Interview: Neil Rostance, Managing Director, Fat Free Media

Interview: Neil Rostance, Managing Director, Fat Free Media

Having to tailor content for multiple platforms and screen sizes, the demand for new formats and resolutions such as 4K – there’s always some new challenge digital creatives have to contend with. To find out more, we chatted to Neil Rostance, who’s Managing Director at Fat Free Media, a Nottingham-based video production company specialising in content for the web…

Who are Fat Free Media, and what kind of services do you currently offer clients?

We’re a video production company sitting firmly on content marketing for the web, doing video and animation – 2D and 3D – 99% of the time for online brands. We’ve specialised in that for about eight years now, but obviously in that time the landscape has changed massively for online digital content. We now try to make as exciting and authentic video content as possible, in whatever shape or form. Our team covers everything from live action and production through to 2D animation, and then the more specialist 3D visualisation and animation side.

Does that set you apart from other companies in the region, having all those different services and content available in-house?

It’s a little bit unusual for a regional company, having it all in-house, and it’s something we’re proud of. It’s really cool to be able to say to clients when they ring up that you’ve got someone who’s able to answer any questions. A lot of other companies outsource, or there’s a network they rely on, but from the start we were never interested in that. I wanted to have a team that works all at once on projects and make that the offering, and clients have really responded to that. That does set us apart both technically and also just with the rapport with clients – if they’ve got a team on their site and not working remotely in a city they don’t know, they can get answers quickly.

Neil Rostance interview

What kind of brands have you worked with before? Do you have any favourites, or any that stick out as being particularly challenging?

We do a lot of work with larger, well-established brands, so at the moment, we’re doing some cool projects with Center Parcs and Genting Casinos, as well as the industrial wing of Toyota. They’ve come to us specifically for something that is either outside their comfort zone or a new way of speaking to their clients – video. Even though these brands are household names, we get the exciting challenge of starting from scratch on how their brand talks and feels on video. You’re really going into uncharted territories when a brand that everybody recognises hasn’t done video before or maybe has but it hasn’t been as strategic as their print or direct marketing. That’s equally challenging as it is exciting.

So you can really tailor your offering to clients’ needs?

We’ve been surprised how niche we can get. Someone will come to us with a brief that sounds really specific but we’ve been lucky enough to be able to say ‘Yes, we’ve done that three or four times in different ways’, and we can show our track record. It doesn’t matter what industry it is, they get a feeling for video, and then can apply that to their own brand.

What do you think are the biggest challenges facing digital creatives like you these days?

I still think there’s a lot of education to be done both as content creatives and brand holders in defining what the purpose of video content is and how people consume it. There’s still a bit of a hangover from the corporate video days and practices that do not sit well in highly interactive short form content. Big brands still seem to be thinking in old ways, and one of the biggest challenges is trying to reflect how people today consume video, and work backwards from that, rather than start by saying ‘Let’s make a ten minute video’. It’s trying to get what the viewer wants and work back from there, rather than applying content onto them.

Have you found there’s a big demand from clients for newer formats like 4K, and has that challenged your workflow?

We’ve only just tested the water with a 4K workflow, and although we want to incorporate it, we’ve only had a handful of clients even mention it, let alone require it yet. If you look at the delivery outputs we’re going through, which is web, there’s an even smaller portion of our viewers that can even access on 4K. So our output is not particularly screaming for it, but that doesn’t stop us wanting to explore it. We shoot in 4K, we sometimes edit in 4K, but to us it’s more of a testing ground rather than ready to go.

So it’s more about being ready for what clients may demand in the future?

I’m not saying there’s no future for it – it could be that we are suddenly working 100% in 4K from next month – but we don’t want to be behind the times. It does exist on the web, it’s just that we don’t get requests for it. Again, it’s a case of telling our customers that it does exist and that we can work with it, which is all part of our package.

As you’ve been going since 2007, you’ve probably seen formats and resolutions evolve quite a bit since then?

When we started, it was just at the tail end of DV tape. I started my studies shooting on reel to reel. So I have experience of analogue all the way to digital, and even though it moves very fast, 4K just means clients have more choices. Why not go with the best possible quality and work back from there? It gives more flexible options for the viewer, really.

Does it mean you’re having to update your infrastructure to cope?

The only issue that we’ve found is processing times. We’ve not had to change our infrastructure too much – luckily we’ve been given a good infrastructure from Jigsaw24 that can already handle it quite well. 4K just extends projects and takes longer to do anything, which is purely down to computer processing. So we can do it, there’s no extra special magic we’ve had to add to the workflow, we’ve just had to be a bit more patient with it. That will change and we will get used to it.

Are there any other challenges you can see on the horizon?

I’ve been seeing that our content is getting shorter and shorter, and spread across many more platforms, and many more outlets and channels. So the creative challenge has changed from creating one video for one set of viewers, in one channel, and building it from the start, to having to consider all different forms of content and how it’s consumed. That’s the biggest challenge at the moment – having to think ‘What would it be like if someone watched this on a train?’, ‘What would it be like if someone watched this on a 4K monitor?’, and having to be prepared to adapt for that full range, from a smartphone to a 4K monitor and beyond.

So you want to come up with a concept that can cover all platforms…

It’s the chicken and egg scenario when we’re brainstorming – do we create an idea and fit it to the technology, or do we bear in mind the technology and come up with an idea that forms around that? Do we let it always sit on technology that’s relevant to that idea, or do we look at all the available channels and really build the idea around the technology? I’m not fond of that, because it’s undermining the potential of the content. That’s the biggest consideration and challenge that we have creatively and technologically in our business at the moment.

Want to know more about our solutions for digital creatives? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

MatrixCMS: Untangling your marketing team

MatrixCMS: Untangling your marketing team

Marketing team being pulled between updating websites, catalogues, mobile content, emails and ERP systems? This video shows how MatrixCMS can help untangle your marketing team… 

Want to find out more? Give our team a call on 03332 400 888, email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and tips, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Highlights from JAMF Software’s JNUC 2015 event

Highlights from JAMF Software’s JNUC 2015 event
Our team headed to the JAMF Nation User Conference in Minneapolis last week to catch the latest news in Mac management. Hundreds of Apple IT admins packed into the Guthrie Theater for the annual event based on freely sharing IT information and best practices.
 
Over three days and dozens of sessions, there was insight from a wide range of organisations – from large and small schools to global companies – all with the common thread of enabling scalable Apple technologies at scale through creative practices, from security to deployment and management. Just a few of our highlights included:
System Integrity Protection (SIP)

here was a lot of chat at the show about System Integrity Protection (SIP), which is part of OS X El Capitan 10.11, which was interesting to hear as it’s a new direction from Apple and affects Mac admins. csrutil, NetBoot and any old packages and software that install into protected directories will no longer run, however JAMF binary is on the white list so will continue to work.

Rich Trouton, an Apple veteran with over 18 years of experience supporting Macs, provided an overview: “All malware tries to get root access,” Trouton mentioned as he explained why SIP became important for Apple to implement. SIP disables root access to certain system files and kernel extensions. “SIP is a big change, but still a work in progress. I expect Apple to update this in the future.”

He also warned against disabling SIP and suggested that If you are using software that requires SIP to be disabled, “demand more from those vendors or leave them.” You can check out his full presentation here.

A new CEO at JAMF Software

JNUC 2015 was also the first JNUC with Dean Hager as JAMF Software’s Chief Executive Officer. Hager has more than 20 years of experience in leadership positions at high-growth software and technology companies including Kroll Ontrack and Lawson Software.

On his appointment, he said: “Businesses and schools love Apple products, and are continuing to adopt Mac, iPad, and iPhone devices in droves. This creates an enormous opportunity for JAMF by providing an easy way to manage these devices, helping organisations both large and small succeed with Apple. I am thrilled to be a part of it and to be leading JAMF in its next stage of growth.”

The JNUC 5k

The event wasn’t all Apple IT admin (and posh dinners) though – there was also the small matter of a 5k run open to all delegates. One of our heroic Solutions Architects, Thomas Holbrook, took it upon himself to dash around Minneapolis in the October cold, so well done, Tom!

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Want to find out more about JAMF Software Casper Suite and our partnership with them? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Education app of the week: PureFlow for iPad

Education app of the week: PureFlow for iPad

If you’re looking for a really simple way to create flowcharts, you’d do well to take a look at PureFlow for iPad, which our Apple Education Trainers have recently been using in computing curriculum workshops.

What is PureFlow for iPad?

There’s nothing fancy about PureFlow (Aleksandr Kozlov, free); it’s simply a very easy way of creating flowcharts on iPad. Open up the app, tap to create a new flowchart and you have a blank canvas on which to create any kind of flowchart. Tap anywhere to create a start point, and branch out from there choosing different types of objects and dragging arrows to extend your chart outwards, drag elements around, and more. Once finished, you can share your flowchart via email, Facebook, Twitter, PDF, or save it as an image.

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How can it benefit the classroom?

As mentioned, the team have been using PureFlow in computing workshops, helping to visualise ideas through mind maps and flowcharts (maths, design, even projects in creative subjects like English and drama). But it could really be used in any subject, both for presentation and in the concept and planning stages of a project to share ideas with teachers and peers, as having a visual aid is a great way to help people make decisions.

What’s the best feature?

We’ve tried a few different flowchart apps, but for basic flowcharting, PureFlow really can’t be beat. In fact, its lack of bells and whistles is probably its greatest feature (that, and the fact that it’s completely free too).

Where can I get it?

PureFlow (Aleksandr Kozlov, free) is completely free to download. You can get it on the App Store, or here on iTunes.

– Missed our last app review? Catch up with Videon for iPad here.

Find out more about our favourite apps and Apple iPad for the classroom. Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306, email education@Jigsaw24.com, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page for all the latest technology in education news, reviews and articles.

How to buy apps with VPP Credit

How to buy apps with VPP Credit

When Apple first introduced their Volume Purchase Programme (VPP) – it was great news for schools using iPad, letting you easily buy multiple copies of apps, and dish them out to pupils’ devices via managed distribution (as well as getting you bulk discounts of 50% off on many apps too!).

The only problem with VPP previously was that you needed a credit card to facilitate the purchase – not the best way to buy for some schools. But now, with VPP Credit, you can simply pay for credit to use in the VPP App Store with a purchase order, meaning more flexible payments. And you can do it really easily through us, without needing to go to anyone else.

Here’s how it works:

1. Sign up for the Volume Purchase Programme

The first thing you’ll need to do, if you haven’t already, is enrol onto Apple’s Volume Purchase Programme (if you’ve done this already, you can happily skip to Step 2). You’ll need to set up an Apple ID for your institution by entering your details and your institution’s details before verifying your contact details and Apple reviewing your application.

Sign up for VPP here.

2. Buy your VPP Credit

Once you’re enrolled, you can now actually buy your VPP Credit. Just send us, as an Apple Authorised Reseller, a purchase order from your school with the following information, so we can begin to process your order:

– Amount of VPP Credit required (please only use increments of £1).

– First and last name of VPP account holder (the one you set up in Step 1).

– Email address on VPP account.

– School name (if the order comes from the LA, they need to state your school name).

– The part code you need to order for VPP Credit is: D6701Z/A – VPP Credit for Education.

We’ll then process your order, and when it’s ready, you’ll receive an email from Apple sent to the email address registered to your VPP account, with a link to a secure inbox which you can use to access VPP Credit for your institution.

3. Use the secure inbox to purchase apps
You can now sign in to the secure inbox with your Apple ID and, after signing in, download a spreadsheet with a redemption code for each VPP Credit order. Now, use this code to start buying apps and books from the VPP Store. You’ll have four weeks to download VPP Credit from the secure inbox. After that time, you (or we) can resend the VPP Credit.
 4. Distribute apps to devices

Once you’ve bought your apps, it’s now time to distribute them to your iPad deployment. VPP makes it easy to push out content to student and staff devices, letting you distribute to selected devices either through USB with a Mac and Apple Configurator or over the air via a mobile device management (MDM) solution. MDM solutions will let you control the entire distribution process, assigning apps to users, and revoking and re-assigning unused app licences.

Of course, if you do have any trouble at any step of the process – from setting up VPP to purchasing credit to distributing content – don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team for help on the details below.

Got another VPP question? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email education@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and FAQs, follow @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

Last chance to save when you move to Adobe Creative Cloud!

Last chance to save when you move to Adobe Creative Cloud!

We really mean it this time. If you’re still on old versions of Creative Suite, you only have until 27th November 2015 to migrate over to Adobe Creative Cloud (and save a cool £543 over three years). After that, you’ll only be able to buy new, full price seats, so it’s definitely time to make the move!

Adobe have been offering discounted migration pricing ever since they first launched Creative Cloud (way back in 2012!), so the fact that it will no longer be available is a really big deal for anyone who hasn’t moved over to Cloud yet. And they’re making migration an even more enticing prospect by also reintroducing their three year price lock.

Calculating Creative Cloud costs

Now for the money bit. Adobe migration pricing costs £455 ex VAT per seat for a 12 month term, but with the three year price lock taken into account, seats purchased now at £455 will be locked in for the next two renewals – which all saves you a whopping £543 per seat. After 27th November, however, new licences can only be purchased at the standard cost of £636 ex VAT for a 12 month term. It’s a massive opportunity for anyone who hasn’t yet migrated, as well as anyone who is looking to expand their estates, especially when you consider everything you get in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams

Why migrate to Creative Cloud?

We don’t really need to tell you that using legacy versions of software means you’re missing out on all the new features and workflow improvements that have come out since Adobe moved to Creative Cloud, not to mention the issue of file compatibility. For more info on how it works, check out our handy Adobe Creative Cloud infographic here, or for more on the new features, Adobe tutorials, customer stories and tons of other Adobe resources, head to our Adobe Creative Cloud hub.

Migrate to Creative Cloud now

To migrate to Adobe Creative Cloud and take advantage of this limited time offer, you’ll need to get your orders in before 27th November. Just give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email adobe@Jigsaw24.com and we’ll sort you out!

Interested in Adobe Creative Cloud for teams? Give us a call on 03332 409 251 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

Jigsaw24 scoop Blackmagic Design Outstanding Achievement award

Jigsaw24 scoop Blackmagic Design Outstanding Achievement award

It’s official – we’re excellent. Or at least, that’s what Blackmagic Design think, handing us an Outstanding Achievement award for excellence in distribution. We’re really proud of being honoured with such an achievement, so we want to say a big thanks to everyone at BMD!

The award was dished out at the Blackmagic Design dealer briefing on 10th September by Director of Channel Sales at Blackmagic Design, Tim Siddons, and our very own solutions and business development guru Jamie Allan went up to receive it. There were no Gwyneth/Kanye-style speeches, but Jamie and everyone at Jigsaw24 was very chuffed to be recognised by Blackmagic Design (just check out that proud dad look in the pic below). Now we just need to find somewhere to display the shiny statuette!

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Jigsaw24 and Blackmagic Design

We like to think our close relationship with Blackmagic Design stood us in good stead for the award. As well as excelling in distribution (we were the first in the UK to get our hands on their Cinema Camera and Pocket Cinema Camera), we’re also the UK’s sole provider of the DaVinci Resolve for Linux systems, as well as the leading provider of DaVinci Resolve for Mac, so it’s safe to say we know Blackmagic Design pretty well.

On top of all that, we now have our Soho service and customer experience centre, featuring our Steampunk demo room which is completely kitted out with the Blackmagic Design Resolve panel, as well as the Avid Pro Tools | S6 surface, and more.

Exclusive Resolve 12 and Cintel Scanner launch

To further boost our Blackmagic Design credentials, we’re even playing host to the official Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve 12 launch at our place in Soho. During the day we’ll be showing Resolve 12 running on Linux, Mac and Windows, with stations set up to show project collaboration, editing and grading. We’ll also be showing the latest versions of the Cintel Film Scanner and Fusion Studio fresh from IBC. During the evening, we’ll be welcoming a series of special guest speakers to present on their experiences using these products in the real world. Just pop your details in the form below to RSVP!

Want to know more about Blackmagic Design products? 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.

Our ultimate guide to networking, WiFi and servers

Our ultimate guide to networking, WiFi and servers

Are you an IT manager whose network regularly leaves you wanting to bang your head against your server rack? We know how important it is to make sure your network gives you the speed you need for users to work effectively – especially designers and anyone working with and transferring large files over the server.

So this article is for you, as we get down to the nitty gritty of scalable networking, how our solutions can see you right, and look at how we helped Space Digital future-proof their infrastructure…

Networking

First things first, if your network doesn’t have built-in resiliency or sufficient bandwidth, you’re never going to get the maximum ROI – or the best work out of your employees. We offer the full range of networking solutions, from the design and installation of complex multisite networks to tailor-made WiFi setup. Put simply, our engineers will make sure your network is fast, continuous and secure, and with our range of support options, our engineers are just a phone call away if you need help. It all means you get faster, more reliable network and device access across platforms, improved end user security, and the peace of mind that you have technical support in case of any network issues.

WiFi

Giving employees access to mobile devices is great for productivity (with everyone able to access business resources anywhere onsite), but it’s also going to have a knock-on effect on your network. We can help you deal with the challenges of connecting iPad, iPhone and more to your WiFi. We’ll do a WiFi survey and provide advice on hardware that’ll meet your needs, then install everything and perform ongoing network health checks, so you can ensure you have the bandwidth you need, without any loss of connection or disruption to your WiFi.

Servers

Whether you’re looking at a server upgrade, want to consolidate or virtualise your servers to host your legacy systems and web development, or give your business the agility and flexibility that comes with server virtualisation and consolidation, our solutions ensure you get the best fit for your business, and your investment is future-proof.

Some of the things we can do include workload optimisation, server room design, hardware provision, consolidation, virtualisation and migration pilots, and leasing, rental and finance options, all designed to give you faster delivery of core services, and a reduced energy and space footprint.

 

Customer story: Future-proof infrastructure at Space Digital

Over the years, we’ve helped many creative agencies and businesses get their network and infrastructure up to speed. For example, when post-production supremos Space Digital moved to new premises in MediaCityUK, they decided to build their own internal server room and recable their entire facility to enable their artists to work over 10GbE. As well as helping them design and install the facility, we’ve continuously advised Space Digital’s team on the latest hardware, including their new Thunderbolt-based workflow.

Simon Blackledge, Head of Post-Production at Space Digital, said: “Then we ran through where all the network points were going to be in the different offices, and the layout of the different edit suites. Jigsaw24 got back to me with the options for the cabling […] Jigsaw24 came up once all the floor had been laid and put down all the cabling for the network and the SDI leads and extenders. I moved my machines in a couple of days later and they had us all up and running – everything was fine.”

Free Server and Deliver event

If you want to learn more about infrastructure, particularly making your Apple estate work in perfect harmony with your IT environment, join us on Thursday 3rd September for our Server and Deliver event! Stop by from 5pm for a drinks reception before diving into keynote presentations with Dell, Quantum (Dothill) and Brocade on a whole host of key challenges creatives are facing today. We’ll be talking servers, storage and networking, Mac integration, device management, network migration, business continuity and much more. So if that sounds like your bag, RSVP your place by filling in the form below.

 

Want to know more about networking, WiFi and servers, and our insanely great infrastructure solutions? Get in touch with the team on 03332 409 306 or email solutions@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @WeAreJigsaw24 on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.

 

Sony offering super savings on cameras for classrooms!

Sony offering super savings on cameras for classrooms!

Want to teach students the professional production skills they’ll need in their future careers (and attract prospective students)? Now’s the time to update your camera kit, as Sony are currently offering education institutions up to £1079* off cameras, including the PXW-X70 and FS7. It’s only on until 30th September though, so it’s a great excuse to dig into that budget!

The promotion covers a wide range of Sony’s professional cameras, from pro handheld up to film cameras. We’ve picked out our top cameras for education below, but if there are any other models that have caught your eye, or you need advice on what camera to plump for for a particular course or scenario, do get in touch with the team – as Sony Professional Solution Specialists, we’re here to help!

What’s on offer?

PXW-X70 – Great for all creative courses

Sony PXW-X70 on Jigsaw24

This 4K-ready camera was the first on the market to combine the dual benefits of a large sensor with a fixed lens, enabling incredibly shallow depth of field, with a real broadcast-quality workflow. A price tag of around £1500 means this camcorder is a professional and practical choice which isn’t going to break the bank. £1475 ex VAT (Save £216* with the Sony promo!)

PXW-X200 – Great for journalism courses

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A bit of a step up, the X200 features three 1/2-inch type Full-HD ExmorT CMOS sensors to achieve high resolution, high sensitivity, low noise, and wide dynamic range, 17x Fujinon professional HD zoom, and support for the most popular video formats, shooting to SxX cards or even inexpensive XQD, SDXC and SDHC cards via an adaptor. £3915 ex VAT (Save £432* with the Sony promo!)

PXW-FS7 and PMW-FS7K – Great for film courses

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Sony’s FS7 is a complete large sensor camera system that delivers long-form recording capabilities with 4K resolution in a compact, hand-held (and robust) design that makes it great for giving a cinematic sheen to students’ production. £4830 ex VAT (Save £288* with the Sony promo!)

PMW-F55 – Great for high-end production courses

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The F55 has a Super 35 4K CMOS sensor, global shutter technology that means far fewer artefacts, a wide colour gamut, and internal 4K recording to SxS Pro + cards at up to 60fps and 2K/HD at up 180fps. You can also simultaneously record XAVC 4K files and HD MPEG files to the same SxS Pro + card, for both backup and getting ready for grading.

We recently kitted out Staffordshire University with an F55, and Richard Mortimer, Media Centre Technical Team Leader, has been very impressed: “Now we’ve got mind-blowing technology we can put in front of students, things that they’re not going to see until they’ve been in industry a while and gotten their feet under the table.”

£17,500 ex VAT (Save £1079* with the Sony promo!)

– You can see the full range of Sony cameras here.

How does it work?

The promotion is only available to recognised public or private schools, colleges and universities providing full-time study. For that reason, we don’t apply the savings to the products on the website – you’ll need to get in touch with the team to put an order in, then we can apply your discount. Just remember, you only have until the 30th September 2015!

Want to know more about Sony cameras? Get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or education@Jigsaw24.com to find out more. For all the latest news and updates follow  @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’ our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.

*Savings are adjusted for exchange rates at time of publishing, and so are subject to change.

 

Implementing live video streaming with TriCaster at IGN

Implementing live video streaming with TriCaster at IGN

IGN are the world’s largest video games website, and the destination for anyone looking for the latest gaming news (as well as film, TV and comics coverage). Realising the massive impact video was having on the industry, and how their audience consume content, IGN thought it was time they got on board with video at their UK office, installing a new studio based on NewTek TriCaster that would help them deliver professional-quality live video streaming in limited space.

Watch the video below to see the IGN guys and their new NewTek TriCaster video studio in action (including a TriCaster 460 with control surface, separate Yamaha MG166-c audio mixer, Canon XF300 and Canon XF305 cameras, and an Ianiro Florescent lighting rig). For the full case study write-up from NewTek, click here.

NewTek TriCaster on Jigsaw24

Want to know more about NewTek TriCaster? 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.