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bhigginbotham
09-28-2007, 11:52 AM
I have a few random questions about the Tricaster studio. Before I ask I thought I would mention what we're using it for, and if anyone has any comments as to workflow or additional items I'll need, please let me know.

Use
We're thinking of starting a live streaming Internet channel in Flash with on-demand access in h.264 MPEG4 encapsulation. Right now we use a program called CamTwist (http://allocinit.com/index.php?title=CamTwist) on Mac OS to add some pretty basic lower thirds and RSS tickers into the live stream but it really falls down when I want to do a live camera switch, double hop or DDR roll. I have a couple of HVX200's I was planning on putting into SD mode and running component into the Tricaster. I was also thinking of covering events like CES/NAB/MacWorld (maybe) and doing live interviews/streams from the show floor, so the system needs to be portable with opens/closes and lower thirds already pre-produced and ready to go.

Questions
1 - I think I read somewhere that there are no on-screen preview monitors. If this is true is there a monitor loop for each camera or do I have to daisy chain in and out of a preview monitor (um, yuck). How can I do a super-portable and easy previewing solution?

2 - Could someone possibly paste a screenshot of the Tricaster Studio interface so I have an idea of what I'm looking at in a live environment. I realize there are probably a ton of different interfaces, I'm primarily just interested in live. I wasn't able to find screenshots on the NewTek web site. Am I missing a demo video or something? Speaking of, is there a demo video or training guide I can get my hands on so I know what I'm getting in to?

3 - I'm a bit of a traditionalist, so I like to have the hardware control surface when possible. Is the VM worth it and will it work on the Studio? Seems like it's missing inputs.

4 - Do I need to genlock my sources prior to bringing them in to the system? If not I assume there's a frame sync and with it a frame delay. What would that delay be?

5 - What is the best way to get the output of the Tricaster into a live Flash stream? Will I be forced to take a DV bridge from the program out and run it in to my MacBook or is there a clever hack to get it to stream live to flash right from the interface? We don't really care about Windows Media, in our world the format is all but dead. Once Flash comes out with their h.264 options, we'll probably be an all h.264 shop.

6 - Speaking of h.264, can I output the recorded video as an h.264 MPEG4 encapsulated video for on-demand distribution after the fact? How do I get these files off the computer.

7 - Can I tell the iVGA software to capture only a portion of the screen? If I want to bring in a Skype video conversation as an input into the switcher would using iVGA be better than a scan convert or the direct video output of a MacBook? Can iVGA keep up?

8 - How loud is the unit? Will sensitive mics near the Tricaster pick up fan noise?

9 - Does the Tricaster support 16:9 sources, or is it just cutting off 4:3 video to make it look like 16:9? In other words, can I throw the unit into a true 16:9 mode where a circle effect will still be a circle and the inputs are actually 16:9 sources not cut down 4:3. Any sort of auto-letterboxing or anything related to 16:9 output?

10 - Is there any virtual M/E bus or something that would make me feel a wee bit more at home?

I'm a switcher snob and if I had an unlimited budget and size wasn't a concern I would love to have a Sony MVS-8000 series with the full 3.5 M/E control surface (http://pro.sony.com.hk/product/spec/photo/hires/mvs-8000asf.jpg). Barring that I start moving down the chain, GVG, Ross, AnyCast, etc. The nice thing about the AnyCast (http://bssc.sel.sony.com/BroadcastandBusiness/minisites/anycast/anycastnew.shtml) is that it's uber portable and has on-screen previews for everything. The CG sucks and the DDR leaves a bit to be desired, oh and it's 2x the cost of a Tricaster Studio. Nevertheless, it is cool. How would one compare the Tricaster Studio to the Sony AnyCast?

Thanks for the advise in advance and I look forward to being super sold on the Tricaster :) :newtek: :tcicon:

jcupp
09-28-2007, 01:13 PM
I can answer some of your questions

1. There is no monitor loop
3. Wait, new product coming
4. No need to genlock. W/O genlock max 3 frames. W/genlock 2 frames.
5. The TC Studio can output (real time) analog video, ieea1394 or Windows Media streams. Period. So you would need to do this externally.
7. You can crop the area captured. Fast computer, fast network, fast graphics card in the machine being grabbed from and it works great. I haven't touched a Mac since 1993 and I'm still being treated for cooties :)
8. The unit has several internal fans but it's quieter than many full size computers.
9. It supports 16:9 but I don't think it does any auto-letter boxing but I never looked.
10. The LiveSet functions may give you some of the functionality but not the interface of a M/E bus.

You really should see a live demo to see if it will meet your needs. You should also look at one of the portable VT[5] solutions available from many resellers including us.

PIZAZZ
09-29-2007, 07:40 PM
1 - I think I read somewhere that there are no on-screen preview monitors. If this is true is there a monitor loop for each camera or do I have to daisy chain in and out of a preview monitor (um, yuck). How can I do a super-portable and easy previewing solution?

I will be releasing a solution for this any day now. We are doing some last minute tests but we should be good to go any day now.

Basic details are as follows:
You will be able to see up to 4 camera feeds in full color and full frame rate.
Inputs will be composite only so keep that in mind.
It will be packaged in a 1U or 2U rackmount case.

I will gather screen shots etc. asap to share with all the TCStudio and even VT users looking for onscreen ISO monitors.

Soon Soon Soon I promise.

billmi
10-01-2007, 06:33 AM
An item worth noting on 7 - iVGA does not support audio, so at least the audio portion will need to be fed over on a dedicated cable.

PIZAZZ
10-01-2007, 07:33 AM
Regarding #7 also - Yes you can do that with IVGA. I supplied a VT system to the band Sonic Flood and they would do the exact same thing with Skype. I use both Skype and MSN but only MSN or Helloworld for Video Email and Videoconferencing. I am not sure about the frame rate of Skype but I am sure with a gigabit connection between the host PC and the TC Studio you would be fine. As Bill mentioned you will definitely need to run audio separately via 1/8inch mini plug to RCA or a nice USB sound card if your audio on the host computer is less than okay as many are today.



6 - Speaking of h.264, can I output the recorded video as an h.264 MPEG4 encapsulated video for on-demand distribution after the fact? How do I get these files off the computer.

Same thing as what Jeff mentioned on #5. You would need to do this in post after the live show. As far as getting the files off the computer... that part i pretty easy. Plug in any USB or Firewire device, or move the files across a network connection.

Let us know if you have any other questions.

SBowie
10-01-2007, 07:35 AM
Regarding #7 also - Yes you can do that with IVGA. I supplied a VT system to the band Sonic Flood and they would do the exact same thing with Skype.You piped the Skype audio out the 1/8 audio connection and around to the RCA inputs? Devious, Jef!:bowdown:

PIZAZZ
10-01-2007, 07:45 AM
You piped the Skype audio out the 1/8 audio connection and around to the RCA inputs? Devious, Jef!:bowdown:

I think you think I was talking about doing the Skype on the same machine???
They didn't do that there. I have routed audio like that before on a VT but it was another one of my weird situations. Sonic Flood used a Laptop to manage the Skype conversation and took the video via IVGA/audio via 1/8in to RCA into the VT.

But of course you could do it all on one VT box if you like pain. :)

You wouldn't be able to do it all on one TCStudio box though. There is no way to bounce back and forth between IE and TCStudio's GUI. Well there is not an easy way I should say.

SBowie
10-01-2007, 08:01 AM
Thanks for the clarification - I'm going to let the kudos stand though. Definitely, you get the 2007 'Rube Goldberg award' for innovative thinking and creative solutions, Jef. Keep it up! :)

D3Cast
10-02-2007, 06:15 PM
you get the 2007 'Rube Goldberg award' for innovative thinking and creative solutionsI believe Jef was also the 2005 and 2006 award winner, as well. In fact, how many years in a row *have* you won it, Jef? :-)

-s