Thursday, 26 June 2014

DATV DVB-T BlackMagic Design ATEM TV Studio: Proof of concept


DATV DVB-T BlackMagic Design ATEM TV Studio: Proof of concept

An objective has been to get high quality video and audio, as well as TV production studio abilities for my DATV DVB-T system.

Production studio abilities includes the capacity to switch between multiple live TV cameras, recorded media and overlays, such as my call sign.

I originally experimented with software production systems, mainly aimed at network feeds, such as Vidcaster and Open Broadcaster. The commercial Vidcaster software has a virtual camera that can be the input video stream for a HiDes's device, such as the UT-100C via PC2TV. This required a fast PC, a HDMI video capture card from a DSLR camera, the Vidblaster software, the PC2TV software and the UT100C all working properly; a difficult feat many of us have stumbled on.

An alternative is to use a hardware production studio. The BlackMagic Design ATEM TV Studio is very suitable and a reasonable price, about $1000, given its capabilities. It is designed for broadcast TV and is a high quality device. The cost is not that much more than a capture card and the production studio software and does not require a particularly powerful computer.

See full specifications at: http://www.blackmagicdesign.com/au/products/atemtelevisionstudio/techspecs

From the picture, there are inputs for up to 4 HDMI cameras or media sources, up to four HD-SDI cameras and two channels of audio in addition to that within the HDMI stream. The device is controlled by a laptop/PC via a network, with the interface shown in the picture. One HDMI output goes to a monitor showing inputs, a preview of any of them, as well as the selected output. The other goes to the TX via HDMI (more on that in latter posts)

The following photos show my "proof of concept" setup with a DSLR camera, a HD-CCTV SDI camera, a Western Digital Live media player, control by a laptop, with the control monitor and output via HDMI to a TV, running 720p 50Hz HD video.

 The DSLR camera, a Canon M ($300) with a 50mm prime lens via converter, and a HD-CCTV camera ($150) with a very cheap lens. I have used a Canon 70D successfully as well.


The WD TV Live media player, streaming a movie across my home network from a computer in another room. (Chopstick is to lift to keep it cool!)


The BlackMagic Design ATEM TV Studio, rear side, showing cables and heat sink (it gets very hot).


The T430 laptop with the BlackMagic control interface.


The control display, a 16" HDMI TV, with sources in the lower 8 small panels, the cued preview in the top left panel, and the selected output in the top right panel, which is what would normally go to the TX, but for test purposes is going to a conventional TV via HDMI.


The final display on a 50" Full-HD TV.



All sounds so easy! Most of it is straight forward, the main catch being that all sources and the ATEM Studio must run the same video standard, such as 720p 50Hz or other "standard" TV format.

Briefly, the HD-CCTV cameras on do 720p and 1080p at either 50 or 60Hz. Unfortunately 1080p is not a standard broadcast TV standard and is not supported by the ATEM studio, but 720p is.

The DSLR cameras are more of a problem, outputting 1080i 60Hz and no way to change it with the camera. More on that in another blog as it not a simple problem.

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