NAB Perspectives: NewTek’s Nelson on Creating the Next Generation of TV Producers with TriCaster

When NewTek set out to improve on its TriCaster XD850 product for the new TriCaster 850 Extreme, the company discussed possible upgrades with existing clients. Now SVP of Strategic Development Philip Nelson can name the client for whom each upgrade was designed.

“We now have full color animated transitions, which is a [NBA Director of Graphics] Christina Mixon feature,” Nelson says. “The NBA Development League has been using TriCaster, and they wanted to be able to do logo wipes to and from instant replays. In addition to logo wipes, you can now do logo wipes with sound. Sometimes it’s these little features that add so much to your live show.”

The TriCaster Extreme, which will ship in Q3, is a 24-channel production switcher with eight camera inputs, two network inputs, a live titling application, and now includes linear timecode support and can receive content from two Apple AirPlay sources. The most innovative addition to the new TriCaster, however, is IsoCorder iso-recording technology.

“You now have the ability to iso record program out and up to seven secondary sources,” explains Jarrod Davis, supervisor of content development for NewTek. “If you want to record your program out in MEPG and another in H.264, now you can. This is a huge improvement from transcoding or rear-rendering.”

The latest edition of TriCaster has hardware fail-safes and a redundant power supply, so if power goes out, the show will go on.

“We’ve tried to make this the most bulletproof TriCaster we’ve ever made,” Nelson says. “Even in the basic design of our software now, everything is modular, so if you import a corrupt clip into the DDR, instead of locking up the TriCaster, it will just reset the DDR and you’ll never know what happened.”

A built-in Web browser means that users no longer have to carry a laptop to set up and monitor a live stream, so a streaming channel can be created directly from the box. Along with improvements to 3Play, NewTek’s 10-channel HD instant replay system, the company is allowing events that could never afford a full production truck the luxury of creating broadcast-looking television, at a much lower price point.

“There is a broad spectrum of who uses TriCaster,” Nelson explains. “We are taking workflows that are very complicated and simplifying them down to the point where one person can use them. It’s great when professionals take TriCaster and really make it sing, but it’s also exciting to see people who have never done television before get into it. For me, the excitement is opening the door for more people to get into live television. It’s creating the next generation of television producers.”