Continuing with the line of portable and affordable products, NewTek has widen its range of Tricaster systems of production and streaming with the new youngest product of the familyThe year 2012 has been a very active year for the Tricaster department of NewTek because they have completed a total renovation of the product range.
From this publication we have kept you informed of all the most important products as soon as we had the chance to analyse them. The new model that we are presenting today appeared in Europe at the beginning of October, shortly after its launching in the USA. It completes the range with this simpler and more economic version. Even though it is true that it lacks some of the features of its older brothers, it includes the main ones. Moreover, it keeps the standards of quality and reliability of all the family.
Until recently, a few years, the multi-camera production of a live program could only be done with a high budget spent on equipment and a group of professionals specialised on the different production aspects.
This scenario has been in constant change since the appearance of the first Tricaster systems, which simplified the process and made affordable this kind of productions with smaller budgets.
Since its creation, they haven’t stop changing and today they have reached a price-performance ratio that was imaginable a few years ago. As all the technology, the cameras are also more affordable. Furthermore, there are massive channels of distribution within everyone’s reach, like YouTube or Vimeo. It’s even easier and less expensive to have your own page on the Internet from which you can broadcast any content. That is to say, to become “storytellers” we only need talent, which is no small thing. But now the big sums aren’t included on the requirement list.
In this model they have decided to reduce some of the features of connectivity and functionalities to simplify all the system, to decrease the process power and consequently reduce the price significantly. The objective achieved with this measure is double: the client profits from this reduction because he can have access to products that were out of his budget before; and the production companies can offer high performance services with reasonable costs and this way, maintain its profitability.
But, let’s see what we are talking about and know which features remain the same and which ones were ruled out.
As the rest of portable units, Tricaster 40 comes in an easy transportable box that can be handled by one person. Due to its weight and size, it can be considered as hand luggage by airlines: 26x22x45 cm and 8.5 Kg. We will only have to add the cameras and an Internet connection and we will be ready to broadcast our live program. Well, we will also need a screen, a keyboard and a mouse. All the connections for the professional equipment are in the front part while the “computer” connections are in the rear, including the 2 Ethernet ports.
As a mixer it can manage up to 14 channels: 6 external, 4 internal and 4 virtual inputs. It can also show up to 5 layers on-screen simultaneously. It has 4 simultaneous inputs in HD component and the software can be configured in any combination of HD/SD component and frame rate. The two Ethernet ports can also be used for contents as additional sources, as well as the DDR, the two graphic generators and the two virtual inputs, with the same quality level of its older brothers.
All the inputs support keying and cropping and have independent Proc Amp controls. We can place our incrustations with a 2D zoom, but unlike the superior models, it doesn’t include a 3D zoom.
In spite of the reduction of the system, we think that the video part it’s pretty complete. However, the audio part only includes one line input and one microphone input. The mixer manages internally all the audio associated to the internal sources, but it only has one external line input. At first it surprises you and then, when you think about it, you find it logical. On a usual project, you will have several cameras but “only” one sound source, which you will probably receive already mixed. In fact, adding an external mixer adapted to our necessities even to systems with their own audio mixer, it is usually the most demanded option. With this configuration they can reduce costs and maintain versatility and economy, without affecting a functionality that, in case it is needed, can be used by adding a simple external mixer.
Once we finish with this part, we have again only one audio output because the video mixer output is directed to the two outputs in HD components, the DDR or one of the Ethernet ports to provide live streaming video. In this case we can use only one DDR, therefore we will use it as program recorder and thus, be unable to use it as source.
The software has the same philosophy as all the range; it is very simple to go from one model to the next one, although in this version some features have been reduced to decrease the process power and consequently the price. For example, now it doesn’t include the LiveText titrator, although you can acquire it as an independent option. By the way, if the equipment is purchased by an educational centre or university the extra charges are not included on the price.
The video editor is another element that has not been included in the configuration and it seems it will not be available as an option. As well as the virtual editor, which is not included in the package either. In exchange, the virtual collection is included.
These differences make possible to purchase a Tricaster system at the competitive price of 4,199 Euros, in addition to the 1,599 Euros if you decide to include the Tricaster Control Surface (prices without VAT recommend on December 2012).
This Tricaster version has been created for and easy transport, configuration and use. It should be used for editing programs with a small collection of close cameras, without renouncing to an impressive result. It could be the entry point that will enable multiple users to access the multi-camera live production field: small local broadcasters with small budgets, small business, stages or sports fields of schools and universities, etc.
Thanks to the fact that it can record a live program with chroma-key virtual stages and a multi-camera and simultaneous configuration and also that it can broadcast it on streaming on the Internet, we think that its key features have been maintained. We also think that they have excluded dispensable features to be able to offer it at a reasonable price. It really keeps its promise: high performance and low price.