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Field Report: NewTek TriCaster Studio
At the risk of dropping an over-used phrase, NewTek TriCaster is truly a plug-and-play device. It allows the non-technical user to begin webcasting with the production effects of ESPN. It's a PC built in a case that includes audio/video I/O on the front and the standard PC connections on the back. Its combination video effects/switcher and powerful PC will stream, play and record video all at the same time.
The unit boots to a standard Windows active desktop with choices to launch TriCaster or configure it. The launch screen includes video preview monitors, a vectorscope, program and preview monitor as well as two video playback decks. There are multiple other tabs for video setup, audio mixing, titles, video input configuration and record/streaming settings.
We have had the unit for more than a year, and I am extremely happy with its reliability and features. It also is very intuitive, and users have the ability to train themselves on its functions.
|Performance at a glance|
Video capture, editing and streaming
Accepts up to six cameras
Balanced mic/line audio I/O
Records 20 hours of MPEG-2 video
I have a long history of building my own audio/video encoders and finding some sort of video I/O card as well as an external switcher and monitors. TriCaster eliminated all of that into one neatly assembled box. It's also road ready. My favorite use was placing it under an end table in a Naples condo living room for a one-week broadcast there. I have shipped the unit to locations, and with a simple high-speed wired Internet connection I'm on the air. Once on the road I can easily run the radio show as well as the webcam.
The keyboard hot keys allow transitions as well as direct camera or source cuts. I can automate the transitions to play video roll and at the conclusion of a video playlist it will auto transition to the camera setup in the preview window. Each input features video input status closures; we use these at live events to provide a source tally on each live camera.
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