BB Video review: Tricaster, and the Future of Live Video Online

(Download MP4, or watch on YouTube.) In today's episode of Boing Boing Video, we review the Tricaster, a compact device that facilitates high-quality live internet video broadcast production for a lot less dough than the equivalent amount of traditional TV production gear.

A number of web video productions are now using the Tricaster, including Leo Laporte's, and Mahalo's newly launched Kevin Pollak chat show. I visited the Kevin Pollak set this week to view the device in action with BBV editor Wes Varghese and Richard Metzger. Metzger has also been experimenting with live-to-hard-drive production (= tape his interview show using the Tricaster, then it's ready to go as a produced piece without a lot of editing.).

What interested me most about the device was the possibility of changing the economics of live video online. The Tricaster costs about $10K, and just renting a satellite truck full of switching gear and engineers for conventional live production costs a hell of a lot more – like, start adding zeroes.

So, the possibilities I see are much like the possibilities we began to see for web video 10 years ago, when digital video cameras suddenly became a lot more affordable, and video editing software became cheaper, more widely distributed, and a lot easier to use. Bottom line: more live video, in more of it the hands of people who wouldn't be producing live video otherwise.

Newtek, the company that makes the Tricaster, loaned Boing Boing Video a review unit and we're going to be doing some experiments soon.

Below, and after the jump, some screengrabs from backstage video I shot on the Kodak zi6. The featured guest on this installment of the Kevin Pollak show was Jon Hamm of Mad Men. Diggnation/Totally Rad Show/Project Lore star Alex Albrecht was also in the house, as was George Ruiz of ICM, who shot some nicer photos here. Kevin Pollak show crew notes: Alex Miller was running the TriCaster. Kenny Chen was the floor director, Josh Negrin is sitting next to Alex at the Mac Pro and Jason McIntyre is sitting at the 2 iMacs.

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(Special thanks to Philip Nelson of NewTek, to Jason Calacanis, and to Boing Boing's video hosting partner Episodic.)

Sponsor shout-out: This Boing Boing Video episode is sponsored by, in partnership with Intel and Asus. is a site where users come together to "share ideas, images and inspiration about the ideal PC." Participants' designs, feature ideas and community feedback will be evaluated by ASUS and "could influence the blueprint for an actual notebook PC built by ASUS with Intel inside."