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Review: Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel and ATEM Television Studio HD

This review is an introduction and an overview of the Blackmagic ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel and the Television Studio HD. The Advanced Panel is accessible enough for rookies to not be intimidating, but it's also advanced and customizable enough for veteran directors.

Four Main Screens

At the bottom, as you can see in Figure 8 (below), there are four main screens to the software control. Going from left to right, you’ll see Switcher view, then Media, then Audio, then Camera. We'll go through these in order. I'll also point out that if you've used Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve, you'll notice that the way this software's laid out and designed, especially with these buttons on the bottom, is very similar to DaVinci Resolve. We’ve been working in Switcher view in the screenshots you’ve seen so far.

Figure 8. Access the 4 main screens in the control software from here.

Media (Figure 9, below), is where you can navigate through your hard drive and choose stills to be shown in those media players. As we saw before, you can assign images to either media player and we'll get more into that later, when we get to the panel hardware.

Figure 9. Media view

Figure 10 (below) shows the Audio tab, which is pretty straightforward. It shows you the audio that's coming in through each camera or audio source. In my case, the only camera that has a microphone is the URSA Pro and it has a built-in mic, a shotgun mic, that's just picking up that sound, so that's just my voice you're seeing there on the levels.

Figure 10. Audio view

The Camera panel (Figure 11, below) is where things get really cool when you’re using Blackmagic cameras within their entire ecosystem of hardware. Cam5 is my URSA camera. You'll notice that it has gain here, and I have this set up so that I can control that camera from this software. If I adjust the gain, it gets brighter or darker. I can also adjust the shutter speed, the color temperature and then, with the dial, I can adjust a combination of exposure.

Figure 11. The Camera panel

If I were using something with a powered lens, like a B4, I could also zoom. If I need a more granular view, for say, adjusting the color to shade my cameras, I can make everything larger and get really down into the nitty gritty of the color balance of the camera (Figure 12, below).

Figure 12. Color balancing a camera from the software control

By clicking the gear icon, at the bottom left, you can access general preferences for the software (Figure 13, below), but this also controls your entire program, how you're recording. In my case, I went for a unusual frame for us in the U.S., an interlaced 50-frame 1080 format. Under audio, you can set whether audio follows video, as a master setting.

Figure 13. Accessing general preferences

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