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NewTek at NAB

Company unveils five products at show By Stephen Schleicher

NewTek unveiled many improvements to its line of products and showed them to attendees at the National Association of Broadcasting convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.  In addition to updates to LightWave 3D, NewTek also demoed TriCaster Pro, VT[5] Live, and ?the worlds fastest editing system.

LightWave 3D
During my visit to the NewTek meeting room, I had the opportunity look at some of the improvements to NewTeks LightWave 3D application.  While no major UI changes were made in this release, there are many additions that will have many users dancing for joy.  On the texture side, Layout has implemented an integrated Node Editor to create very complex shaders and surfaces.  Included in this release will be many of the shaders users have been asking for over the years, including Phong, Cook-Torrance, Oren-Nayar, and Ansitropic.  In addition to these new shaders, subsurface scattering is also available in two forms; full on realistic and what I will call close enough for most people.

Also demonstrated was the ability to add dramatic displacement mapping on low polygon objects via information created in ZBrush (not part of NewTek).  Jay Roth, President of the 3D Division at NewTek told me the relationship between the two companies was quite strong, and since many LightWave users were already using ZBrush in their daily work, it made sense to add that functionality.

I was also quite impressed with the adaptive subdivision mesh based on the distance from camera and visibility.  Similar to distance to camera rendering where the polygon count is reduced the further the object is from camera, you can define areas that will have polygon reductions made.  Some areas, like faces, can maintain high counts and smooth curves, while areas that are more flat can have greater reduction.  There are several methods the new adaptive subdivision mesh can be set including distance from object, gradients, and more.

The biggest bomb, for me, was the introduction of being able to build and edit your models directly in Layout.  For years the debate has raged between LightWave users and the rest of the animating community on how to best integrate modeling and animation.  Many users like the ability to build their models in a model-shop like environment, and then bring it into the studio to animate, while others like to build and animate in the same area.  With LightWave 9, users can have the best of both worlds.

With over 1000 bug fixes currently complete, LightWave 9 is reported to be 2.5 times faster than version 8.5.  An open beta is currently going on, and well have a complete review of LightWave in the near future.

TriCaster PRO
TriCaster (previously reviewed here) also received an update, adding component video in and out, BNC and XLR connections, waveform and vectorscope, enhanced editing capability, and options for high resolution projection outputs including WXGA (1280x720), SXGA (1280x1024), WSXGA (1440x900), and QSXGA (2560x2048 2K resolution).

?TriCasters ability to simultaneously live switch, web stream, and display to a projector has taken the industry by storm.  Delivering it all in such a small form factor at such an affordable price is icing on the cake, said Philip Nelson, Vice-President of Sales and Video Marketing.

The regular TriCaster is still available and both units feature the following:

  • Switching and preview of 3 composite or Y/C Cameras; connect up to 6
  • iVGA network support of external computer displays
  • XGA (1024x768) projector output
  • Digital Disk Recorder playback
  • Live web streaming and recording
  • Video editing

TriCaster Pro adds the following

  • Component video in and out
  • Auto camera calibration
  • Waveform monitor and vectorscop
  • Balanced audio in and out with phantom power
  • High resolution projector outputs

Because of the enhanced performance, NewTek has selected the Intel Pentium D processor for the TriCaster Pro.

?The enhanced functionality of TriCaster Pro places a lot of demands on hardware.  Adding these advanced features would not have been possible without the power of dual-core technology, said Michael Kornet, NewTek Vice President of Business Development.

Because the TriCaster is great for boardroom and event presentations, the ability to bring computer screens and presentations into the switching environment is vital.  Previously, TriCaster supported the Windows PC platform, but with improvements to the system, TriCaster now has the ability to integrate the Mac as a video source.

TriCaster and TriCaster Pro are both available now with a starting price suggested price of $4995.


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Related Keywords:video toaster, newtek, lightwave 3d, tricaster pro, hd, hi-def, vt[5], speededit, speed edit, fast editing, editing system, schleicher

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