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TriCaster Mini from NewTek: a first (but intense) look

TriCaster Mini is likely to become the most revered “multicamera studio in a box” in its class.

Today NewTek announced TriCaster Mini, the newest member of its TriCaster family of “multicamera studio in a box” products. Frequent readers will recall that I have covered TriCasters in the past, and —full disclosure— have also written several contracted white papers for NewTek, in two languages. Under a non-disclosure agreement, I had a rather intense advanced briefing/discussion about TriCaster Mini with the company, and ahead you’ll see everything I love, plus details I would really like polished in an upcoming software update.

In this article

  • TriCaster Mini: almost everything I would have hoped for with the TriCaster 40
  • All the good things about the TriCaster Mini
  • An interview with Rex Olson, NewTek’s VP of media production, about standard virtual sets and the revered Holographic LiveSets
  • Details that concerned me, that I’d like changed via an upcoming software update
  • Pricing and conclusions

TriCaster Mini: almost everything I would have hoped for with the TriCaster 40

Frequent readers will recall that when NewTek launched the TriCaster 40 back in 2012, I had mixed emotions since I really wanted to love it, but initially suffered from two unforgivable disappointments:

  1. Lack of scopes (waveform/vectorscope). After my diplomatic rant about the requirement for scopes —even for beginners— to match cameras, NewTek fortunately added scopes to the TriCaster 40 in an update in 2013, and even did so in such a positive, revolutionary way, it inspired me to propose my first white paper for NewTek, which the company eventually accepted and then (after extraordinaly good response in number of downloads and comments) requested a reprise in Castilian for the Latin American division. (Since then, I have been contracted to do others, which are in progress.)
  2. Lack of digital camera inputs. The best input available input in the TriCaster 40 was (and is) component analog. Obviously, that was not something that NewTek would be able to fix with a software update in the TriCaster 40 the way they did with the scopes. I didn’t become aware until last week, but the digital inputs in the new TriCaster Mini are present (at least in part) due to my vocal dissappointment at the lack of them in the TriCaster 40, and my pointing out of all of the inexpensive HDMI cameras that are on the market.

All the good things about the TriCaster Mini

Like all other TriCasters I have ever seen, the TriCaster Mini is a “multicamera studio in a box”, including video mixer (“switcher”), audio mixer (with compressor/limiter), network-quality character generator, recorder for program video and even ISO (independent recording of cameras for instant replay), still store, virtual sets, and DDR (to play back pre-recorded videos like opens, outros, promos, and commercial spots. So what you will see in this section of this article are the unique —or variable— things in the TriCaster Mini:

What’s that display I see in the picture?

It’s a built-in 7” LCD monitor (available in one of the two TriCaster Mini versions) which can be switched via software to show program output or other signals. I asked for more information about the screen (technology, resolution, matte/glossy). So far, I am glad to know that it is matte, not glossy. Other information is pending. You’ll still purchase a separate computer monitor for TriCaster Mini’s GUI (Graphic User Interface, i.e. where you control everything you do) or more than one, if desired. The minimum resolution for each GUI monitor is 1600 x 1050, and it can have either DVI or HDMI input, but it is not limited to standard video resolutions. My personal preference is for matte (non-reflective/non-glossy) monitors. By the way, TriCaster Mini measures 11.7 x 23.4 x 20.1 cm or 4.6 x 9.2 x 7.9 inches and weighs 4.1 kilograms (9 pounds).

 

Above is the optional Mini CS controller for TriCaster Mini.

Does TriCaster Mini include the improved NewTek scopes (waveform monitor and vectorscope) that I covered in a white paper?

Yes!

Does the Tricaster Mini have digital video inputs for live camera sources?

Yes! It has four HDMI inputs with an included strain relief system, to avoid undesired yanking of cables during a show. NewTek is even offering an optional TriCaster Mini cable kit which includes four 100-foot (30.48 meter) HDMI cables for US$495 (which works out to cost US$123.75 each, just for reference purposes). So you can connect up to four physically-connected local cameras, not counting the two NET (network cameras) which can be on the other side of the city, country, or world (even Apple AirPlay devices or Skype via NewTek’s iVGA), plus playback from the inboard DDR (Digital Disk Recorder).

 

Does TriCaster Mini have any analog video inputs?

Actually I just asked that question in order to be aware, and to publish the answer here. The answer is no, and that is completely fine with me since for several years even consumer video cameras have offered HDMI outputs. Note: Some cameras have either Mini HDMI or Micro HDMI, so an adapter may be required, depending upon your camera. Those adapters from Mini HDMI>standard HDMI or Micro HDMI>standard HDMI are not currently available from NewTek, but they are available elsewhere. Your favorite authorized NewTek dealer should be able to determine which may be required for your particular camera(s) and offer you the necessary adapter(s).

Does TriCaster Mini have any analog audio inputs?

Yes. TriCaster Mini has a single balanced mic input, 1/4-inch TRS (Tip/Ring/Sleeve), an a pair of balanced line-level inputs (i.e. a stereo pair), balanced TRS 1/4”. So you can take the stereo balanced output of an external audio mixer and into the TriCaster Mini. It is not a requirement that your mixer have a balanced output: you can alternatively send unbalanced line level and it will work fine. The ideal input level is +4dBU (broadcast level), but it will accept lower (consumer level) with no problem.

Can the TriCaster Mini accept embedded audio over HDMI from the cameras, if desired?

Yes.

What digital video outputs are available on TriCaster Mini?

The digital video outputs are as follows:

  • HDMI Main (actually configurable to be anything within the software)
  • HDMI Preview (actually configurable to be anything within the software)
  • DVI for main UI and multiview (everything configurable)
  • HDMI for multiview (everything configurable)
  • HDMI extra output Fully scalable to any resolution (i.e. not just video resolutions) that is useful for monitors and projectors
  • DVI extra output Full scaled to any resolution (i.e. not just video resolutions) that is useful for monitors and projectors.

If you wanted to use TriCaster Mini in a TV station where SDI or HD-SDI is required, you can obviously use a converter from HDMI to either of those, included embedded audio.

How many Ethernet (network) ports are in TriCaster Mini, and what speed?

There is a single Gigabit Ethernet port. Also, since there are four USB 3.0 ports, you can adapt one of them to become an additional Ethernet port if required.

What type of WiFi (802.11n, 802.11ac, single band, or dual-band 2.4/5GHz) does TriCaster Mini offer?

I asked the question in case a producer had to stream live, as all TriCasters are capable (or at least upload recorded shows) in the field, when no Ethernet connection might be available. I was delighted to hear the answer. TriCaster Mini’s WiFi is dual-band 2.4/5GHz up to 802.11ac. This detail is so frequently overlooked by some manufacturers who unfortunately continue to use only the older 2.4GHz band, which is so frequently congested with its only truly usable channels: 1, 6, and 11.

TriCaster Mini also has Bluetooth for use with a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse (or, if you are like me, your wireless trackpad.).

Does TriCaster Mini control robotic PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) cameras? That is another feature that is missing in TriCaster 40 and so far only available in higher-end TriCasters.

Again, I was delighted with the response. I asked about compatible protocols. NewTek responded:

  • Panasonic: Ethernet and RS422
  • Pelco-D: Ethernet and RS485
  • Sony Visca 1.0: RS232, RS422, Ethernet
  • Sony Visca 1.1: RS232, RS422, Ethernet
  • Sony Visca 1.2: RS232, RS422, Ethernet
  • Telemetrics: Ethernet and RS422

How many Network audio/video inputs are there? I understand that other TriCasters have two: Net1 and Net2, which the user can rename.

There are two, just like all other TriCaster units, and it works with existing supported applications that work with other network inputs (Chyron, VizRT, EZ Worship, etc…)

Does TriCaster Mini support all of the same external character generation products (i.e. NewTek LiveText and/or third-party)?

Verbatim response:
 “Yes. All of them 🙂 There are over 50 vendors who can talk to us in different ways (http://newtek.com/solutions/newtek-developer-network.html). All of these are compatible with TriCaster Mini, including controllers, MAM (Media Asset Managment), CGs (character generators), sets, MIDI control devices (we support MIDI control and Macros in Mini), sports overlay systems, etc…”

Does TriCaster Mini offer the exact same types of internal recording as other TriCasters, up to 1080p/100 megabit/second?

Yes. It will record up to 4 streams at once to internal drives, i.e. for ISO recording of individual cameras.

Is there an eSATA port to connect external disk drives?

Unfortunately there is not an eSATA port. Modern motherboards seem to have replaced it with USB 3.0 now. But at least you can add extra storage via USB 3.0.

Does TriCaster Mini include control of external routers?

It does not support external routers currently.

(Unsolicited extemporaneous comment from NewTek in mid interview)

“(TriCaster Mini) also supports our ability to build custom transitions that can warp video, full macros, social media publishing of clip highlights (upload currently recording clips, or parts of them to YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, FTP, etc…), replay (play clips in DDRs while recording), 4 full ME rows, hot-spots (trigger macros based on elements within the live video), color correction, ISO recording in MOV, MPG, AVI, H.264, etc…”

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Does TriCaster Mini include NewTek’s standard virtual sets, or NewTek’s special Holographic LiveSets?

I was delighted to hear that TriCaster Mini includes both standard and Holographic LiveSets. For those readers who are not familiar with the difference, I’ll insert a short interview with Rex Olson, NewTek’s VP of media production, before continuing with the rest of my first article on TriCaster Mini. The interview starts asking Rex Olson about standard LiveSets, and then transitions into the revered Holographic LiveSets. (I am not sure if I have ever met Rex Olson personally at an NAB, when I translated/localized multiple documents for NewTek’s Latin American division. If I met him, it was very briefly, and he is not one of my frequent or recent contacts at NewTek, but in my experience, he is the one to explain standard then Holographic LiveSets.)

Hey Rex! Tell us what NewTek’s LiveSet technology is all about.

LiveSet is what makes it possible for producers to create multi-layered virtual sets within TriCaster. It integrates all the keying and matte-generating technology right in the system, along with live source inputs, realistic lighting and reflections, and multiple angles to switch between. By including all that, it means you don’t need any external equipment in order to create your own, custom sets, and instead of constructing a physical studio, props and furniture, you use digital files, imagery and video sources. It’s hard to believe, but all you really need to appear in an entire professional studio is just a few square feet of green screen.

What makes it different from typical virtual sets and chroma keyers?

Because of the variety of angles, sources and layers you can composite in a single set, LiveSet gives producers many more creative options than typical virtual sets and keyers, which appear flat and unrealistic by comparison. A lot of other systems give you only one channel, or one angle, of a virtual set—you’d need to purchase more channels if you want a second or third angle. By contrast, every TriCaster model builds in multiple angles, so already you’ve doubled or tripled your possibilities without additional cost. And each angle you set up includes the capability to layer in several video sources. You can use live camera inputs covering all your on-screen talent, or you can use other video sources to feed on-screen digital signage or virtual monitors. These elements can be sized and positioned so you can create a photorealistic composition that places the video source anywhere on the set, layered in front of or behind other elements with surfaces that can actually reflect the sources and all their real-time movements, for a highly realistic, multi-dimensional feel.

What’s the advantage of using LiveSet virtual sets?

It all comes down to improving your look, enhancing your brand, and how polished you want your show to appear. You can start with a small, basic production and make it look more professional, which helps maintain credibility with viewers and sponsors. Or if you have a professional production already, you can create a different design, brand or identity depending upon each program’s needs. You can have a spacious professional set for your show, or a series of dedicated sets for a whole lineup of shows for that matter, all in just a small studio space with a small green screen behind your onscreen talent. You can also take your talent out of that studio to anywhere in the world you want to go without anyone moving an inch, with a Holographic LiveSet. This capability offers producers some pretty flexible and affordable ways to add instant production value to their shows.

Holographic LiveSet? What’s that?

A Holographic LiveSet takes our virtual sets to a whole new level of immersion. The basic idea is that, rather than compose a virtual set with a couple of fixed camera angles to emulate a physical studio, this is a new type of virtual set developed by NewTek that lets you create a full 360 degree virtual environment from your own panoramic imagery. Since it’s a panoramic environment, the camera behaves as if it is mounted on a tripod right in the center of a 360-degree set, with the ability to pan and tilt in any direction throughout the set.

The beauty of this is that since you’re using your own imagery, you can put your talent anywhere in the world. You want your show host to be in Paris in front of the Eiffel Tower? You can do that with a Holographic LiveSet.

 

 

How are Holographic LiveSets different from other Virtual Sets on TriCaster?

The easiest way to describe it is that—because the camera’s POV (point of view) is in the center of an environment and the talent is placed in that scene—the audience feels more immersed in a location. With standard LiveSets, having one virtual camera angle per live camera shot allows you to zoom and position within that shot. With a Holographic LiveSet, the virtual camera can pan and tilt 360 degrees in any direction and completely at will. That’s what really adds to the “you are there” realism for your viewers. For the close-ups, you can use the standard virtual set with that scene in the background to provide the cutaway angles for each subject in the shot, for additional shot variation.

So a LiveSet simulates a studio set. Does a Holographic LiveSet simulate an on-location site?

You can create any environment you want in either case, but if the advantage of our standard LiveSets is that they eliminate the space, resource, and financial requirements usually needed for a highly professional studio environment, think of a Holographic LiveSet as simulating an on-location environment: it minimizes travel, cost and logistics – while letting you produce virtually from any site in the world, including made-up locations.

Even if producers accept the costs and logistics of remote productions, there’s a bigger challenge—and that’s all the unexpected “x-factors” that can take place in a real environment. Is it an outdoor shot? You need to be prepared for the weather. Is it in a crowd, and will they get in the way of the cameras? Is there lots of noise? Traffic rumbling by? Reliable power sources? All these things that require so much tight coordination totally evaporate when you can capture that environment and produce the segment in a Holographic LiveSet instead. You control everything, right down to the weather.

Is this an extra cost add-on for TriCaster?

The Holographic LiveSet capability is a standard feature on the professional TriCaster models (and now with TriCaster Mini), with several sets included at no extra cost. That means you can immediately use the included stock ones, or if you work with a broadcast designer who creates custom TriCaster sets, you can import those and start using them. To create your own LiveSets, either standard or Holographic, you would purchase our optional VSE (Virtual Set Editor) v2.5 software and install it on your TriCaster system or on a separate workstation.

How do I make a Holographic Virtual Set and get it into TriCaster?

A lot of DSLR cameras, as well as mobile phones and tablets, already have the ability to take a panoramic picture. You just turn on the panorama function and take the shot by systematically aiming the camera all around and shooting until you have captured the complete image of the location in all directions from your central position.

If you have a camera without the built-in panoramic capability, making a panorama for a Holographic LiveSet is still pretty easy. Just pick a location, stand in the center, and take a series of pictures all around you. Make sure there is some overlap between each picture and the ones adjacent to it on either side. Now all you need to do is to take those images and combine them all into one big image containing the entire environment you just photographed. Any photo stitcher application, like Microsoft ICE, can do this automatically. Here is the technique I use: Capture one set of frames from ground to sky (bottom to top), stay in that spot and turn clo ckwise just one increment; now capture each frame top to bottom, turn clockwise another increment; now go bottom to top, then turn another increment, top to bottom, and so on. Keep doing this until you have covered the entire area, or as much of it as you want to use. Again, all pictures must overlap slightly, and in my experience it takes about 50 shots to get full coverage. Once you have the panoramic image, take that file from your image editor program, load it into VSE, save it as a LiveSet to TriCaster, and it is ready to use. 

Is the only way to get a panoramic image to take the photo myself?

Holographic LiveSets give you all kinds of options for creating your environment. There are stock photo libraries online where you can purchase panoramas. You can also create a model in LightWave 3D if you want to design an environment or an entire world yourself. You would simply need to render it as a 360-degree image.

Can I create different preset camera angles for Holographic Live Sets?

Yes, this works the same way. Open the LiveSet Preset Editor, select the preset that you want to use, move the frame for the shot wherever you want it, and it is ready to go. You can have up to 8 presets for each LiveSet.

What are the lighting considerations if I’m putting studio talent into a Holographic LiveSet?

In practice, soft lighting will work for most situations and is easy to key. With our keying algorithm, the blend will look good, regardless of the lighting of the panoramic. If you are intentionally striving for detailed subtleties of effect, as with any set design you should match the exposure and style of lighting of the Holographic LiveSet to get the live material to coordinate more seamlessly with the environment. If the set is a sunny scene, then you would consider that type of lighting for a very detailed match, bright with hard shadows. If the scene was of a shaded area or indoors, then consider a softer type of lighting. The panorama file will be huge, so you will need to scale it down; a resolution of 7000 pixels by 3500 pixels works well. In any case, it’s always important to use a backlight for a LiveSet to get good separation within the environment. The real power in TriCaster virtual sets is the ability to look professional, realistic and highly custom to your own brand, without expensive add-ons. We include so many capabilities in the system, so you don’t have to spend additional money on production equipment—but good lighting is a small investment you should never be without.

 

 

 

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Does TriCaster Mini include any of the Failsafe functions available in high-end TriCasters? If so, which are included with TriCaster Mini?

I asked this question because some people are —quite logically— concerned about possible freezes in a live situation, and I knew that the higher-end TriCaster models have multi-level layers of Failsafe. Verbatim response: “I actually am not certain yet… doing fail-safe pass-through on HDMI is a bit more complicated because it requires negotiation between what would now be an up-stream camera and a down-stream monitor. We make our HW and I just do not know if it does that yet (there is an outstanding case to double check on this that I need to follow up on). We do all of the other fail-safe things that we usually do however (all processes are insulated from each-other, etc…).”

Details that concerned me, that I’d like changed via an upcoming software update

I love everything so far, or can accept it especially given the extremely attractive price point. Oh, I haven’t mentioned that yet:

Pricing and availability:
In the United States, the TriCaster Mini is available today in two versions:

  • TriCaster Mini, with the integrated display screen and system storage capable of recording approximately 45 hours of footage, costs US$7,995.
  • TriCaster Mini without the integrated display screen and system storage capable of recording approximately 15 hours of footage costs US$5,995.
  • An optional control surface is available for US$2,495, and the previously mentioned optional TriCaster Mini cable-kit with four 100-foot HDMI cables is also available for US$495.

Concern 1: Automatic EDID with camera sources

Officially, EDID stands for Extended Display Identification Data. It is a data structure provided by a digital display to describe its capabilities to a video source, in order to negotiate an ideal spatial (pixel) resolution and temporal (framerate) resolution. In many prior articles, I have covered the definition, use, needs and methods to override EDID when the result doesn’t serve us as desired.

Fortunately, the HDMI spec includes EDID, and it works wonderfully with Blu-ray for auto-negotiation, but (as explained in many prior articles) HDMI on most video cameras has been feisty, due to strange camera manufacturer policies. That’s why —many years ago— Convergent Design’s HD-Connect MI converter successfully added officially unsupported features to manipulate the EDID of the old HDV cameras (remember videotape?), and more recently, companies like Átomos and Video Devices (a recent spinoff from Sound Devices) had to add a separate circuit to reverse interlace (remove pulldown) from so many progressive HDMI cameras that refused to deliver a native-framerate progressive signal via its HDMI port.

But enough background, and back to the TriCaster Mini: In order to simplify the user interface, at least in the first software version of TriCaster Mini, NewTek has decided to disable manual access to set each camera source to match what is being sent from each camera. (Other TriCasters allow you to set each input manually, in order to interpret signals from those stubborn HDMI cameras that send 29.97p as 29.97PsF (which otherwise looks like 59.94i), 25p as 25PsF (which otherwise looks like 50i), or 23.976p as 23.976-over–59.94i, all so that the TriCaster can perform reverse telecine and get the pure original framerate, without unnecessary de-interlacing of a progressive signal, which is a cardinal sin for video purists. I understand NewTek’s reasoning for hoping that the EDID will report proper information. I am just extremely distrustful of the EDID information from most of the cameras, since I know from personal experience that most of the camera manufacturers (at least in there first few generations of their HDMI cameras) did a great disservice to professional video producers by refusing to offer native framerate progressive over HDMI, even though they were completely willing to do so with their Blu-ray players. The exceptions I have seen so far (cameras that I know do offer native framerate progressive over HDMI) are Nikon, RED, and the recently shipped Sony A7s. I do know that Sony NXCAMs apparently offer proper EDID information, but I don’t know if any Canon, Panasonic, or (other) Sony camera does. As a result, I am afraid that unnecessary de-interlacing will take place. I hope I am wrong, and that the other cameras also offer proper EDID information. NewTek understands my concern and (despite its limited internal tests which have been successful) says that if and when the company becomes aware of any camera that misbehaves with its EDID, it will add override capability.

Concern 2: Removal of 23.976p Sessions in TriCaster Mini

First, a clarification. In my recent article called Video framerates and the Tower of Babel: a translation guide

I explained by examples of 14 independent manufacturers that each one means their own thing when they say “24p”, “30p”, “60p”, or “60i”. In the case of NewTek, when they say 24, 30, or 60, they actually mean 23.976, 29.97, or 59.94, and on the output side, NewTek only supports 23.976, 29.97, or 59.94, never 24.000, 30.000, or 60.000, which is fine. They have just simplified their menus and manuals. This has even come up as a question in NewTek’s forum, without any official response, only assumptions. I haven’t taken the time yet to respond there myself. In that same article, I also clarified that I am the first to admit that even numbers like 23.976 and 29.97 are not exact either. They are actually simplifications of a more complex number, which would be the result of 30 ÷ 1/1.001 or 24 ÷ 1/1.001, whose results are very long and not feasible to be used in common speech or even writing.

However, the numbers that are close enough for our purposes are 23.976 and 29.97. If we know that the camera shoots at 23.976, 24.000, or 29.97, we know that framerate to set in our editing software to avoid a mismatch, or we know what we must deliver, and we can determine whether it is feasible to shoot at the same. More details in that article.

Back to the lack of 23.976 Sessions in the initial version of TriCaster Mini. This doesn’t mean that it won’t accept cameras at 23.976p. It will. It just means that the final product (in the US version) will be 29.97 or 59.94, which NewTek currently calls 30 or 60. I understand why NewTek did this. NewTek just wants their users to plug in the camera and start working, without having to set anything technical. I strongly disagree with that decision, and expressed it to them. If they are so concerned about simplicity for beginners, then NewTek should at least add an Expert Mode or Advanced Mode where this option becomes available, on a per Session basis.

The reason for this has nothing to do with doing a filmout (transfer of a TriCaster production to film) or conversion to DCP (either of which would require conforming to 24.000 and audio pitch correction). It has everything to do with maintaining the native framerate from beginning to end. As I have stated in seminars, white papers, and articles. Spatial resolution (i.e. number of pixels) is very easily scalable without changing the “look” across multiple screen sizes, temporal resolution is not.

If a producer decides to create a 4-camera show at 1080p23.976 (especially for a talk show, with minimal movement), that is a great way to have less compression per frame with the same total bandwidth, since there will be much fewer frames. Here is an example with round numbers, but completely scalable: If we have 100 megabits available for video (I realize that we don’t, because that doesn’t count audio and metadata, but this is just an example with round numbers), and I record at the native framerate of 23.976p (instead of 29.97p), there are 20% less frames to encode, and therefore, I am compressing each frame 20% less (each frame can weigh approximately 4.17 megabit each, instead of weighing 3.34 megabit each) … or achieve the same quality using 20% less overall bandwidth for the video, if I need to save on space or limit streaming.

This applies both to the internal storage in the TriCaster and down the line, to streaming (live or VOD), DVD or Blu-ray. NewTek explained that ISO recordings would be at the native framerate. But I am talking about the final product being at the native framerate. If I want to stream a program that I am doing at its native framerate, either live or for later posting to the web (VOD), in order to pass on the efficiency and stream at the native framerate, I would want the session to be at the native framerate. Forcing a 29.97p Session (currently called “30p” by NewTek) is a colossal waste of bandwidth (in lower case, in upper case it would be Andy Ihnatko’s website), an unnecessary pulldown, followed by an unnecessary pullup in order to output it at the original native 23.976p (“24p”). Beyond streaming, both DVD and Blu-ray support native 23.976p, and it is best maintained at its native framerate from camera to distribution. In the case of DVD, it will be 720x480p23.976 native. In the case of Blu-ray, it will be 1080p23.976 native. It makes me tremble to think that I would have to force it to a different framerate, get less efficiency when recording in the TriCaster, and then either re-convert or be forced to include garbage frames in the final product on DVD, Blu-ray, or on the web. Most Hollywood DVDs and Blu-rays are done at 23.976p both to match the (conformed) framerate, and so that there will be less frames to compress, for efficiency. If a pulldown is required for a screen that doesn’t accept native 23.976p, that pulldown is added by the DVD or Blu-ray player on its output. It is not efficient to do it in the recording. It is best left native, both for efficiency and so that those monitors that do accept the native signal can do so. (Blu-ray also supports 24.000, so a small percentage of Hollywood films are done that way for Blu-ray, but that is beyond what we are discussing here.) In addition to all of that, if I am producing at that framerate, I would expect the transitions of the TriCaster to be at a matching cadence.

Finally, to demonstrate to NewTek that “24p” is not just for ultra-high end, I pointed out that even a US$80 consumer video program like Adobe Premiere Elements offers session presets like 1080p23.976, as in this screenshot:

NewTek’s president and CTO responded. Here is his response, verbatim:

“…I’ll make you a promise that if we get even more than a few requests for 24p session support that we’ll add it in the very next patch 😉 I am just trying to keep there from being “session overload” for the majority of users… but if it is wanted then we will add it… at the end of the day we try to be very responsive to users and to any issues and suggestions in the products and this is no different.”

Initial conclusions

I am extremely excited about TriCaster Mini, and can’t wait to test one myself. This has probably been the longest “first look” article I have ever published, and I realize that not all of the readers may have read to the last page (Thanks if you did!). I did it in order to leave the ultra techie stuff for the end. Since I have done that, perhaps not enough people will have read NewTek’s “promise” to add the missing Session format if the company receives “more than a few requests” for it. Therefore, if a reasonable amount of time goes by and they haven’t received “more than a few requests”, I’ll write a shorter, dedicated article together an online petition form for that.

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Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is a bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994, Tépper has been consulting…

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