The first of Blackmagic Design‘s new product announcements have started streaming in the lead up to NAB. Of course, this isn’t a normal year and Blackmagic’s webinar format will soon become the norm for many other manufacturers as NAB 2020 becomes a virtual event. That’s fitting for Grant Petty’s session today, because the announcements focused on live production, such as streaming over the internet. Blackmagic rolled out a series of software updates and one new ATEM switcher product.
Blackmagic Design’s ATEM switchers have gained in popularity at all levels of live production, including concerts, corporate venues, educational sessions, broadcast, and more. Today’s announcement was particularly appropriate for smaller productions, because it adds a new ATEM Mini Pro control panel to the ATEM collection. Both Mini panels are notepad-sized, compact audio/video switchers that can accommodate up to four HD signals using HDMI inputs. Appearances are deceptive, as both panels function like a full-blown, 1 M/E video switcher with a built-in DVE for picture-in-picture effects.
Read more: Blackmagic Design Releases New ATEM Mini
ATEM Switcher Software
The heart of the system is the ATEM switcher software application. Once you connect the panel to a computer, additional functions are available to the operator. The application uses a page-based interface layout, much like DaVinci Resolve. In addition to video switching, this includes media, camera, and audio pages. The camera page is a 4-camera control unit (CCU) for camera iris and color balance/tint adjustments. The audio page covers mix and EQ capabilities based on the Fairlight mixer. In addition to the ATEM Mini and ATEM Mini Pro panels, the software application can also control the larger ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel. This larger panel offers the full 1 M/E bus layout, complete with a T-bar and DVE joystick. These are present in the software application, but aren’t dedicated devices on the two smaller switcher panels.
Blackmagic Design realized that many ATEM Mini users have paired the switcher with their Pocket Cinema Cameras. By using the camera control page, the ATEM operator can easily set-up and match Blackmagic cameras attached to the system. A color-corrected HD video signal is passed through the switcher. The cameras also retain the ability to simultaneously recorded an internal 4K (or larger) image in Blackmagic RAW with film gamma for future post production.
ATEM Mini Pro
The existing ATEM Mini relies on the connected computer to encode its live stream. The new ATEM Mini Pro features a new internal streaming engine, thus taken this burden off of the computer. This encoded stream is sent to the computer via an Ethernet connection, which frees up its USB-C port for external recording. You can connect standard drives, SSDs, thumb drives, or the Blackmagic MultiDock. If you use the MultiDock, then the recording can be changed on-the-fly from one disk drive to the next as each fills up.
There is also a new multi-view output giving the operator the equivalent of a control room monitor wall. This can display tiles for preview and program outputs, the individual cameras, audio levels, and record status. In addition to external recording, the operator can also trigger simultaneous in-camera recording from the control panel software. In order to make multi-camera post efficient, the ATEM Mini Pro includes a built-in timecode generator. The internally-generated timecode of the attached Blackmagic cameras can be synced to this “master clock” via their HDMI connection to the ATEM Mini Pro panel.
In addition to the ATEM software updates, Blackmagic Design has also released new camera software updates that enable these new, companion camera features.
Rounding out today’s releases, Blackmagic HyperDeck owners also get a new software update. It features a new H.264 codec that supports interlaced formats, an AAC audio codec, support for longer recording durations of at least three hours, and faster Ethernet transfers. As is typical for for Blackmagic Design, these software updates are free and immediately available.