Recently named the Live Design Projection Product Of The Year for servers, the Chipmunk from Green Hippo made splashes toward the end of 2013. It packs a serious punch in a small form factor. Similar to its sibling, the Rackoon, which was released a year prior, the server fits in a 1U space and has one 1,920x1,080 output just like the Rackoon.
While it does have two outputs, the Rackoon still wins out in several areas. However, at its lower price, the Chipmunk will fit a variety of projects where a full Hippo system was once unaffordable. The Genlock HD and the Chipmunk are the only Green Hippo servers that don’t support output splitters, but if a show only needs one output, then that’s not a concern, and the price and size of this little guy will make it quite desirable.
While the price is right and the form factor is sexy, the device only supports two layers of HD. Granted, you can crossfade between video clips on one layer, which isn’t as restrictive as being limited to two layers could be. For me, on shows where I start out confident, I can get away with just one or two layers, but I always end up wanting that third layer.
The Green Hippo website says the Chipmunk is geared toward music events, nightclubs, or even permanent installations. While I would tread lightly on any show that might get more complex, it seems like the perfect device for cost-conscious smaller shows. Even with the limited features, it’s still running the same software as its bigger siblings. Before, it had been cost-prohibitive to get Hippotizer on smaller shows, so this really opens up the door for shows that previously couldn’t use Hippo.
There is an ongoing trend with media servers to add support at the lower end. Last year, PRG launched MBox studio, the powerful MBox software that can now run on any Mac device. Coolux released Pandoras Box Compact Player, almost identical in features to the Chipmunk. d3 released d3 designer, which adds show programming support to any laptop but not playback functionality yet.
The Rackoon turned some heads by adding some width to the Green Hippo product line, following the trend of other servers on the market. The Chipmunk has only made the line wider. For the right show at a low price, it packs a heavy punch.