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City of Frederick Taps Blackmagic for AV Upgrade

Production upgrades allow a mix old and new equipment to coexist

The City of Frederick’s A/V Department control room, where all of the city’s multicam productions are directed from.

FREDERICK, MD–Since its inception in 2009, the City of Frederick’s Audio Visual Department wanted to convert its analog equipment to digital.

The department provides the bulk of A/V needs for the city and mayor’s office, broadcasting public meetings, community events and producing commercials and PSAs on Comcast cable access channel 99 as well as streaming the content 24/7 on its website.

“I have to ensure everything runs smoothly, and it’s vital that our AV workflow supports our needs, which is why I keep up with the latest technology trends and keep our equipment fresh,” said AVD’s Lead Video Producer, Lance Duvall.

Pictured is the city’s new Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K switcher, the ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel and the 17-inch SmartView HD monitor.

With that amount of responsibility, Duvall needed to make a few, yet vital, equipment changes to the department’s camera switching operation in their control room. Five cameras, connected to a Blackmagic mini analog to SDI converter via BMC-out, are fed into a Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K switcher and controlled with the ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel. This setup now allows the channel to broadcast digitally while also using analog gear. A laptop computer, which supplies graphics and other media, is connected with a Blackmagic mini converter and feeds into the switcher. A 17-inch SmartView HD monitor was installed to monitor ATEM inputs.

According to Duvall, with numerous meetings taking place between two buildings, the new Blackmagic Design gear has made production tasks more flexible.

“We just push a button, and the cameras across the street operate from the ATEM switcher,” he said. Elements such as lower-thirds and graphics are created on the laptop then fed into the ATEM switcher to be ordered chronologically according to the public meeting’s agenda. “The laptop feeding into the switcher also runs video loops or bumper videos for before and after each meeting, and we also control the audio levels from it.” Duvall said.

Duvall is confident that the new installation will be more efficient and reliable. “We can rely on the fact that the products will continue to support our workflow and our investments won’t become obsolete,” he said.