A Complete live production studio that fits in your backpack!
Many people still believe you need a ton of expensive gear and cameras to create a top quality live event, video production or live streaming. I'm here to tell you don't. What you need is a NewTek TriCaster Mini, a couple of off the shelf camcorders, your imagination, some good planning & pre-production plus a few days to invest in learning training. Of course you're going to need some more gear like mics, lights, green screen, tripods etc, but we'll get into that at the end of the article. The main point of this article is to educate you about all of the power, performance and features of the mighty TriCaster Mini!
What is the NewTek TriCaster Mini?
The TriCaster Mini is a small, portable computer loaded up with dedicated hardware and software from NewTek that gives you all of the features found in the professional line of TriCasters for under $10,000. There are actually 3 flavors of TriCaster Mini:
The 7 inch integrated LCD screen can be used to preview your source or output video. Each 750GB drive can store approximately 15 hours of 1080i footage. So the 2 x 750GB drives can store up to 30 hours. With the 2 x 750 GB models you can record up to 4 video channels simultaneously, which you can then use for archiving or for editing later. Each of the models with LCD screens are available as a complete travel bundle which includes the TriCaster Mini, a TriCaster Mini control surface ($2,495 value) and a customized, hard-shell, travel case. The costs of the bundles are:
What can I do with the TriCaster Mini?
With the TriCaster Mini, you can do just about anything and everything you could imagine for your live production. First and foremost, it's a production switcher which allows you to mix seamlessly between as many as four cameras. You can also bring in 4 additional sources which can be graphics, animated transitions, stored video on the hard drive or video from an external source like a laptop. You can generate broadcast quality titles and graphics like lower thirds and bugs. If you have a green screen you can add virtual sets to your productions. With the TriCaster workspace you can view and monitor all your sources, previews and live output. So you don't need splitters or expensive multi-viewers. You can layer multiple levels of video, graphics and virtual sets to create incredibly complex productions, or keep it simple and elegant with just a few titles or lower thirds. The only real limitation is your own imagination.
Who is the TriCaster Mini user?
I get asked this question all the time and the answer is just about anyone looking to add live video production and streaming for their event or productions.
TriCaster Mini is GREAT for Schools!
Is your high school, local college or university looking to add or upgrade your video studio? The TriCaster Mini is the perfect solution at a reasonable price. Your students can be trained on operating a TriCaster in a matter of days. You can take a small classroom or even a big closet and turn it into a video production studio. We set-up a TriCaster Mini workstation here all on just 1 desk! Use it for you daily messages, a news show, or for any kind of project your students have that can be enhanced by video. Take the TriCaster out of the studio and use it to broadcast sporting events, plays, musical performances, graduations, and even your board or faculty meeting.
NewTek offers academic version of the TriCaster Minis that include bonus software for you to use in your productions. There is no extra cost for this software; you just need to provide documentation that you are an educational facility. The Virtual Set Editor allows you to modify or create your own virtual sets. LiveText with Datalink allows you to not only add even cooler animated titles, but you can have them come into the TriCaster via a laptop being operated by another student. All together it's well over $1,000 worth of powerful production software.
TriCaster Mini is AWESOME for Worship!
One amazing feature about the TriCaster Mini is that it can be easily controlled by a single, trained operator in your live production. It will require a few hours of pre-production and prep, but once you go live, one operator is all you need. For houses of worship this is a very big deal. You can use static mounted cameras, PTZ (Pan/Tilt/Zoom) Robotic cameras or cameras with operators - whatever fits your needs and budget.
While a single TriCaster operator can produce your service you’ll want to allow for plenty of time of pre-planning and practice. Good productions need transitions, effects, graphics and animations and, in your church, I'm sure you'll also want to bring in the words to your readings, hymns or songs. If you set these up in advance you’ll just hit a button and they'll start scrolling along the screen. The more thoughtful and carefully planned your live production is, the better it will look and the easier it will be to do. So you're going to want to practice, practice, practice until you get the hang of live video production.
TriCaster Mini is Fantastic for Corporate Video!
If you’re adding video streaming and live production to your companies marketing and promotional efforts, you know how important it is to look great and grab your audience's attention. With the TriCaster Mini your customers will think you invested tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars into your video efforts. Only you will know the secret. It takes a fraction of the investment, along with some good training and pre-production to create knock out videos using TriCaster Mini.
You can also use the TriCaster Mini for making training videos, corporate announcements and even bring it into your conference rooms to bring your video conferencing to the next level. Anywhere you plan to use video, you can do it better, more affordably and faster with a TriCaster.
Use TriCaster Mini to Produce and Stream your show!
Perhaps you want to set up a weekly show on YouTube Live or UStream talking about your favorite interests or hobbies; or to promote your business. With TriCaster Mini your productions will look head and shoulders above the competition. And I do mean head and shoulders - Let's face it, most of the shows you see on the web are nothing more than someone talking in front of a webcam or a simple point and shoot camcorder - think how amazing your productions can and will look with the TriCaster Mini. You'll be able to have virtual sets, spectacular graphics and lower thirds, super cool transitions and animated effects. Your program is going pop off the screen and grabs eyeballs!
We have many YouTubers who use the TriCaster as a way to cut down on the post production time for their shows. They produce a weekly live show and record the final mix along with each of the camera feeds. Then, after the "Live Show” is done they bring all the files into their favorite NLE and edit it down to a finished program to re-post as an edited, condensed version for folks to watch later on. This can speed your turn around time dramatically and help build your channel and audience.
Live Streaming with TriCaster Mini
LIve Streaming with TriCaster Mini could not be easier. The first thing you need to do is set up an account with a CDN - Content Delvery Network. For getting started we recommend YouTube Live, UStream or Twitch. The TriCaster Mini comes with presets for all three. Houses of Worship should consider worship CDNs like churchstreaming.tv or worshipchannels and Educators should consider sites like the Cube.
Setting up your TriCaster to work with your CDN will take about 15 minutes. Even though the TriCaster comes with presets for many, it can still take a little fine tuning to get it right. Once you do, those settings are locked in and you won't have to worry about them again. The TriCaster best quality Streams are at 720p, which is perfect. Videoguys recommends 720p for all web streaming because progressive video compresses cleaner than interlaced and we have found that some people will have problems viewing 1080i or 1080p streams. You may start losing viewers if they can't support the bandwidth in their homes or on their device to view your video comfortably.
What else do I need?
I know I promised to give you a list of additional gear you'll need or want. The TriCaster Mini comes with a keyboard and mouse. You're going to need an HD monitor for your operator to see and use the interface. We recommend an off the shelf 32" or larger HD screen with HDMI or a dedicated DVI / computer input.
We strongly recommend getting the TriCaster Mini control surface. It's loaded with all the buttons you'll need to produce your show. You can program them for each camera / source, transitions, graphics and effects. You also get a T-bar to control your transitions. The TriCaster does not require the control surface and every feature of the control surface can be programmed, displayed and accessed with your mouse from the TriCaster GUI but I'm a big fan of the tactile feel for our live video productions.
In the Videoguys’ Studio we have the following additional gear:
- Behringer XENYX802 mixer $59.99
- MXL FR-355K Lavalier Interview Mic Kit $ 75.00
- MXL 770 Cardiod Condenser Mic $75.00
- 10 x 8 Green Screen backdrop
- 6x4 green screen drop cloth for desks
- Background screen
- Backdrop props for your set (book case or interesting stuff on wall)
- Chairs, Desks or podiums for you talent