TV pro realizes new creative vision for series television on the Web with TriCaster… from his garage

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Another great testimony about the versatility of TriCaster’s products.

BACK STORY

Mike Rotman was an established video pro long before he began eyeing the Web. With writing credits for shows like Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher, South Park, and The Simple Life, and producer on many others, he had solid roots in traditional television. But eventually, the more success he found producing TV, the less satisfied he became. “I didn’t like TV anymore. TV was all reality shows,” he says. Rotman increasingly found his creative muse online, as a producer of short Web films and as executive producer of Web talk shows like Kevin Pollack’s Chat Show. It was the Pollack gig that gave Rotman a taste for making episodic television on the Web.

BIG CHALLENGE

Rotman proposed a new Web show to the company behind comedian Pollack’s show, but the two parties couldn’t reach an agreement. “So I said, ‘I’ll do it myself,’” says Rotman. Rotman set out to find a location that he could transform into a production and webstreaming workspace. He found a 350-square-foot garage that would house his studio, and Streamin’ Garage was born. “Because I’d worked in TV for so long, the first thing I wanted was to be creative, but I’m very picky,” says Rotman. “I could have absolutely done it on a webcam, with no sound, but I refused to do that. I needed something professional before I went live and let people see anything I wanted to do.” No strangers to leveraging technology to fulfill the church’s pastoral mission, they easily found the answer: live streaming video.

“AHA” MOMENT

Like many startups, Streamin’ Garage faced budget constraints, so Rotman looked to economize. After choosing a Mac software-based video switching solution, Rotman discovered the processor couldn’t keep up. The same was true with other software solutions he tried: “Nothing would work.” He realized that to do the HD television productions he envisioned, Streamin’ Garage needed a hardware solution. From his previous work, he had become well-acquainted with NewTek TriCaster as a production system that integrated multi-camera switching with the visual effects, mixed media sources, and processing power to keep up with his demand to look professional. “It became obvious that it had to be the TriCaster, or my vision for Streamin’ Garage would not become a reality,” he says.

FRESH APPROACH

Streamin’ Garage shows are multi-camera productions. Rotman typically keeps the production staff to four people: a sound mixer, someone running the online chat room where viewers interact with shows, a cameraperson manning the tripod-mounted cameras, and a technical director mixing it all live with the TriCaster. Rotman directs and produces the shows. In addition to switching cameras, the TriCaster feeds Skype viewer questions and comments into the programs, incorporates production elements like lower-third graphics, and records the shows during live production for VOD distribution.

PAYOFF

Since the launch of Streamin’ Garage in 2010, the TriCaster has allowed Rotman to achieve his goal of leaving traditional TV and becoming a creative force on his own. The company has produced eight Web television series, among them “Stupid for Movies,” a talk show all about films, and “Stupid for Dexter,” a show devoted to the hit Showtime series. With the success of those eight programs, he’s attracted advertisers and sponsors for his shows, and landed a Streamin’ Garage channel, available for Roku set-top device customers and garnering more than 150,000 subscribers. “TriCaster has allowed me to leave TV and be on the forefront of new media,” says Rotman. “Hopefully, looking back in 10 or 20 years, people will consider me one of the innovators and it really is because of TriCaster.”

For more information and a free demonstration, contact MCC today.

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