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Blackmagic’s ATEM switches on Dublin’s Oxegen

8 August 2011
Blackmagic's ATEM switches on Dublin's Oxegen

Blackmagic Design’s new ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher was used at Ireland’s biggest music festival, the recent Oxegen Festival in Dublin, highlights of which were shown on Sky Arts at the weekend, writes David Fox.

Setanta Screens’ AV Manager, John Moriarty, who supplies LED screens and audio visual production services to event organizers across Europe, bought the ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher last month specifically for Oxegen Festival in order to broadcast and mix the live stage performance feeds during the three-day event.

A Blackmagic Design DVI Extender was also used to convert computer generated graphics from DVI to SDI, and Blackmagic Design’s Up/Down/Cross Mini Converters were used to up convert standard definition material to HD-SDI.

“We received the ATEM a few days before the event and I set it up in my living room by connecting to my plasma TV to test the multi viewer. It was very easy to set up and I found my way around the hardware and software quite quickly," said Moriarty.

“Using the software-based mixing panel was easy. There was no steep learning curve and having read the manual regarding importing graphics, I found it was simple to use. Our overall decision lay in the fact that it was good value for money, there are a range of inputs and outputs, and the ease of set up and use made all sources synced.”

The ATEM switchers were launched at NAB, and are claimed to offer "extremely powerful broadcast grade features" in an "incredibly small size".

The low-cost ($2,500) production switchers include four upstream keyers, each with independent chroma, shaped and linear keying, two downstream keyers, stinger effects, graphic wipes, media players for stills and clips and a built in DVE.

For portable use, the built-in ten-channel Multi View allows all cameras, preview and programme to be viewed on a single SDI or HDMI monitor.

ATEM also includes numerous HDMI and SDI inputs, and Blackmagic claims that ATEM is the only professional switcher that works with low-cost HDMI consumer cameras. It includes a software control panel and media pool management software for Mac OS X and Windows XP. It is sold independently of the $5,000 hardware control panel to allow lower initial cost and greater customization.

The $5,000 ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher and $15,000 ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Panel (pictured) should be available this month.

The 2 M/E device is a larger 3RU in size, and includes two separate M/E rows, a total of 16 video inputs, six aux outputs, two Multi Views for monitoring, redundant power input and SuperSource multi layer compositing. Both ATEM models include Blackmagic Design UltraScope software.

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