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Digital Garden upgrades machine room with Blackmagic Design

Tokyo-based post-production house Digital Garden has updated to a new 12G-SDI machine room using Blackmagic Design’s Teranex AVs and Teranex Minis.

To support a number of new 4K editing and grading suites, the new machine room is built around a 12G-SDI workflow and includes a number of Blackmagic Design 12G products, including Smart Videohub 12G 40×40, Videohub Master Controls, Videohub SmartControls, HyperDeck Studio12Gs, MultiView 4 and Mini Converters.

The newly updated facility replaces the original 1.5G-SDI HD/SD workflow that was built 11 years ago. Due to the growing need for editing and grading rooms to be able to support 4K, Digital Garden decided to make the system totally 4K compatible. The machine room now connects to two audio suites, four online editing suites and a grading suite, totalling seven suites which are controlled by Blackmagic’s Smart Videohub router as the core of the system.

Digital Garden opted to build this new system from scratch, using hardly any of the original equipment. Shinichi Futagami, a lead technical manager of Digital Garden, explained the reason for the update: “The original equipment had become old and was sent for repair, but repair expenses were high. In addition, there were various restrictions with the old equipment, such as SD signals that could not be passed to HD compatible equipment.

“What we care most about when we build post-production suites is how smooth we can carry out the preview session with our clients. We try to keep the editor’s suite simple and easy to operate and make preview control work for both 4K and HD. To achieve that, 12G-SDI technology is the only solution, which meant Blackmagic is the only option for this update.”

Digital Garden built the entire new workflow around 12G-SDI and Blackmagic products are used in more than 90% of the system. Futagami continued: “Since Blackmagic’s products are mostly compatible with 12G-SDI, we could simply build up the system without increasing the number of cables. And although construction costs are not included, we could update a machine room of this scale with amazing cost performance.

“By updating to the Videohub, we can now use its Macro function, which is so convenient. Also with the update, all audio is sent as embedded audio, so we convert AES audio from an audio suite to SDI via Teranex Mini. We found that the amount of latency has drastically decreased after switching to this converter. And being able to see the image and confirm it on the front panel of the Teranex Mini during operation was simple.”

For many conversions, Digital Garden mainly uses Teranex Minis. Teranex Mini Audio to SDI and SDI to Audio are also used for volume control in edit suites.

Futagami said: “In the suites, we use an attenuator type of volume control. Via Teranex Mini’s setting menu, the editor can control audio gain from his computer – they don’t need access to the physical volume controller and just turn the knob. Also, we use some Quad SDI equipment still, and we use Teranex Mini Quad to SDI/SDI to Quad to connect them to Blackmagic products, while DeckLink Extreme 12G for Resolve is connected via a single 12G-SDI to the SmartVideohub.

“For some 4K equipment, audio is embedded to all Quad SDI channels, so we use Teranex AV for multiplexing and Teranex Express for Black Burst signal generation. We also use UltraScopes for all suites as waveform monitors, MultiView 4K for managing colours when working 4K projects and HyperDeck Studio 12Gs for recording. The big advantage of these products is that we don’t have to worry about what kind of signals we are handling when using them.”

Futagami concluded: “Video technology is constantly evolving and there is not a final form, so as a post-production facility, we will have to continue investing in new technology. Blackmagic products allow us to build a system with the latest technology and with the fastest speed at that time, with affordable prices.”