Blackmagic Debuts 3 Key New Products to Enhance Live Web Production Workflow
Blackmagic Design unveiled 3 key new products at a press event on Monday, among them the Hyperdeck Studio Mini media player and recorder, an HD model of the entry-level ATEM Television Studio, and Blackmagic Web Presenter, a new device that converts UHD signals to streaming-ready 720p.
It has been six years since Blackmagic Design first announced the launch of the ATEM line of high-definition video switchers. The first three models supported 1080/60i (1.5G SDI) workflows and the entry level ATEM TelevisionStudio (TVS) had a game-changingly low price of $995, which was thousands of dollars less expensive than SD video switchers at the time.
Blackmagic added additional features to these switchers via regular firmware updates, and in 2013, they released three additional models that added even more features, including 4K UHD support. This was a big jump because while other video switcher companies were slow releasing products with 1080/60p (3G SDI) support, the 4K ATEM line added 1080/60p and 2160 30/60p (6G & 12G) before those standards were even ratified.
Instead of waiting for NAB in April to announce and release a new line of products, Blackmagic held a press conference earlier this week to announce three new products. These new products were designed around the needs of what CEO Grant Petty refers to as emerging markets, like web broadcasting on YouTube Live.
ATEM Television Studio HD ($995)
The ATEM Television Studio HD (Figure 1, below), an HD model of the original entry-level TVS, adds progressive supports up to 1080/60P, which matches the needs of all modern video workflows. The hardware itself is one rack unit tall but is only 2/3 rack-width, which is by design as it can be mounted next to the growing line of Blackmagic devices that are 1/3 rack-width. The optional Teranex Mini Rack Shelf is $85, although unlike the original ATEM TVS, the TVS HD doesn’t need to be rack-mounted and is designed for desktop use as well.
Figure 1. ATEM Television Studio HD
The TVS HD features four 3G SDI and four HDMI inputs for a total of eight active inputs, two more than the original TVS allowed. All ATEM switchers can be controlled using a software or hardware control panel, the 4K line added front panel controls with a LCD screen, and the TVS HD added even more front-panel features, including audio controls, a built-in talkback, and a spin-knob for menu control. Other notable upgrades compared to the original TVS are an AUX output and DVE effects for 2D transitions and PiP effects.
The ATEM TVS HD is a great offering for web broadcasters and I can see this model also being popular with broadcasters who are looking to upgrade their interlaced HD video switchers to a progressive HD model.
Blackmagic Web Presenter ($495)
Web broadcasting doesn’t require uncompressed HD and 4K signals, so the Blackmagic Web Presenter (Figure 2, below) converts HDMI and SDI inputs from up to 2160p to a fixed 720p resolution, using Teranex-quality conversion. The connected computer sees the USB 2.0 input as a UVC/UAC compliant webcam signal, eliminating most compatibility issues. When paired with an optional $85 Teranex Mini Smart Panel, the Web Presenter can be converted into a 2-input 4K video switcher that can switch between two inputs glitch-free, with a default half-second cross-dissolve. There is an SDI program output and each input has a loop-through. The LCD displays the output frame-rate, which adjusts automatically in 5fps increments, if bandwidth changes.
Figure 2. Blackmagic Web Presenter
The Web Presenter also has an XLR audio input. The ability of the Web Presenter to operate as a two-channel video switcher is very exciting, as it creates a new entry point for web broadcasters that are on a limited budget.
HyperDeck Studio Mini ($695)
The HyperDeck Studio Mini (Figure 3, below) is a very capable digital signage media player in its own right, but I’m going to stick to discussing its applications as a part of an ATEM workflow, which is to serve as a media player and recorder. This HyperDeck model records to SDXC cards in ProRes or DNx codecs and supports up to 2160/30p resolutions on UHS-II cards. I like that the HyperDeck Studio Mini records to SD cards because SD cards is such a common and low-cost media and this will simplify capture workflows.
Figure 3. Blackmagic HyperDeck Studio Mini
It has two SD slots for continuous relay recording and the front-panel features an LCD screen for monitoring, status information, and menu settings. When used for playback, the jog button and shuttle wheel allow for traditional deck style controls.
My initial thoughts on Blackmagic’s trio of new appliances, targeting the emerging web broadcasting market, is that it is clear that Blackmagic is putting a log of thought into the entire video workflow of web production. These small and modular products are super-portable and affordable, yet feature-rich.
The HD model has been reduced $200 and is now $1495. The Ultra HD Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K has been reduced $800 from $2,495 to only $1,695.
URSA Mini Pro features a massive number of tactile control buttons, switches and dials that make it faster to use, built in optical ND filters, a new interchangeable lens mount, dual CFAST 2.0 and dual SD/UHS-II card recorders