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First Look: NewTek TriCaster Mini

The ultra-portable TriCaster Mini joins the TriCaster 40 at the sub-$6k end of the TriCaster line, but weighs in 10 lbs. lighter and adds HDMI input ISO-recording, a new compact control surface, an internal monitor, and more.

Newtek has added a new "mini" model, just above their "40" model, that improves on several specifications and makes it much more usable to today's "budget" market. If you were hesitant to buy into the TriCaster 40, the new Mini may be just what you're looking for. Phillip Nelson of NewTek came to Dallas to reveal the new TriCaster Mini at the Geek House, home of GeekBeat TV.

The Basics

It's a TriCaster. Hopefully, if you're shopping for a video mixer, you know what NewTek's family of mixers can do: switch, do live graphics, titles, wipes, built-in still and video media playback (virtual decks), and effects--especially really good greenscreen and virtual sets. It can stream directly from the TriCaster, record internally, and display the output in the room (IMAG). TriCasters have been doing this for more than a decade.

The new TriCaster Mini does all these things, in a compact box. This is good because it simplifies the amount of gear you need to lug around--and this is a key component of NewTek's marketing for the Mini, which is about half the size of the TC40. The number of ports for AV I/O, computer connections, audio, etc., mean it has to be big enough to house at least all the ports, power supply, and GPU hardware to do the heavy lifting.

At only 9lbs, the Mini is 10 pounds lighter than the 40. Speaking of lifting, I do note that NewTek still hasn't added a top handle to these "portable" units. That's one feature still on my wish list. Nelson used the the cable retention bracket to lift it out of his backpack. But that doesn't work for gently moving the TriCaster Mini around on the table with all the wires connected, as is often the case during a production because, well, you're now using the bracket on the side of the Mini to protect the HDMI cables from getting yanked out.

At a glance, the key differences between the Mini and the TC40 are as follows:

  • The Mini takes HDMI. The TC40 takes analog I/O.
  • The Mini can control PTZ cameras.
  • The Mini has 16 mixer channels vs 14 channels on the TC40.
  • The Mini also has 5 internal sources vs. 3 on the TC40.
  • The Mini has 4 recording channels, the TC40 has only one.
  • The Mini has 15 still & title buffers, the TC40 has none.
  • The Mini has Holographic Live Virtual Set support, macros, MIDI, individually configurable Multi-View monitor viewpoints, Avid Artist Mix Audio Control Support, display built into the case, and additional configurable computer video outputs.

The Mini also has a few more virtual sets at 30+, but with 24 built into the TriCaster 40, it's not like you were hurting there. I don't know of anyone who uses more than a couple of them.

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