It’s been an “amazing” few years since the Vizrt Group acquired NewTek in 2019, says NewTek president and general manager Barbara Spicek.
Speaking at the IBC trade show, she said there has been year-on-year growth of over 20% in the past two years at the company, a figure that rises to 50% in Europe. This is partially fuelled by the pandemic but also by the need for exciting live production, a need that has extended beyond the classic sectors of the market to areas such as enterprise and education.
“Everybody wants to do broadcast-quality production,” says Spicek. “In all of the expanding markets, you’re really seeing video content explode.”
This is a trend that NewTek is well placed to serve with a combination of quality and a price point that is designed for these market segments. Serving the new, expanding markets is how the company is positioned within the Vizrt Group, compared with, say, Vizrt itself which is aiming at the more traditional broadcast market.
The period since the last IBC in 2019 has also seen the company’s most successful product launch ever, in the form of the Tricaster 2 Elite video production platform. But, understandably for a trade show, it is the new products that NewTek wants to talk about first, starting with CaptureCast, a lecture-capture based product that can also be used for streaming.
“CaptureCast is a really nice way of making it as easy as possible for people to start working with AV-over-IP feeds, whether that’s in-room meeting cameras or presentation systems, using NDI, and simply assembling those to create picture-in-picture content and record individual streams,” says Liam Hayter, senior solutions architect at NewTek.
CaptureCast can be used for lessons. It can be used for meetings. There are even law firms looking at it for compliance purposes.
The product is template-driven and schedulable, so it can record and stream at an allocated time. It is light touch for the operator. It lives on the network and, in the case of a class, can upload into learning management systems such as Panopto and Kaltura.
“It has been very well received by educators and corporates because it simply saves time,” says Hayter. “It has a very low barrier to operation, which is absolutely critical right now.”
Another of the company’s latest launches is the Tricaster Mini X, the new entry-level product in the Tricaster family. This is a small, portable solution that has direct HDMI inputs to support up to 4K.
“It’s small enough to sit on a desk, so you can do some video from home or anywhere in the world,” says Hayter.
Despite its small footprint, it does allow you to use equipment AV customers will already have, such as HDMI cameras. And, as you might expect from NewTek, it integrates natively within NDI, so you can move from HDMI into a networked production environment.
Importantly, it has a new LiveLink feature. “LiveLink allows us to bring HTML5 directly into the system, which then makes way for things like HTML graphics and social media integration which we’ve not been able to offer before,” says Hayter.
LiveLink renders HTML natively in the box. If you have someone who is showing web content, or you have another web event that you want to provide commentary on, you can bring that directly into the system and interact with it.
“Now we can start offering remote graphics and data gathering and make productions even better, even from a little system that is sat on your desk,” Hayter adds.
As the IBC show gets under way, NewTek’s parent company, the Vizrt Group, announces the acquisition of Flowics, an HTML5 cloud-based, broadcast graphics platform which can be used together with LiveLink. And the company is now offering 30-day trial codes to all Tricaster 1 and Tricaster 2 users so they can starting playing around with the HTML5 graphics package.
“The Flowics acquisition is very exciting, especially in its meaning for Tricaster users,” says Spicek. “With the market segments we serve, I was being asked a lot of questions before about graphics from Vizrt, but those weren’t really for that customer base. The combination of Tricaster with HTML5 graphics is going to be huge.”
“The graphics element that Flowics is going to provide into us, particularly with social media integration is something that our users have been asking me about at every trade show as far back as I can remember,” says Hayter. “This HTML integration really helps complete these toolboxes that we have in the Tricaster for AV and video production as well.”
Finally, we talk about the launch of the Tricaster 2 Elite during the pandemic. “The big success on the Tricaster 2 Elite was the Live Call Connect feature,” says Spicek.
Live Call Connect enables live productions to bring in remote callers with Teams and Zoom integrations.
“There was a demand that seemed really big for two years because of the need for connectivity from the home through the internet platforms,” says Spicek.
But Live Call Connect was in some ways the precusor to this year’s LiveLink feature, introduced with the Tricaster Mini X, as this now provides full integration with HTML5-based internet platforms, and can be used with Flowics. “The Flowics acquisition enables any production in any segment to have that graphics element,” Spicek says.
Another feature that played a role in the success of the Tricaster 2 Elite was an NDI KVM function that helped large, corporate clients manage full remote productions. Using NDI Bridge, the AV team could work from home but still operate the AV estate in the office as if they were there.
“Nobody else has been able to offer that during the last two years,” says Hayter. “An exec can dial into the head office, to a production system that is operated remotely. Now we can offer that with graphics too, it is an incredibly powerful tool.”