Rolling Tricaster Rig

Reality LA is a “portable church” that meets in the heart of LA.  They run a 2 camera (Sony EX1) shoot to capture video for the web and simulcast to a cry room.  The product team cuts live to an AJA KAI Pro that’s neatly tucked into a rack we build for them a few months back.

Reality LA has an amazing volunteer crew that never ceases to amaze me, however they were spending an hour building the video rig each week, and then trouble shooting the video and audio connections right up until the service started.  Yuk!

Andrew Hummel, the ever fearless leader of the media ministry, commissioned Kungpow to build a video rack, and I took this opportunity to simplify the system and help RLA build for the future.

The Video Rig is built around a Newtek Tricaster, which made the video side of this build out fairly straight forward.  HD-SDI is feed  from the cameras into the Tricaster.  Out out the Tricaster into the KAI Pro.  Return from the KAI Pro for confidence.  I came up with a sexy way to interface to the Tricaster using some 90 Degree BNC adapters.

The Tricaster isn’t necessarily the right switcher for the RLA video ministry.  It has a lot of features that are not currently relevant.  The ministry had already acquired the cameras and switcher long before we got involved.  There are a number of lower cost ways to handle simple switching on a multi-camera shoot these days.  New products from Panasonic and BlackMagic Designs can get the job done with simplicity and elegance.

Its all about the audio…

When I got on the scene the team had stuff the back of the FOH Midas Venice full of cables, taking separate feeds for a CD Recorder, the Tricaster and a Zoom H4 and pushing them down a snake to the control room from which the video team operates the rig.

Around this time the sound department upgraded to a AVID Venue, so we set up a special Matrix output on the Venue that would feed the a special recording mix to the video crew.  The recording mix had the stereo mains running about 15 dB down, and the wireless feed at unity.  We then tickled a multi band compressor on the way out and encoded to Ethersound with a Digigram ES220.

The ES220 is bi-directional 2 channel Ethersound node that allows us to pass audio back and forth on an Ethernet (CAT5) network.

Back in the control room another Digigram ES220 feeds a Rane DA16 audio distribution amp which in turn feeds the CD recorder, A Tascam Flash recorder, Tricaster , KAI pro and a overflow speaker system…

A front mounted connector panel gives access to power, Ethersound and the audio feed to the overflow speaker system.

We also caped off the unused BNC’s on the front of the Tricaster to eliminate the remaining confusion.

The rack is pre-wired and ready to go and setup time in dramatically reduced and the extent of trouble shooting is greatly reduced.

If you’re ready to reduce the time it takes to setup your production rig, get in touch with us. We’d be honored to design a system that gets the job done and frees your volunteers from the tyranny of the technical!

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