Blackmagic Design ATEM Mini Pro Offers Streaming Engine; HyperDeck Adds Interlace Support
Blackmagic Design took the wraps off some new products late last week, notably the ATEM Mini Pro, a $595 live-production switcher with a built-in streaming engine for content delivery to YouTube Live, Facebook, and Twitch.
“That’s a big deal,” said Blackmagic Design CEO Grant Petty, “because there are no dropped frames or need to convert the compression and program output in an encoder. And, with no extra software needed on the computer, you can use software-based controls, which makes streaming simple.”
The front panel features easy-to-use buttons for selecting sources, video effects, and transitions. The source buttons are large to allow it to be used by feel, letting the presenter do the switching.
Customers even get buttons for audio mixing. On the ATEM Mini Pro model, customers also get buttons for record and streaming control as well as output-selection buttons that let customers change the video output between cameras, program, and multiview. With four independent HDMI inputs, customers can connect up to four high-quality video cameras. All video sources will re-sync to the switcher if they operate at different video standards so customers don’t have to worry about settings.
There is also support for recording the stream directly to USB flash disks in H.264, plus support for recording to multiple disks for continuous recording. That means customers get very long recordings in the same H.264 video files with AAC audio (about three hours vs. an hour on the previous version) that customers streamed, so customers can directly upload files to any online video site, such as YouTube and Vimeo.
ATEM Mini Pro also includes a multiview on the HDMI video output, allowing all inputs to be monitored on a single monitor, along with a live status of recording, streaming, and the audio mixer.
“All settings are also available in an XML file so they can be customized,” noted Petty.
The system can add hardware panels for bigger projects.
Also new from Blackmagic is Camera Update 6.9, which includes studio-camera features like the ability to control settings, the lens, and tally light from the ATEM mini switcher (the camera’s record light becomes a tally light so customers can see which camera is on-air). The camera-control functions are on a software page that replicates a physical CCU to allow easy matching of cameras. There are also controls for color tint to balance the camera as well as focus, gain, and shutter speed, and customers can even ISO record Blackmagic RAW in the camera for editing later.
Among other products Petty discussed was the HyperDeck v7.1, a major update bringing HyperDeck Studio Mini broadcast recorders a new H.264 codec that supports true interlaced HD formats, something Petty says will be a big deal for broadcasters requiring interlace 1080i support at 59.94 or 50 frames per second.
The HyperDeck also records in ProRes or DNx codecs to SD or UHS-II card media in either QuickTime or MXF file formats. HyperDeck Studio Mini offers such features as 6G-SDI for all formats up to 2160p30, HDMI for monitoring, dual SD-card slots for non-stop recording, and built-in sync generator that lets customers daisy-chain and synchronize multiple decks.
HyperDeck Studio Mini features multi-rate 6G-SDI connections, enabling customers to work with all SD, HD, and Ultra HD formats up to 2160p30. Customers get an SDI input and two SDI outputs that can be used for fill and key. The HDMI output makes HyperDeck Studio Mini suitable for connecting to big-screen televisions, projectors, and digital signs. For large digital signage, there’s reference input and a reference generator with reference output that lets customers sync multiple HyperDecks for ganged playback. Ethernet transfer speeds have been increased from 2 Mbps to 110 Mbps, as fast as the storage cards that can be plugged in for writing and reading.
“It’s a whole new HyperDeck,” says Petty.