TL00So you have this fancy Tricaster or video switcher with all the bells and whistles, except one very important “bell.”

How does your talent know which camera to look at when doing a live production in your studio?


A very common problem in the educational studio is that there is no tally light system for the cameras. A tally light system is usually an afterthought for the school broadcast studio because there is no cost-effective or workable solution.

Tally lights are important tools in a broadcast studio. I have never been in a professional studio that did not have tally lights for all of the cameras. If theTL01 professionals think it’s important, I believe it should be high on the list of “must haves” for the educational studio. So it’s a must have, but how do you do it? Most educational studios use portable cameras as their studio cameras and they have no true built-in tally light. Finally, a solution!

Tally-Lights, LLC has created a solution that will work with most any switcher and most of the Newtek Tricaster line. It’s an innovative system that can be wireless or wired and it triggers a unit that mounts on the camera hot-shoe with seven LED lights, six face the talent and one faces the camera operator.

Ted Kazmierczak, of Tally-Lights, LLC, recently sent me a demo unit to try out that included both a wired and wireless system that interfaced very easily with the Tricaster Studio at Hahnville High School. Within minutes Robert Riddick, the Broadcasting Teacher at Hahnville, and myself had the system up and running.

First, we tried out the wireless system by hooking up the transmitter unit to the Tricaster Studio via a USB cable for power and short jumper cables to the tally inputs to trigger the transmitter. Next, we set up two of Hahnville’s Sony HDV cameras with tally lights. The part that hooks to the camera consists of two parts, the receiver and the actual tally light. The receiver is powered by a nine-volt battery and hooks to the light with a short jumper cable. Both pieces mount on a short aluminum bar and mount to the hot-shoe of the camera. It worked flawlessly right out of the box.

Next we tried out the wired system. With the Tricaster Studio, all you need are the tally lights and a long enough interface cord to plug into your Tricaster. The Tricaster supplies power to the LED tally lights so there is no battery or external power necessary. Again, it worked flawlessly right out of the box.

TL02The Tally-Lights, LLC system is a great solution for the educational studio that might not have true studio cameras with a built-in tally system. The lights are very bright and will easily get the attention of your on-camera talent letting them know which camera is live. If the light is too bright, there is a dimmer switch on the back panel of the light that will dim or completely turn off the talent side of the light but leave the single camera operator side LED lit.

According to their website, the tally lights will interface with a variety of switchers including Panasonic, Sony, Ross and Blackmagic among others. I was only able to test the system on a Tricaster Studio. and it worked flawlessly in both wired and wireless configurations.

Tally Lights, LLC Website