From shooting and color grading a film as Siberia, to streaming solutions for eSports in Tokyo or houses of worship in North America or 4K VR in Japan, the name Blackmagic Design is a constant now.
Streaming of eSports has reached a new level now, and the tools used are getting more sophisticated as companies discover there is a business in what many considered would be a fad. In fact, there is an explosive growth of eSports, with revenues to hit $905 million in 2018, a huge 38% increase from 2017’s $655 million. With a global audience of nearly 400 million fans, the industry is projected to make $1.4 billion by 2020. It is obvious that there is a growing business opportunity for streaming services, but also for everything related to image capture and editing. China and North America are the key markets and will, according to experts, generate over half of that sum.
Live streaming is also being used by houses of worship around the world as a way to expand the reach of their message. The idea of “one church, multiple locations” appeals to many, and streaming video has made these faith-based communities one of the fastest-growing groups online, according to a report published by Vimeo. The same report mentions that “in 2016, 2,778 houses of worship across 59 countries used Livestream to broadcast 166,700 services, ceremonies, and meetings”. Those numbers are just from one company offering the service!
The growing audiences
Corporations are also discovering the advantages of live streaming to reach wider audiences, and the requirements for both hardware and software are growing, with some companies, as DeNA, even requesting 4K VR. Nikon, for example, is using Vimeo’s Livestream for live events and also to conduct staff trainings. In 2018, 2.38 billion people will watch streaming or downloaded video across all devices, and the numbers will only grow, as live streaming is expanding to places as hospitals, to be used in everything from enabling medical students to watch surgical operations from a long distance to remote surgery consultations.
The Micro Studio Camera 4K is pointed as a key element for some of these solutions, and we find the camera being used in more “traditional” ways, in films like Siberia. Although, even there, its small size allows it being used to shoot specific situations. In this digest, we look at some of the recent news related to how Blackmagic Design products are being used by the industry as a whole.
World’s smallest Ultra HD live studio camera
It’s easy to understand why the Micro Studio Camera 4K from BlackMagic Design is used in so diverse situations. DSLRs first offered filmmakers the option to place cameras in small places, followed by mirrorless models as the Panasonic Lumix G series. But the need for more specialized cameras was always present, and that’s where the Micro series – both the Cinema and Studio models – from Blackmagic Design appears.
The Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K is the world’s smallest Ultra HD live studio camera, yet it can easily be integrated in a whole live production system, as it includes features such as built in color corrector, talkback, tally indicator, PTZ control output, built in microphones, backup battery, an adaptable MFT lens mount and B4 lens control output.
Virtually invisible, the camera can be hidden just about anywhere, meaning it is possible to even hide them on stage to get incredible shots of live performances or, because they’re so small, safely fly them overhead during sporting events. The two examples mentioned here are clear indications of the potential of a model that can also be used in the studio by rigging it with a professional broadcast lens and a Blackmagic Video Assist for monitoring.
Siberia and Blackmagic Design
DP Eric Koretz used a Micro Studio Camera 4K and Video Assist 4K monitor/recorder while shooting the new film “Siberia”, which stars Keanu Reeves as Lucas Hill, an American diamond trader who travels to Siberia after his partner goes missing in the midst of a big deal.
Koretz needed a small camera that could record in 4K and mimic the angle of a video chat so the team shot the footage with the Micro Studio Camera 4K and recorded it with the Video Assist 4K, which was facing the actors so they could frame themselves. He says that “the camera and Video Assist 4K worked very well together and it was an easy workflow. We shot in Pro Res 422 HQ which gave us high quality 10 bit recorded editable files. The footage was then superimposed onto laptop computers and a phone.”
Koretz also used DaVinci Resolve Studio and a DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel to test and develop different looks for the film. “As a DP, I like having control over the look of my images and exploring what I can do with them,” said Koretz. “For ‘Siberia,’ I liked using DaVinci Resolve Studio to develop LUTs along with my DIT, but also just to explore and test color possibilities on my own. DaVinci Resolve Studio has the simplicity I need as a DP, while also having powerful features.”
“Moreover, the DaVinci Resolve Micro Panel is great because you can take it anywhere. It’s amazing to be able to have that much control in a package that I can essentially take with me wherever I’m filming. Whether I was on set or using the control panel back at the hotel to further test looks for ‘Siberia,’ I was able to have the features I needed right at my fingertips,” Koretz concluded.
Streaming Ultra HD at Living As One
Founded in 2014 to fill a void in the professional video market for a highly resilient live streaming solution, Living As One is a global leader in multisite and live streaming solutions for houses of worship and corporations. The company has developed their popular Multisite Platform around the Blackmagic Design DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K and DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K. The products provide high quality capture and playback for Living As One’s flagship turnkey streaming solution designed to reliably live stream UltraHD video content to remote locations and to the web.
“The Living As One Multisite Platform delivers reliable, high quality video with zero loss to remote locations, and one of the ways that we make sure that happens is with the DeckLinks,” said Paul Martel, CEO of Living As One. “Our Encoders and Decoders ensure that 100% of video content is successfully transmitted throughout the entire streaming path, from the broadcast location, to our cloud transcoder, to any location in the world, even in the case of a complete internet outage. The DeckLinks have been reliable and affordable, allowing high quality capture and playout of professional video signals in a compact system.”
“The Multisite Platform allows our church customers in particular to connect and share their messages across the globe, and the ease of use and reliability that the DeckLinks give us makes that possible,” he continued. “With the introduction of the DeckLink product line Blackmagic removed the price barrier for developers to obtain high quality video capture and playout devices, and that allowed us at Living As One to focus on creating our resilient streaming platform. In effect, Blackmagic Design has helped us change the way organizations around the globe broadcast.”
Red Bull Japan eSports
Blackmagic Design products, including Micro Studio Camera 4K, Studio Camera 4K, Video Assist 4K and HyperDeck Studio12G are used to provide the live streaming of games at the Red Bull Gaming Sphere Tokyo. The event space, which has held more than 100 events since opening, is Red Bull’s first gaming space in Asia and includes community space for players, developers and publishers to build gaming scenes, with gamers gathering together for tournaments and other events.
Tokyo’s Groovesync, inc. was entrusted with the management and installation of the equipment of Red Bull Gaming Sphere Tokyo, and the company, that has been working in the Japanese game scene with Red Bull since 2012, chose to include Blackmagic Design into its workflow.
To capture game play, three Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K are used to shoot commentator and players 1 and 2. Feeds from these cameras and images of game screens are sent to the ATEM Production Studio 4K for live switching. The final output switched by the ATEM Production Studio 4K is then distributed live and recorded by HyperDeck Studio 12G. Video of the game itself is sent before switching from the game machine to a Blackmagic Design Video Assist 4 K for recording and monitoring of the game screen.
Five Micro Studio Camera 4Ks are installed on the ceiling to capture the entire set of play and sent to a large monitor for live audience viewing at the event hall.
SHOWROOM VR uses Blackmagic Design
Launched in 2016, in the wake of an older live streaming platform from the same company, DeNA, SHOWROOM VR is the company’s new VR streaming system solution. Designed by DeNA’s engineer of technology development of system management unit, Takeyuki Ogura, the SHOWROOM VR is a custom built service using DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G, DeckLink Mini Monitor 4K and Intensity Pro 4K and NVIDIA GPUs. Built around the DeckLink SDK, DeNA was able to capture, synch, shoot, convert and streaming signals from two 180° cameras.
The two 180° cameras output two 2160p29.97 signals to a custom built PC, which houses the DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G, DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K, Intensity Pro 4K and an NVIDIA GPU. The left signal is captured on DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G or Intensity Pro 4K while the right signal is captured on DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K. The two signals are synced and converted on the GPU and sent out from DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G or DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K. The combined signal is captured and sent to live streaming software using DeckLink Mini Recorder 4K.
Takeyuki Ogura said: “It was essential that the Blackmagic devices support the NVIDIA GPU Direct. Having looked for capture cards supporting it, I found DeckLink 4K Extreme 12G and other Blackmagic PCIe interfaces most suitable for our purpose. And I found it advantageous that DeckLink SDK is published on the web, and a sample program in the SDK that uses NVIDIA GPU was helpful too. Blackmagic cards have great compatibility with PCs, so they were easy to integrate into the system.”
“Viewers watch the streams wearing VR goggles and look at some part of the whole picture. It was necessary to stream in 4K and I chose Blackmagic capture cards because they all support 4K. If the resolution is high, viewers can feel as if they were in the same space as the idols and artists are in. We are expecting to apply this VR streaming technology in other fields, like travel, sports and education,” he concluded.