Weaving that “Blackmagic’ across Africa


Products from Blackmagic Design are making in-roads into Ghana and Namibia.
When international footballer Michael Essien wanted to broadcast his charity football
match from his home country Ghana earlier this year, the natural choice was In5
Broadcast, a UK-based company known for cost effective outside broadcasts.

However, with no high definition (HD) broadcast equipment hire in Accra, it was
necessary for the In5 Broadcast crew to take a complete fly-away studio on the plane. It
made an interesting sight at London’s Gatwick Airport seeing the six-man crew arrive
with 17 flight cases, including a particularly heavy EVS.

The original plan was a day trip to Ghana, but fortunately the crew was permitted to fly
with the footballers one day early, giving them an evening to pre-rig the studio before
the game.

As the stadium is very large, the only option was to use fibre to the cameras, not just in
terms of the cable lengths, but also to keep the shipping weight down.

Says In5 Broadcast owner Carl Owen: “The Blackmagic ATEM Camera Converter was the
obvious choice due to its size, weight and having tally and intercom built in. It is also
ideal for real time scores, leader boards and on-screen graphics. I was also very pleased
with the ATEM 1/ME Production Switcher as a compact and lightweight character

“Not everything goes well on live broadcasts, and one locally sourced camera needed
urgent attention just five minutes before kick-off so we dispatched someone to run
around the pitch perimeter to adjust the camera. That seemed to amuse the locals who
cheered his valiant effort and giggled rather a lot.’

Ninety seconds before the OB crew went live on the satellite feed to London a young
local boy from the satellite truck entered the control room and said: ‘Everybody looks
very tall and very thin’.

Owen continues: “The boy was describing Anamorphic 16:9 stretch. It was clear we
needed to send 4:3 images, not 16:9 widescreen. The standard conversion from HD to
SD was handled by Blackmagic Design’s Teranex 2D, so with literally just seconds to go,
we pressed the aspect ratio button and the picture was re-scaled. The local lad had
clearly never seen a Teranex, and could not believe that one touch of the button could
instantly fix what he imagined was an insurmountable problem.

“For the next 75 minutes all went as planned, until suddenly one camera went to black
without warning. We dispatched one team member to investigate. A few minutes later
the camera came back on line. The problem? Unbelievably, a security guard saw a mains
socket under the camera and, realising his mobile phone battery was flat, unplugged the
camera and plugged in his phone charger. The joys of the outside broadcast!’

House of worship

Production values on television are higher than ever and in order to remain relevant
houses of worship (HoW) have to adapt.

Based in the Namibian capital Windhoek, the Emmanuel Pentecostal church is a single
campus ministry affiliated with the Apostolic Faith Mission (AFM). The sermons are offered in English and Afrikaans.

Wanting to create a more engaging experience for parishioners the in-house AV team
approached Event Technology to help build a multi-display, multi-camera and multi-video
source system that could stream content live online. Being a volunteer-run organisation,
simplicity and functionality were two major considerations. The church specified a full
HD system.

Emmanuel’s AV team chose a Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 M/E Production Switcher to
handle mixing of all of the video sources.

“With its array of digital inputs, multiple SDI outputs, powerful video processing and a
software control panel, while providing professional broadcast switching at a fraction of
the price of full hardware units, the 1 M/E was the ideal solution for our client,’ said
Joppie Maritz of Event Technology.

Multiple Blackmagic Design SDI to HDMI Mini Converters take care of delivering an SDI
signal to three Christie Projectors, while two Audio to SDI Mini Converters take care of
embedding eight channels of analogue audio to SDI for multi-track capability. The
output is shown on three Da-Lite screens and two 46-inch Samsung LED television

Multi screen media is delivered every to the congregation every Wednesday and Sunday,
while recording services and streaming live video over the internet.

“Three HD-SDI cameras are connected to the ATEM 1 M/E, whose multiview output
makes mixing the footage much simpler,’ reveals Maritz. “The ATEM’s downstream keyer
is then used to overlay lyrics and messages while various picture in picture (PIP) and
transitions are used to keep the on screen content dynamic and exciting.’

A HyperDeck Studio broadcast deck records a master mix from the ATEM along with
embedded audio onto solid state drivers (SSD), after which material from those drives is
transferred to an archiving system for offline editing.

To stream sermons the AV team uses an UltraStudio Express and third party streaming
software. A live video output from the ATEM with embedded audio is captured via the
UltraStudio and volunteers upload the content to Ustream, a video-on-demand
platform, for storage and streaming.

The latest news is that Blackmagic Design has appointed Stage Audio Works as its
distributor for sub-Saharan Africa.


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