Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Conversations around originating a webcast for conference, including cameras and mixers.
sammythesm
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Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby sammythesm » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:22 pm

So, say you wanted to find a single, magical device that could:
1. Mix up to 6 HD camera signals (both HDMI and SDI)
2. Output a HD signal (to webcast software or PVC)
3. Give you the ability to do lower 3rd titling, chroma keying, and other complex video effects
4. Accept computer inputs for presentations, hymn text scrolling, etc.
5. Control it all via software on a computer over the network (theoretically sitting anywhere in the building)
6. Output a compressed recording in H.264 format directly to an attached computer.

Well, take a look at the Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer:
http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/product ... sionstudio

This is a really attractive device! It would take up 1U in an existing satellite rack, and if you invested in a Blackmagic Intensity Pro (or other capture card with a HDMI or SDI interface) you can plug directly from this product into your capture computer.

For church webcasting, it's perhaps a bit on the pricey side - list price at $995 - but compared to other HD vision mixing solutions it's shockingly inexpensive. Sheesh, two years ago I paid $600 for an analog video mixer so I could mix 3 SD cameras for our Stake with none of the desirable features I mentioned above.

The biggest downside to the device is that it's purely HD. There are no SD/composite video input capabilities, so you would have to buy lots of converter boxes (composite to SDI or HDMI) to take advantage of it if you were doing a slower migration to HD. If we could only get a HD PTZ camera down under $1000, this would make a forklift upgrade more feasible.

However, if any of you are keeping an eye on HD solutions, I feel like this is one product to watch.

michaelfish
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby michaelfish » Tue Apr 16, 2013 8:09 am

Sammythesm,

If anyone is considering using the ATEM TVS (Television Studio) for conference, it would most likely be for its high-definition capability but it can do standard definition too, but like you said there are a lot of standard definition special effects generators able to synchronize video on the market that cost far less. In either case, the ATEM TVS is broadcast quality professional special effects generator with synchronizing time base correction.

However, there is a lot more to consider than just purchasing the ATEM TVS unit and analog to digital converters. In order to get this working, several issues must be considered.

    • Conversion of camera's analog video into digital

      o All inputs on the ATEM TVS must be either SDI (Serial Digital Interface), HD-SDI (High Definition Serial Digital Interface) or HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)

      o All video sources for the ATEM TVS output resolutions must be identical

      o The ATEM TVS is currently limited to 480i (SMPTE 259M) or 720p or 1080i (both are SMPTE 292M). The ATEM TVS cannot handle 1080p (SMPTE 372M) video sources

      o Computers with HDMI output ports can be used but must be capable of resolution settings of 1920x1080, 1280x720 or 720x486

      o Inexpensive Analog to Digital Video converters can convert to 720p but remember the 1080p setting will not work with the ATEM TVS. They also do a terrible job correctly converting color, contrast and brightness. However, professional converters do a great job.
    • Audio Sync – The ATEM TVS delays the video (as do most all digital video devices) so a delay device must be employed to delay the sound so the video will not be out of sync with the audio

    • Graphics and Video – The ATEM TVS has the ability to display still media (.jpg) from the computer’s folders but not play video stored on the computer

    • Capture card or Streaming device – If using the Webcast Communicator Software on a computer, a capture device must be used to capture the digital video signal (SDI, HD-SDI or HDMI) as well as either decode AES digital audio from HDMI or decode the AES audio signal from the ATEM TVS

    • Bandwidth – Even though the ATEM TVS has professional quality video (and HD), if you do not have sufficient upload and download bandwidth, picture quality will suffer. It is recommended to have at least 4 Mbps upload and download bandwidth

    • HD playback devices – In order to see high definition at the receiving end, the TV sets or projectors must be HD

    • HD distribution – If the video is displayed on more than one set (projector in chapel and TV sets in overflow rooms), a way to distribute the high definition signal but be addressed

    • Controlling the environment – what good is HD if the light in the chapel washes out all the detail

michaelfish
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Review: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby michaelfish » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:32 pm

I had the chance to use a Blackmagic Design ATEM TVS Production Switcher at our last Stake Conference and I wrote a review for those who are interested.

Review - BMD TVS.pps
Production Switcher Review
(3.66 MiB) Downloaded 606 times


Please feel free to submit questions or comments.

sammythesm
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby sammythesm » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:53 pm

Great review. Thanks for posting the slides.

Your review highlighted my two concerns with this solution:
1) digital-only audio input on the ATEM: Unless you purchased a sound board with a digital audio output, you are going to struggle to get audio sync (and will likely have to use a 3rd device like you pointed out).

2) expense (and latency) associated with converting analog camera signals to digital signals, or expense of HD-SDI cameras. Your experience with the low-cost AD converters is great - thanks for sharing that - because I was tempted by those same converters on Amazon. :)

One small difference I would do is to use a capture card with HDMI input for capturing the direct HDMI program out of the ATEM into the webcast software. This just feels like a cleaner solution, you stay digital all the way to the Webcast transcoder. This assumes you can located a capture card with that feature (I like the Blackmagic Intensity Pro) and are using the church's webcast software rather than hardware solution.

In the end, it looks like you were able to overcome the obstacles, so that is great. Unfortunately, my stake doesn't have the budget (yet) to overcome all the obstacles as you have.

If this unit accomplishes anything, I hope it will just raise the bar (and lower the price) for what other manufacturers can do.

russellhltn
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby russellhltn » Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:58 pm

I take it that you're not feeding screens in the overflow area, right?
Have you searched the Wiki?
Try using a Google search by adding "site:tech.lds.org/wiki" to the search criteria.

sammythesm
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby sammythesm » Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:02 pm

Nope. It has been suggested, but our gym isn't well-equipped for it though.

michaelfish
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby michaelfish » Wed Dec 18, 2013 10:47 am

Additional information and update on using the Black Magic Design ATEM TVS.

I just had another flawless Stake Conference using the BMD ATEM TVS as our video mixer. However I did notice some minor issues with regards to the laptop set up for HDMI video and color shifting when running through the ATEM. I though I would post these issues in case anyone was considering in using the ATEM TVS for broadcasting.

The TVS has HDMI inputs which can receive the video signal directly from a laptop's HDMI port but it was difficult for me to get working. I also experienced some screen aspect ratio issues. A second laptop was also available for use and I found it just as difficult to set up and it had different aspect ratio issues and even adverse effects on the program color output.

Here are the details:

The ATEM manual (all models) states connection to a laptop requires specific settings
If you’re plugging in a computer to the HDMI inputs of the ATEM switcher, then be sure that the monitor settings on the computer are set to the correct resolution and frame rate. If you’re using 1080i video, then your monitor needs to be 1920 x 1080 resolution. If you’re running 720p on your switcher, then your monitor needs to be set to 1280 x 720 in resolution. If you are using NTSC then your monitor needs to be 720 x 486. The frame rates also need to match.


Laptop 1: Lenovo G580 ($289). We were using Sony EVI-D70 cameras so the laptop resolution needed to be set up for a NTSC monitor, but the manual's recommended settings would not work. The only way I could get the TVS to recognize a valid signal was to set the Lenovo's resolution to 740 x 480 (not 486 as the manual stated), 60 Hz, Interlaced (also worked at 59 Hz). With this setting, everything seemed perfect. Chroma-keying the hymn lyrics and speakers names/callings cropped only 3% off (minor) of the left and right sides of the picture.

Laptop 2: Alienware ($2,000+). Since I had access to an awsome Alienware laptop, I used it on the day of the conference. Again, the resolution settings needed to be 740 x 480 (not 486) and it cropped off about 3% from the top and bottom (instead of sides) during chroma keys. However, I found I had to constantly re-adjust camera's color settings during chroma keying as red was subtracted out of the TVS output. (Probably some H-phase shifting going on, but there was no way for me to adjust it on the laptop)

I know the cropping of the picture was due to the laptop's green background used as the fill signal and the laptop's overscan borders were black. In the future, I may experiment using black as the fill signal and a different color for the key.

All in all, I was very impressed with the performance, quality and functionality of the ATEM TVS and I love it. I just have a few more issues to work out with Chroma Keys. I'd be interested in how professional videographers superimpose images using laptops. Photoshop? Something other than PowerPoint?

pcardelli
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby pcardelli » Wed Feb 12, 2014 8:48 am

The costs can add up even when doing this on a low budget.

We have been using the BMD ATEM TVS solution($995), along with a neighboring stake. I agree that the cost is not just limited to the TVS switcher.

You also will need at least one Behringer shark ($89) for audio delay, and up to three of these if you need to sync inputs 5 and 6 after using a HDMI to SDI converter($129-$250).

Converting the Audio to digital adds a Behrigner SRC2496($199.99) plus an RCA to BNC cable ($7)

To limit the amount of software and equipment we use Just Macros (pro version estimated at around $500 otherwise free) with the GD library to do our overlays using the downstream keyers and the Media Player and media pool. The only cost here was a XKey 60 Key Macro Keyboard ($199.99) which acts as a control board for the whole solution. Some development time, but we can share our overlay scripts/hymns.

We currently use the USB 3.0 which Livestream picks up both the sound and video directly form the TVS, and the HDMI port for local streaming to projectors and other rooms.

A good desktop Computer with a decent processor for streaming, and control software, for PVC/Webcast it would be helpful to have at least one HDMI capture card in this system. Laptops might get you by, but a desktop would be more solid and last longer. ($800 - $1,500)

Other costs to consider if just thinking of going HD and adding cameras and inputs:
HD Cameras: recommend Sony HDR-CX220 ($260)
- Sony RMVD1 ($39) cable adapter plus remote for zoom/power
- On newer Sony Cameras you might need a cable converter for the above remote ($20)
- Bescor MP101 Video Motorized Pan Head - Pan-Tilt ($129) we rewired for over Cat6
- Camera Mounts
Audio Mixer for the number of inputs you need to include with your stream.
HDMI Splitters ($20)
HDMI Extenders over Cat5e-6 ($50 - $300) Lot of options but found a few that work well
HDMI Cables
Cat6 Cabling
Other Cables for power, remote, tally
HD Projectors - would recommend 5000 Lumens for areas with lighting issues for cameras, otherwise 2500 to 3000 Lumens works fine for most situations.
Lots of volunteer man hours setting everything up.
Working with the local FM Group for anything needing to be installed.
Good internet connections Cable/Fiber from stake center to other buildings, DSL may or may not work for receiving sites so have and audio backup prepared for these buildings as they are most likely to have issues.

Overall the cost has come down a lot if you have looked into what a setup like this would have been just a few years ago, but when designing and proposing a solution to your stake presidency make sure you do your homework and consider the whole picture, including ongoing maintenance, replacement costs for equipment that fails along the way.

michaelfish
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby michaelfish » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:55 am

From your post, you mentioned streaming locally. Isn't your building set up with the standard RF distribution (a TV channel) for the R/S and Primary rooms?
Last edited by michaelfish on Wed Feb 12, 2014 10:11 am, edited 4 times in total.

michaelfish
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Re: Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Producer

Postby michaelfish » Wed Feb 12, 2014 9:59 am

pcardelli wrote:You also will need at least one Behringer shark ($89) for audio delay, and up to three of these...

To save money, I purchased a used 2-channel analog Harmon Pro 400 audio delay for $50, but I found it was not necessary to delay the audio when using Black Magic Design's Analog to Digital (A2D) CONVMAAS converters.

I found that the BMD units convert analog to digital signals VERY quickly and video delay was negligible (probably 1 or 2 frames). I tested with both standard definition cameras and also 1080i video. In addition, for stake conference we pushed HD with one HD camera's signal sent using a HDMI to a 2-CAT5 balun and another HD camera used a HDMI over Coax (RG-6U). I was surprised when these extenders, in series with the BMD A2D converters didn't noticably delay the video, as I was expecting issues.

On the other hand, I have had to delay audio when using the HDMI video from my desktop computer and with other cheap analog to digital converters. Note: I do not use the BMD TVS for audio, only video.

Another thing to consider is using both channels of the delay unit independently. The Harmon Pro 400 unit I use has two channels and both are independently adjustable.

Bottom line: purchasing an audio delay unit may not be required. Fast, professional analog-to-digital converters may be all that is necessary, but for the up-most compatibility, having one in the system is great when you have a delayed video problem.


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