Monday, February 8, 2010

Video System aka "OMG"

Well, our new video system is in.  And, with a few exceptions, it is OMG good!  Here is the low down...

3 cases.  The first case is the power horse case that can be used standalone for a shoot using up to 3 cameras.

The first case consists of...

2 Shure wireless mic receivers, Sony HDV VTR (Mini or Regular DV tape with LCD preview monitor on the front), Extron D/A and Extron VGA Scan Converter, DataVideo DN-500 digital recorder (records onto removable hard drive packs you can then hook up to your computer with USB to offload content), Tricaster Studio and Shure 8 input audio mixer.  We have an external Marshall 17" VGA/Video monitor for the Tricaster interface and A/V hookups for spot checking the recording decks.  The breakout panel on the back consist of 5 composite (BNC) inputs, 1 VGA (DB15) input and buffered output with composite output (BNC), 2 Composite and Audio outputs for the recording decks, an Auxillary A/V output and a mono 1/4 inch output for the press box.

The second case consists of...

2 units of Marshall 3 LCD monitors, 1 Marshall Dual LCD monitor, 1 Marshall audio monitor and 1 Telex intercom system.  The breakout panel on the back consist of 6 monitor inputs with passthrough (BNC), 2 monitor inputs with passthrough, an audio monitor input and a Telex breakout panel for up to 6 intercom station connections.

The third case consists of storage drawers to hold all the cables and goodies (we have a custom made BNC cable that ties case 1 and 2 together) as well as a custom foam insert to store the 17" Marshall Monitor.

For a regular shoot where you only need up to 3 camera, the first case and storage case are all you need. You can configure the Tricaster in ISO mode so that you get 3 preview (inputs 1-3) on the interface screen.  You can use the A/V inputs on the Marshall 17" monitor to spot check the video outputs of the recording decks.  If you are going to use more than 3 cameras then you would facilitate the second case with all the preview and program monitors, audio monitor and intercom.

Also with the Tricaster we purchased the educational combo pack that gives us the external controller, Timewarp and LiveText software.

The only problem that we currently have is with the Scan Converter.  It is connected to input #6 using component and the quality looks pretty good going to the tricaster interface, but once recorded and viewed on an LCD screen, the quality is rather poor.  It might just be what it is...but I am not 100% convinced it can't be better.  We decided on Composite instead of S-Video since BNC connections can all lock in place.  S-Video connections can wiggle loose.

The system is definitely worth every penny for video productions.  The time you save in setup and configuration alone is worth the money, as well as all the other things the Tricaster gives you.  We were also able to setup Flash streaming with our provider Eastbay Media  with no problems whatsoever, and the quality is quite good.  Tricaster uses the Adobe Streaming Server and Windows Media Server in the background for it's streaming.

We sill need to play with the text and other aspects of the system, but for a quick setup and recording this system can't be beat.

Thank you to the folks at Applied Video Technology for putting it together with us.  They sell this system under the moniker "VidCaster" but it really is just a custom built production rack built to your specs.  We had a tough time getting what we wanted to fit into a 12U case, but in the end it was worth the trouble.

Monday, February 1, 2010

IPad and Marketing Genius

I just have to DIRECT mention from Apple on the Exchange support I mention in my earlier post, but all seem to think that if the iPhone OS has it in there since version 2.0, that it will be in there....once can only hope...however...lets talk about Marketing GENIUS that is Apple.  During the Live Grammy Award Ceremony, the first award was presented by Stephen Colbert and while looking for the nominations...well...look for yourself. sorry for the cut off video, but you get the idea.

Brilliant...if you listen to the crowd.  Product placement has always been fantastic with Apple.  Next time you watch a show, keep an eye out for Apple products, or other tech items like Cisco IP phones.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Apple, remember the whole "Think Differnet" thing....well?? I love the iPad (not too keen on the name now) but I think the device fills a good niche for uses where the iPhone/iPod Touch screen is just to small.

with the iPod Touch I can VPN in (using built in Cisco VPN client), get all my Exchange goodness with ActiveSync and use Safari for all our internal web stuff. I can get RDP and VNC clients so I can look at and control my servers. I wish Apple would make Server Tools for iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch, and a remote screen sharing client. I can also load a SIP client and hop on my phone system. The new iWork and keyboard dock make for a great note taking device during Apple, why am I not buying one????

AT& one reason. We are a Verizon house. I use a Blackberry Storm...I hate it. I would upgrade to an iPhone in no time flat if it would come to Verizon, and this iPad would by the ultimate technician "in the field" tool.

Also, it is apparently LACKING the VPN/ActiveSync functionality (since I can not find any mention of it on the info pages) of the iPod Touch...WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY WHY????  This is supposed to be based on the iPhone OS, WHY would you remove that functionality and instantly remove IT people from your client list??  The iPhone/iPod Touch integration with ActiveSync is one of the BEST mobil email/Calendar clients I have ever used.  To me this totally negates this device to a consumer toy and you instantly remove a good bit of sales.  It shows once again that Apple does not care about enterprise, and I was so hopeful in the direction of the iPhone OS.  I hope this is rectified with OS 4.0.

Below is the CBS News Online story on the event, and you can go to the iPad website (link here) to see the event and short web feature.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nostalgia - WOW the Amiga Days

For this that don't know the Amiga was THE computer back in the day for I posted in a previous story, it was the launching point for the Video Toaster.  Here are a few examples of what is was able to do back then.

First, a demo reel from the same company that eventually revolutionized the Desktop video revolution..

Demo Reel 1..

Demo Reel 3..

then the Video Toaster 2.0 Demo...

Another Toaster Promo..

The computer Chronicles interview with Newtek about the Video Toaster..

One of my favorite Amiga games - Shadow of the Beast, one of the first games to feature Paralax scrolling give the illusion of depth to the background...

Here is a part 1 of a multipart history of the Amiga...

And a quick European Graphics Movie Demo with unheard of graphics/sound from a home computer..(not the best quality recording)

Check out Youtube for many many more trips down Amiga lane.....

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Lightspeed users...blocking chat sites...add these NOW.

If you are using Lightspeed then you should immediately add these following sites to the catagory and as well as and their associated IP addresses.

The danger here is that both site connect you to anonymous strangers for chat.  Although for adults this may be an exercise in chat adventure....for kids....this is very dangerous.  Omegle is bad enough as it is just TEXT chat but chatroulette is Audio/Video (yes, built in cam chat).  Upon testing, I was connected to a male chatter who was doing something less than appropriate on cam.

Apparently there is an iPhone app for Omegle as well.

Also, if you are using a student policy to block chat sites, make sure you use the option to block non-http sites that are unknown IP addresses and block https to blocked sites. and keep checking IP addresses and keep them current.  Most chat sites can be had by using https and they rotate their IP's in DNS.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Santa was here!! YEAHHHH!

Well, I have finally made it into the present in technology...yeah I know, you figure since I work with technology that I would be on top of it.  I have had Verizon FIOS for a couple years now, 2 flatscreen HD TV's (Vizio and Samsung) and have had TIVO since they first came out.  Now the FIOS DVR replaces the TIVO (well it is substituted for the TIVO, it will never replace it) and last Christmas I received a Sony up-scaling DVD player which has worked beautifully.  This Christmas I was upgraded (thank you Santa) to a Blu-Ray player.  I have not jumped on the Blu-Ray HD bandwagon, as far as DVD's go.  I do have to admit, it is beautiful.

The player I received was a Samsung BD-P1590.  It comes with a multi-function remote to control the TV, however it does not fully support the features of the Vizio.  It gives me on/off, volume, mute, channel control but NOT source selection.  With that aside, the player itself has a couple of nifty added features.

It has built in Pandora and NetFlix player capability as well as players for YouTube and Blockbuster.  Pandora is a music playing service that allows you to type in an artist or song and it will automatically select similar music and play it for you like a personalized radio station.  With the Blu-Ray player you get a free subscription to Pandora.  Once you create your account you can then tune into the Pandora website from your computer, or log in from the Blu-Ray player and listen to your music "channels".  Netflix (as you may or may not know) is a DVD mailer service that allows you to queue up DVD titles that are sent to you in the mail with a return mailer.  You can take as long as you need to watch the DVD then mail it back and upon return you will receive the next DVD in your queue.  NetFlix has since added streaming "on demand" services which can stream to either a computer or a dedicate player device.

Once you create your NetFlix account (the cheapest service is 8.99 a month for one DVD at a time service, online content included), you login from the Blu-Ray player and can then see your "instant queue" material and it start playing your selections..  What was the first video I watched you ask?  It was "Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century" TV series of course.

The Samsung BD-P1590 connects to the internet using a Ethernet connection, or a USB wireless adaptor.  I opted for Ethernet since my FIOS router is located in my entertainment system as well.  One of the first things you should do is go into the player settings and make sure everything is set correctly and have it do a firmware check to make sure you have the latest firmware.  Mine had to be updated even though it was a brand new player.

The one other device that I received was a set of Sony rechargeable IR headphones.

I used to have a model about 10 years ago that broke a few years back.  These are much better in that they are much more sturdy headphones.  They recharge when sitting in their base-station and use IR to communicate.  One nice feature is a silencer when you wander out of the IR path (like to the kitchen for a cup of Green Mountain coffee from my Keurig coffe machine 8-)...) so you dont hear static.  I have my TV audio out going to my home stereo, and the Tape recording out going to the headphones.  As long as I have the stereo on, I can turn the TV and Stereo volume all the way down and hear the audio of whatever is on my TV (TV, DVR, Blu-Ray, Wii etc etc) in the headphones.  They also function on a single AAA battery if needed.

There, I am all caught up.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies Live again!!!

For all you former Amiga heads....remember Pinball Dreams...then the sequel Pinball Fantasies?  Remember playing until your hands hurt from clutching the keyboard....remember cranking the awesome soundtrack and enjoying the smooth and quite accurate ball physics?

Well, if you own an iPod Touch, or an iPhone....You get both again...ported over and I would say almost 100% accurate and true to the original....YEAHHHHH....

Here are the reviews for them at

Review for Pinball Dreams....

Review for Pinball Fantasies....

Works well and brings back memories....I hope more old Amiga games come over....two of my old favrites....Roller Ball, and Battle Squadron.....