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provideo
02-19-2003, 02:24 PM
Hi All
We are running a Toaster 2 as a live switcher for a jumbotron at our local hockey arena. We use 5 cameras and up to 7 DDR'S as well as CG, AUdio mixer, scopes etc. It generally works well except for the odd problem which always seems to be caused by the CG. We are running an Athlon dual 2gb processor with 1.5 gb ram and it seems to me that we shouldn't be having any memory related problems. Just wondering if anyone else is using a toaster for this type of purpose and if you are having similar problems.

PIZAZZ
02-19-2003, 02:49 PM
So what are exactly your problems? We use and sell Toaster systems that are doing the exact same type of live switching. I do not know of any major issues. One thing different is we 99.9% sell only Dual Xeon based systems.

We enjoy many events live switched through the VideoToaster without any hiccups. We do normally shy away from playing with the CG during live production if at all possible. I know sometimes it is unavoidable.

Do you have the RS8 live production controller? With it is much easier to switch video and edit CGs if need be.

Let me know if I can help you any. Live production is what we are the most experienced in.

provideo
02-19-2003, 02:58 PM
Thanks for the reply Jef.

I purchased this system from a dealer who assured me that this was the best that could be purchased. It is a Dual 2gb Athlon Thunder board. Most of my probs are directly related to CG. It is difficult to avoid using the CG live when you need to put up scores, player names etc. I try to do as much as possible in advance and then I just use the CG player, however as I'm sure you're aware there are some things you can't do in advance. I have had the system crash while typing a simple crawl.
I'm just wondering if 1.5 gb of ram is sufficient??
Don't get me wrong I'm very happy with the system I guess my dealer has kind of let me down in terms of support but that's a whole other story. I'd really like to talk to some of your clients and perhaps learn a few tricks and tips for live use.

Bill Ligertwood
Pro Video Services Ltd.
Kamloops BC
Canada

SBowie
02-19-2003, 06:51 PM
Originally posted by provideo

I purchased this system from a dealer who assured me that this was the best that could be purchased.

I suppose that might have been his personal view at the time of the sale, but most of us wouldn't agree.


Originally posted by provideo

I try to do as much as possible in advance and then I just use the CG player, however as I'm sure you're aware there are some things you can't do in advance.
The CG used to be crash-prone going back some build - what are you running? It's been much better of late. The display card drivers can also be a factor, and I have seen systems lock up or error right out of T[2] with a single click in the CG in those cases.

BTW, the upcoming issue of NewTekPro mag has a lengthy article I wrote on some tricks for using Aura as a substitute CG for live-switching situations. You might find it useful. In some ways, Aura's abilities far outstrip the Toaster's CG.


Originally posted by provideo

I'm just wondering if 1.5 gb of ram is sufficient??
You'll have hear the saying about "too thin, too rich, or too much RAM?" Anything over a gig has been adequate for T[2] with SX-8 in much experience - howevah - since NewTek recommends RD-RAM and you'r running DDR, you might think about boosting it I suppose. It's cheap anyhow.

provideo
02-20-2003, 12:38 PM
Thanks Steve

The config we purchased was what Newtek was recommending at the time. I know everybody seems to have a different opinion on what works best, if one was to buy a system based on what everyone else thinks is the best, you simply wouldn't bother. So let's assume that is not the issue here.

We are running the latest build and it did seem to improve the problem somewhat, I guess I just find it annoying that a CPU as robust as this is having problems like this. I haven't worked in Aura very much, but I find it very cumbersome for Live graphics. I'm switching as well as doing everything else so I don't have much time to get something on the screen.
Perhaps you could enlighten me on Aura? I've heard this a lot but nobody ever tells you how to use it as a CG in live situations. Is there anybody out there who does?

By the way perhaps you could help me with another problem. If i access the CDROM drive during a production, to load a file etc. I lose audio output from the sx8. My meters show audio but nothing comes out. I usually have to reboot to get it back. So I try to do as much as possible in advance.

Thanks for your help.

Bill

SBowie
02-20-2003, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by provideo
The config we purchased was what Newtek was recommending at the time.
Not to belabour the point, but I've never seen NewTek really recommend *any* AMD system. Some have used them merrily to be sure, and I do think there was a time where one or more AMD's made the list of acceptable hosts, but from quite some time ago the recommended systems have all used RD-RAM, hence no AMD's.

In the current info, all the suggested systems are Intel based, and the only AMD mention I could find in a cursory glance was this one:

"Q. Does Video Toaster® [2] run on an AMD Athlon system?

A. Video Toaster® [2] requires SSE instructions that were not part of the original Athlon CPUs. These where introduced in the Dual CPU Athlons and the Athlon XP class CPUs. This said, there have been some incompatibilities reported between some of the Athlon chipsets and Video Toaster® that are caused by sub-optimal DMA performance on some motherboards."

Again, this is not to damn all of them, only to point out that I've never seen NewTek offer an unqualified AMD recommendation.


Originally posted by provideo

I haven't worked in Aura very much, but I find it very cumbersome for Live graphics. I'm switching as well as doing everything else so I don't have much time to get something on the screen.
Perhaps you could enlighten me on Aura?

There are a number of approaches to using Aura in the capacity of a live multi-page frame buffer, but - again - may I just recommend you read the article in the upcoming NewTekPro ... it must run to about 4000 words, so you'll forgive me for not repeating them all here :)


Originally posted by provideo
If i access the CDROM drive during a production, to load a file etc. I lose audio output from the sx8.

I've heard others report this, even recently, but haven't really experienced it. Are you using a second sound card as well, or routing all audio through the Toaster? I think you might get by with simply killing WinRTME and re-starting the Toaster, but am not sure, and even then it would be nice to get to the bottom of it.

tmon
02-20-2003, 05:09 PM
Sounds like a Toaster CG issue. I'd be curious to hear what build you're using as well.

Don't these guys use AMD systems?

http://www.newtek.com/products/videotoaster/profiles/We3Media/index.html

provideo
02-21-2003, 10:51 AM
Thanks to all of you for your suggestions etc.
Unfortunately I'm stuck with this CPU. I am only the operator, but I did recommend the purchase to the hockey team. The dealer took it from there.
I have been in the production business for 30 years and I recognized that with the budget we had this was the best way to go. So let's not get hung up on whether I bought the correct system.

I would very much like to hear from a user that is using the toaster in a live sports situation such as mine. Some helpful tips from someone who has been doing this for a while is really what I'm after. These little annoying bugs I can live with or work around.

Best Regards to You all
Bill
Kamloops Pro Video Services Ltd.
Kamloops, BC
Canada

PIZAZZ
02-24-2003, 10:52 AM
We don't do a ton of live sports but we do use the VideoToaster quite a bit for live production in general.

I have found a few little gotchas when using the CG and being live also. I would suggest buying the RS8 if you haven't already to help you when live switching. The RS8 can be used directly to control the switcher and your CG person can be keyboarding and mousing around the CG on the other screen. Very handy in live situations.

I would shy away from using the CG Player and use DDRs for all your lower third and bug graphics. Also make sure that you are on the latest build because the stability is vastly improved.

Per your RAM question... 1 gig is plenty unless your doing some really big Lightwave or Aura stuff. One thing that Steve pointed out though was that you are using DDR ram so I would then say that your 1.5gig is fine.

Email me directly if you have any specific questions.

GTV10
02-26-2003, 08:32 PM
In regards to your CD-ROM problem, I saw this on the specs page while looking up product information. It seems like your description fits this profile. Good Luck.

Alex Vietmeier
General Manager
Gorlok Television 10

Webster University
St. Louis, Missouri


IDE Drives, CDROM Drives. It is important that all drives in your system are able to perform DMA disk reads and writes. The alternative to DMA based transfers are ‘programmed IO’ which is what many of the older peripherals used. (For a description of programmed IO, see the description of DVD burners below.)
DVD Burners. The current generation of DVD burners commonly enable ‘programmed IO’ when reading and writing to the drive. Programmed IO is very problematic for use in real-time systems because it forces the computer to stall completely (with 100% CPU usage) while waiting for a request to read or write from a peripheral. This process is achieved by using the device driver to physically stop the operating system by waiting in a ‘busy loop’ while a process occurs. Many devices can thus ‘stall’ the computer for an amount of time that exceeds the time required to display one frame of video and as a result can cause dropped frames or audio glitches on the Video Toaster®. Luckily, the trend is away from using ‘programmed IO’ and towards ‘DMA’ (direct memory access), which is far more efficient. As a general rule, you should ensure that you are not using any devices that perform programmed IO in a Video Toaster® system.