To achieve the kind of high-quality production you see on TV, such as news broadcasts, networks use lots of large, sophisticated, and expensive equipment in a studio environment. But the new TriCaster Mini from NewTek makes that all unnecessary, as it lets you create a complete production studio, anywhere – and you don’t even need to know a thing about TV production.
Billed as the “world’s most complete and compact multimedia studio,” the TriCaster Mini is a small computer that’s portable, and takes less than five minutes to set up. “Our goal is to dispel the myth that it’s too technologically difficult or expensive to produce engaging multimedia content,” said NewTek’s president and CTO, Dr. Andrew Cross.
With four HDMI ports and other video inputs, you can plug in a variety of video sources, whether it’s multiple cameras (anything from a GoPro action cam to a traditional handheld camcorder), a video clip playing on a computer, or YouTube off a tablet; you can also have guests “call in” with their computer webcams. A display built into the unit lets you view the final production, while an optional external display and keyboard lets you recreate the audio/video mixing console found in TV studios.
You can create a studio in any room or outdoors simply by using a green screen, and replace the plain background by superimposing the subject in front of a graphic, whether it’s an ESPN SportsCenter-style studio or a video clip of a trip you took. The TriCaster Mini comes preloaded with graphics you can use, but savvy users can also create their own. The system is designed to be easy to operate; anyone who has used some type of video editing software will find it familiar, and NewTek told us that it usually takes about 30 minutes for newbies to learn and use the basic functions. (You can also simulate a live broadcast by shooting your footage at separate times, and editing them together later.)
The footage can be recorded or streamed live (you’ll need an Internet connection, obviously). NewTek also made sharing simple by letting you upload clips directly to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, or a website. The system handles Full HD; NewTek says it’s supporting only video formats that are currently in use, so don’t expect anything like 4K.
The TriCaster Mini comes with a built-in hard drive that stores 45 hours of video. Even though it starts at $7,995 ($5,995 for a unit with a smaller hard drive, and an additional $2,495 if you want the optional control surface) it’s still affordable when you compare it to traditional TV production equipment or NewTek’s more advanced TriCaster units.
NewTek is targeting “marketers, corporate employees, small business managers, community administrators, educators, trainers, non-profit and worship service volunteers, and entertainers” who want to create professional-looking videos, without having to pay for pricey production services or the need to hire an in-house video producer to run the equipment. It also gives video production services a new tool to use. Mobile new reporters could also use one to create better-quality videos from remote locations. But NewTek told us that consumers will be able to rent the unit through select retailers, so even amateur YouTube broadcasters can now make swankier videos without having to buy one.