How To Make Hotspots to Let Talent Trigger Your TriCaster®
May 16, 2018 by Don Ballance and Chuck Baker
Among the automation system capabilities of TriCasters with Advanced Edition, TriCaster TC1 and NewTek IP series is the ability for the technical director to create invisible “hotspots” in any camera’s field of view. These use the alpha channel, so when a downstream keyer (DSK) is on for that camera view, the hotspots are active. When the onscreen talent gestures into a hotspot, that will trigger a pre-selected command macro.
Hotspots can thus be used in a variety of ways to aid in triggering an important Switcher event or sequence of events at the time and in the circumstances that you need it to happen in your production.
Say for example that you are producing a newscast. The anchors can control events such as when a virtual monitor will move into view and play a video clip from the DDR, when switches between camera views will occur, as well as zooms and pans, and bringing graphic overlays on and off screen. The weathercaster can have specific graphics and text appear over a weather map as they move their hand to different locations on the map. This relieves the switcher operator of having to try to anticipate and coordinate with the onscreen talent’s actions at production time.
Hotspots can also be used to enable a one-person production, where you are both the onscreen talent and the crew. Hotspots in the camera view on the talent can be used, but it is also possible to create a virtual control surface for the talent to use. Don Ballance demonstrates doing this with post-it notes on the desktop in this video, using an additional camera, and a view not shown to the audience.
A helpful option with hotspots is that they can be set to be active either any time DSK is active, whether or not a given camera is on program output, or only when the camera is on program output. For our news anchor and weathercaster examples we would want to have the hotspots active only when the camera is on Program output. For the virtual control panel example, we would want the hotspots active full time, and we never put that camera on Program output.
Don turns on Hotspot Markers in the Preview Window, and on the Input 1 menu sets Hotspots to be active only when Input 1 is on Program output.
The controls to activate Hotspots are on the Input Configuration Panel, Automation tab. You can just double-click on an input in the multiviewer to open this panel, or click on the Settings Gear button below the input. Here Don is setting up a new hotspot on Input 1.
There are up to 8 hotspots available per input, and a simple click on the status toggle turns a hotspot on or off. Each hotspot has a positioner control that allows you to move it around and a scaler control that allows you to resize it. The Events button lets you set what macro will execute when the hotspot is activated by the talent, and optionally, a macro that is to be executed when the talent deactivates the hotspot by moving out of it.
For this tutorial, presets for the camera created in the Composition panel for the M/E are used to create macros. This is as simple as turning on the macro recorder, then clicking on a preset. Then, the recorded macro is assigned to a hotspot - “OTS in”, which pans the camera right and drops a virtual monitor into the space to the right of the talent, and plays a clip from the DDR. “OTS out” is assigned to another hotspot, and this enables the talent to bring the monitor on and play a clip, then take it off and recenter the camera on the talent, as demonstrated in the video.
The second workflow demonstrated is setting up a simple virtual control surface for the onscreen talent to use to operate the Switcher. Don uses five Post-It note sheets laid out on the desktop, and labeled with a marker as to the action assigned to each. A camera is overhead looking at this positon. In the camera view, Don has set up a hotspot on each sheet, and assigned that hotspot the appropriate macro. He then activates the DSK for the input to which that camera is assigned and clicks on a Post-It note as the color to key out. Once the DSK is on, the hotspots are active, and the talent can simply put a finger over a Post-It note to execute that event.
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