View Full Version : Tricaster Pro Keying problems

08-05-2007, 09:34 PM
I purchased a tricaster pro to create our morning new show at our high school. We had previously used Visual Communicator and thought we were moving up :) We use a lot of virtual sets and backgrounds and thought the keying feature in Tricaster pro would meet our needs just fine.

It turns out that it is very difficult to switch to a live keyed shot. You have to switch to the source and then select the "background" source and hit the key shortcut. Or, if you key first, then the source just pops out of now where. We try to "hide" our problem with a full screen overlay but it takes us too long to overlay, get the key ready, then fade out the overlay. What a pain!

I was very disappointed in the feature and see they now have a new "studio" version. We can't afford a new system and still can't key the way we want to.

I feel very strongly that there should be an upgrade to "pro" that will allow for this capability.

08-06-2007, 04:02 PM
Well Amy, it seems that you would not do that much better, even with TriCaster Studio. You can't frame a virtual set shot without first putting the camera on the air shooting the framing template, a process which is really gross.
MODERATOR sez: You can indeed frame your shots to the provided body targets on the Preview bus without ever going to program out. The default Input Setup tab behavior is to auto-track whatever is on Prevew.

It appears that what will go to air first is the chroma key screen with a white outline representing the talent frame. Once you move or zoom the camera to that frame, you then add the virtual set canned background.

If there is a pip for another still or motion in the set, that will show up as a blue rectangle with a big white "FX" in it until you add that from the Effects Row. You will, of course, have to repeat that for every camera angle, and the cameras will have to be dedicated for that. So you will need different dedicated cameras for your live sets to avoid setting up the chroma key frame "on air".

Of course one of the greatest parts of mult iangle virtual sets is that once on a new angle the other camera can now adjust the frame (for example) to a closer shot that will be displayed over a different canned frame of the set. Problem is that the procedure seems to require the same non chroma keyed procedure "on air" as for the original shot. I think that with proline cameras I could mark the zoom lens detentes to guess my way in to a frame that would be close enough to not be distracting to the viewer.

Not only would the TriCaster Studio cost you more, but so would the extra cameras required, as well. As far as ease of use, I'm not seeing it.

Nes Gurley

08-06-2007, 04:15 PM
You are wrong on this one Nes, I happen to own 2 studios We set the key up with the camera on Preview row. Infact the input setup tab can be set to follow preview you and automatically open the settings for whatever camera you have on preview row. Why do you always bash everything NewTek Does?

08-06-2007, 04:31 PM
This is one of the things I am really looking fwd. to for VT[5]. The Input Setup ability of STUDIO will without questions appear there too. :)

At long last, it will be possible to completely configure a given source - live or otherwise in advance (including chromakey setup, and much more), so it is all ready to go when you switch to it.

(Input setup defaults to configuring whatever is on the Preview row, as has been mentioned - but you can switch that off and select any source from its menu.)

08-06-2007, 09:19 PM
You are wrong on this one Nes
If I am wrong, then that is indeed good news. But if I am wrong, then it is because the TriCaster STUDIO manual.pdf is all wrong.

6.2.1 Easy as 1-2-3
LiveSet is as easy as 1-2-3. Donít believe me? Itís true -- follow along and see for yourself:
1) Select the camera on the Switcherís Live row and the Input Setup panelís Source menu.And yes, "Live" is in Bold Print, in the manual.

2) Choose a LiveSet in Effects, Align Cameras for the Shot, click any quadrant below, and adjust your camera positioning (using the white profile overlaid on the LIVE Output monitor as guide.)And yes, "LIVE" before "Output" is all caps.

And finally, just below the above text in the manual is a screen grab of the "LIVE Output" monitor showing just what I described, the white framing band around a shot of the talent in front of the green screen.

Infact the input setup tab can be set to follow preview youNowhere in this text is there any mention of setting to follow Preview. There is some sort of composited picture (screen grab) between "1)" and "2)" above that shows a box with "Follow Preview" selected in a tab whose label has been cut out. Since that falls directly between two points, "1)" and "2)", which both say to use the "Live" output; I don't see how you can find fault with my following the manual's text.

Why do you always bash everything NewTek Does?I believe Danic 101, that you bashed me. I also believe that from other posts from you that you regularly do that to anyone whom you perceive to have said anything negative about NewTek or there products. If you had your way, I believe that you would end the neutrality that NewTek bravely allows for these forums. Blind fanfolk only please.

Thanks for the information. You may need to correct me again, as the manual is the best guidance that I have. I am valiantly trying to get a demo and to work directly with the product when it becomes reasonably available to me.

If you have doubt that I would like to be a fan of the product and am a fan of the technology, try to get a look at Bobs 3rd Channel. I really worked hard with Bob Tasa to bring Virtual Sets to VT[3] and VT[4]. Amy might do the same look.

Nes Gurley

08-06-2007, 10:49 PM
MODERATOR sez: You can indeed frame your shots to the provided body targets on the Preview bus without ever going to program out. The default Input Setup tab behavior is to auto-track whatever is on Prevew.

Whoops Paul. I was working on my reply to Dani, and didn't realize that you had confirmed what he said until after I had posted to that.

I guess it is OK, as I took Dani to be right and that it was the manual that had it wrong. I also appreciate your changing your profile this evening Dani, so that I could be sure that it was right to call you by that more personal name. I have been Cineman since Amiga Toaster days when I made my third party transitions under the Cineman Toast label. I still would prefer that folks know me by my given (well, actually it is Nestus), say, more common, name. Cine would be an even more odd first name and man is about as far sounding, as can be from Gurley.

Just call me Steve Bowie now :) as I have just had another random thought to throw in here. Dani, if I was not a fan of the TriCaster line, then how come I would spend 14 months developing the jobs-pac of overlay templates in an attempt to solve what I believed to be the worst feature of the TriCaster line of products?

Lousy segue coming up... Amy, it sounds like a lot of what you are doing is what I would call chroma key shots, rather than multi angle chroma key set shooting. Intended advertisement follows... the jobs-pac weather series might be something you would be interested in. Actually, there are a lot of the jobs-pac templates made for a news cast. OK, I'll stop.

I know that chroma key shots have the same problem as virtual sets (up to TC STUDIO), as far as switching them into and out of a live show. Having had my comfort to you rain soaked by the good news for TriCaster STUDIO, about the best I have left to offer, is to shoot and record your chroma key shots just prior to air, and roll them into the live from the DDR.

I also apologize for the thread theft. It was an accident. I really don't like to start threads that could be perceived as negative. I don't mind coming off that way in an answer that I think might help someone. I guess I'll start a thread with my next question to Paul and Dani? Actually, I already asked Paul a long time before TriCaster STUDIO was released, but maybe he is ready to answer now, especially if it comes off as a negative. :)

Best regards to all,


08-07-2007, 07:56 AM
If I am wrong, then that is indeed good news. But if I am wrong, then it is because the TriCaster STUDIO manual.pdf is all wrong.With respect, Nes, perhaps you have drawn inferences from it that are not stated.

The excerpt you cite is from a brief step-by-step section a user can follow to enable and experiment with the LiveMatte feature, which is implemented somewhat differently than in previous incarnations. (There is a similar short introduction to the subject in the "Quickstart" in Chapter 2.) Nowhere is it suggested that this precise sequence is the only way the effect can be configured.

Chapter 6 - which you quote - is primarily about LiveSet, including with some related remarks about staging, lighting, etc.. LiveMatte plays a role too, so it gets some limited mention, though it has been covered in more depth much earlier. The main description of LiveSet is in Chapter 3, which delves into the Input Setup tab where it is found.

Contrary to your assertion above, leading into the discussion of LiveMatte, section 3.4 includes this notation: Input Selection
Use the Input drop-down menu to select which of the many sources available to TriCaster STUDIO you wish to adjust.

If the Follow Preview switch is enabled (blue LED illuminated), the Input selection will automatically update each time you select a new source on the Switcher Preview row.
The manual explains and illustrates the various features and controls of the system. In typical NewTek fashion, there are nearly infinite permutations of the features, however, and exhaustive coverage of the options is quite impossible.

In point of fact, you really don't need to place the source on either Preview or Main, though tweaking settings would be a matter of guesswork otherwsie. The manual does allude to this fact in the main section on LiveMatte, section, where you can read the following:

"You have already chosen the source for the LiveMatte effect in the Input menu (whether a live camera, a clip in a VCR, or even the display from another computer on the network using iVGA.)"

The example given uses a supplied clip in a DDR to illustrate the relationship of various components, and is clearly not masquerading as a mockup of a live switching session. Perhaps it is unfortunate that the follow-along sample you cite refers to the Main row - it could just as easily have used Preview. It was written for a STUDIO user sitting with the manual to gain hands on familiarization, not as a treatise on every aspect of the implementation to offer someone with a critical penchant a complete look at the matter in his imagination. (Frankly, I have the feeling that if the reference was to Preview, I'd be facing similar criticism for overlooking the other possibiliities.)

You have elsewhere remarked critically on using composite illustrations in a few places, rather than full screenshots. Let me explain why this is often done, too. These are intended for viewing by a new user with a TriCaster STUDIO in front of them. When an image is not a full screenshot, it is always abundantly clear. Pretending otherwise would be pointless and assinine.

Why not show the whole screen? VERY often, large complete screenshots fail miserably at conveying important information. They are too small and too 'busy' for a reader to be able to clearly pick out detail. Newbies often have a very hard time isolating specific items on their own screen. For these reasons, it is often useful to supply a close up view of just the relevant bits of the screen - an effect panel and its important components along with a monitor showing the result, for example. Control labels and setting can be easily seen, and the reader can look at his screen, say 'Oh, there it is!', and continue following along.

Frankly, someone mistaking one of these composite images for a screenshot would have to be on strong medication, to say the least. Again, the manual is meant for TC-S users, not armchair critics.

You have also waxed negative on the fact that the Keyword Index contains numerous references to chromakeying and LiveMatte. What exactly did you think a keyword index is for? Its entire purpose is to list every reference on a topic, whether a passing mention, obscure hint in another context or something more detailed. Major discussions are generally listed conveniently in the Table of Contents, not the Index.

Why would it be a surprise to find the word chromakey sprinkled throughout the manual? It comes up immediately for a basic glimpse in the Quickstart Guide, Chapter 2. It is covered in much more detail again in the context of the Input Setup panel in Chapter 3. You will also find the word used (unavoidably) in the subsequent discussions of two additional and completely separate keying systems provided in TC-S ... the VGA keyer, and in editor's Control Tree. Finally, as mentioned far above, for completeness sake brief mention is made in Chapter 6. Perhaps it might have made for a more compact index had I opted to place all these references side-by-side, but it would have played havoc with the organization of the manual, and remove the references for their legitimate context.

I opted not to rise to obvious flame bait earlier, as we've seen quite enough of that recently - but I hope this little discussion has helped clarify matters for other reader if the manual falls short in any way (as any 1.0 manual surely must.)