Much to my anticipation and unbridled excitement, NewTek sent over their top, live broadcasting system, the TriCaster 850 Extreme for us to review.
I started my video production career using NewTek products. My first editing job ever was on a NewTek Video Toaster. The unit was running on a Commodore Amiga, had a graphical switching board and controlled the VTRs in our edit bay. I produced a weekly TV show using the Toaster and absolutely loved it. I could completely edit pre-packaged video and then live switch our broadcast. I even had one of the early versions of LightWave 3D for creating awesome graphics. NewTek could do it all. Sadly, the death of Commodore and the Amiga also signaled the end of the Video Toaster…. for a while….
Years later, NewTek created the TriCaster Studio, a production switcher / recorder all in a small PC box. The first time I heard about it was from some online source I can’t even remember right now. I saw a few pictures and the screen shots of the switcher and low-and-behold, my beloved Toaster had been reborn. Shortly after that, I met Cali who had, much to my excitement, bought one. YES! The ‘glory days’ were back! That little unit could take 6 inputs and we could switch them live, and record to the hard drive. This little guy smoked the old Video Toaster. I was in love. We used it for various live shows and remote events to much success. The ability to take a few pieces of computer equipment, a few cameras,accessories and some cables and record or stream from anywhere is simply amazing.
After a few iterations of the TriCaster hardware and software, NewTek has finally come up with the ‘mother of them all’, The TriCaster 850 Extreme. THIS is the “Toaster” I’ve been waiting 20 years for. And you’re going to have to wait just a little while for me to give this thing a good going over, break it in a little, produce a few episodes of Geek Beat LIVE and then I can give you a good review. Will it be all I’ve been hoping for? I’m gonna take a leap and say yes.