View Full Version : Beginner question; workflow for 3Play Mini w/ Tricaster Mini?

10-25-2017, 03:14 PM
So i'm looking at getting our station a 3Play Mini and a Tricaster Mini. I know they both take 4 HDMI inputs, but the workflow is what I don't understand yet.

So I'm planning on using 4 cameras during high school basketball games. A wide camera up top, a close up camera up top, and camera on the court, and another camera to get the clock. Figured I'd use the first layer of video track to switch between cameras during the game, then DSK1 for our LiveText laptop that'll have scoreboard, and then DSK2 for the clock camera, cropped and placed on top of the scoreboard.

Now, replay...

So, if I already have all 4 camera's being fed into the Tricaster Mini via HDMI, how do I get those signals into the 3Play Mini? Also, how do I get the output of the 3Play Mini into the Tricaster? Is that via HDMI or is it Network? Does the Tricaster Mini have 2 Network inputs?

sorry for the million questions. I've given up trying to call NewTek to ask. I've waited on hold for over an hour two days in a row and a text support person told me they'd call me and I have yet to hear from them.

10-25-2017, 04:21 PM
For getting the cameras into the TC Mini and 3P Mini you will need to use HDMI splitters and run a HDMI feed into each system's input.

For getting the output of 3P Mini into TC Mini, you can use NDI. Make sure the two systems are connected on a gigabit network together, and in the NET inputs (Standard Edition) or the Input source drop downs (Advanced Edition) on the TC Mini you will be able to see the two outputs of the 3P Mini. Select the output you wish to use from the list.

10-26-2017, 09:12 AM
Thank you so much! We're planning on using at least 3 cameras. Do you have any recommendation of HDMI splitters to get? I see a lot on B&H, but it seems like the brand quality varies greatly from one to the next. And some seem like a little overkill when all i need is a 1x2 split, but i need 3 of them. It would be great if there was a rackmountable unit to do this, but beggars can't be choosers i guess!

10-26-2017, 10:24 AM
I would totally stay away from HDMI in a production scenario like this. Routing SDI or NDI is much more dependable than the flaky short running HDMI connections.

I would also suggest speaking to a systems integrator like ourselves or someone closer if you like to help consult you in the best direction for your investment. You should have a NewTek dealer in your neck of the woods if not then give us a ring and we can help you get things sorted out.

10-26-2017, 11:26 AM
I agree. Here is the NewTek reseller locator.

As for splitter, this is where things can get a bit tricky. HDMI typically doesn't extend easily, HDMI was never designed for long cable runs like SDI. The TriCaster Mini and 3PLAY Mini have HDMI ports that are designed to be more accepting of long cable runs. In this case, you are going into the HDMI splitter first, so the splitter needs to be able to accept the signal first. It probably would be best to work with a reseller that has more experience with this.

10-26-2017, 01:55 PM
@PIZAZZ, so when you say to stay away from HDMI in production scenarios like this, do you not recommend using the 3Play Mini in general then? I believe the only unit they sell is HDMI inputs. I know the Tricaster Mini is available in HDMI and SDI options, but if i want all 3 of my cameras going into the replay, and the same 3 cameras going into Tricaster, but the 3Play has to take HDMI and the Tricaster Mini has to take SDI, i'd have to split some signal from the camera and have it come out HDMI AND SDI at the same time with the same signal. that just sounds like a mess and a pain to find the equipment cheap enough to do that.

I'm using this for basketball games where we'll have all cameras within 50 feet of the switcher. we're not going long distances with these small setup shoots.

10-26-2017, 02:00 PM
So i've talked to NewTek a while ago and they did recommend 100ft HDMI reels if i'm using the Tricaster Mini with HDMI inputs. so am i wrong in thinking i can use HDMI with the Tricaster Mini?

and what exactly are you saying about the splitter? My theory was, place a camera on one end of the court, run the HDMI cable to the Tricaster (probably about 50 feet away at the most), plug the HDMI into a splitter that sends it out of two different HDMI ports. Buy two very short HDMI cables (like 1foot or something), and run one into the 3Play Mini, and one into the Tricaster Mini, which will both be mounted right next to each other.

Is this not a good idea?

I'm starting to feel like the 3Play Mini is nothing anyone should ever buy if they plan to use it as a replay system with a tricaster. which to me, is the only conceivable way i'd want to use it. i'm at a loss here guys

10-26-2017, 02:40 PM
At this point in the industry, since you are starting from scratch I would suggest doing everything via NDI over IP. HDMI Sparks for the cameras eliminate cable length concerns that will come up later if you went just with HDMI cables. You can still use a 3Play mini to save a little coin. You just need one of our special boxes that converts NDI to HDMI or SDI outputs. We call it the PIZAZZ IO4.

The TriCaster mini would of course see the NDI inputs right away. We are just waiting on NewTek to give us new units or hopefully a software update enabling NDI inputs on the 3Play product line. We have NDI outputs just not inputs. So we built a box that does that NDI to SDI or HDMI conversion.

So look at the signal flow this way...

Camera HDMI to NDI Spark -->
managed switch --> TriCaster Mini and PIZAZZ IO4 rackmount (1ru)
PIZAZZ IO4 ---> HDMI inputs of 3Play Mini
3PlayMini -->NDI to TriCaster Mini
LiveText --> NDI for Scoreboard and GFX

That will make a really nice little compact system. Especially using the Sparks and standard Cat5/6 cabling, you will be really flexible wherever you need to setup cameras. Throw a NDI PTZ or 2 into the mix and you would be a force to recon with.

10-26-2017, 02:43 PM
HDMI is a consumer technology and there is nothing wrong with HDMI when you look at what it was designed for, connecting your DVD Player to a televsion for example. Because the quality of HDMI is so good, offering the same video quality as SDI, it has been pushed into the professional world of video production because of price point of gear. However, many professional video people don't like using HDMI because of some of its limitations (cable length, non locking connectors and possibility of HDCP).

All that being said, HDMI can be made to work and many people do use it. NewTek held off for a while ourselves on a HDMI TriCaster, until the Mini was made. We saw some of the problems with HDMI and built into the product features to account of it. For example, the HDMI inputs on the Mini are more forgiving for long HDMI runs. Combine that with the 100ft equalized HDMI cable we sell and you have a solution that works for many people to produce live events using HDMI equipment.

What I'm getting at with the splitters is that there are tons of them out there, most are really cheap 'no-name' units. Splitting a HDMI signal isn't like an analog signal, the signal has to be received and regenerated on the outputs of the splitter. If the input of the splitter can't lock onto the HDMI source, then it will not be able to send out the signal again, at which point, the TriCaster and 3PLAY will not get any signal.

This doesn't mean that it will not work. There are tons of people doing this to today, but it might be good to work with reseller that has some experience with this to save yourself time and hassle. Our 100ft equalized HDMI cable with a cheap HDMI splitter might work with no issues, but you might also find a brand of a splitter that doesn't. Just be ready that you might need to test more than one manufacture splitter if you run into an issue.