Video Toaster

Software/hardware developed by NewTek for the Amiga Computer. Made special effects affordable for the low budget producer.

The NewTek Video Toaster is a combination of hardware and software for the editing and production of NTSC standard-definition video. The plug-in expansion card initially worked with the Amiga 2000 computer and provides a number of BNC connectors on the exposed rear edge that provides connectivity to common analog video sources like VHS. The related software tools support video switching, chroma-keying, character generation, animation, and image manipulation.

Together, the hardware and software provided a low-cost video editing suite for a few thousand U.S. dollars that rivaled the output of professional systems costing ten times as much at the time. It allowed small studios to produce high-quality material and resulted in a cottage industry for video production not unlike the success of the Macintosh in the desktop publishing (DTP) market only a few years earlier. The Video Toaster won the Emmy Award for Technical Achievement in 1993. Other parts of the original software package were spun off as stand-alone products, notably LightWave 3D, and achieved success on their own.

As the Amiga platform lost market share and Commodore International went bankrupt in 1994 as a result of declining sales, the Video Toaster was moved to the Microsoft Windows platform where it is still available. The company also produces what is essentially a portable pre-packaged version of the Video Toaster along with all the computer hardware needed, as the TriCaster. These became all-digital units in 2014, ending production of the analog Video Toaster line.

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