NewTek news roundup: Say hello to TriCaster Mini and TalkShow

NewTek news roundup: Say hello to TriCaster Mini and TalkShow
Say hello to TriCaster Mini

Not content with stealing headlines at IBC with TalkShow, NewTek have announced a new addition to their industry leading TriCaster range: the TriCaster Mini. 

The TriCaster Mini is designed to bridge the gap between online presentation services like Adobe Connect and the existing TriCaster range by allowing you to stream multimedia presentations. It’s portable and will work with pretty standard-issue AV equipment (including consumer camcorders), so you can get started using kit you’ve already got. The best bit? You can set it up and start recording in five minutes flat.

The all-in-one approach

TriCaster Mini gives you everything you need to start streaming multimedia presentations in one box. Not got Photoshop? Not a problem, there are plenty of title templates. Don’t know how to edit clips? Just cut between channels with TriCaster’s built-in switcher.

The Mini even includes NewTek’s TransWarp effects engine, so you can add full colour, animated transitions, and supports their Virtual Set Editor, so you can drop your presenter into a virtual new room. You can even take a picture with your camera or smartphone and convert it into a holographic virtual set, so it looks like you’re presenting from a real location.

Everything happens within the TriCaster Mini, so you can avoid splurging on expensive creative software or hardware that has functionality you’ll never need. Just stick to the TriCaster Mini interface, and you’ll be able to start out simple and build up your presentations as you get more confident. NewTek have even produced a control surface specifically for the TriCaster Mini, so you can have every function at your fingertips while you’re making your presentation. And if you decide to up your game and move to a TriCaster 410, the control surface will work with that, too.

Another accessory worth looking out for is NewTek’s set of qualified 100 foot HDMI cables. Typically HDMI cables max out at 10 or 15 metres, so you, your camera and your TriCaster would have to be in pretty close quarters to get anything done. These new cables don’t have that problem, meaning you can have your cameras far further away – great if you’re trying to cover a sports match or live event from multiple angles.

NewTek have also made the Mini live up to its name – the entire thing will fit in a backpack, so you can take it with you to events, move it between locations, and tuck it away unobtrusively when it’s not being used.

Connectivity

For the subset of our readers who are just here for the specs, the TriCaster Mini is the proud owner of:

– 4 HDMI camera inputs.

– 2 HDMI outputs.

– A 16 channel switcher.

– 4 M/Es.

– 15 still and title buffers.

– Built-in streaming capabilities.

– Social media publishing.

Pricing and availability

The TriCaster Mini will be shipping this month. We only have US pricing so far, but the unit will be coming in two versions: The TriCaster Mini HD-4i, a lush $7995 version with an integrated screen and enough storage space for 45 hours of HD video, and the Mini HD-4, a $5995 version with no screen and space for 15 hours of footage. (As a general rule, go for the 4i if you want to handle on-demand video, and the 4 if you’re just mixing live footage.)

The control surface will be $2495, while a set of four qualified 100ft HDMI cables will cost a very reasonable $495.

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.

IBC 2014: NewTek unveils TalkShow

NewTek today unveiled TalkShow VS-100, a video calling production system designed specifically for television studios and live video producers. With TalkShow, any television or live video producer can easily reach 300 million monthly connected Skype users and incorporate them as guest speakers into live programs with full-frame Skype video calls. Attendees at the 2014 IBC Convention in Amsterdam from September 12-16 can be the first to see the new TalkShow system at the NewTek stand 7.K11.

 

The turnkey TalkShow system builds upon Skype TX software from Microsoft for initiating, receiving, monitoring and managing video calls, with a unique set of live production tools not found in other video calling systems. With TalkShow, users have access to customizable settings for fully colour correcting live video calls (including features for automatic colour balancing) as well as SDI-embedded audio, and compressor/limiter, equalisation, and adjustable head-room controls for further improving audio quality. These tools allow producers to deliver enhanced video/audio experiences that are critical when producing credible, high-quality broadcast programming and are simply not possible with standard desktop video messaging products. Additionally, producers using TalkShow with TriCaster multi-camera video production systems will be able to route Skype video calls directly to and from a TriCaster over a network connection without tying up an additional HD-SDI input.

“Almost every live TV and video programme includes a conversation between people-whether it’s a news or entertainment show, a sporting event, or even a corporate meeting,” said Dr. Andrew Cross, president and CTO of NewTek. “While there’s been a growing trend to incorporate social media – such as live Twitter feeds – directly into these programmes, integrating a two-way dialogue over Skype dramatically shifts the experience to a more engaging and participatory event. TalkShow truly breaks down the fourth-wall in traditional live television. It’s a fast, easy, low-cost way to reach anyone in any location with a simple Skype video call and to enrich program content with immediate access to the fresh perspective, analysis and opinions that only a guest speaker can deliver.”

Angie Hill, general manager for Audience Marketing from Skype added, “Skype TX is an important part of our offering to media, so we’re delighted to welcome NewTek to the Skype family. We’re now able to bring new dimensions to broadcasters’ productions and inspire a brand new generation of media moments.”

TalkShow: Make, Receive, Monitor and Adjust Skype Video Calls

TalkShow is the only production system for live video calls that enables broadcasters to manage all aspects of a live Skype video call in the control room like any other video source – and adjust the visual and audio quality of each call. The low cost, integrated hardware and software solution is broadcast ready, offering dual channel Ethernet connectivity, two channels (1 in, 1 out) of HD-SDI I/O that includes reference signal, professional XLR audio support, Tally support and more. The 1RU system allows producers to easily incorporate TalkShow into any live production or studio environment and:

– Access anyone they can reach online including the rapidly growing audience of 300 million monthly connected Skype users worldwide, to include more expert analysis and perspective in their shows, without specialized networking tools, ENG clients or proprietary software to call into a live broadcast or event.

– Transform any Skype video call initiated to or from a desktop, laptop, X-Box gaming system, Skype enabled TV, or mobile device into full-frame video, with automatic aspect ratio conversions and balanced audio. TalkShow operators can work free of audio/visual distractions such as secondary call notifications and advertisements.

– Colour balance video images with full proc-amp controls and automatic color correction to adjust image attributes for any lighting environment, enabling video calls with poor lighting and contrast to appear with far higher quality.

– Deliver reliable broadcast audio signal quality with SDI-embedded audio, and built-in compressor/limiter tools that keep call volumes at consistent levels and prevent audio clipping. Additionally, producers who often wrestle with scratchy audio and nasal-like midrange tone that results from small telephonic microphones can adjust overall tonality and background noise of any Skype call using the onboard graphic equaliser.

– Actively monitor live Skype video calls with full Tally support that allows operators to see when TalkShow Skype feeds are currently live in a programme.

– Easily manage multiple, simultaneous Skype calls within a single, user-friendly interface that offers operator previews, continuous call quality monitoring, and automatic fallback to custom still images when unforeseen bandwidth constraints occur.

Pricing and Availability

The TalkShow VS-100 model is expected to ship in Q4 2014 and is available to order now at a special introductory price of $3,995 USMSRP, which will remain in effect through November 26, 2014. International pricing will vary.

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

Staffordshire Uni: Meeting industry standards with an HD studio

Staffordshire Uni: Meeting industry standards with an HD studio

Staffordshire University offer a range of courses centred around film, video and journalism. In order to bring their studio in line with industry standards and ensure that students were learning current practice, they upgraded their in-house news room to HD and replaced a cumbersome studio back end with NewTek’s TriCaster. As the new term got underway, we dropped in to see the results…

The university wanted to upgrade everything to HD, and make sure that the signal students were outputting could be shared with displays around the studio so that their content could be monitored and assessed. “It was obvious that we needed to move the studio to high definition,” said Richard, “[and the funding we’d managed to make available] meant that we’d be able to make a clean sweep, tackle all the problems and make sure that we got a full solution, rather than taking a piecemeal approach.”

“The biggest problem we had [was that the studio] was SD,” explained Richard Mortimer, head of the university’s media centre technical team. “But more than that, it was SD composite. Anthony from Jigsaw24 did us a report on our options, and basically that was the poorest quality signal we could get!”

Modernising the studio back end

Richard was aware of NewTek’s TriCaster range – simple but powerful live production solutions that let you up, down and cross-convert inputs of different resolutions, add titles, graphics and virtual backdrops, and then stream them live to the web, record them or share them with digital signage.

“The team from Jigsaw24 were brilliantly, brilliantly helpful,” said Richard. “They recommended a TriCaster without any prompting from me, and I thought that was great, because that’s what I was looking at anyway. They also pulled together the idea of having the HD-SDI signal from the cameras broken down to HDMI by Blackmagic Design switchers so it’ll fit our HD TV screens, which is brilliant. “

TriCaster control surface at Staffordshire uni

The 13 screens that were installed round the open plan studio can now be put to much more varied use, able to show live feeds for assessors, pre-recorded footage on open nights, or feeds from different cameras during production.

Supporting students in different disciplines

“One of the main goals of the new setup was to make things a little bit easier for our broadcast journalism students. They’re not particularly technical – they have to crew their own productions, but they’re not going to go to do [technical work] for a living,” said Richard. But at the same time, he wanted to be able to offer students with a more technical bent the chance to do more.

TriCaster would allow them to bring titles and graphics in-house and create their own virtual sets, while being relatively simple to use.

“In terms of an approach to teaching TriCaster, I was a bit apprehensive,” admits Richard. “But, funnily enough, I managed to cover everything in an hour and a half, which was great. Once you actually work out how it functions, it’s a very logical piece of equipment, and then you can break that information down and disseminate it to students so that it’s not intimidating any more, it’s just very powerful.”

Positive responses from students and staff

There was only a month to get the studio assembled, installed and running, so the staff at Staffordshire spent a day taking a crash course in TriCaster with our NewTek Certified Operator, and backed this up with additional video training. However, they’re finding it easy to get students on board with the new technology.

“They’ve been really, really impressed,” said Richard. “The feedback after the first session was excellent. They all got very excited, especially when they saw what TriCaster could do. You can see it gets their creative juices flowing, because they know they can put their virtual studio anywhere and make something that looks really professional.

Camera and auto cue at staffordshire uni

“But more than that, both the technical staff and the academic staff now see the scope [of what they can teach]. Open days are a big part of what we do here, and now the news room’s got that wow factor for an open day. So we’re really happy with it. All the courses we’ve worked on with Jigsaw24 have now got a USP they can use to attract new students and retain current ones.”

Updating cameras across the department

As well as moving their news room to HD, Staffordshire University updated the studio cameras to a more recent model, and spent a month trialling the Canon C100 with an Atomos Ninja. This combination gave them the high image quality, shallow depth of field and portable form factor they were after, and Richard and his team eventually rolled them out across film production courses.

“We’d previously used the EX3, but we were seeing an influx of students who were shying away from using our kit and were clubbing together to buy their own DSLR hybrids,” explained Richard. “The last thing we wanted was for students to be renting cameras at their own expense, but it wasn’t until Anthony came in to talk about the news set and continued the conversation with a couple of us that we found out about the Ninja and how, given the price difference between the C100 and the C300, adding a Ninja to the C100 made the C300 less and less cost effective for us.

TrIcaster setup at Staffordshire uni

“That’s why we keep working with Jigsaw24 – we trust them to give us completely impartial advice and solutions. I’ve never once felt that someone at Jigsaw24 is pushing a product at the expense of what we need; they just give us a completely open and honest appraisal. And they’re happy to work with us when it comes to funding as well, so we have a range of choices depending on the level of funding we get.”

Since then, we’ve helped the university add high-end cameras to their production courses, including Sony’s F55 and JVC’s FS700. “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.” The upshot? Staffordshire University’s students go out into the job market with more high-end skills than their competitors, and are able to adapt to professional workflows more easily.

Staffordshire uni's news room setup

Evolving the setup further with Jigsaw24

The university’s next plan is to add a RAID solution to its post-production suites, and they plan to work with us again on that project. “Every time I come to our account manager with a question, he will find somebody in the team that has got the expertise to guide us, which is brill. It’s really important for us because finance is getting harder to get hold of in higher education, so we need to make sure that what we do spend, we spend correctly. And this is why we use Jigsaw24 – because it’s a guarantee that when we do commit to funding that we’ll end up getting a return on the investment.”

Interested in finding out more about TriCaster and the solution we put together at Staffordshire? Get in touch on 03332 409 306, email sales@Jigsaw24 or drop us a comment in the box below.

New TriCasters get new SSD system and media drives

New TriCasters get new SSD system and media drives

The NewTek presses had barely had the chance to cool when more hot news on the new TriCaster 860, 410 and 460 came out – new system and media drive configurations! Each model has now been boosted by a 128GB SSD system drive and a 3TB internal media drive. Oh, and you can try the whole lot out in our exclusive hands-on one-to-one TriCaster demos too!

That 128GB of solid state memory means a whole host of performance enhancements for the new TriCaster range. For a start, there’ll be higher performance driven by faster drive-to-system media access, faster boot times, restore times could be halved, and much easier access for repair and replacement too (the new SSDs are simply attached with four screws for easy removal).

Then there’s the media drives. In each of the new TriCaster professional line models (860, 460 and 410), NewTek are introducing a huge new 3TB internal media drive within the hardware that will also provide more flexible storage options. If you’re working on the current TriCaster 8000, no changes have been made to the drive configuration.

So what’s in the box?

TriCaster 860

TriCaster 860 (4RU)

  • 128GB SSD system drive
  • 3TB internal media drive (includes NewTek-provided content)
  • 4 removable drive bays (no additional drives included)
  • 128GB SSD system drive
  • 3TB internal media drive (includes NewTek-provided content)
  • 1 removable drive bay for TriCaster 460 (no additional drive included)

Want to see TriCaster in action?

Get a hands-on, one-to-one demo of the new TriCaster range! Just come along to our MediaCityUK office on Wednesday, 9th October 2013 or NewTek’s premises in Windsor on Thursday, 10th October for a one-on-one TriCaster demo with a NewTek specialist. As well as showing you your way around this amazing live production hub, they’ll be showcasing the new 410, 460 and 860, and answering any workflow questions you have, and JVC will also be on-hand to take you through recommended cameras for TriCaster too. Register your place here!
Want to know more about TriCaster, chromakey and live production? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email TriCaster@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news and reviews, follow us on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

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Great tech ideas: NewTek TriCaster for houses of worship

Great tech ideas: NewTek TriCaster for houses of worship

If you’re a multi-site or community-focused place of worship, TriCaster offers some exciting new opportunities for you to connect with your congregation. From setting up live streams of services online so that anyone not able to attend in person can still take part to creating videos showcasing successful community events or charity initiatives and sharing them via social media, TriCaster makes it easier for you to reach more people at one time, or for members of your audience to rewatch your content whenever they need it. Here are a few reasons why we think it’s great for houses of worship (or any other venue, to be honest). 

Here’s how it works (diagram courtesy of NewTek):

As you can see, the big benefit of TriCaster is that it’s incredibly simple and lets you work quickly: you literally select a feed from a camera of computer screen, preview it, select it to be broadcast and TriCaster can instantly send it to any displays or projectors in your building or live stream it to the web so anyone who can’t attend can still watch, and record everything at the same time.

This workflow is easy to learn  and the whole shebang can be managed by one operator, so you don’t need a large creative team to deliver content, and it doesn’t matter if new volunteers need to pick up basics quickly! If you do want to make sure someone is your organisation is a TriCasting expert, we have the UK’s only NewTek Certified Operator on staff and can set you up with training. It’ll also work with most cameras and displays, so if you already have AV equipment at your site, you’ll probably be able to plug TriCaster in and go! (It’s always best to check in with our team first, though).

If you’re already a TriCaster aficionado, it’s worth bearing in mind that NewTek have a trade in programme that makes it cheaper then you’d think to upgrade to a larger kit for better coverage, or make the move from SD to HD so that your viewers get the best possible image quality (and you look more professional as a result). If you’d rather lease your kit then buy it, get in touch for details of our exclusive three year 0% finance lease hire offer.

See our recommended NewTek TriCaster and JVC camcorder setups.

Want to know more about how TriCaster could help your reach new audiences? Give us a call on 03332 409 332 or email TriCaster@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.  

Top production deals: 3 years’ finance on TriCaster lease hires

Top production deals: 3 years’ finance on TriCaster lease hires

We’re long-term fans of NewTek’s TriCaster: it’s a really scalable, versatile mixer with a simple workflow and one of the most powerful chromakey setups available thrown in for free! To celebrate its glory (and to help you get the best setup for your needs) we’ve gotten together with NewTek and JVC to put together some streaming starter kits with different specifications that include TriCaster units, JVC cameras, training and support – everything you need to kick start content creation. And not only that, but we’ve arranged for 3 years finance deal for anyone who wants to lease the kit rather than buy it outright (and who passes a credit check, obviously). Never say we do nothing for you…

First up: what’s in the kit? 

We’ve got four key kits for you to choose from: one with a TriCaster 40 and three JVC GY-HM70 cameras, one with a TriCaster 455 and three JVC GY-HM650 cameras, one with a TriCaster 855 and four JVC GY-HM750 cameras, and a final one with the almighty TriCaster 8000 and four JVC GY-HM790 cameras, in case you’re feeling especially ambitious.

All of these bundles come with free support courtesy of our in-house tech team and half a day’s training from our on-staff NewTek Certified Operator, so there’ll be nothing to stop you hitting the ground running.

Why would I want to lease rather than buy? 

While we reckon TriCaster units are excellent value for money, the fact remains that for a lot of users they represent a serious investment. With video production being quite a changeable industry and new standards and connections cropping up all the time, NewTek’s updates to TriCaster tend to be quite significant, and if you can’t afford to update your hardware regularly, there is the potential for you to get left behind. A lease hire scheme allows you to spread the cost of a unit over a longer period of time, and gives you far more flexibility over which hardware you use. If you need to use a new standard, you simply return your existing unit and hire a newer machine. If you’re working on a project that requires old school equipment, you just hire the previous version of TriCaster. Simple.

There are financial benefits, too – leasing equipment on a month-by-month basis can go down in your books as a (tax deductible) operating expense rather than a (non-deductible) capital expense. Plus, this may well work out cheaper for you in the long run.

Which is right for me?

I work in education, and need to create HD content on a budget. Go for the TriCaster 40 and JVC GY-HM70. The only downside here is that the TriCaster 40 is only component, not SDI, so you won’t get quite as high image quality, and will need to use an extra output to get audio. That said, we reckon that component will be plenty good enough for any education types looking to record and share lessons or lectures, and will look fine if what you really need is HD now, and cheap – it just means you have to plug in a couple of extra cables.

I want to create content for my own digital signage, or I’m in education but I still need SDI. If you want the superior image quality of SDI but don’t want to break the bank, go for the TriCaster 455 and JVC GY-HM650. Allowing you to work with up to four cameras in ready-to-edit formats, the 455 offers increased functionality without complicating the TriCaster workflow. The GY-HM650’s wireless capabilities make it perfect for anyone who needs to stream footage back to a central facility (be that a studio or a classroom) while they’re still in the field.

The 855, on the other hand, is a durable rack mount system that we’d recommend for any sports or ENG team. It provides the highest quality, 32-bit floating point with 4:4:4:4 video processing, while the lightweight GY-HM750 will let you shoot SD or HD footage and comes in a form factor that’s perfect for events work, or anywhere you need to move quickly to cover the latest action.

I’m an OB and live streaming pro, or a house of worship. The TriCaster 8000 is for you. It has the widest variety of connections and inputs, and its built-in social media sharing options mean it’s the easiest way to share your content instantly. You’ll also benefit from having the versatile GY-HM790E, which can shoot SD or Full HD, and is equally at home as a standalone camera if you’re shooting in the field or as part of a studio setup if you have your own facility. (If you’re working on greenscreen, it’s also worth bearing in mind that the TriCaster 8000 gives you the most options possible when it comes to creating virtual backdrops, allowing you to create custom virtual studios to drop in behind your presenter, so you can ensure the entire production is on brand.

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

NewTek’s iVGA PRO brings audio over iVGA to TriCaster

NewTek’s iVGA PRO brings audio over iVGA to TriCaster

NewTek’s hotly anticipated iVGA PRO app is here! Debuting on the PC platform this week, the new app allows you to stream audio and video from your PC to a TriCaster, rather than just video.

TriCaster 8000 workflow map

Find out more about TriCaster on Jigsaw24.com

This means that you can now add rich media like YouTube clips, Skype calls or speakers in video conferences to your TriCaster inputs and stream them as part of your final presentation, in realtime, with full audio, all over iVGA. You can also record the audio and video as a QuickTime, MPEG-2 or AVI file to play back later.

Another key feature is the ability to choose exactly what it is you’re sharing over iVGA. You can now isolate a region of the screen, a specific application, a webcam feed or a child window as the area that you need to send, and then share that with TriCaster without anyone else seeing the rest of your screen.

iVGA PRO is currently Windows only (we’d recommend giving AirPlay a go if you’re using a Mac), and NewTek recommend you only use it on 64-bit systems, reverting to original recipe iVGA if you’re using older systems.

Want to know more about NewTek TriCaster and iVGA PRO? 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.

A multicam sports monitoring system at Babington College

A multicam sports monitoring system at Babington College

While transitioning specialities from technology to sport, Babington Community College were looking for ways to embed ICT in all subjects and help students with English as an Additional Language [EAL] access the curriculum while their spoken and written English was still developing. Their PE faculty found the answer to both in a multicam sports monitoring system. Installed in the college’s badminton hall, it allowed pupils and members of local teams to review their badminton technique from multiple angles, and use that visual feedback to improve.

As an inner city school with a high percentage of SEN, Free School Meals and EAL students, Babington Community College faces several challenges when it comes to helping students with a limited understanding of spoken and written instructions access the curriculum.

“As a progressive school, we are always looking for new ways to develop the curriculum, but more important is the range of methods we use to enable students to access the curriculum and self-learn,” explained business manager Ray Allsop. “Having recently changed from a technology to a sports college, we wanted to introduce lessons learned from our technology days to develop our sports facilities and break down some of the perceived barriers.”

Designing and building the system

Babington’s PE team had one camcorder that they were using to record students practising, but were becoming frustrated with its lack of flexibility. “With a single camcorder system, you have to stop recording and play the tape back, and while you’re doing that you’re missing other things that are going on in the lesson,” explained Ray. When they partnered with the Leicestershire Badminton Association to refurbish their badminton hall, the faculty were determined to find a better feedback system. “We were very clear from the start that [in the new system] we wanted a recording tool that was easy to use, and had the means to show students multiple angles of the same position.”

Working with Sony specialists ProActive and solutions architects from Jigsaw24’s Media & Entertainment team, Babington was able to develop a four-camera setup that allowed them to record students from multiple angles and capture all the footage so that it could be used in later assessments, and simultaneously use NewTek’s 3Play system to play back clips in slow motion in realtime.

“Babington College and Sport England, who were helping fund the build, had a very progressive vision,” explained Jigsaw24 consultant Anthony Corcoran. “It wasn’t just a question of choosing the correct piece of kit – it was building a system that would fulfil their idea. On the one hand, the system was directly used to encourage and inspire students, but it also had to be sophisticated enough for coaching professional badminton players who needed to analyse and hone their technique. Then, it had to be robust enough to be placed in a sports hall, where it would be used all day by pupils, and then at evenings and weekends by pro players.”

Ultimately, what we built with them was a realtime, slow motion replay and capture system, with remote control high definition cameras. For Babington, the real key feature was the ability
to pause or play back a stream of footage while still recording, so PE staff wouldn’t have to miss filming chunks of any given lesson. “The 3Play system was chosen for its ability to continuously record sports in HD quality, and allow us to review performance and show clean movements from various angles, enabling students to learn from their own play, and see how theirs differs from that of peers and professionals,” said Ray.

To make it easier for teachers to share techniques with the whole class, Babington also installed two large screens in the badminton hall. This means that whole classes can watch a single clip together in order to learn or critique a specific move, and that groups of students can watch footage back together and peer review one another, or check the progress of students they are coaching as part of their GCSE course.

Bringing staff up to speed

Jigsaw24 ran a training session with staff from Babington and one of their partner organisations, the Leicestershire Badminton Association, with whom they share their badminton facilities. “You can master the system easily,” said Ray. “I’m far from an IT whiz, but we had a short session where we were shown how to use it, and I picked it up straight away and felt very comfortable with it.”

The PE faculty have been equally enthusiastic. “They’re extremely excited about developing their skill sets,” said Ray, “but it’s also about the finished product that they can offer to students now, and opening up access to sport at a whole new level. If students don’t understand the verbal or written instructions, we can still make an impact and move them on using the equipment we have here.”

Increasing the college’s potential

Once staff are used to the system, Babington’s team plan to allow students to use the system to review their own work or as a review tool for the coaching and refereeing elements of their PE GCSEs. “A lot of the students are very IT literate, so a piece of kit like this is actually second nature to them,”said Ray.“The system offers them a new style of sophisticated learning tool that allows them to access sport in a quicker timeframe, and also increases engagement.”

Since the refurbishment of the badminton hall, the college has seen interest in the sport skyrocket, especially as an extracurricular option. Ray is also optimistic about the multicam system’s impact on the college’s relationship with the wider community. “There is every possibility that it could increase our lettings profile, because what we’re offering is a more bespoke package for those who want to come and train. A lot of people use school sports halls as a social venue, not because they want to train, but I see this as one part of the market where we have the opportunity to change the context of the users.”

The college is even considering using part of its BSF funding to install a second system in its multi-purpose sports hall. “It’s still early days for us,” Ray told us, “but there is every indication that the system may surpass our expectations in terms of what we can achieve.”

“To our knowledge, there aren’t any other colleges with this kind of technology,” said Anthony. “It took investment and commitment on behalf of both Sport England and Babington Community College. It was a brave move – and it’s one that’s paid off. Both parties had the foresight to insist that the system was future proofed and easily adjustable, so they can expand the system if they ever need to.”

The system is opening up access to sport at a whole new level… If students don’t understand the verbal or written instructions, we can still ” make an impact and move them on using the equipment we have here.” – Ray Allsop, Business Manager, Babington Community College.

Staff have found the system innovative and ideal for assessment at a variety of levels. It also works as a fun way to motivate students with the instant feedback they receive and as a result, it has allowed us to extend leadership opportunities within lessons.” – Matt Byrne, Faculty Leader PE, Babington Community College. 

For more information about multicam and NewTek’s 3Play system, call 03332 409 333 or email learning@Jigsaw24.com. You can also keep up with our education team by following @Jigsaw24Edu on Twitter or ‘Like’-ing our Jigsaw24 Education Facebook page.


 

Webcasting and live TV at Wiltshire College

Webcasting and live TV at Wiltshire College

When Wiltshire College were looking to update its analogue TV studio, we provided them with NewTek’s TriCaster Pro – a portable production system that would let students create live webcasts. We also supplied them with hardware controllers that would help make broadcasting engaging and accessible for students.

Upgrading the studio

Comprising four campuses, Wiltshire College are part of Skillset Media Academy and have a Centre of Vocational Excellence Award for Digital and Broadcast Media. Wiltshire’s Interactive Media Centre, on their Chippenham campus, is a two-storey, self-contained broadcast studio with a production gallery. The studio already had three cameras, a range of lighting and a Panasonic MX 75 Production Switcher for vision mixing, but Paul Bryant, the assistant programme area manager for the digital media courses, wanted to upgrade.

“What we were looking to do was to be able to webcast our output from the studio. There was nothing wrong with the MX70, it was just a bit awkward to use,” Paul said. “At the time, we were involved in a project with a number of local schools and were exploring the possibility of some of their students producing live TV while others could watch the programme back in classes.”

Portable production solutions

Jigsaw24 had been one of the College’s suppliers of Apple computers for a number of years, and when they realised they wanted a live broadcast solution, Paul got in touch with our broadcast team. The College had already researched NewTek’s TriCaster so, during the consultation process, we looked at exactly what they needed to achieve – particularly the ability to broadcast straight to the internet – to make sure that TriCaster could meet all of their requirements.

The portable live production system seemed like the perfect choice for the College’s workflow, and would act as a suitable replacement for the Panasonic mixer they were using. “TriCaster is a remarkable piece of equipment,” said Paul. “And when you compare the price to similar items, it really is quite good value!”

To get the most out of TriCaster, we suggested a couple of external hardware controllers that would give students improved access to certain TriCaster features. NewTek’s LiveControl surface gives precise control over fast-paced live webcasts at students’ fingertips, letting them switch and mix inputs from different cameras, as well as integrate professional titling such as captions and subtitles. And the TimeWarp controller is ideal for giving broadcasts a polished feel, with simplified cueing of instant replays.

Putting it into practice

TriCaster is currently helping students get to grips with the principles of TV studio production on a range of courses, including the BTEC Level 2 Media course and BA (Hons) Creative Digital Media. “The great thing about the TriCaster setup is that if we need to, then the whole thing can be operated by just one person, but when we are dealing with larger groups, we can quite easily cope with a group of five students – all of whom feel like they are making a contribution,” said Paul. “It was quite easy to get it going and the students seem to pick up all the principles very easily. I’m especially impressed by the realtime reflections of presenters in virtual desks.”

Thanks to TriCaster’s portability, the College have also been able to take the system to careers fairs 
to help get people interested in the College’s courses, and give potential students a taste of creating broadcasts on the fly. Using TriCaster with one of their studio cameras, an autocue and a green screen, people get the effect of reporting from a TV news studio.

Future upgrades

Looking to the future, Paul has already seen the potential to get more from their new setup: “We have not yet done any work on creating our own backgrounds, but this is something we plan to rectify in the future.”

In the long term, the College would ideally like a complete update of the studio, switching from 4×3 SD to 16×9 HD recording formats. Top of the wishlist is the new TriCaster XD850, which could replace their current model, and give them the HD broadcasting capabilities they are looking for as well as high quality 720p webcasting.

For more information on live TV and webcasting solutions like NewTek’s TriCaster, get in touch with us on 03332 409 306 or email sales@Jigsaw24.com.