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Author Topic: Alternatives to Tricaster?  (Read 5459 times)

Jason Lucas

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Alternatives to Tricaster?
« on: August 12, 2012, 12:35:02 pm »

Really feeling for my church's video guy. He's been using Tricaster for a while now to do all of the church's video and he hates it. The program just isn't very reliable, and the quality isn't anything to write home about.

We're not really sure what's out there that isn't a lot more expensive than Tricaster, though.

We don't need an all-in-one solution like Tricaster. We're not at all against having separate components for each, but we need a system that can fulfill all of our needs (video/camera switching, recording, and playback) for around the same price as Tricaster, or a little more if necessary.

For those curious, the model we're using is the Tricaster Studio. Must be a slightly older model, because ours didn't come with built-in live broadcasting like the current Tricaster Studio comes with. Live broadcasting is something else we'd really like to do if we could.
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Sam Feine

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #1 on: August 12, 2012, 05:06:39 pm »

Try looking at the for.a and Panasonic stuff. Both probably will cost more than a basic tricaster but are going to be more reliable and depending on the model have features like built in streaming and recording.
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brian maddox

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2012, 10:30:14 pm »

Try looking at the for.a and Panasonic stuff. Both probably will cost more than a basic tricaster but are going to be more reliable and depending on the model have features like built in streaming and recording.

Go look at the new stuff from black magic designs.  The new Atem switchers are really unbeatable in their price range.  The only real disadvantage they have is that they dont scale so all your sources need to be the same.  But otherwise, they offer some great switching with down called outputs for web casting, aux outs for recording, and various control options.  Their new pro recorders are also really nice.  We just bought a pair of those for our church to record direct to SSD....
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Brad Weber

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #3 on: August 13, 2012, 08:31:05 am »

Unless you plan on starting from scratch it might help to identify any existing source and destination devices and the signal types involved.  I believe the TriCaster STUDIO is an SD device with component/S-Video/composite inputs and outputs along with one "iVGA" network input and four audio inputs.  So something like the ATEM, which supports only HDMI and HD/SD-SDI, may not be compatible with any of the other existing system components.
 
However, that does seem to bring up whether you want to invest in a new SD switcher or want to consider something that can handle you current SD equipment but also support HD.
 
By "live broadcasting" do you mean the ability to record and have a simultaneous live video output or are you referring to the live network streaming capability?
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Jason Lucas

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #4 on: August 13, 2012, 11:14:24 am »

Unless you plan on starting from scratch it might help to identify any existing source and destination devices and the signal types involved.  I believe the TriCaster STUDIO is an SD device with component/S-Video/composite inputs and outputs along with one "iVGA" network input and four audio inputs.  So something like the ATEM, which supports only HDMI and HD/SD-SDI, may not be compatible with any of the other existing system components.
 
However, that does seem to bring up whether you want to invest in a new SD switcher or want to consider something that can handle you current SD equipment but also support HD.
 
By "live broadcasting" do you mean the ability to record and have a simultaneous live video output or are you referring to the live network streaming capability?

I'd have to talk to the video guy to know the exact connections. I know the TVs in the foyer run off of S-video.

I sincerely doubt that we will be moving to HD any time in the near future.

We want both simultaneous live video output and live network streaming. We have simultaneous live video output going to the TVs in the foyer, and we want to continue to have that functionality. As far as streaming to the web, we've never been able to stream live but we do have recordings on our website of previous services.
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Jonathan Kok

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 05:23:56 pm »

Really feeling for my church's video guy. He's been using Tricaster for a while now to do all of the church's video and he hates it. The program just isn't very reliable, and the quality isn't anything to write home about.

We're not really sure what's out there that isn't a lot more expensive than Tricaster, though.

We don't need an all-in-one solution like Tricaster. We're not at all against having separate components for each, but we need a system that can fulfill all of our needs (video/camera switching, recording, and playback) for around the same price as Tricaster, or a little more if necessary.

For those curious, the model we're using is the Tricaster Studio. Must be a slightly older model, because ours didn't come with built-in live broadcasting like the current Tricaster Studio comes with. Live broadcasting is something else we'd really like to do if we could.
The Live Streaming option is a software upgrade available through Newtek, and is likely available for your box.  The MSRP on the upgrade was $500, though that dates back a bit.  It also allows recording to MPEG, which facilitates post-production a lot easier than the native NT25 codec you're using.  That being said... the NT25 codec is 4:2:2, so you shouldn't really be having any issues with quality.  As far as reliability, if you treat it as a stand-alone box, and don't install anything else on it, it's usually quite solid.  There's a 'factory reset' function that'll wipe the entire drive, and restore it to original install (though the earlier models didn't have this).  You might consider that to address any reliability issues you're having.
I'd start by going to Newtek, explaining your issues, and seeing what suggestions they may have for you.

While I'm personally not a fan of the Tricasters...being a a $12,000 box...I'd be looking at the 'fix this' options before the 'replace this' ones.

As Brad mentions, before suggesting a replacement, we'd need to know your video chain (inputs & outputs, model #'s and all), and what you intend on doing in the future.
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Jason Lucas

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2012, 07:00:03 pm »

We talked to Newtek when Tricaster completely died on us once and got a software update for it at the time, but our video guy has never been happy with it. It's never been extremely reliable, even when we first got it. We want to replace it because we don't like it, not because we're trying to avoid troubleshooting.

It works well enough to keep for now though. We record all of our sermons with it and play video announcements nearly every service and it does work more often than not. So it could be much worse, for sure.

I'll have a chat with our video guy and see what our chain is exactly.
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Chad Whittington

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2012, 12:14:27 pm »

I have a TriCaster unit at work that we use all the time and we've never had any problems with it.  We use it strictly as a switcher and recorder.  Any video editing that we do we us Premiere on a separate computer and then import the finished video into the Live program on the TriCaster.  All I'm saying is that you will have trouble beating the price.  I think their units have gotten much more reliable since the one that you are using was released.  Like someone else said don't install anything else on the machine though.
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Jason Lucas

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #8 on: November 04, 2012, 12:41:41 pm »

I have a TriCaster unit at work that we use all the time and we've never had any problems with it.  We use it strictly as a switcher and recorder.  Any video editing that we do we us Premiere on a separate computer and then import the finished video into the Live program on the TriCaster.  All I'm saying is that you will have trouble beating the price.  I think their units have gotten much more reliable since the one that you are using was released.  Like someone else said don't install anything else on the machine though.

Well, we haven't been so lucky. It's not a very user-friendly device. It crashes and has issues frequently, and the finished product is not all that high quality. We will be happy to be rid of it once we find a replacement.
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There are three things I hate: Harsh highs, hollow mids, and woofy bass.

Jason Lucas

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Re: Alternatives to Tricaster?
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2012, 08:00:58 pm »

From the church video guy:

"...I would say the video quality is worse than the audio... And that is due to the lack of lights and power to power more lights. And ouput to a low res low quality sd format."

I wasn't aware before, but we're using HD cameras at the church. So something that could output to HD would be nice.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2013, 07:05:26 pm by Jason Lucas »
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There are three things I hate: Harsh highs, hollow mids, and woofy bass.
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