One item in particulr from NAB 2013 jumped out at me as a game-changing piece of hardware. Mia culpa for using such a cliche phrase, but it’s the truth. Enter the Production Studio 4K.
Blackmagic took everything I liked about the 1 M/E, the size of the TVS, the controls and display of the Ultra Studio, and combined it with the ability to use 4K technology. In a 1 R/U switcher, you can use 8 inputs, have XLR and RCA audio, a single row of SDI inputs (instead of bunching them together), and it supports either HD or UHD (4K). Each SDI input can carry a full 4K signal over 1 6G/SDI cable: normally this would take 3.
This this also has an aux out on the back that can run a completely separate mix controlled by the front-side buttons. And finally, it’s cheaper than the 1 M/E: $1,995.
When I got to play with it at the Blackmagic Design meet-up, it was truly stunning: most people won’t be able to make use of the 4K prog out yet, but it still does HD as well, and gives a nice piece of gear that can take you through the transition to UHD if/when it becomes necessary.
I last attended NAB in 2010, when 3D was the hyped technology, and said back then that it would remain a gimmick and probably not go mainstream: time will tell, but so far that assessment has proved true. 4K (or Ultra HD) is different to me: It has been around since RED first released their full-frame cameras, and has been slowly becoming more mainstream. Not only this, but it has practical application on a consumer level that 3D never could. Simply viewing a 4K monitor next to an HD monitor gives one drastic parallel: 4K is to HD what HD is to SD, and visually there is an instant recognition of the superior quality. If you put an LED HD television next to a standard-def television, you’ll see the same amount of difference UHD offers over HD.
DVeStore’s Production Studio 4K Page has more details, but since I actually got to touch/switch one, I figured I’d jump on here and share my excitement.
To elaborate on the Aux function for a moment, it goes down like this: Picture that you have your normal set-up: in this case the Production Studio 4K with a Broadcast Panel to do your switching, standard multi-view running, etc. Through the Aux line, you can have this signal mirror your standard set-up so that if your computer or Broadcast Panel fail, you can use the buttons on the front to control your switcher (Pictured below). Scenario 2 would be to have the Aux channel running to a separate viewing room, and you can control that Aux out via the buttons on the front independently from your native switcher control. Mind blown yet?
Doesn’t hurt that they’re launching the Production 4K Cinema Camera roughly the same time.