Quick Thoughts: Blackmagic's IDC Announcements
Blackmagic Design announced a few new products today related to video broadcast production and live streaming, expanding their product line with a new entry - level 4 input video switcher, expanded capabilities for the URSA Broadcast camera, 2 new Video Assist recorders, and more!
The ATEM Mini is an interesting new product at the very low end of the live switching market. Designed primarily for beginning live video producers that predominately web stream, the $295 product has 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output, along with 2 microphone inputs, a USB-C port and a ThunderBolt 3 port. On the front of the unit are input select buttons as well as basic controls for switching between input sources. The device can be operated either in "cut bus" mode, where pressing a video source automatically sends it to the program, or in "Mix / Effects" mode, allowing to you preview your next cut before actually sending it live.
The new ATEM Mini will usher in a new version of ATEM Software Control, v 8.1, which based on the demonstration provided by Blackmagic Design will include at least 1 oft requested feature: a new button on the media pool tab that will allow users to capture a still frame from their program feed directly into the media pool. Hopefully this feature will be available across the entire ATEM product line when this new software is released.
Speaking of ATEM Software Control, the new ATEM Mini will be able to take full advantage of the application, allowing users access to the media pool, advanced audio mixing capabilities, hyperdeck control, a single upstream keyer, as well as a single downstream keyer for the media player.
The switcher itself is designed to be used in conjunction with a software application that can recognize a web cam; applications such as OBS, Skype, and others. Simply plug in the switcher to your computer via Thunderbolt 3 and bring your program feed right into your application. Since the ATEM Mini is designed for live streaming, the HDMI output port in essence becomes an "aux" port, allowing you to output a preview feed, program feed, or the feed any of the connected video sources.
One potential drawback of the ATEM Mini is that it doesn't appear to have a multi-viewer. Subsequently, the operator would have to already know what all of their video input sources look like in order to be able to switch between them. We're looking forward to seeing more on this pint-sized live switcher when it is release in the near future.
USRA Broadcast Software Update
Coming in November is what sounds like a very sizable software update to the URSA Broadcast camera. Among the bullet list of items that will be included are:
- new imaging pipeline and de-mosaic algorithm for improved sensor response
- sensor pixel recalibration in-camera
- support for Blackmagic Raw 1.5
- international language support
- chromatic aberration correction, automatic based on supported lenses
- ability to re-map the VTR and return button on lenses
- touch to focus support for some B4 lenses
- improved Canon B4 lens support
- 720p support on the main SDI output
- improved sidetone control
- ability to sync timecode to SDI input
- retain jam-synced timecode after power cycle
- improved timecode accuracy after playback
- ability to disable high frame rate button or re-map it
- Blackmagic Camera OS updates
- updated audio meter scales that are more accurate
- better sensor cooling
- improved auto focus and auto exposure performance
- and much more!
This sounds like it will be a very welcomed update for users of the USRA Broadcast.
Video Assist 12G HDR
Also available later this fall will be updated 5" and 7" versions of Blackmagic Design's Video Assist recorder. Both versions will include an improved user interface, support for high dynamic range recording, recording in Blackmagic RAW on supported cameras, a tally indicator, 4 built-in scopes, enhanced focus assist features, 3d LUT support, USB-C port for recording direct to external SSD media, and bright 2,500 nit P3 color gamut display for outdoor use. Priced at $795 and and $995 respectively, these new recorders can also make for great monitors for live productions.
In addition to these updates, Blackmagic Design also announced an update to their RAW codec to version 1.5 which adds edit support for Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer as well as a new Blackmagic RAW Speed Test utility for Windows and Linux. Lastly, Blackmagic also announced two new Videohub Control Panels. Each priced at $695, these new models feature updated buttons, a darker black industrial design that matches the ATEM Constellation look, and new RGB buttons for easier function recognition. Hopefully this update is a precursor to updates across the entire line of Videohub products from Blackmagic Design.
A solid round of new products and software updates will be arriving throughout the fall from Blackmagic Design, and we're particularly excited about the updates coming to the URSA Broadcast. It sounds like Blackmagic has been listening to the feedback from users and will be addressing several outstanding issues with this update. Looking forward to going hands on with all the new stuff in the coming weeks and months!