In this tutorial, you’ll learn how the NewTek TriCaster Mini delivers portable, affordable, and full-featured live production to producers using HDMI cameras. I’ll start with a brief oveview of the hardware, which was provided by this article’s sponsor, Videoguys.com.
The image below shows the Mini. It’s an extremely compact unit with four HDMI inputs and two outputs. In addition to the audio coming in with the HDMI inputs, there’s also a 1/4" microphone mono input and left and right quarter-inch inputs. There are also two HDMI outputs just below the four inputs, plus a 1/4" headphone jack and left and right 1/4" audio outputs.
On the other side of the unit are your monitor outputs, plus display ports for two additional screens or projectors. Here you’ll also find USB ports for getting content into the unit, and an Ethernet port, though the Mini also has WiFi.
The Mini comes in two models, the HD-4i, which includes this 7" LCD output monitor and 1.5TB of storage, and the HD-4 base configuration, with no monitor and 750GB of internal storage.
Videoguys.com is offering a specially priced bundle that includes the HD-4i plus a control surface that many pros prefer for fast, full access and hardware operations for live production. This bundle also includes a free travel case that you should strongly consider if you'll be taking the Mini on the road.
Cost-Effective HDMI Live Production
The advantage of using HDMI camera gear, rather than SDI, models, is total cost. Now you can create professional, multi-camera, HD live events and streams with inexpensive, off-the-shelf HDMI cameras, including GoPro models.
For best results I recommend using matching HDMI cameras for your main cameras so the look and feel of your shots is consistent.
If you’re producing in a large venue, you’ll also appreciate this cable option available with the TriCaster Mini, which includes four 100-foot HDMI cables.
The Mini also includes a locking mechanism, that you can use to ensure that the cables don’t slip out during your production.
The software included with the Mini is the same full-featured software offered on higher-end TriCaster models such as the TriCaster 460. This means it has features like PTZ camera control, ISO recording, and macros.
If you’re not familiar with the TriCaster’s capabilities, here’s a quick overview. CAMERA 1 and CAMERA 2 in Figure 6 are two HDMI inputs coming in from the connectors shown in Figure 1. NET 1 and NET 2 are two network inputs, which can be from sources like computers on the same LAN or Apple Devices via AirPlay. The NET 2 video shown in Figure 6 comes from from an iPad; the source for NET 2 is a PowerPoint presentation from a notebook on my network.
There are two digital disk recorders (DDR 1 and DDR 2, immediately to the right of NET 1 and NET 2 in Figure 6) that you can use to play back disk-based video, two graphics buses (GFX and GFX 2) you can use for full-screen or lower-third overlays, plus 15 still and title buffers you can easily access during your productions. As you can see on the top row in Figure 6, just to the right of CAMERA 2, I’ve got the Buffer queued for production.
There are 4 Mix/Effect Buses (M/E 1-4 in Figure 6) that you can use for video mixing and chromakey. In this production, I’m using two, having combined video from CAMERA 2 with a PowerPoint slide coming in from my notebook for a nice two-shot. I’ve also composited a greenscreen on-demand video into a virtual set.
Greenscreen operation is simple; just pick the background color with the eyedropper and TriCaster does most of the heavy lifting.
The video doesn’t need cropping, but if it did, the image below shows the Edge controls you would use if you needed to crop your video.
This video does need spill suppression, as you can see the green background spilling over into the subject. The Spill Suppression controls in the LiveMatte tab lets me eliminate that for an extremely clean key over this virtual background.
The TriCaster Mini can composite both live and VOD inputs, using a whole range of special effects and live sets that are readily available but too numerous to discuss in this short tutorial.
For audio, the TriCaster software features a complete mixer with control over all input sources and discrete controls for your record and streaming outputs.
As for switching between inputs, below shows the Preview window on the left and the Program window on the right. To load an input into the Preview window, click its button. To take the input in the preview window live, you can use the T-bar. Click Take for a cut, or click Auto to use the selected transition.
Outputting Your Video
When producing your event, you can create an ISO recording via the controls shown below.
You can stream live via the streaming controls below. You can even deliver videos and still images to destinations like Facebook YouTube, and Twitter during the live event.
Overall, the TriCaster Mini offers an exceptionally affordable entry point for HDMI producers seeking a professional live production system
Mini HD-4 Base
• Designed for do-it-yourself live video
• Hundreds of built-in capabilities for switching, streaming, recording, and publishing
• Essential hardware and storage for streamlined workflows
Mini HD-4i with Integrated Display
& 2 Internal Drives
•Ideal for creating live and on-demand video
•Hundreds of built-in capabilities for switching, streaming, recording, and publishing
•Space-saving case display for real-time video monitoring
•Full capacity multimedia storage for playback and capture
Mini Control Surface
•Hands-on control over live video production
•Faster, more accurate interaction than point and click
•Studio-style workflow from any location
Mini HD-4i Bundle with Control Surface and Custom Travel Case
Total value : $10,490.00
Bundle Savings: 495.00
|Attention Schools & Universtities: NewTek TriCaster Mini Educational Bundles also include LiveText 2.5
and Virtual Set Editor 2.5 - Click here for TriCaster Mini EDU