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For their ever-increasing popular line of Blackmagic Design live video production solutions, many of which I’ve mentioned on my site at one point or another, there was very recently introduced a new software upgrade that actually gives you a lot more control and options than ever before, especially when paired with their relatively new Studio Camera.

A worker and friend, Aaron Hale, had the chance to update some of our equipment and be the first one to put some of these new features to the test. He show me over some of his thoughts, and after reading I decided to have him touch it up a bit so I could post it for you all here, on my site, verbatim. I hope you find it informative!

Setting up camera control on the Blackmagic Studio Camera

One of the latest features Blackmagic has packed into its newest round of updates is ‘Camera Control’. A comprehensive color control that also gives a show director the ability to focus individual cameras and match all cameras on a set together with a previously unattainable ease. Paired with the already powerful Studio Camera, ‘Camera Control’ adds an extremely useful tool to an already powerfully equipped setup.ATEMComputer1

First step to getting the camera control working is to update both your ATEM switcher and Studio camera. The specific update for the Studio Camera is the Blackmagic Camera update 1.8.1. (The Studio Camera’s USB port is on the bottom of the camera, which can make updates really annoying). Your ATEM switcher just needs to be updated to the latest switcher update 6.0. Once you get everything updated you’ll need to launch your ATEM Software that requires you to set up your switcher again with your PC’s IP settings. From here you’ll see the new control tabs at the bottom of the software control.

Getting the Studio Camera set up is a little tricky. In conjunction with your video out over SDI, you’ll also need a ‘program’ SDI cable from your switcher. The ‘program’ out gives you access to the newly installed ‘Camera Control’ (fiber optic cable also carries camera control commands, just add Blackmagic’s Studio or Camera Converter to the chain). Once you have everything hooked up and communicating with each other you’ll be able to go to the ‘Camera’ tab where you have control over 6 video inputs.

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Controls include lift, gamma, gain, contrast, hue, lum mix, saturation, along with iris control and complete focus controls. The CCU is styled like Da Vinci Resolve, and any one experienced with using Da Vinci will be able to transfer their creative color correcting skills over to live productions. Whether filming a live concert or shooting a music video, the potential to push color schemes to the extreme while ‘live’ gives even more options for a creative production. Changing light conditions, found at concerts or theatres, can also be taken into account and adjusted for even quicker than previously possible.

These new features give producers unprecedented control over the look and feel of productions that was previously unattainable at such low prices. I updated a Television Studio Switcher, BMD’s cheapest ATEM switcher, to carry out this test. For $4000 you could have a switcher with three Studio Camera’s that are all controlled by a central software switcher, and if your one camera operator short, you can still manually focus a stationary main cam for any situation. Pretty incredible.

Blackmagic really hit it out of the ball park with this update. Recently there have been a slew of good updates coming out of Blackmagic and hopefully they can keep addressing necessary firmware updates. But this is above and beyond in my opinion: it adds a totally new element to live mixing for all levels of productions. Hopefully this write up helps you see the potential and uses of the new ‘Camera Control’ feature on your ATEM/Studio Camera pairing.”  –  Aaron Hale

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