For the last week of december I was given a special christmas treat, courtesy of Planet PC in Birkenshaw I was able to have a play with a very exciting piece of kit. The TriCaster 8000!
This is the choice vision mixer for the majority of the Local TV network stations. Mainly because it has pretty much the same functionality of a large, well manned, expensive gallery, in one fairly simple mixing desk (after a few hours of getting your head around it).
I had been hearing about this vision mixer and its magical powers since my work with Made TV began. Although, there was debate wether to trust a single machine with the whole output was an issue for some. Also the TriCaster’s draw lies in its versatility, especially with virtual sets a plus for the Local TV stations because of limited space.
At first the virtual sets seemed ‘very virtual’ but it’s important to remember that it was never the intention to pass them off as real, but to make the output more visually appealing without large set budgets. The set up was modest, in a board room of South West News in Filton we had a Reflecmedia chroma key set up to achieve decent keying in very substandard lighting. The results were great and after some time spent standing in shot whilst my colour was adjusted and I was put in proportion with the rest of the set. But when that was all done and macros were set we could start putting the TriCaster through its paces.
Over the week of becoming one with this revolutionary vision mixer we tested out its virtual camera moves, mixing in shot using hot spots and incorporating Skype. Below are some examples of some of the stuff I presented to be used in the evaluation of the system.
From my limited knowledge of vision mixers I don’t feel qualified enough to decide whether the TriCaster 8000 is the right vision mixer for the Made TV stations, however it had some cool features (some may regard as gimmicky) and the footage it produced was very professional and impressive.