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.