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Softron Testimonial: OTAV + MovieRecorder

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David GagneSoftron Testimonial: OTAV + MovieRecorder
by on Feb 13, 2012 at 10:07:55 pm

We just started using MovieRecorder and OnTheAirVideo for our live events, and absolutely love it.

Previously we had been using AJA TV and AJA VTR software with our AJA LHi/e cards. To be honest, it was not meeting our needs very well. When we did multi-cam capture they were not synced, and playout was always a bit iffy on AJA TV.

MultiChannel Recording

With Softron, my goal was to be able to do reliable, synced, multichannel recording. A second goal was to allow me to upgrade to Decklink Duo cards and give me additional capture channels.

One additional challenge I had was to get timecode to the systems with the Decklink Duo. Luckily Softron has a handy document on how to pull this off (https://softron.zendesk.com/entries/219017-how-to-sync-multiple-ingest-to-a-single-timecode-source).

Following that guide I realized that we would have to switch from using Adrienne AEC-uBOX-2 with AJA Serial Ports to using LTC over USB audio (Griffin). I ordered the Timecode cable from BH but that actually didn't work. One of my engineers made me up some cables that worked great.

Once I got time code, all was well. I use the included MovieRecorder Controller to gang 4-6 channels of HD capture, click record, and they all go at the same time. This is great for our editors, they can just pull them all into FCP and multicam edit.

Playout

The playout solution is simple and effective. The main thing we were looking to improve over AJA TV was to be able to do playlists. AJA TV cannot do this, so if you want to play multiple files back to back, you have to manually open files and hit play. Trying to do this without missing a mark is VERY STRESSFUL.

With OnTheAirVideo, it's simple. Pull in your files, tell them to chain if you like, and hit play. No stress.

That's how we use it, obviously there are a lot more things you can do with it. I've had a few minor issues, but their support has been very quick to help out, jumping in with TeamViewer as needed.

Caveats

I only have a few reservations.

One, of course, is cost. AJA TV and AJA VTR are both free. As is Blackmagic's software. But neither of them gave me the features I needed. Other software packages were often even more expensive (looking at you FORK, EVS, etc).

Another slight issue I had is that their licensing is a bit quirky. I didn't immediately realize that you had to buy an additional license for HD playout, while HD recording is included in the standard price. Also you have to be careful activating and deactivating your licenses. If you mess with files (like I did!) you can mess up your licenses and they will have to issue you new ones. You can opt for dongle-based licenses, and I would probably recommend this.

Other than that, it's been great! I no longer have to babysit my team when they are doing playout and capture! Success!


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