At NAB 2013, Blackmagic announced its new US$1995 ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer (“switcher”), which joins other ATEM models. When set for 4K, the new model offers progressive-only (Yes!), so I immediately asked Blackmagic about 1080p modes, since I knew that previous ATEM models have lacked 1080p and offered only 1080i. The answer at NAB was sadly “no”, but fortunately that just changed with a free firmware update, which adds 1080p to the new 4K ATEM model.
What progressive 4K framerates work with the ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer?
In Ultra HD 4K modes, the new ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer supports:
What 1080p framerates work with the ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer?
In 1080p (after the recent firmware update) it supports:
I have purposefully excluded interlaced modes that the ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer supports. It should be noted that the last two listed (1080p50 and 1080p59.94) are not currently supported by any worldwide over-the-air broadcast system… nor is it currently a popular distribution format, but it’s there for potential future use or for closed, end-to-end delivery… or for those who may be shooting multicam specifically for natural slow motion, by later conforming. (You never know…)
What about prior (non–4K) ATEM models?
I asked Blackmagic this question now (in July), and the answer is that for now, no other ATEM models support any 1080p modes. Blackmagic couldn’t comment as to whether any future firmware update for prior models may allow them to support 1080p in the future. However, check out my upcoming related article How to cheat and get 1080p from an 1080i a/v mixer?.
Why does Blackmagic’s new firmware update invite more sales for Átomos’ H2S converter?
I verified this with Blackmagic before writing this article. With this latest ATEM 4.1 firmware update, when in 1080p mode the 4K ATEM accepts only pure progressive 1080p, not any type of 1080PsF or 23.976p—over—59.94i. The only recent cameras I know that can currently output true 1080p over HD-SDI or HDMI at their native framerates are from Blackmagic, Nikon, and RED. If you need to use any other progressive camera which outputs 29.97PsF (29.97p—over—59.94i), 25PsF (25p—over—50i), or 23.976p—with pulldown over—59.94i via HDMI, you can use an H2S converter from Átomos, since it can reverse telecine (remove pulldown) and deliver pure progressive to the mixer, without de-interlacing anything. Even though many other manufacturers (including Blackmagic) offer converters to go from HDMI to HD-SDI or the reverse, to my knowledge, the only manufacturer that currently offers them with built-in pulldown removal (or addition) is Átomos. I covered the H2S in detail in The H2S makes self-sabotaged HDMI cameras work as they should in a progressive multicam environment (since that article, the price came down to US$299 each). I also covered the new AC-only models in Átomos expands Connect converter line with CONNECT-AC. If the progressive camera you want to use only outputs those mentioned signals over HD-SDI (not HDMI), then you’ll need to purchase the reverse: an S2H and then (depending upon your distance from camera to mixer), possibly an H2S (or equivalent from another manufacturer) in order to go back to HD-SDI to withstand a long length.
Why the ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer only costs US$1995?
The ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer only costs US$1995 because the price does not include an ATEM Broadcast control panel. Those who purchase an ATEM Production Studio 4K audio/video mixer can either use an existing Mac or Windows computer to control it (with supplied software from Blackmagic) or purchase an ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel for US$4995 or an ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Panel for US$14995.
Upcoming related articles
- How to cheat and get 1080p from an 1080i a/v mixer (“switcher”)?
- Which a/v mixers (“switchers”) support 1080p?
- Blackmagic ships first 6G-SDI products
- NewTek’s new waveform monitor graticule… and more
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