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Blackmagic Design creates the world's highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

Blackmagic Design announces RAW 1.5

Blackmagic Design used IBC 2019 as the perfect platform to announce Blackmagic RAW 1.5, a new software update with support for Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer, plus Blackmagic RAW Speed test for Mac, PC and Linux, so customers can work on a wider range of platforms and editing software with their Blackmagic RAW files. Blackmagic RAW 1.5 is available for download now from the Blackmagic Design web site.

The new Blackmagic RAW 1.5 update includes Blackmagic RAW Speed Test which is now available on Windows and Linux for the first time. Blackmagic RAW Speed Test is a CPU and GPU benchmarking tool for testing the speed of decoding full resolution Blackmagic RAW frames on their system. Multiple CPU cores and GPUs are automatically detected and used during the test so that customers get accurate and realistic results. Simply select Blackmagic RAW constant bitrate 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 or 12:1 and the desired resolution to perform the test. Results are displayed in an easy to read table that shows how many frames per second the computer can decode for all supported resolutions.

Editors working in Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer can now work with Blackmagic RAW files using the free plug-ins found in Blackmagic RAW 1.5. These new plug-ins enable editors to work with Blackmagic RAW directly, so they no longer have to transcode files. That means camera original Blackmagic RAW files can be used throughout the entire workflow. There is no longer a need to create proxy files and conform edits for finishing. These plug-ins bring the quality of RAW in small, modern, GPU and CPU accelerated files that are faster and easier to work with than any other video format.

Best of all, when projects are moved from Premiere Pro or Media Composer into DaVinci Resolve for color correction and finishing, all of the camera RAW metadata and image quality is still there.

“Blackmagic RAW is now available for editors working on all major professional NLEs,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It’s exciting because you can now edit native Blackmagic RAW files in Premiere Pro and Media Composer and then finish them in DaVinci Resolve without needing to create proxy files, all without ever losing quality!”

Blackmagic RAW 1.5 features

  • Includes Blackmagic RAW Speed Test for Mac, Windows and Linux.
  • Adds support for Adobe Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer.
  • Performance improvements and minor bug fixes.

About Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.

A South African Horror: Man Makes a Picture on the making of 8

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

Despite having only just completed their second feature, the team at Man Makes a Picture is already quickly rising to stardom. Their first film, The Recce, won best foreign feature at the Idyllwild Film Festival in California in March and a Silver Remi at the Worldfest in Houston in April. Now their second film, 8, has been taken to market at Cannes after being signed by LA-based sales agent, Rock Salt Releasing.

Playing on African folklore and mythology, 8 has been described as horrific on a primordial level: it portrays what happens when an old man, fated to collect souls for eternity, seeks atonement after trading his daughter’s soul. The film stars award-winning actor Tsamano Sebe (Of Good Report), Igne Beckmann (Escape Room), Garth Breytenbach (Troy: Fall of a City) and upcoming star, Keita Luna.

To find out more, we caught up with the team behind the film about everything from why they chose the horror genre to the way they designed the cinematography, sound and post on an indie budget.

What made this project – 8 – important to the team at Man Makes a Picture?

Jac Williams, producer: The director, Harold Hölscher, and I have been developing this project for the last two years. It’s a proper South African horror story – a period piece that takes place in the late-70s. We liked the script and the whole Man Makes a Picture team was very excited to jump on this project. The horror genre seemed like a good route as we were looking for a project that would be quicker to distribute internationally than The Recce – an Afrikaans film that is much more difficult sell abroad.  I think we made the right choice seeing that we recently signed a world-wide sales deal with a company in Los Angles and attended The Cannes film market with them in May.

What cameras did you use on the film?

Jacques van Tonder, technical producer: We worked with BMD URSA Mini 4.6Ks on The Recce and, as far I was concerned, they were battle-tested in terms of reliability. We were very pleased with their performance then, and our opinion was validated with a nomination at the Cameraimage Film festival in Poland in the best Cinematography in a Debut Feature Category.

Budget is always a concern on independent projects, and with the BMD being really cost-efficient, we were able to have two camera bodies shooting multicam scenes, as well as have a gimbal pre-rigged at times or have a splinter unit to go out and pick up shots. The 4.6K resolution also gave our VFX team good resolution to work with. Considering it is a totally independently-funded film, we had to keep all options on the table for possible distribution and the camera being on the Netflix-approved list was a big selling-point. Through our experience we knew that shooting RAW would give us a lot of flexibility in the grade. These cameras really provide excellent value for money.

Dave Pienaar, director of photography: In the end, the Blackmagic cameras made sense. Two cameras gave security as the shoot was far away from any backup rental house. It was handy to have a second body available for gimbal and second-angle setups. I’m not really a fan of shooting two cameras on character-driven scenes, as I feel the lighting and composition suffer, but on more technical scenes it definitely helped. I felt they handled the shoot well and was quite pleased with the cinematic quality they lent to the picture.

What lenses and rigs did you use on the cameras? What effect did this bring to the final cinematography?

Pienaar: We used the new Sigma Cine range of lenses, which actually complemented the Blackmagic cameras really well. I was worried about the combination of a digital camera and super-sharp lenses. But they somehow seemed nice and organic on the Blackmagic. The lenses have a great range of focal lengths and are nice and fast, which helped with the night scenes. I was able to shoot them pretty close to wide open, and they still kept it together. I quite like to fog the lens a little, as I feel it takes the edge off the super-clean modern lens and adds an emotive, organic quality to the picture.

I also used a long ARRI Alura Zoom which was a lot of fun. Originally I thought it was going to be more of a technical lens instead of a storytelling lens, but I loved using its slow, creeping zooms to build tension.

Could you describe the shooting style that you opted for?

Pienaar: We went with a more classic operating style on this film. Tripod and slider most of the shoot. I felt the ‘grounded’ feel of the camera with long, eerie shots added to the suspense. A gimbal was used on some shots to move the camera without it looking too handheld. I really loved shooting the more intimate character-driven scenes with just one or two characters, as opposed to the larger, more technical scenes with many characters.

Tell us more about how the cameras were rated, and whether a LUT was used during filming?

Pienaar: We acquired in RAW in the lowest compression to get the best out of the cameras. But, I was terrified of underexposing the dark contrasting night stuff. I rated the cameras 800 ISO on the day scenes and quite often rated them to 200 ISO on the night shots. I felt that as long as I didn’t overexpose the highlights, which is a real danger when shooting at 200 ISO, there would be more information on the rushes as I would effectively be overexposing by two stops. 

van Tonder: The cameras in combination with Resolve software make it really easy to create and load LUTs for custom looks straight out of camera. We ended up with a generic shooting LUT that worked for both day and night scenes. On a tight schedule and with a small crew, it was great to be able to customise the look without additional crew or equipment apart from our DIT setup.

What was the approach to lighting and audio?

Pienaar: I had a lot of fun on this film. I almost exclusively shoot commercials and so quite often feel restricted by client and agency on a commercial job. It was liberating to be able to light it the way I wanted to. Toby Smuts, the gaffer, was great at coming up with suggestions and had an amazing wireless LED DMX system which was a treat on a budget-restricted shoot like this. I loved shooting the Shed Night Interior scenes.

Adriaan Drotsch, sound recordist and audio post supervisor: It was an absolute honour to work on my very first horror film, as sound plays such an important role in this genre. We recorded on a Zaxcom Nomad 10 and used a Zaxcom ZMT3 wireless kit with Sanken cos11-D microphones. The Zaxcom kit comes with a never-clip function, which literally means you can’t overdrive the input. Never-clip helped us to get around tricky scenes where a performer is whispering and then, all of a sudden, goes into a frantic scream.

For the on-boom microphone we went with a more vintage feel – a Sennheiser Mkh416, a Sennheiser Mkh816 and, for all the inside scenes, the trusty Sennheiser Mkh50. The biggest challenge on the production was to minimise post-ADR recording and trying to get as much on location as possible while the whole of the crew spent 24 hours a day on location.

The real fun started in post: we played around with awesome ideas to see which one will give the biggest fright, while still keeping you interested for more. The director was very involved and had specific ideas about what the caricatures needed to sound like.

The awesome team from Sound and Motion Studios really intensified the film through sound and did a brilliant job creating it. 

How did you approach the post production for 8?

van Tonder: We started our post process with a DaVinci Resolve-based lab for dailies and offline processing. We had daily rushes viewing in the lab. It is a great combination, working with the URSA Minis and Resolve. With our setup, we could view rushes in the native RAW format with LUT applied and retain full image quality while working on looks. Our editor could then begin assembly and QC within a few hours of the scene being shot.

Jacques le Roux, editor & Harold Hölscher, director: Editing was done in Premiere Pro with the camera originals being transcoded to ProRes proxy at HD resolution. We spent a lot of time shaping the performances so that the characters were believable, and ensured we always got the pacing and suspense just right. Next, we removed redundant scenes or parts of scenes: sometimes what works great in the script is not necessarily reflected on screen. We wanted to keep the suspense and horror elements as real as possible, so we did most of the effects techniques in-camera, with minimal SFX in mind. We had to focus more on classical cutting to convey emotion and fear. The style of the film is very romantic and old school, so the editing and post production had to keep that style intact.

Artificially Intelligent Media

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

There is no doubt that artificial intelligence (AI) will touch every aspect of business across all industries in the years ahead. In broadcasting and media, it is already having a profound effect. The technology is widely being used to analyse and understand video content, speeding up processes like searching and logging, for example. AI is now developing into an intelligent video creation tool, being able to film and edit complete productions thanks to machine learning algorithms.

Media, in general, holds large amounts of unstructured data, which requires humans to understand it. Tasks like content management, processing, interpretation, quality checking, all take a lot of time and effort. However, current AI and machine learning (ML) algorithms have reached a level of accuracy close to human capabilities. This means many labour-intensive processes are now taken over by AI instead.

All major cloud providers are offering varying forms of AI to assist with post-production. From shot logging and speech-to-text, to scene and object identification, AI augments human logging, providing richer metadata for each scene and shot. Some post-production software integrates directly with cloud AI for a seamless in-application experience.

Over the past few months, most major post-production edit software has included some form of AI into their platforms. Blackmagic Design Resolve, for example, introduced DaVinci Neural Engine which uses deep neural networks, machine learning and artificial intelligence to power new features like speed warp motion estimation for retiming, super scale for up-scaling footage, auto colour and colour matching, as well as repetitive time-consuming problems like sorting clips into bins based on who is in the shot, for example.

Avid’s new AI tools are available through Avid | AI, which is also part of the Avid | On Demand cloud services. Avid | AI is a set of cloud services (a combination of Avid-developed tools and tools from Microsoft Cognitive Services) that utilise machine learning, including facial and scene recognition and text and audio analysis. Also released recently was Avid | Transformation, a new suite of automated services including auto-transcoding, watermarking and content repackaging for delivery to any device, anywhere.

Adobe has also updated its video editing applications with useful new features for both After Effects and Premiere Pro users, and some really cool Adobe Sensei AI integration specifically for Premiere Pro. First and foremost, the new Colour Match feature leverages the Adobe Sensei AI to automatically apply the colour grade of one shot to another. This feature comes complete with Face Detection, so Premiere can match skin tones where necessary, and a new split-view allows you to see the results of your colour grade as you go – either as an interactive slider, or as a side-by-side comparison.

In addition to Colour Match and Split View, Adobe has used its Sensei AI to make some audio improvements as well. Autoducking will automatically turn down your music when dialog or sound effects are present, generating key frames right on the audio track so you can easily override the automatic ducking, or else simply adjust individual key frames as needed.

Adobe After Effects, meanwhile, rolled out a new feature that can automatically remove objects from a video. While Adobe Photoshop has long offered a tool that can conceal areas of a still image with a camouflage fill, the software giant said the ability to do so across multiple frames was made possible by improvements to its machine learning platform, Adobe Sensei. The feature is the latest example of how artificial intelligence is transforming the video production process, making professional content quicker and easier to produce at scale. The new tool is able to track a discrete object across a given clip, remove it and fill the space it occupied with pixels that blend with the surrounding imagery. Adobe suggests that it can be used for anything from removing anachronistic giveaways within a period piece to erasing a stray boom mic.

AI has suddenly become one of the most important technologies and the most in-demand tool for the video creation market owing to its ability to sense, reason, act and adapt. The general popularity of automation (in various business practices) is another contributing factor. But do we think that AI will ever replace human input?

There are many applications that are starting to hint that it is possible. An early example has to be GoPro’s QuickStories, a quirky piece of software that copies the latest footage from your camera to your phone and – using advanced algorithms – automatically edits it into an awesome video.  Another intriguing piece of kit is SOLOSHOT3. Described as ‘your robot cameraman’, SOLOSHOT3 is a 4K camera on a tripod that automatically tracks a subject wearing a tag, keeping them perfectly in frame and in focus whilst recording the action. SOLOSHOT3 can quickly produce an edited and shareable video of highlights using its automated editing tools and post the video online – with no human intervention required.

The BBC’s Research and Development arm has been experimenting with how machine learning and AI could be used both to automate live production and search the broadcaster’s rather large archives. Their experimenting resulted in a documentary, screened late last year, made entirely by algorithms – and while it wasn’t the best bit of television ever made, it was a pioneering achievement from a machine learning perspective.

In Tel Aviv, Israel, a company called Minute have developed a deep learning AI video optimisation tool that automatically generates highlights from full-length videos. Minute’s AI-powered deep learning technology analyses video content to identify peak moments, allowing the system to automatically generate teasers from any video content with simple, seamless integration. Whilst pessimists claim this kind of application could one day replace humans altogether, the developers at Minute believe that their technology complements, rather than replaces, content creators and storytellers.

Most organisations today are exploring how they can best leverage and embrace these new technologies. This technology is also proving to be a boon for video editors and production teams. It enables professionals to focus more on artistic aspects rather than editing, which is considered a rather boring and mechanical task by many. Learning how AI technologies can help the entire production chain by improving quality and efficiency should benefit everyone. New things shouldn’t frighten us, they should excite. Two decades ago, we were all worried about non-linear editing – and look what happened to that concern!

Around the world with Timeline’s Remote Production

In the world of outdoor broadcast, what do you do when you have an event in South Africa one day, and – let’s say – in the UK the next? It would be a logistical nightmare, not to mention expensive, to ship an OB van with all its kit and a whole production crew between locations in such a short space of time.

We spoke to broadcast services specialist, Timeline TV, about the innovative remote production solution it has designed exactly for this purpose.

Initially devised for live match coverage of the Women’s Super League (WSL) – the top league for women’s football in the United Kingdom – the system has also been used on international events such as the Landmarks Half Marathon, Vitality Big Half Marathon, Formula 1, Sail GP, World Superbikes and various other news and sporting events.

With just the camera operators needing to travel to events, Timeline’s system can be deployed at any venue – or, in the case of the WSL, any football ground in the UK – while delivering all production requirements from one central location.

Timeline’s managing director, Dan McDonnell, explains that the team chose Blackmagic URSA Broadcast cameras for the system: “We pride ourselves on delivering broadcast quality output for our creative partners, and the URSA Broadcast, when paired with our B4 lenses, delivers excellent images both on and off the pitch.”

When it comes to controlling the cameras, Timeline’s IP engineering team had to get creative. “Remote camera racking was essential and required a new approach to data transmission whilst keeping the on-site operation as simple as possible,” explains Dan. “There was nothing else on the market that would afford us the flexibility, quality or control unless we deployed a full OB.”

Built around the Blackmagic 3G-SDI Arduino Shield, and – using the manufacturer’s SDI camera control protocol – Timeline’s engineers developed a H.265-based 4G bonding and IP transmission solution that resides in a backpack. It integrates a transmitter and the camera control interface systems needed for acquisition, with live transmission back to the company’s Ealing Studios headquarters (in London, England), where coverage is produced.

“Essentially, we’ve eliminated the requirement for a full, static router, which normally is in place for a camera control unit to feed through. As well as the high resolution camera signals, an additional low res feed is sent carrying all the necessary camera settings,” Dan explains. “Working over IP channels provides reliable and consistent remote signal feeds from wherever we are around the country, and this, combined with Blackmagic’s open protocol, has given us the flexibility to devise a high-quality remote production solution that meets broadcasters’ strict standards for live sports coverage.”

Timeline is continuing to provide all Women’s Super League footage with the remote solution, but its efficiency and technical capabilities have been, and can be, easily transferred to other sporting leagues, tournaments and touring events.

“The ability to control an entire multi camera system via IP means that we can produce comprehensive coverage of high-profile events from anywhere in the world, without having to send a huge amount of staff or equipment out to the venues,” Dan concludes. “Once the operators are on site, it’s simply a matter of switching on the receivers and the cameras, and we’re ready to go.”

Blackmagic Design announces new Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR

Blackmagic Design has announced Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR, an advanced 8K DisplayPort monitoring solution with dual on screen scope overlays, HDR, 33 point 3D LUTs and monitor calibration that’s been specifically designed for the professional film and television market and to take advantage of a new generation of monitors such as the Pro Display XDR. Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR will be available in Oct 2019 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR is an advanced 8K monitoring solution for DisplayPort computer displays or high quality monitors such as the new Pro Display XDR. Unlike basic converters, Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR can use third party calibration probes to accurately align connected displays for precise colour. There’s even two on-screen scopes that can be selected between WFM, Parade, Vector and Histogram. Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR is perfect for film studios and broadcasters who need professional but affordable colour accurate monitoring. Customers also get an elegant design with colour LCD for monitoring and control of settings.

The front panel includes controls and a colour display for input video, audio meters and the video standard indicator. The rear panel has Quad Link 12G-SDI for HD, Ultra HD as well as 8K formats. There’s 2 DisplayPort connections for regular computer monitors or USB-C style DisplayPort monitors such as the new Pro Display XDR. The built in scaler will ensure the video input standard is scaled to the native resolution of the connected DisplayPort monitor. Customers can even connect both 2SI or Square Division inputs.

Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR has everything for the latest HDR workflows. All that’s required is to connect a HDR compatible DisplayPort monitor to allow HDR SDI monitoring. Static metadata PQ and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) formats in the VPID are handled according to the ST2108-1, ST2084 and the ST425 standards. Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR handles ST425 which defines two new bits in the VPID to indicate transfer characteristic of SDR, HLG or PQ. Plus the ST2108-1 standard defines how to transport HDR static or dynamic metadata over SDI. Plus there is support for ST2082-10 for 12G SDI as well as ST425 for 3G-SDI sources. Both Rec.2020 and Rec.709 colourspaces are supported and 100% of the DCI-P3 format.

Two fully independent on screen scopes are included so compliance with broadcast standards is easy when doing critical high end work. Scopes are overlaid on screen so they can customise position, size and opacity. Customers can select from a range of scopes, including waveform for displaying luminance levels of their input signal. The vectorscope display allows customers to see the intensity of colour at 100% SDI reference levels. Customers also get RGB and YUV parade displays, which are ideal for colour correction and checking for illegal levels. Histogram shows the distribution of white to black detail in their images and highlights or shadows clipping.

Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR includes the same high quality 33 point 3D LUTs as used in the film industry. It’s even possible to calibrate the connected display by connecting a third party USB colour probe and Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR will analyse the monitor and generate a 3D LUT to correct for colour differences between displays. Two independent 3D LUTs can be loaded and customers can select between them from the front panel.

It’s always difficult to know if a monitor is the correct colour because every display is slightly different, even between the same model. Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR solves this problem as it can use a third party USB probe for automatically aligning their monitor. SpectraCal C6, X-Rite i1 Display Pro or the Klein K10-A probes are supported and plug into the front of the converter. The converter takes care of all the work and will automatically generate test signals on the monitor during the calibration process.

All Quad Link 12G-SDI inputs have outputs for looping to other equipment. Plus all HD, Ultra HD and 8K standards are supported allowing broadcast or film industry use. In 720p customers get support for 50p, 59.94p up to 60p. In 1080i formats, they get 50i, 59.94i up to 60i. 1080p, 1080PsF as well as 2160p formats are supported from 23.98 to 60 fps. Customers even get support for 2K and 4K DCI film formats from 23.98p to 60p. 4320p 8K formats are supported at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, up to 59.94. With 2SI to Square Division conversion built in, an 8K source will be automatically converted for the monitor. Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR even handles both Level A or B 3G-SDI plus YUV and RGB SDI formats.

The front panel LCD provides confidence monitoring with both images and accurate audio level meters. There are menus for all functions and it’s easy to scroll through menu “pages” to find settings that need changing. The 3D LUTs can be enabled just by pressing the 1 or 2 buttons. Calibration is also started via the menus and customers simply follow the prompts to calibrate their display. The audio meters can even be switched between VU or PPM ballistics. There are settings for configuring scopes, their on screen location or opacity. Customers can even view and edit network settings.

For rack mounting, customers can simply add a Teranex Mini Rack Shelf. This consists of a metal tray that holds the converter and allows it to be screwed down before the whole shelf is bolted into the rack. Of course Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR includes rubber feet that customers can attach to the underside of the converter if customers want to place it on a desktop.

“We are excited to announce the new Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR for customers working with the new Pro Display XDR,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It provides advanced HDR and color critical monitoring features such as built in scopes, 33 point 3D LUT support, automatic probe based calibration and native 8K for the latest customer workflows!”

Teranex Mini SDI to DisplayPort 8K HDR Features

  • Includes support for HDR via SDI and DisplayPort.
  • 2 built in scopes live overlaid on monitor.
  • Film industry quality 33 point 3D LUTs.
  • Supports automatic monitor calibration using colour probes.
  • Advanced Quad Link 12G-SDI inputs for 8K.
  • Scales input video to the native monitor resolution.
  • Includes LCD for monitoring and menu settings.
  • Utility software included for Mac and Windows.
  • Supports latest 8K DisplayPort monitors and displays.
  • Can be used on a desktop or rack mounted.

Meet the Editor: Haiko Boldt

Haiko Boldt is a freelance video editor and graphic designer currently living in Namibia, who worked as editor and cinematographer on #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm. He has received a Namibian Film Award for his editing work and is the owner of Thunderboldt Design & Post Production.

#LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, produced in Nambia, traces the journey of policewoman Meisie Willemse: a tough cop with an illustrious career, who hides a dodgy past. As she solves one the biggest cases of her career, she is forced to face herself; the closer she gets to catching the killer, the more the dark secrets of her past are revealed, ultimately derailing her life.

Screen Africa chatted to Haiko about the interesting story, the equipment used to capture the epic Namibian landscapes and the need to “kill your darlings” in the editing room…

How did you first become involved in working on the film?

My involvement came about through the director, Tim Huebschle, and producer David Benade. We had worked together on short films and various other projects over the years. I was given the opportunity to read one of the early drafts of the script and I enjoyed the story immensely. It is a local story, which I hoped would turn into a local production and would give me the chance to stretch my creative muscles as an editor. Initially, my involvement was only meant to be editor of the film, but during the pre-production phase Tim and David approached me and asked if I would also like do the cinematography for the film, as well. This was an amazing opportunity and daunting, as well, but of course I accepted.

The teasers all look amazing – especially the wide-angle shots. What cameras and lens set-ups were used on the film?

The early teasers were filmed on a Canon 60D with the 18-135mm kit lens. Some of the aerials were done with the Phantom 2 and later with the DJI Inspire One. For principal photography, we used the Sony A7s II with a Metabones adaptor and Canon lenses (EF 16-35mm, EF 24-105mm and the EF 100-400mm), as well as a Sigma Macro lens. We recorded onto the Blackmagic Design 4K Video Assist from the Sony A7s II HDMI out to be able to capture in 4K (UHD) and Apple ProRes HQ 422.

The director’s monitor on set was an identical 4K Video Assist. In the beginning of the production, the director’s monitor would get its feed via SDI cable. We did have a wireless video transmission option but could not use it because it only worked with HD and we were shooting in UHD. A bit into the production, however, I found a new solution after the launch of a few products from Blackmagic Design. Among these was the Mini Converter SDI to HDMI 4K. This was used to down-convert the UHD to HD and to connect the wireless video transmitter. Luckily, the device is small and compact and did not add too much weight to the camera rig. The whole setup was powered from a V-Mount battery plate system via 12V and D-Tap cables to the devices. Aerials were filmed with the DJI Inspire One and the DJI Ronin MX gimbal was used for the motion shots.

Can you talk us through your choice to complete full picture post in Resolve? What advantages did this bring?

Working on other projects, we had gotten into a bit of a workflow issue between FCP X and the export and import of the audio through third-party software for audio post.

I always assumed that the colour grade was going to happen in DaVinci Resolve, which led us to decide to choose Resolve for editing as well. Because of the free version, we could install DaVinci Resolve, give it a try and see if it would be the right fit. The advantages were clearly the fact that the entire workflow happens within one ecosystem. It is so easy to switch from edit to audio to colour workflow with a click of the mouse. This became evident when, during the rough cut of the film, the sound designer would come in over the weekends and clean up the audio for the past week’s rough cut. This meant that by the time we had a first full rough cut, we had clean audio, too.

Recording on the 4K video assist in ProRes HQ, which is optimised for DaVinci Resolve, also meant no transcoding. It was liberating, as we edited in full resolution – and so what we saw on screen was what we would get out, and it didn’t slow down the computer.

What was your Resolve setup, including panels, hardware, monitoring and more?

The studio setup consisted of an entry-level iMac Pro running DaVinci Resolve and a 16TB G-Tech Raid Drive for the media. Connected to this was a 4K Ultra Studio. We opted for a BenQ SW271 monitor and the Blackmagic Design Micro Panel for the colour grading. During editing, the audio was taken out of the 4K studio and sent into a small mixer and out to two Yamaha speakers. We also had a big screen TV for viewing in studio.

Can you describe the brief for the edit? What were you trying to achieve with it?

The brief was to forget what I had seen on location, and craft the edit from the footage that was there. The director and I started to make editing decisions as early on as the storyboarding stage. The edit was quite predetermined in a way, as we had created an extensive storyboard with more than 700 boards. We spent about five weeks on it and had already made decisions on shot sizes and angles, and had specified the shots we would use for specific parts of the dialogue. This helped us immensely on set, but also set the tone for the edit.

The story is really interesting – and the female lead, too. Did you face challenges in telling her story through your work?

‘To kill your darlings’, like the director said, was and is probably always a challenge. We all loved some shots for whatever reason, but for the greater good of the story, some of them didn’t fit or just felt a bit ‘out.’ Letting go of shots like these can only make the film better.

Do you have a favourite scene or sequence? Can you tell us why, and give us an insight into the workflow behind creating it?

In #LANDoftheBRAVEfilm, my favourites are the shots that involved small edit decisions. Omitting certain parts of the story, or even just seconds of footage – small decisions that ultimately strengthened the film. Always remember that sometimes the things you don’t say also have an impact. For a specific example, I really like one of the city skyline shots. We kept the bottom of the shot at normal speed and sped up the top part to get some movement into the clouds, to create the effect that time was passing.

 

Blackmagic Design releases new Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K

Blackmagic Design recently announced Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR, a new advanced 8K HDMI monitoring solution with dual on screen scope overlays, HDR, 33 point 3D LUTs and monitor calibration for professional, colour accurate SDI monitoring on HDMI 8K screens. Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR is now available from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR is an advanced 8K monitoring solution for large screen televisions and video projectors. Unlike basic converters, Teranex Mini can use third party calibration probes to accurately align connected displays for precise colour. There are 2 on-screen scopes that can be selected between WFM, Parade, Vector and Histogram. Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR is perfect for film studios and broadcasters who need professional but affordable colour accurate monitoring. Customers also get an elegant design with colour LCD for monitoring and control of settings.

The front panel feels elegant when placed on a desktop plus it includes buttons and a colour display for video monitoring with audio meters and video standard. The rear panel has Quad Link 12G-SDI for HD, Ultra HD as well as 8K formats. There are also 4 HDMI outputs allowing use with 8K televisions that feature quad HMDI inputs, plus a down converter for using 8K sources on Ultra HD or HD televisions. Customers can even convert between 2SI and Square Division all automatically.

Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K has everything for the latest HDR workflows. All that’s required is to connect a HDMI display to get HDR SDI monitoring. Static metadata PQ and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) formats in the VPID are handled according to the ST2108-1, ST2084 and the ST425 standards. Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR handles ST425 which defines 2 new bits in the VPID to indicate transfer characteristic of SDR, HLG or PQ. Plus the ST2108-1 standard defines how to transport HDR static or dynamic metadata over SDI. Plus there is support for ST2082-10 for 12G SDI as well as ST425 for 3G-SDI sources. Both Rec.2020 and Rec.709 colour spaces are supported and 100% of the DCI-P3 format.

Two fully independent on screen scopes are included so compliance with broadcast standards is easy when doing critical high end work. Scopes are overlaid on screen so customers can customise position, size and opacity. Customers can select from a range of scopes, including waveform for displaying luminance levels of their input signal. The vectorscope display allows customers to see the intensity of colour at 100% SDI reference levels. Customers also get RGB and YUV parade displays which are ideal for colour correction and checking for illegal levels. Histogram shows the distribution of white to black detail in their images and highlights or shadows clipping.

Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR includes the same high quality 33 point 3D LUTs as used in the film industry. It’s even possible to calibrate the connected display by connecting a third party USB colour probe and Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR will analyse the monitor and generate a 3D LUT to correct for colour differences between displays. Two independent 3D LUTs can be loaded and customers can select between them from the front panel.

It’s always difficult to know if a monitor is the correct colour because every display is slightly different, even between the same model. Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR solves this problem as it can use a third party USB probe for automatically aligning their monitor. SpectraCal C6, X-Rite i1 Display Pro or the Klein K10-A probes are supported and plug into the front of the converter. The converter takes care of all the work and will automatically generate test signals on the monitor during the calibration process.

All Quad Link 12G-SDI inputs have outputs for looping to other equipment. Plus all HD, Ultra HD and 8K standards are supported allowing broadcast or film industry use. In 720p customers get support for 50p, 59.94p up to 60p. In 1080i formats, customers get 50i, 59.94i up to 60i. 1080p, 1080PsF as well as 2160p formats are supported from 23.98 to 60 fps. Customers even get support for 2K and 4K DCI film formats from 23.98p to 60p. 4320p 8K formats are supported at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97, 50, up to 59.94. With 2SI to Square Division conversion built in, an 8K source will be automatically converted for the monitor. Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI even handles both Level A or B 3G-SDI plus YUV and RGB SDI formats.

The front panel LCD provides confidence monitoring with both images and accurate audio level meters. There are menus for all functions and it’s easy to scroll through menus “pages” to find settings that need changing. The 3D LUTs can be enabled just by pressing 1 or 2 buttons. Calibration is also started via the menus and customers simply follow the prompts to calibrate their display. The audio meters can even be switched between VU or PPM ballistics. HDMI instant lock can be enabled to ensure the HDMI display locks instantly if the input video is interrupted. There are settings for configuring scopes, their on screen location or opacity. Customers can even view and edit network settings.

For rack mounting customers can simply add a Teranex Mini Rack Shelf. This consists of a metal tray that holds the converter and allows it to be screwed down before the whole shelf is bolted into the rack. Of course Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI 8K HDR includes rubber feet that customers can attach to the underside of the converter if customers want to place it on a desktop.

Blackmagic Design new HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR

On 8 April, Blackmagic Design announced HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR a new innovative broadcast deck with advanced H.265 8K recording combined with touch screen user interface and traditional broadcast deck controls. HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR will be available in June 2019 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

The new HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR features the trusted reliability of HyperDeck combined with new innovations such as space saving H.265 files, optional internal cache, 3D LUTs, native 8K and HDR support. With the ability to record native 8K in H.265, customers get reduced storage costs and amazing image quality. The large touch screen ensures a perfect view of their recording as well as control over all deck settings. Customers can then add HyperDeck Extreme Control to transform it into a traditional broadcast deck. This means HyperDeck Extreme is the perfect solution for the next generation of broadcast, live production and digital signage.

HyperDeck Extreme has an innovative touch screen user interface with deck controls as well as a large screen to view their recording. Then add a HyperDeck Extreme Control for traditional broadcast deck controls and a large shuttle knob that feels incredibly luxurious to use. Customers can even rack mount the HyperDeck and the controller. HyperDeck Extreme also includes 2 media slots, Quad 12G-SDI for 8K, analogue connections for archiving, USB-C external disk recording, plus a front panel speaker and headphone jack. There’s also an optional cache that eliminates dropped frames if their media becomes full or is too slow. Both AC and DC power connections are also included for studio or on location use.

With its amazing versatility, HyperDeck Extreme is also great for live production as a master recorder, clip player and for recording ISO cameras. The analogue inputs allow customers to record from old video tapes, so legacy programming can be used on the latest streaming services or for use in editing. Digital signage in 8K is easy with HyperDeck Extreme as it has 10G Ethernet for fast media uploads, plus it features a simple remote control protocol. Customers can even use it as a field recorder as it includes HDMI, SDI and analogue inputs with built in scopes and 3D LUTs. The scopes also help customers QA masters to ensure compliance with broadcast standards before streaming and broadcast.

HyperDeck Extreme Control lets customers connect to legacy broadcast decks, set an in and an out point, then edit. Just add HyperDeck Extreme 8K and HyperDeck Extreme Control to each legacy deck to keep them all archiving constantly with just one operator. It’s even possible to edit across formats by using Teranex Express to convert tapes from SD to HD in one step. Customers can control a wide range of decks, including Digital Betacam, 1 inch C format, and Betacam SP.

The latest Quad Link 12G-SDI is included so it’s possible to record and playback in full resolution 8K for amazing quality. The SDI connections are multi-rate, so customers can use Quad Link 12G-SDI to get compatibility with other 8K products, or switch to SD, HD or Ultra HD using the single link 12G-SDI connection. To allow regular CFast cards to be recorded at high resolution 8K, HyperDeck Extreme uses modern H.265 files for 8K recording and playback. This means HyperDeck Extreme 8K is perfect for connecting to the latest 8K televisions and projectors.

The innovative touch LCD user interface provides incredible control. On screen, there are dedicated buttons for play, stop and record, plus a mini timeline for scrolling through their recordings. Customers can even image swipe to jog. The LCD includes a heads up display of timecode, video standard, media status as well as audio meters. Scopes can be enabled via the touch screen as well as focus and exposure assist. There’s also an extensive range of settings all controlled from the large LCD. Plus customers can load and save 3D LUTs. Customers also get direct buttons for transport control, enabling the 3D LUT and remote enable.

HyperDeck Extreme Control extends their HyperDeck Extreme to add traditional broadcast deck controls. It works like a traditional broadcast deck with a familiar layout. Customers can control up to 8 decks via industry standard RS-422 control. Customers can even rack mount to the HyperDeck Extreme to create a single “broadcast deck” unit. Because it uses standard RS-422, customers can control old broadcast decks and perform edits using set in and out points. That’s perfect for archiving work. Plus customers can even edit between frame rates if standards converting between formats.

Blackmagic Design announces new ATEM Constellation

Blackmagic Design has announced ATEM Constellation 8K a major new high-end live production switcher with 8K capability that lets customers create content for the next generation of the television industry. ATEM Constellation 8K is available immediately from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

The ATEM Constellation 8K will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design stand at NAB 2019.

The new ATEM Constellation 8K is an Ultra HD live production switcher with so many features, customers can combine them all to make an incredibly powerful 8K switcher. Customers get 4 M/Es, 40 x 12G-SDI inputs, 24 x 12G-SDI aux outputs, 4 DVEs, 16 Keyers, 4 media players, 4 multi viewers, 2 SuperSource and standards conversion on every SDI input. Then when switched to 8K, all these features combine to make a powerful 8K switcher.

ATEM Constellation 8K features a compact 2RU rack mount design with a built in control panel. This allows operation of the switcher, critical during setup or for emergency use. Also included is a large LCD so customers can see program output and change switcher settings via on screen menus. Although only 2RU size, the rear of the switcher has a massive 40 x 12G-SDI inputs, 24 x 12G-SDI aux outputs, plus balanced audio, Ethernet, RS-422 control and MADI digital audio extra inputs to the internal Fairlight audio mixer.

With a built in control panel, customers can simply walk up and take full control of ATEM Constellation at any time. Customers get incredible power with both PGM/PVW or cut-bus style operation. The buttons are the same premium type used on full sized panels, and allow control of transitions, upstream/downstream keyers, media players and fade to black. But users are never limited, as the LCD menus also allow every single operational feature of the switcher to be accessed.

Customers get 40 independent 12G-SDI inputs, with each input featuring its own dedicated up and cross converter. That means it’s possible to convert 1080p and Ultra HD sources to stunning 8K to use them in their 8K programs. When used in HD or Ultra HD, customers can connect up to 40 different sources in all formats up to 2160p60. When running 8K formats, connect 10 Quad Link 12G-SDI 8K sources in all formats up to 4320p60.

ATEM Constellation 8K features 24 independently routable 12G-SDI outputs that can be fully customised. All of these outputs are similar to aux outputs, however they’re more powerful because customers can route any external SDI input and all internal sources to any of these 12G-SDI outputs. All 12G-SDI outputs contain embedded program audio, plus customers get mix minus support, RP-188 embedded timecode, SDI camera control, tally and talkback.

The built in multi views let customers monitor multiple sources in a single monitor. Customers get 4 independent multiview outputs that can each be individually customised or transformed into a single full resolution 8K multiview when customers switch to 8K. Plus all external inputs and all internal sources can be routed to any view. Plus each multiview can be independently set to 4, 7, 10, 13 or 16 simultaneous views. Each view also has on screen status including a custom label, VU meters and tally.

ATEM Constellation 8K includes a wide range of broadcast quality 8K native transitions such as mix, dip, wipe, and more. All transitions can be customised by adjusting parameters such as their duration, border colour, border width, position and direction. Transitions are even fully 8K native. Customers also get exciting DVE transitions, perfect for graphic wipes and even stingers when used with the internal media players.

To keep crews working as a single creative team, ATEM Constellation features built in talkback. Talkback supports a front 5 pin XLR headset connector, as well as a rear RJ12 talkback expansion connector for interfacing with industry standard systems such as ClearCom or RTS. Customers get full talkback control including program and engineering loops, sidetone control for hearing the headset mic into the headphones and program mix. ATEM Constellation also supports SDI talkback that uses SDI channels 15 and 16 for 2-way communication with Blackmagic Design cameras. Customers can even use channels 13 and 14 for engineering talkback.

The built in media pool stores broadcast quality RGBA graphics and animations that can be played back instantly by the two media players. For the highest quality, the media pool can hold up to 24 full resolution 8K stills, or 64 Ultra HD or HD stills. Motion graphics clips for use in animations and stingers can be up to 100 8K RGBA frames, 400 frames in Ultra HD or a massive 1,600 frames in 1080HD.

For news or virtual set work, the ATEM Constellation is the perfect choice as it features 16 ATEM Advanced Keyers for high quality chroma or luminance keying. The chroma keyer is incredibly powerful and features a colour picker to sample background colours for automatic generation of the key parameters. Customers get precise controls for edge and flare, and there is even a foreground colour corrector so customers can match the “look” of the foreground layer to the background layer making seamless compositions possible. The keyer can also be used for pattern and DVE keying allowing incredible versatility. Then when customers switch to 8K, customers still get four independent full resolution 8K ATEM Advanced Keyers.

With a built in Fairlight audio mixer, the ATEM Constellation makes it possible to do extremely complex live sound mixing. The internal mixer features a massive 156 channels, for the biggest audio mixer in a live production switcher. 80 mixer channels are de-embedded from the SDI inputs, while an extra 64 audio channels are input via MADI in. Each input channel features the highest quality 6 band parametric EQ and compressor, limiter, expander and noise gate as well as full panning. Customers get extra channels for the analog input, talkback microphone and media players. All this audio power can be controlled via the ATEM Software Control, a Mackie compatible panel or Fairlight Audio Console.

The ATEM Software Control Panel gives customers total control over their switcher and is included free. ATEM Software Control Panel features a beautifully designed interface with a visual switcher and parameter palettes for making quick adjustments. The ATEM Software Control also lets customers access camera control, audio mixing, media, macro programming and even control of HyperDeck disk recorders. Customers can even save the full state of the switcher as XML files, plus all media is backed up from the media pool.

Unlike other switchers, all features are included in the purchase price. That means customers get all features fully enabled and always ready for use. There are no license fees to allow customers to use features and no ongoing monthly costs. This means users will never experience a license expiry five minutes before their program starts. Advanced features such as multi view, SuperSource, DVEs or the ATEM Advanced Keyers are always enabled and always ready to use.

“This switcher is so incredibly big that we think customers will love it, even if they don’t need to do 8K production,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “The ATEM Constellation 8K will help our customers handle more complex jobs and put more cameras into scenes than ever before possible. It’s very exciting!”

ATEM Constellation 8K Features

  • HD and Ultra HD switcher can be switched to 8K.
  • Advanced design with built in front panel controls.
  • Large 40 standards converted 12G-SDI inputs.
  • 24 customizable 12G-SDI outputs.
  • Supports all ATEM hardware and software control panels.
  • Includes 4 Ultra HD multiview with multiple layout options.
  • Includes DVE and stinger transitions.
  • Includes 4 Ultra HD DVEs that combine into an 8K DVE.
  • Professional talkback compatible with ClearCom and RTS.
  • Internal media for stills and motion graphics.
  • Includes new ATEM Advanced Chroma Key in 8K.
  • Multi rate 12G-SDI for HD, Ultra HD and native 8K.
  • Built in 156 channel Fairlight audio mixer.
  • Includes free software control panel.
  • Compatible with all ATEM hardware control panels.
  • Supports Blackmagic Design studio camera with SDI control.
  • All features are included with no extra customer costs.

 

Homebrew Films: Keeping ahead of the curve with Blackmagic Design

For the 40-strong team at Homebrew Films, no two work days are ever the same. The production company, based at Cape Town’s Atlantic Studios, delivers a huge variety of high-quality content, from stunning wildlife documentaries, to studio-based soap operas and lifestyle magazine shows filmed in front of live audiences.

Now a new, Ultra HD studio infrastructure – built around a broadcast workflow featuring Blackmagic Design equipment – is allowing the team to not only evolve and future-proof its broadcast programming, but also to expand into the world of corporate production.

“This modern studio solution opens up an opportunity that we’ve always wanted to explore, and places us in a very competitive segment of the market at a very affordable cost,” begins Chris Gardner, Homebrew’s technical studio director.

When Gardner started to scope out the new infrastructure, his main requirements were for a system that could be assembled and configured quickly, and for a solution that would allow Homebrew to have a technical advantage over the rest of the market.

“Although our broadcasters are not yet accepting Ultra HD 4K, it made sense to get ahead of the curve, so that we can meet their content needs now and in the future,” Gardner continues. “And the beauty is that at the same time, we can use the 4K functionality in our studio system for live streaming and events, so our clients can have the best possible experience for video production.”

Gardner explains that Homebrew’s studio acquisition relies on six URSA Broadcast cameras paired with Canon KJ20 x 8.2 BIRSE HD b4 optics; four positions are mounted on pedestals with two positions being jib- and tripod-mounted respectively. The latter provides a locked-off shot that can be moved easily.

“We produce a large amount of content for local television channels, including Tussen Ons, an all-female Afrikaans version of The View, and a local affairs talk show called Kwela, and all of these require multi-cam set-ups that are flexible,” he explains.

“For shading we rely on a pair of ATEM Camera Control Panels, alongside the ATEM Camera Control software, and an ATEM Talkback Converter provides our operators with return, tally, comms and control. That ensures we can communicate clearly and effectively with our operators as to what shots the director needs at any given time during a production.”

Video with embedded audio is sent from the studio floor via SDI through to a Smart Videohub 40×40, which each camera channel ISO recorded to SSD using the HyperDeck Studio Pro. Those broadcast desks are also used for VT playback and prerecorded content, while an UltraStudio 4K I/O box is used to generate a fill and key output from RGB graphics and animations or Photoshop. All of this feeds into the central production desk, where an ATEM 4M/E Broadcast Studio 4K with ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel is used to produce the live programme mix.

“When we need to stream content to social media sites, for example for the Facebook series Capetona Live and LCA Spark Talks, we simply take the programme feed from the ATEM through to a Blackmagic Web Presenter and then stream it via a laptop running OBS. It’s that simple to move between traditional broadcast and a live streaming workflow.”

“We’ve been incredibly impressed, not only by this flexibility, but also the ease of design and installation,” concludes Gardner. “To put it in perspective, it took two of us just four weeks to design, wire, install and deploy the system, and that includes building custom elements and racks.”

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