NewTek TriCaster brings video to all

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The IPTV revolution continues to take shape, with everyone from ESPN Radio to four high schools in Texarkana, Texas, using IPTV to move into the age of video content delivery.

Products like the NewTek TriCaster system allow us to teach students how to switch a TV program, says Charles Aldridge who helped develop the Student Television Network, a nationwide program with 381 high school affiliates in 45 states that exposes high school students to broadcast video production.

Aldridge and students from four Texarkana high schools broadcast a weekly Saturday high school football program locally on ESPN2 and also have a TV show on local cable access that delivers one-hour versions of the games with the coaches discussing the action. Six Sony cameras, an Avid Xpress editing system and a NewTek Video Toaster are used for acquisition and editing.

We have dual-head tripods with one camera shooting a wide shot for the coaches and a second shooting tight shots for the TV show, says Aldridge.

It s TriCaster, however, that makes the difference. The $5,000 system can take in three camera feeds, has video effects, 100 pre-built graphic templates like lower-thirds and billboards and even a waveform monitor and the ability to automatically calibrate cameras so video matches from one to the next. It also can record six hours of video (10 hours on the PRO version) and also has the ability to both push and pull Web streaming.

In the past high-school sportscasts weren t feasible but this really empowers the market, says Philip Nelson, NewTek VP of sales and video marketing. It s basically a TV truck in a box.

TriCaster is also helping out the big guys. When ESPN Radio began streaming audio on the Internet Gil Chavez, president of Knockout Digital Media, the company that has handled the streaming ESPN Radio, and Keith Goralski, ESPN Radio senior director of operations, saw a chance to give listeners something to see.

We deliver a raw video feeling that gets the viewer behind the scenes, says Chavez. Seven cameras are used to shoot ESPN Radio broadcasts from college football games and the parking lot outside Monday Night Football games. With seven Sony DVX-2100 cameras, Sennheiser mics, and a wireless Helmetcam ESPN Radio is able to dive into the crowds and give new meaning to the phrase new media during its 8-hour broadcasts.

TriCaster just plugs in like it s a VCR or DVD player, says Chavez. And we re able to do stuff on air that looks insane.