Technology Creates NEW Kinds of Creativity – The Case of Tricaster and 35

imageWe all know that technology changes the world of media. It enables people to create TV style shows in fraction of the cost and distribute them independently.

But once in a while I see projects that do not imitate big media – but uses technology to create new type of media products. “35” is one of those cases.

“35” is a scripted live drama show, distributed through the Internet, using ustream live broadcasting platform. Think about a rare combination of the energy one can find in the theater, coupled with edginess of live show, and with the somewhat geeky taste of live video over the Internet.

The novelty of this show didn’t escape main stream media, and the show was covered in Wall Street Journal among others.

But there is an interesting angle that was sometimes missed in this story – this show could never come to life 3 years ago by indie producers.

In discussion I had with Andrew Lipson and Kathryn Jones from, we discussed the role of two key products in this show. One is low cost editing software, and the second is the Tricaster. This amazing device, by NewTek, allowed the producers to roll in video clips like opening and ending credits, call up graphics (full screen or lower thirds) to tell viewers anything from “chat coming up after the show” to “available on iTunes 10/1” to bringing up names or URLs as lower thirds during chats, cut between up to 6 camera inputs in a live environment which includes hard cuts, programmable speed fades, dips and other transitions.

This product costs up to 10,000$ – not a small amount of money. But one should compare it to the cost of such a control room in broadcast studio – that can cost between 200,000$ to several millions.

This is a great example how technology brings powerful tools to the masses, and how creative people can create new kinds of storytelling if they set their mind to it.

Another interesting angle is NewTek response to Andrew emails with suggestions of improvements – or rather lack of response. Ustream, BlogTV and other companies that are aware of the power of Indie content creators understand the power of blogs and the importance of responsiveness to this segment. NewTek primary market are broadcasters and larger companies than the usual vlogger – and it shows in the way they work with the community.

We should remember that “35” is a good show not thanks to Tricaster – but thanks to great actors and intriguing script. But this certainly an example where talent meets technology – and a refreshing new media product comes to life.

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8 Responses to “Technology Creates NEW Kinds of Creativity – The Case of Tricaster and 35”

  1. 1 Jan / The Faux Press October 22, 2007 at 1:41 am

    “We should remember that “35″ is a good show not thanks to Tricaster – but thanks to great actors and intriguing script.”


    And a kick-ass crew of volunteer equipment providers, camera operators, production team, and other technicians.

    They’re stars, too.

  2. 2 Jim Plant October 22, 2007 at 6:51 am

    I’ve been reading about “35” in various places online. It’s a very unique application for TriCaster. It’s gratifying for us to see our product used in such a creative and effective way.

    I was dismayed to read your content about our lack of response to Andrew’s improvement suggestions. Can you tell me where/who he has been mailing his comments?


    Jim Plant
    President & CEO
    NewTek, Inc.

  3. 3 Kfir Pravda October 22, 2007 at 8:01 am


    Thanks for your quick reply, I’d ask Andrew to add some more details. I’d love to hear more about your company, products, and the way it changed the market.

  4. 4 Andrew Lipson October 22, 2007 at 1:35 pm


    The TriCaster unit we used for “35” was loaned to the production by Jeff Pulver. I use the unit to produce his live internet talk show which usually goes live on a weekly basis. We regularly promote the unit and its benefits during that show, so we really do like the product.
    The primary feature I requested in my attempts to contact your company were the ability to see multiple camera inputs simultaneously instead of having to toggle between them in a single preview window. You have a quad-split implemented for the VCR, iVGA and scope, so I e-mailed “” address asking if you have the same feature for camera inputs or if you could add this feature.
    Incidentally, I received an e-mail telling me about the TriCaster Studio tour, but I did not receive it until after the tour had its New York dates. I would have loved to attend.
    I hope to continue a dialog with you or anyone else you deem appropriate from NewTek, who might like to hear about how the unit is used in the field and what things we learn may help you improve the product.
    Andrew Lipson
    Producer, PulverTV

  5. 5 Jim Plant October 22, 2007 at 6:08 pm


    Thanks very much for both your innovative use of TriCaster, and your comments and suggestions for improving the product. I’m sure the sales department has already forwarded your e-mail to our product development team, but I will as well. I apologize if we didn’t respond directly to your e-mail. I’ll talk to our team at NewTek and see what we can do to improve our responsiveness.

    We also have a very active user forum on our website, that is frequented daily by NewTek management and technical staff ( I think there’s actually a thread regarding TriCaster Studio preview monitors in the TriCaster forum.

    We do have (3 max) on-screen live video previews for our TriCaster and TriCaster PRO models, but we cannot do on-screen previews for all 6 TriCaster Studio live inputs. This is something that we hope to remedy in future products.

    On the co-marketing front, we’d love to do a production profile of “35” for our website. Is this something you would be interested in?
    Kfir can give you my e-mail address if you want to contact me directly.

    Jim Plant
    President & CEO
    NewTek, Inc.

  6. 6 Kfir Pravda November 8, 2007 at 9:28 am

    Jan, I apologize for the late response, your comment was labeled as spam. Yes, the team as a whole is great – and you are right that the technical team of volunteers are the core of the whole thing. That’s the beauty of this creation – technology and creativity meet 🙂

  1. 1 facedown » Blog Archive » Technology Creates NEW Kinds of Creativity - The Case of Tricaster … Trackback on October 22, 2007 at 6:28 pm
  2. 2 Your Company Got Blogger-Bashed? Take an Example From NewTek « Media, Technology, and Rebel Filmmaking Trackback on November 8, 2007 at 9:39 am

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