NAB 2017: Notes on NewTek TriCaster TC1, NC1 I/O module, NVG1 and NDI

NAB 2017: Notes on NewTek TriCaster TC1, NC1 I/O module, NVG1 and NDI

A few weeks back, NewTek released the TriCaster TC1 (get the full lowdown on that here), and we managed to get more details at NAB. However, they were also holding a couple of other NDI cards up their sleeve in the form of brand new product releases. These are accessories to NewTek’s NDI ecosystem, which nicely enhance functionality.

Sticking with the TC1 for the time being though, as it’s NewTek’s main release at the NAB Show, and there are a few extra details worth pointing out. x303aasThe TriCaster TC1 features two channels of Skype TX included as part of the build – Microsoft have licensed a handful of manufacturers to build Skype TX boxes, but have only licensed NewTek to include it in a production switcher. You get 16 external inputs (if you buy enough I/O modules) all up to 4k 60p, 3x multiviews, 2x internal 4K video servers, 4x 4K Isocorders, 2x GigE ports, a 4x4x4 matrix router and two independent streams, up to 4K 60P! It also features a native IP switcher, ie it doesn’t convert an IP signal into baseband, do all processing, then convert back into IP for output – the way a lot of traditional video switchers work.

To control your TC1 and add a range of tactile workflow shortcuts, choose between two new panels NewTek unveiled just before NAB, the TriCaster TC1LP and TC1SP – ‘large’ and ‘small’ control surfaces, respectively. You can pre-order the NewTek TriCaster TC1 from Jigsaw24 now.

NewTek also announced their new NC1 I/O module at NAB, featuring 4K, 3G, HD, SD, 8x mini BNCs, 2x 1 GbE ports, and is configurable for any combination of input/output. NewTek have gone down the route of quad 3G rather than 12 G SDI, but those 8 inputs could also be 8x NDi inputs/outputs. An NC1 I/O IP module which adds three channels of NDI and dual 10 GbE SFP+is also on the horizon, joining their current NC1 Studio Input Module (formerly the VMC1) which is only HD but has 4x HD-SDI ports; separate line-level audio inputs and is Dante-capable.

Another new release (although only for the US market), the NVG1 – NewTek-Vizrt IP Graphics Server is a realtime 4K-capable 3D graphics system designed for integration with the NewTek IP Series and the new TriCaster TC1 video production systems. It combines NewTek’s technology with Vizrt’s leading Viz Trio CG and visualisation 3D engine, letting you design and deliver realtime animated 3D graphics up to 4K, is NDI-enabled, and has dual Giagbit network interfaces.

Sticking with NDI, more than 400 companies have now added NDI functionality to their products. This future-proof protocol is capable of 4K at 780fps, 8K 210 fps, or 1080p up to 2200 fps – just in case you need that! For all NDI nerds, there’s going to be an NDI Central booth at NAB 2017, with numerous companies showing off their NDI wares, so I’ll probably see you there!

If you want to know more on the biggest and best NAB Show releases, give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter‘Like’ us on Facebook or take a look at our roundup post.

How to get the most out of TriCaster Mini

How to get the most out of TriCaster Mini

TriCaster Mini is NewTek’s smallest, most affordable all-in-one live streaming and broadcast solution, which also means it’s incredibly flexible, whatever kind of presentation you’re looking to stream. But you might not have realised just how much you can do with it at once, so here I’ve explained how you can get the most from TriCaster Mini, and some of my top bundle deals too… 

TriCaster Mini in media and entertainment

The term ‘multimedia’ seems quite outdated these days, but TriCaster Mini really is the quintessential tool for recording and delivering all kinds of media. It ticks so many boxes, but I’ve found it’s quite rare that it’s actually used to its full extent and capabilities (namely recording multiple channels, adding effects and delivering content all at the same time). It’s a bit like Photoshop in that sense – an incredibly deep and powerful tool that sometimes just gets used for cropping images or creating simple graphics, rather than the full extent of its functionality.

The five jobs of TriCaster Mini

To see the full extent of TriCaster Mini’s functionality, it’s best to split it into five distinct categories: video capture, streaming, effects, audio mixing and output. Of course, the fact that it packages all these jobs up into an incredibly easy to use and very portable package, which can even be controlled using an iOS app, is just the icing on the cake.

1. Video capture. In its most basic function, TriCaster Mini works as a video capture device, letting you capture up to four streams simultaneously into a choice of codecs/formats. You can also take in content from any computer screen to use, whether that’s a website, a Skype feed, video apps like iMovie and Premiere Pro or presentation apps like PowerPoint and Keynote. You’re even able to take direct streams from Apple AirPlay on any iOS device.

2. Streaming. One of the other main uses of TriCaster Mini is for streaming live events and HD performances to the internet. You can also record the stream at the same time to upload to your website for use as a pre-recorded stream.

3. Effects. TriCaster Mini is also ideal for easily adding effects to your presentation, with hardware chroma and greenscreening built in. The TransWarp effects engine lets you add full colour, animated transitions, and supports their Virtual Set Editor, so you can drop your presenter into a virtual environment.

4. Audio mixing. TriCaster even has an audio mixer, so with the addition of a low cost audio control surface, or even a mixer, you can plug in numerous microphones and mix within the production environment.

5. Output. TriCaster Mini also lets you output in a huge number of different formats, and publish direct to social media. For example, you can stream clips straight to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or over an FTP to help get it to as wide an audience as possible. Alternatively, TriCaster Mini is quite happy driving screens around offices, school sites and live events with content.

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Example: TriCaster Mini on the red carpet

So how can you use all that functionality at once? One neat example is for live events, and especially something like an awards show. As well as capturing and recording everything coming in from cameras (presentations, speeches, live music performances etc), you can use it to play clips and graphics out at the same time for everyone watching in the audience (showreels, backgrounders and the like).

You essentially have two audiences – those in the room, watching third screen content, and those you’re cutting the show and streaming for. You can record, play content and stream footage, and have a separate programme streamed live to a website at the same time, using social media to drum up interest in your stream.

The great thing is, with multiple video feeds, you don’t miss any gems from around the room while you’re focused in on a closeup (audience reactions, or any little slip-ups or bloopers that add colour to your presentation). You can record three other inputs at the same time, bring the footage in and use it while recording. Just grab the clips, mark in and out points, and immediately upload to social media, while you’re still recording and streaming, adding effects and realtime titling.

Because it’s so portable, you can simply bundle TriCaster Mini up in a flight case, rock up to the event and you’re ready to go.

TriCaster Mini in education

We’ve been mainly talking about using TriCaster Mini in live broadcast and event situations so far, but it’s also a brilliant option for education, with applications across the curriculum. Creative subjects like English, music and drama are obvious candidates (think oral presentations, magazine pieces, plays and sitcoms, and music and dance videos), but it’s also great for science and humanities, helping put students in different global locations, and live events like sports days open evenings, where you can show off to prospective students.

One of the most interesting things I’ve seen schools doing with TriCaster is one of our customers, a mixed faith school. They were using TriCaster Mini to show different places of worship with hi-res photos, and reenacting the prayer routine, without having to bring students to the church or temple.

Your TriCaster Mini options

The most basic NewTek TriCaster Mini (base configuration) retails at Jigsaw24 for just £3995 ex VAT, or you can get the fully-featured version with screen and storage for £5495 ex VAT. However, I’ve also put together some budget bundles below (available while stocks last) that come with a few recommended extras like a switcher control surface and flight case that will really help you get the most out of your TriCaster workflow, and save you a few quid. Or you can go the whole hog and get all of that with added cameras too!

Corporate streaming bundleThis great value entry bundle sees you essentially getting a GoPro Hero 4 camera, Joby GorillaPod tripod and Lastolite chroma kit completely free with your TriCaster Mini. Great for corporate use! – £3995 ex VAT.

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Fully featured streaming bundleIf you need more professional footage, this bundle comes with the fantastic Sony PXW-X70, rather than a GoPro, as well as the fully-featured TriCaster Mini, Lastolite chroma kit, E-Image EG03A2 tripod and NewTek boosted HDMI cable kit. – £6699 ex VAT.

The ultimate education bundle. Designed specially to give schools or colleges everything they need to start using the TriCaster Mini to its full potential. With the Tricaster Mini you get a Canon Legria Camcorder so you can begin shooting, a Joby GorillaPod tripod and a RØDE microphone to get your audio recording off the ground, as well as a Lastolite pop-up greenscreen and stand to start using the chroma functions. – £6999 ex VAT.

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Sony FS5: Smart, cunning and divisive over media…

Sony FS5: Smart, cunning and divisive over media…

I recently got a sneak preview of Sony’s new PXW-FS5. The IBC noise sounded a bit like this was an FS100 replacement (it isn’t). It’s actually much closer to the FS7.

It doesn’t quite have the same 4K clout as the FS7, but it’s got a couple of really smart, discreet upgrades in tech and design, all in a much smaller form factor, allowing shooting from any angle. Sony have produced an amazing small form factor, large sensor 4K camera. Now you’re going to want one of each.

So the sexy specs – 14 stops, QFHD 4K, over-cranking, WiFi/near field communication, choice of two codecs (including XAVC).

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The body

As you can see from the pics, the FS7 closely resembles the FS7. From the tech specs, you can see this thing is half the size. Also, it’s designed to be modular, so you strip it down to just a functioning body (weighing just 830g!) and a lens. What Sony have done with the XLRs on the FS5 is my first favourite ‘smartness’ – they’ve put them in completely different places. One is in the handle where you’d always expect it, the other is in the body. This enables recording XLR audio without anything else attached.

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The LCD will rotate into any position on its axis, then there are loads of mounting screws, so it can be mounted in almost any position.

Another smartness – the handgrip. I love the physics-defying design of the rotating arm on the FS7. On the 5, it looks like they’ve taken the handgrip from the 7 and attached it direct – it will rotate 180 degrees and also lock into nine specific places within that arc It’s so good in terms of weight, balance and ergonomics.

The battery

The FS5 ships with a BPU-30 battery, but the camera has a really deep battery-bay –its designed so a BPU-60 will fit flush with the body and a BPU-90 will extrude just a bit. Incidentally a BPU-60 will run it for approx. 4.5 hours, so a great choice on the FS5.

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The best bit

Time for another smartness – and my favourite bit – the ND filter. I kid you not. Firstly, as you can see from my pics, the silver ND dial looks the same, and is in the same position as on the FS7. But it’s brand new technology. It’s not mechanical (or not entirely); it’s digitally controlled. So as you switch the ND filter on, a clear piece of glass is mechanically dropped over the sensor (see pic), but the amount that the glass is tinted (ND-ed) is done digitally. Anywhere from 1/4 ND through to 1/28. To make it simple, that silver dial (which is normally three positions of ND) is still that, but what you want each position to be is set in the Menus – so the silver dial is like three ‘assignable’ buttons for ND.

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The controversial bit

The next bit you’re either going to love or hate.

For choice of media, Sony have gone for good ol’ non-proprietary SDXC cards. Awesome – you’ll save a fortune on media. And I’m still impressed at the engineering that makes 4K acquisition onto an SDXC card possible. However, there’s a trade-off – bottom line is you can only get 100MB/s as a consistent write speed from most fast SDXC cards, so the FS5 can only shoot UHD 4K up to 100MB/s.

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The footage I saw looked stunning (funny, demo reels always do…), but the trade-off is it can only shoot 4K to SDXC as a Long GOP profile – no Intraframe, which is reserved for the FS7 with its fancy, faster (and much more expensive) XQD cards. If you’re a shooter who moans about the cost of the newer, faster media (whether XQD, C-Fast, AJA PAK…), be careful what you wish for.

Over-cranking

Which brings me onto over-cranking. Yep, the FS5 can shoot up to 240fps at full HD. I know, I know, you’re doing the maths and shouting ‘but that’s impossible if the capture media can only do a reliable 100MB/s!’ Yep. Which is why it can only do it in eight second bursts (like the FS700).

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The FS5 captures it to an internal buffer first, then adds it to media. Another trade-off for cheaper media. Furthermore, there’s no over-cranking at QFHD 4K (unhappy face). However, drop it to 120 fps at 1080, and this buffer becomes a sixteen second burst. And if you’re a real slo-mo freak, it will continue to shoot lower, for every drop in resolution you’re prepared to go –as far as up to 960fps at 260p (260 lines, or ¼ vertical HD resolution), or so I believe.

The boring bit

Resolution – the FS5 will shoot full HD at 4:2:2, 10-bit, at 50p at 50Mb/s or 10-bit 4:2:2 at 25p at 35Mb/s. And if you really want, you can even shoot AVCHD at 24Mb/s and lower. It will even shoot DCI 2K at this 10-bit 4:2:2 profile. Sony’s final trade-off with the SDXC choice – the FS5 will only shoot UHD 4K internally at 8-bit 4:2:0. It will do it in S-Log 2 and 3, but take into account the fact that it’s only 8-bit.

The verdict

A good time to take a good look at yourself and ask – do you prefer affordable media with limitations on shooting, or insanely expensive media (XQD, C-FAST, AJA-PAKs etc) that allows you to do everything? Luckily for Sony, they now have two answers to cover themselves: FS5 or FS7.

Another cunning trick, this surprise announcement really lays down the gauntlet on the (announced a while back) eagerly awaited URSA Mini. Now, wouldn’t it be really cunning if they released a firmware update for RAW…

Want to know more? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Talking Point: Filmic Looks

Talking Point: Filmic Looks

Look like film for the cost of video…

For a long, long time video was considered the poor cousin of film – be it 8mm, 16mm or 35mm, the look of film was achievable only with the real thing.

Luckily for those without real film budgets, technology has advanced sufficiently to enable us to produce truly filmic quality footage for a fraction of the price. A combination of both camera and lens technology as well as plug-in developments has really brought digital video into the cinema with great results.

Cameras are now able to shoot in true variable frame rates – just like a real film camera. This allows for superb ‘cranked’ effects previously only possible with a very expensive film camera or very expensive plug-ins. In fact using variable framerate technology we can decide later on just whether we want to under or over crank a sequence leaving the creative possibilities open to the editor and thus preventing the need for expensive re-shoots.

Progressive recording methods allow digital footage to be recorded in a similar way to that of film cameras and afford real flexibility in editing – frames are complete and individual just like real film so a cut between frames is exactly that.

Lens technology has also advanced and we are now seeing real 35mm film lens adaptor kits becoming available for digital video cameras giving the depth of field and increased detail associated with film.

Purists will say they can tell the difference between real super 16mm film and XDCAM EX but at around a third of the cost and with the added benefits of a non-linear camera and a non-linear workflow is it really an issue that perhaps less than one percent of your target audience may be aware the project was digital in origin?

Certainly your accountant will back you every step of the way…

To find out more, get in touch 03332 400 222 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com.

Take a look at our full broadcast range here.

The difference between cheap and premium cabling

The difference between cheap and premium cabling

It’s useful to use an analogy comparing cable to copper plumbing pipe to answer this one:

If too small a pipe is used for say, central heating, an increase in water pressure results because the water has to flow through a narrower hole. This could cause reliability problems. The smaller bore pipe used can also lead to furring up of the system over a period of time.

With cable, the less metal (usually copper) used means there is more pressure to electrical current flow. This extra pressure is called Resistance. The longer the cable, the more resistance there is. Other factors also come into play that cause degradation of the higher frequency parts of the signal rather than the lower ones. All this means that using cheaper cable over long distances causes a serious deterioration in the quality of the signal, to such an extent that the signal, when it arrives at the receiving end, maybe unusable for the purpose it was intended for.

The use of premium cable (and therefore more copper) reduces this loss of signal quality.

Want to know more? Call 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com.