Blackmagic Design today announced that Illinois production company Upstaging Inc. built a complete IMAG and AV production using the Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K and a large number of other Blackmagic Design products during this year’s sold out Weezer and Panic! At the Disco summer concert tour. Included in the workflow were four Teranex Expresses and 24 Teranex Minis used throughout each venue to convert various camera signals.
Production Designer Robb Jibson of Chicago firm So Midwest, Inc. and Video Director Jack Edinger chose a 4K Blackmagic Design setup for the tour’s video needs. Working with production company Upstaging Inc. on the tour, which provides services like stage lighting, IMAG and video systems, Robb and Jack developed a system that included four Blackmagic Studio Cameras 4K for IMAG, as well as engineering racks containing ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K, ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Panel, HyperDeck Studio Pros, Teranex Expresses, Teranex Minis, MultiView 4s, SmartView 4Ks, SmartScope Duos, ATEM Talkback Converters, UltraScopes and various Mini Converters.
For the main IMAG needs, Jack and Robb used a Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K at the front of the house, as well as one on a tripod in the pit, one on a monopod in the pit and one on the right side of the stage. The cameras ran via fibre optic cable through a Camplex FIBERJ-P1 FiberJuice box for power and communication, which fed one line of fibre power back to the equipment they had on the engineering racks. The racks contained an ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K which the team used to do the live cut of the show. During Weezer’s set, they also ran the program cut back into the ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Panel to do SuperSource and customise the cut to play with the show’s LED wall. They used ATEM software on a laptop to load graphics for the show, for downstream keying and to shade some of the cameras.
Also on the engineering racks were a Smart VideoHub 40×40, which was used to route video throughout the venue, and two HyperDeck Studio Pros. One HyperDeck Studio Pro recorded the program cut of the show while the other was routed via SDI cable so that instead of playing back the program cut it played music videos on the IMAG screens before the show started and in between acts throughout the night. There were also four Teranex Expresses and 24 Teranex Mini SDI Distribution with Smart Panels to convert camera signals for the various routes as the team needed. They also used several MultiView 4 units and SmartView 4K monitors to be able to see everything as it was happening, as well as two SmartScope Duo 4K monitors as combination scopes and monitors.
“In these racks we needed the camera signal to come in and then be able to go out to a bunch of places,” said Robb. “The Teranex units helped us out with all of that. We also set it up so that we could route any of the camera inputs to any of the monitors and be able to see it immediately. This was great because the singers were all over the stage and the crowd is always unpredictable, so with the monitors and the MultiView 4 units we were able to keep track of everything that was happening. The live production products were so reliable and really made it easy for us to put on a quality show every time from venue to venue.”
“The functionality of the Blackmagic Studio Cameras is great for this kind of setup,” said Jack. “Having that big, clear, crisp 10” viewfinder for our camera team to use totally changed the way that they can shoot. With these cameras they can really see what they’re shooting, which allows them to have a lot more finesse in the way they shoot and ensure they’ve got sharp focus.”
He continued, “Another great advantage is that we’re able to record and run the whole thing in progressive instead of interlaced. This saves me a lot of time and angst. The look is a little bit cleaner, smoother and more filmic. Also when the band wants to look at the recordings or we need to send the cut that we’ve done out to management to use for a bumper for a TV show for example, I don’t have to go in and de-interlace everything. It looks like it’s supposed to look.”
Robb added, “The images from these cameras look more real than other cameras, like what you’d see with your eye in real life. The sensors are able to capture dynamic range that’s more true to life. The concert tour world is such a niche market, and these cameras are such a helpful tool in this world.”
“The clarity of the cameras is incredible,” added Jack. “The rendering of colour and the ability to do some fine tuning and colour correction in the DaVinci Resolve software is such a simple and effective way to do it. We used to spend a lot of time chipping our cameras and getting the colours right for the room. We usually ended up further away from true colour than we wanted to be a lot of the time because there isn’t time to chip them correctly on a daily basis, and the environment is different every day on a tour. With the Blackmagic cameras, we’ve had nothing but gorgeous results. These cameras just sing.”