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.