Even small video shops have access to stunning visuals
The advent of computers has revolutionized television character generation and graphics, and even the smallest of video production shop can have a dizzying array of character fonts and colors, full motion 2D and 3D computer graphics for animations, maps, crawls, channel branding and even virtual sets.
In addition, there is a wide range of companies to select computer graphic products suited for government video production; some of the best are listed here.
Avid’s Motion Graphics Avid Technology has revamped its CG offering with Avid Motion Graphics. This full-featured suite “is an entirely new platform that offers real-time 2D and 3D graphics rendering in a turnkey package,” said Pam Gill, Avid’s senior marketing manager, media enterprise segment. “It has a brand-new contextsensitive user interface, and a complete set of tools for everything from traditional CF-type functions to advanced 3D full-motion graphic designs.”
Avid Motion Graphics plays well with graphics imported from Adobe Photoshop and 3D Studio Max. “Our platform can also work with graphics created in our legacy system Deko,” Gill said. “So all those wonderful graphics that you created in Deko can live on in Motion Graphics.”
Chyron’s IP Graphics System for NewTek’s TriCaster Chyron plans to launch its new ChyronIP graphics system at the 2013 NAB Show in Las Vegas April 6–11. ChyronIP is a real-time HD/SD 2D and 3D character and graphics generator designed for NewTek’s TriCaster integrated live production system. The compact system provides up to two HD or SD full-motion channels of Chyron graphics directly into the TriCaster over a network connection.
“At an unprecedented price point, ChyronIP offers Tricaster users an efficient plug-and-play method of streaming Chyron’s broadcast-quality graphics over IP,” said Todd Martin, senior vice president of Chyron’s Strategic Solutions Group. “This seamless integration lets broadcasters take advantage of Chyron’s award-winning Lyric PRO software to incorporate dynamic, animated elements and information-rich graphics into their Tricaster productions.”
Compix’s ChannelBrander Compix is known for its character generator and broadcast graphics systems. But Lan Merrill, a Compix vice president, also wants government video producers to turn to his company for channel branding. “In today’s multi-channel universe where video is everywhere, you need to brand your video feed by putting your logo on it, usually in the lower right corner,” Merrill said. “That’s why we built the ChannelBrander. You need people to know where the video they’re watching came from.”
As the name suggests, the ChannelBrander brands video channels by inserting logos into video feeds. “It’s a small, 1RU unit that you can put in an equipment closet and forget,” said Merrill. “We designed it for fly-away use, which means it is built to be bulletproof.”
An additional bonus is that the Compix ChannelBrander also interfaces with emergency alert system feeds, broadcasting them as needed on the lower third of a channel’s screen. “Other manufacturers charge you to interface and insert EAS feeds, we include that capability as an extra feature with the ChannelBrander, at no extra charge,” Merrill said.
DVEO’s Ad Serter Economical graphics generation is the business case for DVEO’s Ad Serter. It is a software-based graphic package that lets video producers create graphics, logos and titles on a third-party application, and then use Ad Serter to insert them as desired into an MPEG Compressed video stream. Ad Serter makes it happen by decoding the stream, overlaying the graphics as desired, and then re-encoding the stream for playout.
“You can use Ad Serter to schedule and then insert graphics as needed,” said Laszlo Zoltan, a sales manager for DVEO. “Using our 10 function key presets, you can also access titles as needed during live events,” he said. “If you are covering a council meeting, you can have everyone’s names already prepped, and just hit the appropriate function key to call them up in real-time.”
Harris Broadcast’s Inscriber G8 Harris Broadcast offers two levels of real-time graphics production systems, and both are built upon next-generation hardware platforms, to support advanced graphics processing and increased storage performance, according to Andy Warman, Harris Broadcast’s senior product marketing manager, servers, storage and graphics.
The Inscriber G8 serves the high-end graphics market, features a dual channel configuration as standard, and supports complex 3D graphics and animations. Inscriber TitleOne AE shares many of Inscriber G8’s graphics creation features, including the creation of real-time HD/SD or SD-only graphics, Warman said. It offers 2D and 2D-in-3D graphics support at a lower price, putting it within reach of small video production departments. “Both systems support remote data source inputs (RSS feeds, database and text files) and Inscriber’s RTX scripting language can create custom applications covering everything from social networking to stadium scoreboards and signage,” he said.
LightWave’s 3D modeling was used to create the graphics for NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover. The NASA 3D animations of the Curiosity Mars Rover were made by Bohemian Grey studio using LightWave 3D modeling, animation and rendering software. The realism of those animations is credited with helping boost the public’s interest in that mission, according to Bohemian Grey.
LightWave 3D Group recently made available the latest version of the software, LightWave 11.5, which offers such features as Genoma character rigging system with modular presets, and soft-body Bullet Dynamics with support for FiberFX. LightWave 11.5 also has Interchange Tools that support Adobe After Effects cameras and Pixologic’s Zbrush, stereoscopic and depth-of-field motion blur in the Viewport Preview Renderer.
NewTek’s TriCaster 8000 For $5,000, a video producer can buy a character generator and basic graphics creation system from NewTek. Actually, what that money buys is an entrylevel NewTek TriCaster 40 integrated production video switcher, capable of mixing multiple camera sources, video clips and graphics. “So for the price of a basic graphics system, you get a video production facility,” said Philip Nelson, Newtek’s SVP of artist and media relations.
All of NewTek’s Tricaster systems are outfitted with graphics and title generation, from the Tricaster 40 through the mid-level TriCaster 455 and 855, to the latest switcher, the top-of-the-line TriCaster 8000. Among the 8000’s features are a 24-channel switcher, eight fully re-entrant M/E rows, and live output to up to 14 display destinations, as well as 3D visual effects, virtual sets, graphics and transitions.
Ross Video’s XPression Government video broadcast and audiovisual professionals oversee all types of productions, from teleconferences and broadcasting, to building informational video billboards, and those productions include 2D/3D graphics, said Brian Olson, Ross Video’s marketing product manager for XPression. Such productions can be helped by Ross’ XPression graphics software, because the software “does it all,” and be can purchased at an entry-level price that enables users to add features as needed, he said.
XPression Version 4.0 includes new features such as stagger animations, gradient/bump map/refraction shaders, and the ability to load and work with multiple projects at a time. “Our systems are plug-and-play, and very easy to master,” Olson said. “If you take the three-day training course, chances are you’ll be bored on day three, because you’ll already know what you need to know,” he added.
VidiGo’s Graphics VidiGo Graphics enables video producers to create graphics in Adobe Creative Suite and Adobe Flash, then convert them to SDI (including widescreen) for broadcast, according to Reinout Lempers, VidiGo’s chief operating officer. The platform includes “a very easy to use CG to generate lower thirds, logos and tickers,” he said.
Flash is not the only open standard supported by VidiGo Graphics. The software can also work in HTML5. This open standard approach ensures “there is no vendor lock-in,” Lempers said.
Vizrt’s VizEngine Used by broadcasters such as Bloomberg, CNN and Fox News, Vizrt’s VizEngine is a comprehensive graphics system, said Tom Shelburne, Vizrt’s director of special projects. VizEngine can do everything from titles to animated 2D and 3D scenes in real time, in both SD and HD. Viz Engine even supports graphics for 3DTV right out of the box.
“Viz Engine lets artists create graphics templates, whose fields can be easily populated out by staff or automated feeds,” Shelburne said. “As well, when you create graphics in Viz Engine, they are ready for air immediately. There’s no waiting for hours or even days for the system to render the graphics, as is the case with some other CG systems,” he added.