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View Full Version : Tricaster vs. VT[4]



Helder Conde
02-17-2005, 12:20 PM
Yeah, I know... This is a pretty much obvious question that would eventually arise, anyway. :p

So, here I am, asking it: why should I use TriCaster instead of VT[4]?

Firstly let me say that I don't VT[4] yet.

I know that most of you will say "hey, read the pages!". I've done so. What I want now is to clarify which one is best in each situation and get the inputs from you, professionals with real work experience.

Correct me if I'm wrong: I understand that VT[4] is a full-featured live switching and editing studio-in-a-box, that requires additional hardware (a computer, obviously), and has component I/O.

TriCaster seems to lack the editing features, lack the component I/O, reduces dramatically the amount of I/Os, but seems to keep most of the live switching functionality that VT has. Also, it's a turnkey, very compact box, which is great... So, no additional costs of a high-end PC.

Good. Let's look at their price range: pretty much similar at first sight. And this is the main reason for my doubts. I seem to get much more functionality with VT for every dollar spent. Obviously, if I'm serious about switching, I would the breakout box, so VT price would go up to around $6,000, plus the price for the computer.

Why would I choose TriCaster, then?

Well, in my humble opinion, basically for three reasons: portability, price and ease of use. VT, being a much more complex system, will possibly require more experienced professionals to operate (which, in the end of the day, also relates to cost).

I'm 100% sure that I'll purchase one of them, eventually. But I'm still making my mind on which one to choose. I already have editing systems that fit my needs. So, in theory, if all I want is a live switching box (with the internal DDR, VGA outputs and all its other cool features, of course), then TriCaster is for me. But if I want a full-featured thing, VT[4] is the one. Do you agree?

:confused: My question to you guys is: am I missing something here? What other differences do you see between Tricaster and VT[4] that could make a diffence in a real world production?

I don't want to start a mine-is-bigger-then-yours discussion here. On the contrary, I want a very constructive debate on a what-is-best-for-each-situation approach.

Please share your opinions about these great, innovative products. And NewTek, keep up with the outstanding things you guys come up with. Very well done. :)

Regards,

Helder Conde
Atitude Digital Media
Brazil

animlab
02-17-2005, 08:13 PM
TriCaster seems to lack the editing features, lack the component I/O,........

TriCaster have editing feature: a simplified VTEdit interface: Media Editing. According to the feature list, it have storyboard and timeline editing ability.




:confused: My question to you guys is: am I missing something here? What other differences do you see between Tricaster and VT[4] that could make a diffence in a real world production?

1. Price: VT[4] workstation from $10,000. and TriCaster $4,995.
2. TriCaster accept only Y/C and composite signals. It is design for prestations, trade shows, live events but not prefessional video.
3. TriCaster only run with single DDR (VCR) but VT[4] can have many DDRs. That make you life difference at live show.
4. TriCaster came with only 150GB HD (and un-expandable) for system, pictures, audio and video. I believe it is using DV video or other compression video format. While VT[4] can equipt with any size of HD and using high quality un-compresion video.

kleima
02-23-2005, 12:26 PM
That is correct.

Also, VT[4] does uncompressed edited, which TriCaster won't (obviously, for space limitations).
TriCaster has no scopes for accurate video calibration. (This is a proffessional video tool that most presenters wouldn't know what to do with.)

But, TriCaster does a couple things that VT[4] doesn't (at least not yet - I hope they add these capabilities to VT[4] soon!): realtime upscaling of the video to XGA resolution, and screen capture over a network.

J_Camp
03-15-2005, 01:24 PM
Could you explain exactly what that means? Thanks.

kleima
03-15-2005, 04:43 PM
That means you can connect any computer via a network to the TriCaster and capture the screen activity of the networked computer as a video source on the TriCaster.

So, for example, if you were shooting a live presentation, your presenter's laptop with his powerpoint program running could be attatched by network cable & hub to the TriCaster, and the powerpoint presentation on the screen of the laptop would become one of your video sources in your live switch so you can fade back and forth between your cameras and the Powepoint presentation to create your finished video program!

Clever, huh?!

Normally you would have to have a scan converter ($1500+ for a good one) to do that.

J_Camp
03-15-2005, 08:23 PM
That is very interesting. I had talked with Bob T last year about coming up with another plugin like that for VT[3]. Will TriCaster accept that as a DSK source?

The reason I'm asking is that I use PowerPoint as a lyrics program in the church I go to and we use VT[3] as a live switcher between live shots and pre-recorded video and PowerPoint slides. The main reason we haven't used the Toaster is that the CG is a big load and it's just too much for someone to run both the cameras and other sources and then keep up with the lyrics to the live music for the crowd to sing. The sharing of the keyboard/mouse by two people to make this happen just has been a little difficult to work out. Toaster will key out a digital source, just not an outside source. So, hence the reason for my asking if TriCaster accepts this as a DSK source.

Thanks for the info.

kleima
03-16-2005, 12:01 PM
That I don't know.

jcupp
03-16-2005, 01:48 PM
Right now the overlay on the TriCaster works only with the equivalent of the CG Player.

Paul Lara
03-16-2005, 02:08 PM
hence the reason for my asking if TriCaster accepts this as a DSK source.

TriCaster's Network IN technology is very cool.
You can pull in your lyrics from across the network, or just have a laptop connected directly via cross-over cable. You can then chroma or luma key those lyrics on top of your live sources!! :D

radams
03-16-2005, 02:24 PM
Now if we could only get NetWork IN to also have an alpha functionality....then that would be very helpful...or give us linear and chroma key functions in the DSK ;)

Cheers,

J_Camp
03-16-2005, 02:30 PM
radams, what are you saying?

Paul, can you transition between live camera shots behind that the PowerPoint slide that has the back keyed out or are you stuck with one camera shot until you drop the key? I understood Gary Reiley to say that this I could key it out, but can I switch between shots under in it in a live setting and keep the key up?

Just asking since it seems that you guys have either successfully done what we've been asking for a while and put it in another system that I don't have or that you've split the functionality that we need and put half of it in the VT[4] and the other half in the TriCaster.

If it's the first thing, I would hope that you guys would be putting that little jewel in a VT[4] update and SOON.

kleima
03-16-2005, 03:21 PM
I agree!!! Network IN in VT[4]!!!

Paul Lara
03-16-2005, 10:08 PM
... can you transition between live camera shots behind that the PowerPoint slide that has the back keyed out or are you stuck with one camera shot until you drop the key? I understood Gary Reiley to say that this I could key it out, but can I switch between shots under in it in a live setting and keep the key up?


Yes, you can change sources by doing a PGM bus Take. You cannot use the transitions while the key is active. You can already do this in VT[4].

kleima
03-16-2005, 11:06 PM
Via a network in??? No...

BBS-TV 21
03-21-2005, 03:29 PM
To get back to the original question, I believe that you have to look at what your studio is doing to decide which direction you need to go, or more specifically, where your money is coming from. My situation has three VT3's connected together through a gig switch. My main VT3 has a SX-8 for my multiple cameras and the other VT3's are support machines. For a live show, we build as many graphics in advance as humanly possible with the template saved in all three machines. If a graphic or slo-mo is needed, the support VT3's do that work. By using the SX-8, you have 4 video out ports and we send video over to the support machines to capture any video signal we need. When the slo-mo is created or closing credit cg with live video is created, we then send it back over the gig network and load into the DDR for playback.

Again, I am fortunate to have three VT-3 computers to be able to do this and it comes down to your studio and what you produce.

radams
03-21-2005, 11:05 PM
All of this is Great Paul,

But, only being able to use the NETWORK IN as a linear or chromakey and NOT being able to use it in the DSK for overlays makes it only partially useful :(

I hope that in the future that some way to be able to NETWORK IN streams also have an alpha along with being able to have a linear and chroma keyer in the DSK..

Cheers,

J_Camp
03-22-2005, 01:34 AM
Even further, when I've tried to take to a source from the Program Bus, it always doesn't stay in sync. I've been told by T. Support that the "take" button is what keeps the signals in sync when switching between them, so the Program Bus Take will never really be an option because it is not reliable to produce a clear signal to the Program Out.

radams
03-22-2005, 05:46 AM
That is not true...

There were some issues with VT but they have been resolved so you can switch on the preview bus or the program bus without sync glitches. Also note that Even if Tricaster is based on the same hardware and code it is a different implementation...so don't make statements about a product that you haven't worked with.

Cheers,

jcupp
03-22-2005, 07:03 AM
All three inputs of the TriCaster are "synced" all the time so you can directly switch on the "program" bus. Yo can also switch by clicking on the little preview monitors of each of the sources. A single click puts it on the preview a second click takes to the program.

-Jeff
Digital Arts - Authorized TriCaster Dealer/ Beta Tester

J_Camp
03-22-2005, 09:33 AM
"so don't make statements about a product that you haven't worked with"

Thanks so much for misreading me. I wasn't, so don't make statements without taking someone's entire posts on the subject into account. Secondly, comments go a lot longer toward communication when you aren't snotty about it, ray.

Greetings.

radams
03-22-2005, 10:11 AM
Even further, when I've tried to take to a source from the Program Bus, it always doesn't stay in sync. I've been told by T. Support that the "take" button is what keeps the signals in sync when switching between them, so the Program Bus Take will never really be an option because it is not reliable to produce a clear signal to the Program Out.


What am I misreading.

You're stating on the TRICASTER forum...that you can't take a source in a direct punch on the program bus...and state that NT tech support says you have to use the "TAKE" button to get sources to sync...

That is NOT correct in either VT or Tricaster.

I'm not being snotty..but I am clarifiying for those who haven't worked with either system yet. If you have an issue with your VT then please post that in the VT forum section...this is the TRICASTER section...and making assumptions and statements like you made are VERY misleading.

I am not making any personal comments or trying to be nasty...but please get your information correct or ask questions...

I and many others are willing to help and give positive comments and suggestions. If you are having this issues as you described I would contact NT back...this has been resolved as I stated but there were some systems that had problems with hot punching on the preview bus or Program bus...But this has been resolved...and does not need to have the "TAKE Switch" to switch without sync glitches...I know cause I have designed several Chromakey Internet Studios based on VT and you have to Hot punch to switch...

One last thing...tricaster keeps all three sources in sync period...so there isn't the same delay to sync that VT has.

Cheers,

John Perkins
03-23-2005, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the info, I was wondering why our TriCaster has no delay when punching in on main. It's really nice to be able to do that.

I was hoping that it was a software fix that would make its way into VT, but I guess VT is stuck with the slight delay.

jcupp
03-23-2005, 12:23 PM
The VT[4] can have up to 24 inputs. When you select an input on the preview and program busses those are the two inputs that are synced and brought into the computer. When you change to a different input either on the program or preview bus it must be re-synced . This accounts for the delay, to fix this NewTek would have to build a lot more hardware into the sx-8(4) and increase it's cost.

Of course the best thing to do is use it the way NewTek intended and pre-select you next source on preview then use Take to do the switch. No glitches & no delay.

The Tricaster has 3 fixed inputs that always are synced and transfered into the computer so no need for the fancy footwork.

radams
03-23-2005, 01:37 PM
Hi Jeff,

Just for the record thou...NT has setup the VT to be able to hot punch on either the preview or program busses...and to work without a sync glitch.

This is the only way to switch if you are using a linear or chromakey.
So the problems that J_Camp was having were some bug issues that have since been resolved...

If you are having these issues I would contact NT in regards to them.

As to the take button...yes it helps to sync signals but it is not the only way.
If all was perfect and VT was used in a preview before program then that would be fine...but out here in the real world we don't most of the time and to linear or chromakey takes both busses so it just isn't that simple ;)

Cheers,

jcupp
03-23-2005, 02:53 PM
Resolved with what build?

jcupp
03-23-2005, 03:08 PM
Maybe I need to elaborate about my previous post. Hot switching no longer "glitches" but there is a perceptible delay, I'd say .25 sec between hitting the button and the switch actually happening. If you Preview-take there is no delay. Are you saying that this delay has been eliminated? That would be cool but I still have the delay on my machines here even with the latest beta drivers etc.

John Perkins
03-23-2005, 04:00 PM
Taking to preview (unless you are constantly riding the preview bus) is longer than the delay VT inserts when you punch in.

It's just that you see the glitch on the preview bus and then manually take. When you punch in, it hides the garbage and then takes as soon as the computer can possibly do it. If you notice, the delay seems a little random. Unless you already happen to have the next camera on preview, no human could preview/take switch any faster than the VT delay.

I understand why it happens, but when I first got the TriCaster I had hope that NT had figured out a software way around the delay.

The funny thing I've noticed is that genlocking the cameras doesn't seem to make the switch any faster, even though I assumed the system would be in sync already and not need a delay.

jcupp
03-24-2005, 07:49 AM
See, I guess I'm old school, and habits developed when directing with a TD (technical director) linger even when I'm doing both. "Ready 2...Take." So using the preview bus is as natural as breathing, I take a shot then immediately start planning for the next, not waiting until the very last second to decide where I'm going. So no delay. Now I do admit to never trying to switch a Jerry Springer style fist fight so that might be the difference* :) With other types of programming you can anticipate what's going to happen next a little.


-Jeff
Digital Arts





*This statement presumes that fights on The Jerry Springer Show are not planned and choreographed ahead of time.

radams
03-24-2005, 10:26 AM
Hi Jeff and All,

As for hot punching...there were some issues with VT when doing so and getting sync glitches on the output...that has been corrected. I don't have the precise build number but it has been corrected. I have a couple of clients who had to be able to switch with chromakeys setup...and the ONLY way was to hot punch on the preview bus and another who hot puched on the program bus with a linear key on...

As for delays NT has improved it in VT but there is still a slight 2-3 frame delay of course.

Tricaster should NOT have as much delay in direct switching.

Cheers,

jsanfilippo
05-12-2005, 08:22 PM
Yes, you can change sources by doing a PGM bus Take. You cannot use the transitions while the key is active. You can already do this in VT[4].

So forgive me for jumping in late - I've been tracking with VT4 since, well, since VT3. I'm demoing one on a live production next week, as a proving grounds before I invest in one for our new church facility.

So, since I see things going both ways that has confused me, can someone please answer this clearly so I can understand very quickly....

In VT4, can I run in an external computer source through scan converter (ie white text on solid colour background) from a program like powerpoint, mediashout, etc. and chroma or lumikey this so the text overlays on my live cameras, and cut or dissolve between program and preview bus... Simple DSK procedure for worship music.

Doing it this way is my preference over using VTCapture, as I want the lyrics to come from a separate computer.

If this is not possible, what do i do? Use some sort of external keying device??

Thanks so much for responses - time is of the essence, so I GOTTA figure this out for next week.

jsanfilippo
05-12-2005, 08:23 PM
Yes, you can change sources by doing a PGM bus Take. You cannot use the transitions while the key is active. You can already do this in VT[4].

So forgive me for jumping in late - I've been tracking with VT4 since, well, since VT3. I'm demoing one on a live production next week, as a proving grounds before I invest in one for our new church facility. I know this is in the Tricaster forum... but it fits in this thread. I'll cross-post in VT4 forum, too. :)

So, since I see things going both ways that has confused me, can someone please answer this clearly so I can understand very quickly....

In VT4, can I run in an external computer source through scan converter (ie white text on solid colour background) from a program like powerpoint, mediashout, etc. and chroma or lumikey this so the text overlays on my live cameras, and cut or dissolve between program and preview bus... Simple DSK procedure for worship music.

Doing it this way is my preference over using VTCapture, as I want the lyrics to come from a separate computer.

If this is not possible, what do i do? Use some sort of external keying device??

Thanks so much for responses - time is of the essence, so I GOTTA figure this out for next week.

jcupp
05-13-2005, 11:36 AM
No, you can't really do what your asking now. You could set up a luma or chroma key with a scan convered analog input but it would be ugly to look at and clunky to actually do.

VT[4.5] (or is that VT[4].5 ;) ) will include the iVGA network screen capture function of the TriCaster and let you do exactly what you are wanting.