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NAB Spotlight: NewTek Talks Vizrt Acquisition, NDI Recording, and Live Story Creator

Streaming Media Producer's Anthony Burokas and NewTek's Will Waters discuss the implications of Vizrt's acquisition of NewTek and the impact of NDI version 4 and TriCaster Advanced Edition 3 in the NewTek booth at NAB 2019.


Anthony Burokas: Hello, there, my name is Anthony Burokas. I'm here for Streaming Media Producer here at NAB 2019. I'm in the NewTek booth with Will Waters. There is so much that was announced just before and at NAB, it's almost like I can't even wrap my mind around it. Vizrt, NDI, the new advanced edition popped out just before NAB. What does all this mean for streaming media producers who are using NewTek hardware? I guess, let's start with Vizrt, the big thing first.

Will Waters: Well, of course, Vizrt announced an acquisition of NewTek. And what this really means for everyone is that there's some really exciting stuff on the way. Vizrt is a company that might not be familiar to many of NewTek customers or TriCaster customers, or even those that are working streaming. They are a company that is very well-known in the broadcast space, with high-end graphics and incredible technology. But what's important here is that they are software-driven, they really understand the philosophy, the idea behind doing productions and doing, making tools that create stories through video and that's driven by software.

Anthony Burokas: I mean, I see a lot of synergy, when I looked at it, I said, "Well, you've got the virtual sets, and that's kind of like a Vizrt thing, and I could just imagine the virtual sets all of a sudden becoming, like, whoa, now look what I can do!"

Will Waters: Well, it's a little too early to get into specifics, how all of this is going to be put together, but really, NewTek and Vizrt have been, we've been collaborating for a number of years now. We've had a few different products together, we have some controls and those customers that have that cross-pollination, but we just see that they're very strong in their brand and with their customer base, we take that as a very strong brand, with this customer base, and we don't see that as being, you know, messing with that at all. This is one of these things where, a lot of times, these acquisitions come in like, "Well, how can you pull different things out "and kind of strip things down" and all that. This is really as best it can be, or best we can talk about, is just, there's no real overlap except in the idea of philosophy for delivering tools for video producers, so we're really excited about what the future can hold, there, and, you know, really, the development, the combined development that can come about with that.

Anthony Burokas: And as a new TriCaster owner, I look at that, and I just look forward to, like, what additional things can come my way, and speaking of that, we talked about the, let's just say, the new version of NDI is, like, huge.

Will Waters: It's a big announcement that we have. So it's version four of NDI, which, you know, we announced that, what, three and a half years ago, and it's been like trying to lasso a rocket ship. You know, we're from Texas, you got to put that in there. But it's an amazing thing, so it's some really interesting announcements that I think are interesting for both developers as well as end users. From the developing standpoint, there's some under-the-hood multi-TCP connections that we can take better advantage of, and of course, 16-bit color space for that side. But for end user standpoint, we bring about some features that are really cool, such as NDI recording. And what this means is that, basically, once you have NDI flowing on your network, because it's really important to say, IP is not just about replacing a wire. IP in your video productions means that you can expand your workflow, do things you never really thought about before. So this allows you to take recording, or take that NDI flow, and write it directly to disk without additional CPU overhead. Now, all that technical stuff really means is that you can basically, as long as you have hard drive space, and a fast enough capacity throughput there, you basically can take all of your various sources that are flowing across your network, write them to disk, and then utilize that in ways that you really, you know, required a lot of work and effort to be able to get to before.

Anthony Burokas: Right, right, and, you know, I know, like on my TriCaster, it's like, "Well, which one do I ISO," and now, it's sort of like, oh, anything that's NDI, I can-- I can just keep it.

Will Waters: But keep in mind, this is the entire NDI ecosystem. So NDI, 63 different companies here at NAB with an NDI product, of course, thousands of downloads to the SDK, it's just, this is really mammoth. Now, there is something there that we have to bring in because that is for free, but NewTek will also be releasing a plug-in because you need to line these things up. When you have multicam editing, there's plot sources and different things, we can get into all the weeds of the technical bits, but you need to be able to keep that in sync. Well, with time code now, NDI can lay timecode directly into the file, which this plug-in that we will have available about the same time, there will be a cost there, but it will be minimal, but it'll work with the Creative Cloud suite such as Premiere, After Effects, and Media Encoder, but you'll be able to basically line that up and utilize multicam editing in a way that, previously, had been a real big headache.

Anthony Burokas: Right, right, so that'll be huge for people, content producers that, you know, in addition to live, now there's this whole post aspect about it that NDI truly facilitates, which NDI wasn't really a post thing before, it was more of a just get ingest type of thing. And then I think another announcement, not necessarily an NAB announcement, but the Advanced Edition 3--which, you know, for everyone who has hardware, it's sort of like, I looked at it as, "Wow, there's some serious new capabilities there."

Will Waters: Absolutely, so Advanced Issue 3 is something that we announce for our TriCa-- those that have bought TriCasters of various models like the Mini or 860, 8000, in previous years, and some of that hardware, you can update to Advanced Issue 3, but this is what's really important for an NAB announcement, and thaT is that we're bringing premium access, which is our current feature set, to those products. So if you have Advanced Edition 3, you're now going to be able to take advantage of some of the latest feature set and tools that we're delivering, and this is, again, the advantaged of that software-driven production.

Anthony Burokas: Right, right, so, you know, I was looking at that, and there's a whole collection of, you know, interesting pieces and connectivity and templates and database-driven things that--

Will Waters: Yeah, there's a big long list, but I can tell you, the one that's got the most buzz here, or I guess people are just, kind of keep coming back and saying, you know, "What's that again?" and like, you can see the wheels turning from the producer standpoint, it's something we're calling Live Story Creator. Now, do you use Microsoft Word? I know I'm switching gears here real quick, but we kind of started thinking about video production in a different way because where does it start? And a lot of times, you say, well, the camera and we think about the bits and the wire and the software and all that, but really, it starts with the story, or the script, right. So you sit down, so it's like, how can we utilize that? So now with premium access and Live Story Creator, you can take your script, put your headers in, and say, "Will," and it will cut to Will in that header. As it goes through, giving you also teleprompting, and actually use plain language--

Anthony Burokas: Does it bring in titles?

Will Waters: It can because you can put a comment right within the Word document and say "Put this title on," or "Here's my super," and there's some intelligence here because it's just standard conversational English. You don't have to learn a scripting language to be able to do this, and this is something really powerful for those studio producers who may not have a full automation pipeline to work with, but you can utilize a tool like Google Docs, Pages, Open Office, Microsoft Word, to deliver that DOCX file and put that right into TriCaster.

Anthony Burokas: That is very, very cool. Well, thank you very much for taking the time to talk with me, my name is Anthony Burokas here with Will at the NewTek booth here at NAB 2019 for Streaming Media Producer. Thanks for watching.

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