such.He and I discussed your post briefly yesterday (as I mentioned, we are deeply involved in other matters at the moment), and he did not initially appear to recall the prior discussion. This is no huge surprise to me, since we receive a great number of submissions on a wide variety of matters from end-users, third party developers and others. Recalling a given item from some months back on the spur of the moment could be a challenge. I've no doubt that a review would turn up the information you report here. CS issues will occasionally be elevated to a level where they are brought to the attention of Engineering, but this is less common. When they do, ensuing discussions are usually more explanatory in nature than design-related. Cases where a particular instance would trigger design or implementation changes are still rarer.

At times, of course, field reports will spark changes. One could find numerous examples where advances were triggered by forum posts, for example. To touch on another point, though - it can happen that some small item that is broken in a given build or could be easily altered with worthwhile benefits might elicit a 'Sure, that makes sense, we'll do that in the next build' kind of response. Something more complex might or might not be deemed worth pursuing further. One thing no-one in Engineering does, however, is promise significant design changes or new features. And this applies equally, if not even more so to our CTO, inasmuch as it is his own personal and corporate policy. If anyone "agreed that these issues shall be attended too ASAP" they misspoke, in which case I apologize for any wrong impression given. or lack of clarity that might have contributed to a wrong assumption.

Again, duty calls, but I will try to find time to respond in more detail to the concerns raised in your posts as soon as I can.