There are 5 things that make professional quality broadcasts: quality switching, great audio mixes, camera color and shading control, and amazing talent.
It is our job to cultivate the talent but Black Magic Design (BMD) has taken care of everything else with the ATEM Television Studio Pro (https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/release/20170424-02).
I am going to cut to the chase and tell you how to get your admin to buy in on this product. It has buttons, lights, and the lights flash. Unlike previous BMD products that are minimally designed, the ATEM Television Studio Pro is the switching power plant that BMD is known for and it is built on the control surface that previously was unaffordable. The addition of the control surface to the body of the switcher makes it visually appealing in a world where we have to sell a look as much as function.
The control surface isn’t just a pretty face. It is a powerhouse of control. If you are using a BMD cameras (URSA or Studio), you have full suite of tools to make your broadcast run smoothly including talkback, tally, color correction, and more. All of this without the need for additional cables. If you have select cameras you can manipulate focus and iris as well as manage PTZ cameras, all through the control surface. BMD has taken great care in designing the ATEM Television Studio Pro including keeping it within the standard 19 inch width so it will fit in a rack, adding screw mounts on the bottom so it can be shelved in a rack, and most impressively NOT including a t-bar fader. A t-bar would have made the profile of the switcher too tall to be shelved in 1 rack unit space. Instead, BMD placed slider similar to audio pots on mixers to serve the same function as the t-bar.
While the control surface shows BMD’s care for design and application, the tools within the ATEM Television Studio Pro make it an unavoidable option within our field. 4 HDMI, 4 SDI, 2 analog audio inputs, and a built in media pool create an opportunity for you to go big with your broadcasts. The video inputs can handle both SD and HD cameras. The analog audio allows you to add an external mixer and send the audio into the ATEM Television Studio Pro. You also have the audio from the cameras that can be added to the mix. So if you don’t have an external mixer, you can run microphones to the cameras and mix them with the control surface, or the BMD ATEM control software - more on that later.
As for the graphics bank, BMD, I believe, thought about teachers when they designed it. The graphics are saved with flash memory which allows you to preload the graphics for a broadcast into the switcher and even if you have to power off the switcher, the graphics will be there. You can drop up to 20 RGBA graphics into the media pool and have them ready for the broadcast.
The graphics can be used as a part of the broadcast simply as full screen content or as an element keyed either upstream or downstream. Pro quality logos, bugs, and other graphics can be added to the show with a simple click of a button.
I mentioned earlier that talkback is included in the ATEM Television Studio Pro. I didn’t fully expand on the possibilities. This talkback system runs on the SDI cables back to the cameras and with a mix minus send, you can communicate with talent in the field without the delay that is sometimes experienced with talkback systems.
I truly believe BMD is targeting the education field with some of their designs and the ATEM Television Studio Pro may confirm my belief. The ATEM Television Studio Pro addresses a lot of things that matter to teachers. It has the look that we want to show off when admin/visitors/potential students expect in terms of buttons and flashy lights (admit it, it’s true). It has the tools needed to make great broadcasts. All BMD ATEM products work with the ATEM control software. This is extremely important for teachers. Too often “All-in-one” solutions mean “only one” student can work on the broadcast. The ATEM control software makes it possible to include several students into the production process. The ATEM control software allows you to add a student to handle the audio mix, graphics, even control the camera specs (color, saturation, etc).
Another reason, I can’t help but think that BMD is at least aware of the needs of the education community is that when paired with a BMD Web Presenter (https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicwebpresenter/workflow and HyperDeck studio mini (https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/hyperdeckstudiomini), you have the ability to create a multi camera broadcast that you can record to SD cards that is prepped to stream.
All of this at about 15% of some “all in one” solutions. The ATEM Studio Pro will be available for the market in May at a price point of $2,295. Add the web presenter for $470 and the HyperDeck studio mini for another $660 and you have a full broadcast plan that will allow you to produce a great looking broadcast… just add students.