December 21, 2010

Autocue moves into acquisition

The prompter and newsroom automation maker, Autocue, has expanded into the acquisition market, with lighting and camera support.

The new products are designed to go with its popular Starter Series prompters, "as customers [and dealers] want an all-in-one system," said Autocue CEO, Frank Hyman. "Our Starter Series has really taken off, and we’ve gone from zero to more than 50 units per month in six months."

Its lights are "really, really entry level," he said. The range includes LED and softbox lighting kits, with dimmable 1000 and 500 LED lights (£499 and £279 respectively) and stands (£49), plus a three-head softbox lighting kit including case and 12 fluorescent bulbs for £249. There is also an on-camera, 120 LED light for just £109.

Its first two entry-level aluminium tripods are the Heavyweight (£349) with floor spreader and 18kg payload capacity, and Medium-weight (£229) with mid-level spreader and a 6kg payload capacity.

Hyman is particularly pleased with The Glide, a professional, handheld camera stabiliser, manufactured and designed by Autocue (the other items are OEM). It is aimed at cameras weighing from 450g to 2.7kg, and is competitively priced at £549.

The handle has a high quality foam grip and can be docked on a tripod plate. To aid portability, the whole unit folds up flat for storage in its small carry case. "We believe the Glide is the highest quality product on the market," he added.

It has also introduced four modular video servers, "aimed at the affordable end of the market," with prices ranging from £3,000 to £20,000 (depending on I/O ports and storage – up to four channels and 12TB). It can also do RAID systems that are "ideally suited to VTR replacement and secondary applications, such as back up," said Hyman. They currently work with Autocue's own automation system, but will add others later.

"We were originally asked to provide a video server as part of a complete workflow solution for a university. We saw a great opportunity to offer more ports, more storage and more flexibility at a lower cost than existing devices, and have now developed a uniquely different server solution," added CTO, Neil Hutchins.

It is also now offering Grade 2 production monitors, including 17- and 24-inch versions.

By David Fox

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