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DSLR video Video Cameras Video Production

Vimeo at IBC 2010

Vimeo.com does their standard fun and entertaining coverage of IBC 2010. They show off some of the new cameras coming out soon and new video gear.

Vimeo at IBC 2010 from Stephen Niebauer on Vimeo.

Categories
Live Streaming Video Production Web Video Technology

Ustream.tv Announces Global Production Services

Last week Ustream.tv announced that they are adding Global Production Services (GPS for short) to their growing list of offering. This is another tool in Ustream’s arsenal that is make Ustream the live stream provider the choice of more and more producers. They are offering three different packages to meet the different needs of many of the Ustream producers. The packages list base prices that don’t include travel or other costs that are based on the location.

The Ustream backpack has gained a lot of attention while Leo Laporte was using it to live stream his coverage from this year’s SXSW. They are offering two different options with the mobile LiveU rig. There is the $3,000 a day rate that includes camera and technical staff and there is a month to month or yearly rental option to just rent the backpack equipment and includes 40 hours of streaming a month. Twit.tv and Pixel Corps have rented the Ustream Mobile Livepack and swear by it’s quality.

Conference streaming has blow up in the past year or so, and it used to be really expensive and you had to deal with some hairy technical goo with distributing the video. That has changed with the growth of services like Ustream and Justin.tv that make the distribution easy. The conference level package includes 2 cameras, Tricaster Studio and all the staff you need to make sure the video go off without a hitch. With the conference and concert packages you have to provide a beefy enough Internet connection to stream the video to Ustream.

The concert package is pretty close to the conference package, but adds a third camera and operator and a director to help give the production a coherent overall look. To note with both the conference and concert packages you’ll still need audio people and they will have to provide a audio feed to the Ustream production staff, which shouldn’t be any problem if you have competent audio people you’re working with.

Categories
gear Video Production

Cheap LED Camera Lights

Good lighting is key in helping improve the production value of your videos, but getting pro level equipment is very pricey. Litepanels are the drool worthy LED lights that caught the eyes of ENG photographers and new media focused content producers like TWIT and Mahalo that turned to litepanels for low power consumption and low heat producing lighting.

Litepanels LP Micro Pro

Litepanels are the original and the the lights that the pros use, but they come at a price.

Sima SL-20LX Ultra Bright Video Light

These Sima lights are one of the most affordable options and what I personally recomend. I’ve seen several people use them and for under 30 bucks it worth a shot.

Switronix TL-50 30w Dimmerable DC Powered LED Light Fixture 5600k

The Switronix is a competetor to the Litepanels and is priced and aimed to pros. It’s a little pricey like the Litepanels, but has really good battery life and puts out a lot of light.

Flashpoint Shoe Mountable LED 70 Video Light with 4 Leaf Barndoor.

This is a larger LED light with adjustable barn doors for focusing the beam of light. Seems like a good bargin at 70 bucks, but I haven’t heard much from people that have used the light.

Categories
Video Cameras Video Production

Open Letter to Cisco about Flip Video

Dear Cisco,

When you purchased Pure Digital, the company that makes the line of Flip Video cameras, I like many people, scratched my head, wondering why Cisco would buy them and what they were going to do. I feel the new sliding Flip Camera is a dud; it’s not a revolutionary product like the original Flips were it’s an also rand. We already have a touchscreen video camera and its called the iPhone 3GS and costs about the same as the new almost 300 dollar camera. I had so many high hopes, we heard rumors of a camera with integrated Wi-Fi for features that you would get from something like a Eye-Fi card where video can be instantly uploaded without hooking up to a computer. Allow me to help with a list of things that I would like to see in future devices.

  • External Audio Input: Please, Please, Please add an audio input jack, the Kodak Zi8 has it and I think that fact that its really hard to find one in stock shows that consumers and creatives want that feature. Please also add a menu feature to turn off auto gain control too.
  • 1080P: It’s the next evolution of the product line, just be sure that you maintain good performance in low light.
  • 720P 60fps: Not high on my list, but would like to have it as an option when I need it.
  • Live Video Output: Would be nice to be able to hook up the flip to a larger monitor by the HDMI and component connections to help with framing shots.

Thanks,

Zach Scott

Categories
Live Streaming NAB 2010 Video Production

NAB 2010: NewTek Unveils New Tricaster TCXD850

Photo: Collen Kelly (TWiT’s Vice President of Engineering)
Last night at their dealer meeting and officially today, NewTek unveiled their newest addition to the Tricaster line, the TCXD850. The TCXD850 addresses some of the main complaints of users when they debuted the TCXD300 back in December. The TCXD850 sports 8 HD-SDI inputs where the TCXD300 only 3. Eight HD camera inputs should be more than enough inputs for most producers, especially anybody who is considering the Tricaster.

Photo: Collen Kelly (TWiT’s Vice President of Engineering)

The new Tricaster also adds more pro level features like redundant power supplies that make the Tricaster more attractive to broadcast engineers that have to keep their equipment up and running. I have never heard of power supply failures being a problem with Tricasters, but since there is a windows PC at the heart of the Tricaster, it’s one of the more likely parts to fail, and I’ve had more than my fair share of power supplies die. The new Tricaster also adds a boat load of more audio inputs over the two balanced inputs the TCXD300 has.

The TCXD850 will be available on July 15th and will sell in a NTSC only version for $24,995 and an international version for $27,995.

Categories
gear Video Cameras

Leak: New Sliding Flip Cam with 16GB of Storage

Some photos of suspected new Flip cam have leaked and showed up on Engadget last night.The photos came from someone at Best Buy.

I can’t completely read the sticker on the box, but I’m guessing it says something like it goes on sale on the 14th or on sale in 14 days.

Photos: via Engadget.com

This new picture shows some of the specs of the new camera. Looks like it will have 16Gb of storage, giving is up to 4 hours of record time, double what the latest Flip Mino HD have, and it still is recording at 720p. The photo doesn’t give any idea as to what type of connections the camera will have, I’m guessing it will have at least mini HDMI out. I like many people are hoping that they will be adding external audio input, and maybe this will be the Flip that does it. There also have been some rumors that they are going to have a camera with built in Wi-fi for automatic uploading, but there is now way to tell from the pictures here. So far, if all this new camera does is have a sliding screen, then it will be a pass for me.

Cisco really needs to make some leaps with the Flip product line to a cert it’s dominance in the small HD camera market against makers like Kodak that are biting at their heels.

(Engadget.com)

Categories
gear Live Streaming SXSW Video Production Web Video Technology

How a Toaster is Changing Online Video

Since I was a kid, I can remember flipping through the pages of video production magazines like Videography and drooling over all the new cameras and gear that I wished I had.  One ad that would always stop me in my tracks was the ads for something called a video toaster. At first glance, it brought thoughts of the flying toaster screen-saver that was so very much the thing to have on your computer at work, but the Video Toaster was something far more cooler and powerful. The Video Toaster ran on the Amiga computer and consisted of a fairly cheap hardware and software combination to bring a powerful live switching / linear editing solution that was affordable. Later generations of the video toaster added more and more features and has become the Newtek Tricaster that we know today.

1994 Promo Video for the Video Toaster 4000

Live streaming video has come along way from the postage stamp sized video of NASA TV that I remember watching using real player on my 56K modem more than ten years ago. Watching high quality video is common place now and made possible by the increase in the availability in broadband and fast, cheap, computers. Streaming services like, Ustream, Justin.tv and Bit Gravity have made getting your video content out even easier. I remember days spent trying to get several servers to work together to feed a rtsp stream to a couple of computers across a LAN, and now anyone with a webcam can be easily streaming to an audience of thousands without the hassle of working out the back-end technnology.

The Tricaster isn’t a brand new product, but has seen huge growth in sales with the rise of people creating live video content for the web. The Tricaster has a lot of bang for the buck, replacing hugely expensive satellite trucks with a small box that can be easily shipped and it price ranges from just under $5,000 for the basic tricaster to $15,000 for the new drool worthy HD Tricaster TCXD300. The new HD Tricaster is an extremely attractive alternative to other HD switchers in the market that generally start in the $100,000 range and the Tricaster has more features. The Tricaster has made online TV networks possible and affordable like TWIT.tv and ThisWeekIn.com.  When a normal TV studio would normally need a crew of a dozen or more, the TWIT live stream is controlled solely by Leo Laporte that switches cameras while hosting and all of the rest of the duties of head TWIT all while on air.

Photo: © Newtek Inc.

Newtek had a big presence this year at SXSW with the Tricaster equipped Mini Cooper showing up all across Austin as Newtek made it possible for companies such as SiliconAngle.com, TWIT.tv, and This Week in Startups, and Revision 3 to bring the SXSW experience into people’s homes.

And its not just online video producers that are increasing using the Tricaster, more and more “old media” producers are integrating Tricaster into their productions for web content or video played in sports venues. I think this trend will only continue to increase as more people start creating live web video and old media looks for more ways to reduce costs and attract a larger audience.

Categories
Live Streaming Oddball SXSW video

SXSW 2010: Leo Laporte Live Streaming Crowd Surfing

Ask anyone who was at SXSW Interactive or just watched the online coverage from warmth and security of a Shiner Bock and a snuggy, one the of highlights was seeing king of the internet and pope of SXSW Leo Laporte crowd surf at Saturday’s Diggnation party. Leo was using a backpack device loaned from Ustream that uses 6 bonded 3G modems to give enough bandwidth to send high quality video back to Ustream. What was amazing is the whole thing worked while Leo was crowd surfing; watching it live from home, I was holding my breath just waiting for the stream to fail or a cord to get pulled out from the broadcaster unit. Watch the video and see it for yourself.

Categories
gear Live Streaming SXSW

SXSW 2010: What Technologies Will Blow Up This Year?

Each year nerds from all the world flock to Austin for five days and nights of panels, parties and puking also known a South by Southwest Interactive.  It seems each year there is at least one application or technology thing that everyone is using at SXSW. Last year the big thing was geolocation apps mainly Foursquare that had a big swell in users at SXSW last year as all the cool people were trying to find out where all the rest of the cool people are at and which party is the one to be at for the night.  In previous years twitter really started to take off and gained size-able adoption and proof of that is in the almost constant chatter about SXSW which is especially annoying to people like me who aren’t lucky enough to be going this year.

So what will be the “it” things at this year’s SXSW? I have two things that come to mind, QR Codes and Live streaming. I think we are going to see QR codes all over the place as people are trying to network and QR codes are a great way to exchange the information that would normally be on your business cards.  If you don’t know anything about QR Codes click here for the wikipedia article.  I think the band, movie posters and leaflets that are plastered all over the convention center will have the new addition of a QR Code that sends the user to a site with more information about their show or movie. Be prepared to see a throng of nerds in shirts with huge QR Codes silk-screened on them, hawking their blog or whatever.

In the year since the last SXSW, Apple released the iPhone 3GS, the version of the iPhone yet that best suited for live streaming video, and apps like Ustream broadcaster and Qik that allowing people to do live streaming video over Wi-Fi or 3G has become possible. I think live streaming services like Ustream are going to see a lot of use from people at SXSW streaming events going on in Austin.  One man who will be doing this for sure is Leo Laporte. Ustream has lent Leo one of their streaming backpacks from LiveU a company that builds this portable computer designed for streaming.  The backpack has enough juice for about 6 hours of use. The secret sauce that makes this all work is 8 separate 3G modems, 2 each from the 4 major players, that work in concert to provide a solid connection and sufficient upload bandwidth that produces some pretty good looking video. I think we’re going to see a lot of live streams coming from Austin next week as many of the big podcasts like TWIT, TWiST, Buzz out Loud, NSFW, Diggnation all converge in Austin. At&t epically failed last year, greatly underestimating the strain that the more than 13,000 attendees would put on their network and they say they have been working since then to make sure that this year isn’t a repeat. They beefed up the cell towers downtown with more fiber, installed hardware in the Austin convention center and are bringing a convoy’s worth of cell tower trucks to cover Austin in a rich and creamy layer of 3G. We’ll see if this will be enough to handle the demands of bandwidth heavy apps and thousands of people constantly refreshing twitter every minute.

Categories
gear Video Cameras Video Production

Canon HF200 On Sale

If you’re looking for a good starter HD camera and want something with a little more features than something like a Flip Mino HD or Kodak Zi8 than the Canon HF200 might be a good choice for you. It records on SDHC memory cards and records in the MPEG-IV AVC H.264 codec that makes is easy to take the footage into your non-linear editor of choice.  Click here to check out the specs. Amazon has it on sale for $200 off until the end of the month.

Memory capacity MXP
(app. 24 Mbps)
FXP
(app. 17 Mbps)
XP+
(app. 12 Mbps)
SP
(app. 7 Mbps)
LP
(app. 5 Mbps)
2GB 10 min. 15 min. 20 min. 35 min. 45 min.
4GB 20 min. 30 min. 40 min. 1 hour
10 min.
1 hour
30 min.
8GB 40 min. 1 hour 1 hour
25 min.
2 hours
20 min.
3 hours
16GB 1 hour
25 min.
2 hours
5 min.
2 hours
50 min.
4 hours
45 min.
6 hours
5 min.
32GB* 2 hours
55 min.
4 hours
10 min.
5 hours
45 min.
9 hours
35 min.
12 hours
15 min.