NewBlueFX Titler Live Broadcast for NDI-enabled NewTek TriCasters
About 25 years ago, over the course of six years or so, I made a substantial part of my living writing product reviews, tutorials and features in various trade magazines about "desktop video" hardware and software solutions running on the Commodore Amiga computer and its associated Video Toaster. One of my favorite topics was video titling programs that allowed you to instantly create titles and other graphics to overlay on top of live video playing back from videotape decks and even video cameras. This was a few years before the release of NewTek's Flyer, one of the very first non-linear editing systems that used hard drives for real-time video editing. Unlike 3D animation software that required hours of rendering time using one computer to produce a single frame, video titlers produced instant graphics that could be immediately used with a video project. I remember using the term "instant gratification" when discussing video titling programs during that time.
Another favorite writing topic was audio hardware and software solutions for creating music tracks and doing audio sweetening. I wrote several articles about solutions from a cutting-edge company named Blue Ribbon Soundworks. I was extremely delighted to discover that the founder of that company, Todor Fay, is still around and the genius behind NewBlueFX and their current line of titling software including Titler Pro 5 and Titler Live Broadcast.
As a NewTek TriCaster dealer, I have been watching the momentum build-up behind NewTek's NDI protocol for doing IP video using remote video sources over the internet. Simply put, you are no longer limited to using video cameras and computers that are directly connected to your TriCaster (and other video switchers) using video cables or peer-to-peer networking cabling.
Instead, with NDI you can remotely access video sources via the internet. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities. Imagine accessing a webcam on a laptop halfway around the world, or an iPhone, or another video switcher. You can even bring in the video sources that are feeding another NDI-capable switcher. With NDI, you can now do this. While the current NDI protocol requires your sources to be on the same subnetwork, rumor has it a Cloud-based solution is just around the corner that makes connecting systems and sources together and visible to each other even easier.
I think it's safe to say that with the emergence of NewTel's NDI we are definitely on the way to doing things in a new, exciting and greatly-expanded way.
As a reseller of video switching and streaming solutions from NewTek, Blackmagic, Telestream and other companies, I keep an eye open for products that push the envelope. I found such a product with NewBlueFX Titler Live Broadcast. This is a superb program that combines ease-of-use while packed with plenty of useful features. Simply put, it allows you to easily create 2D and 3D titles and graphics with or without motion over time using ready-made templates that can be modified to suite your purposes . . . or you can create your own titles from scratch using the vast array of tools included with the software. To do all of this, you can use either a Mac or Windows PC operating as a standalone CG or video titler station that sends its output to the TriCaster over the NDI connection. Unlike titling plugs-in for editing software such as Premiere or Final Cut, Titler Live Broadcast creates titles and graphics for real-time, on-air production during a live-switch or streaming session using your TriCaster (or other video switcher).
Upon launching the software, you are presented with the Project Library which provides you with a wealth of ready-made templates broken down into various collections including Lower Thirds, Motion Bugs, Kinetic Motion Pack, PowerMotion and Sports. The Sports Collection is further broken down into Baseball, Basketball, Football, Soccer, Tennis and Volleyball. Each template can be easily displayed in the Edit Preview window for previewing purposes and determining which template or templates you want to use. NewBlueFX sells additional template collections for a nominal price that can be easily added to the program.
Templates have an animated opening and closing. In other words, they tend to fly onto the screen, sit there for awhile, and then fly off the screen. Of course, you can edit these attributes and change how the graphic enters and leaves the screen and the time it takes to do each of these things.
As templates are opened, they are added to a playlist for playback purposes. Playlists can be played back automatically or manually by the operator. Taking the step even further, macros can be created by the TriCaster for controlling the playlist playback. Output can be monitored using the optional Live Monitor, a free-floating window that can be opened using a second monitor connected to your laptop or desktop computer.
Once you have found a template or two that you like, you can open another window that allows you to edit the template attributes to your heart's content. Each individual element of a template can be modified. As a simple example, load a lower-third blue text box with the main line of text above the blue box and another line of text appearing on the box. For the first second, all of the elements appear or start to appear on-screen, remain on screen for almost five seconds, and then start to slid off the screen in the next second or so.
You can easily modify any aspect of the template in terms of its appearance and how it arrives and leaves the screen. Want the letters to appear individually onto the screen? Easily done! Want the letters to be fatter or even 3D? And you want the main line of text to be semi-transparent? Again, easily done! Want to change the color and size of each letter? You guessed it . . . easily done! There is a vast array of libraries offering a seemingly-endless supply of tools for applying different looks to 2D and 3D text and shapes. You can also add light sources and change the direction of the light to affect where the shadows fall. And you can add transitions to elements in a template.
After typing the text for each line, you can change when each line of text starts to move onscreen (as well as offscreen) using the timeline at the bottom of the windows. Simply slide each element left or right to affect when they appear on or off screen.
Any TriCaster running the Advanced Edition software with NDI support can individually address up to 16 playlists (or single titles) at a time from the Titler Live Broadcast software. In other words, playlists or individual titles can be assigned for up to 16 different inputs on the TriCaster Preview and Program Rows as full-screen graphics. You can then play a sequence of titles using one input on the TriCaster or a combination of the two. If you assigned the different NDI inputs to the TriCaster DSKs, you can use the titles as overlays and key out the black background. Very cool and easy to do. TriCasters without the Advanced Edition software can still receive two channels via Air Send. This includes the TriCaster 300, TriCaster 450/850 series plus TriCaster 40/410/8000.
Unlike the titling software included with the TriCaster, which requires you to separately create titles and leave that program before using them in live-production mode, you can create and modify titles and other graphics while you are switching with your TriCaster because Titler Live Broadcast is running on a separate computer and sending its output to the TriCaster. This is perfect for sports production, allowing one operator to do the switching while a second person updates the score and sends the results to the TriCaster.
Unlike NewTek's Windows-only standalone LiveText titling program, Titler Live Broadcast runs on both Windows PCs and Macs. System requirements are minimal. I run the software on a year-old HP laptop running Windows 7 with 4GB of RAM and i3 CPU. You will need to connect your computer to the same subnetwork as your TriCaster or other NDI-enabled switcher.
This is a very powerful program. There is a lot of depth to it but the user-interface and tools are intuitive and easy to learn. List price is $1,495.00. As an authorized NewBlueFX reseller, we are currently running a promotion on the NewBlueFX Titler Live Broadcast as an upgrade from NewTek's LiveText software. List price on the software is $1,495.00 . . . we are offering a very nice discount on the software. Please email or call us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-790-5488 and ask for a quote. You can call us with your credit card info or we can send you a PayPal invoice.
Recommended System Requirements
- 2 GHz processor (multicore or multiprocessor CPU recommended for HD)
- 2 GB RAM (4 GB RAM or greater recommended for HD)
- 2GB RAM minimum (Mac: 4GB recommended for 1080p streaming, Windows: 4GB and 64-bit OS recommended for 720p or higher streaming)
- 250 MB hard-disk space for installation
- OpenGL 2.1-capable graphics card and minimum 256MB VRAM
- 512MB VRAM or higher recommended for HD
- Microsoft® Windows® XP (SP 3 or later), Vista® (SP 2 or later), Windows 7 or later
- Mac OS X v 10.6.8, v10.7.2 or later