Controlling a Blackmagic Designs ATEM Switch from a Browser

 

I use a Blackmagic Designs Production Studio 4k switch at the centre of my video production equipment.

Often I make the videos alone so need to fulfill the roles of presenter, camera operator, director etc…

The BMD ATEM control software works well for a multi-crew environment.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 17.05.09

I wanted a simple interface to control the basic input selection for Program and Preview outputs – but my main motivation was to have single button press control of the Aux source selection.

I use the Aux output to feed the in-room projector for live events. This allows me the option to choose what is displayed on the projector without affecting the program output (which is typically being captured to disc and/or live streamed).

My typical Production Studio 4K is connected as shown:

atem-config-typical

I’ve written a small NodeJS application that I run on a Raspberry PI. The application communicates over Ethernet with the Blackmagic Designs switch.

I can then open a web browser on any PC, Mac, iPad, Android and be able to see and control the AUX, PROGRAM and PREVIEW sources on the ATEM switch.

The application is event based so also reacts to changes made using the Desktop ATEM control software or any other browser instances.

I’ll add another post with details on the software….

See it in action on this YouTube clip

Strata Lite – Remote Control for ATEM Switchers

The Blackmagic Designs ATEM switches have a comprehensive desktop control application for Mac and PC computers snappily called “ATEM Software Control”

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 17.05.09
ATEM Software Control

The ATEM software is perfect for its intended use: producing live shows in a multi-crew environment.

Most of the time I’m presenter, camera operator, and director and the ATEM software doesn’t cut it.

The App on the iTunes store “Strata Lite – Remote Control for ATEM Switchers” looks promising as a simple touch controller interface on an iPad. Unfortunately my experience (and others) is that the App is very unreliable and constantly closes or looses connection to the ATEM switch.

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 17.16.53
Strata Lite Remote Control for iPad

The ATEM software also hides one feature I really want to have quick access: Source selection for the Aux output.

Which was the motivation for developing a web control interface for the Blackmagic Design ATEM switches using nodejs.

The subject of another post to follow…

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 17.19.56
Browser based control interface for Blackmagic Designs ATEM switches

 

 

 

High Speed USB 3.0 for Video Capture

I use the Blackmagic Designs UltraStudio Mini Recorder connected via Thunderbolt to my Mac Book Pro as the video capture hardware.

UltraStudio Mini Recorder
UltraStudio Mini Recorder

The Mini Recorder takes the feed from a Decimator MD-HX HDMI / SDI CROSS CONVERTER – I generally set the Decimator to convert the 1080p50 output from the Blackmagic Desigs ATEM Production Studio 4k switch to 720p25.

decimator-md-hx

The Blackmagic Designs Media Express software is used to capture the video and store locally to storage on/attached to the Mac Book Pro.

The internal SSD drive on my Mac is fast but full of other stuff!

Blackmagic Design provide a very useful app to test drive performance – “Blackmagic Disk Speed Test”

Testing on the internal drive on my MacBook Pro (MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) produces:

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 13.41.13
Disk Speed Test on MacBook Pro (Retina, 13-inch, Early 2015) internal SSD drive

Green ticks everywhere – so perfect for capturing video without dropped frames.

Given the need for  lots of space for video I needed an external drive.

Thunderbolt would be the obvious choice but the current price/capacity is not as competitive as USB 3.0.

The first drive I tested was a simple USB 3.0 conventional hard drive (Toshiba Canvio 500GB – OSX Extended (Journaled) file system).

The “Blackmagic Disk Speed Test” provided the following (dismal) results:

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 13.51.34
USB 3.0 with conventional 500GB Toshiba drive – unusable for video capture

The next thing to try was a USB 3.0 SSD drive.

I chose a basic USB 3.0 to SATA interface : “Sabrent USB 3.0 to SSD / 2.5-Inch SATA Hard Drive Adapter [Optimized For SSD, Support UASP SATA III]”.

sabrent-usb-3-0-to-ssd-2-5-inch-sata-hard-drive-adapter-optimized-for-ssd-support-uasp-sata-iii-ec-sshd-B011M8YACM-350x400

Combine this USB interface with a Samsung 1TB SSD yields the following (fantastic) results:

 

 

 

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

I’ve just purchased (another) Raspberry Pi – this time the latest Pi 3 Model B.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

Loaded with the Raspbian (Debian) Linux operating system this makes a perfect host for Node.js development using my cloud IDE of choice Cloud9.

My first project will be a web based controller for the Blackmagic Designs ATEM switcher. More to follow….

Cloud9 IDE
Cloud9 IDE
nodejs
Nodejs

 

 

 

Cameras for use with Blackmagic Designs Switchers

The Blackmagic Designs switches (TV Studio, Production Studio 4K etc) require all inputs and outputs to be running at the same resolution and frequency.

Blackmagic Design Switches
Blackmagic Design Switches

I wanted to use consumer grade cameras and computers as inputs and computer monitors and a projector for the outputs.

Finding a full technical specification on consumer grade cameras is very difficult. They will often say “Full HD” or 1080 resolution but fails to mention the frame rate. It is also hard to find information to confirm if they will product a ‘clean’ HDMI live feed without any overlay.

I’ve chosen to run my BMD Production Studio at 1080p50.

I can easily configure the HDMI outputs of my PC / Mac / Chromebook / Raspberry Pi to output in 1080p50.

The consumer cameras I’m using are:

SONY – HDR-CX405

SONY - HDR-CX405
SONY – HDR-CX405 – clean feed at 1080p50

These SONY camera are actually very good and not too expensive. The menu system allows you to control the output and supports:

  • 1080p50
  • 1080i50
  • 720p25 (need to check this again)

The HDMI feed is clean. The camera can be used without a memory card installed.

Canon Legria HF R606

Canon Legria HF R606 - 1080p50 only
Canon Legria HF R606 – 1080p50 only

The Canon outputs a clean HDMI feed but only supports 1080p50 resolution on the live HDMI output. The camera can be used without a memory card installed.

 

Blackmagic Designs ATEM Production Studio 4k Fan Noise

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 08.49.03
Blackmagic Designs ATEM Production Studio 4K

I’ve been setting up the equipment necessary for producing videos for YouTube and streaming webinars.

A key component of the setup is a Blackmagic Designs production switch. See https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/

 

Originally I looked at the very capable Television Studio (https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/atemtelevisionstudio).

Eventually I opted for the next model up: ATEM Production Studio 4K

ATEM Production Studio 4K-1

This is an amazing bit of kit…. but the first thing you will notice when you plug it in is the ridiculous amount of fan noise the unit makes. Not a problem if you have the unit mounted in an equipment room – but too loud for use within the same area as shooting the video.

Search online and you will find others who have created their own cooling solutions.

Here is my solution for reducing the fan noise on ATEM Production Studio 4K.

I’m a big fan of OpenSCAD – “The Programmers Solid 3D CAD Modeller”. It is simple to use and you can quickly generate a design that can be exported to 3D printers, laser cutters etc.

There is a prototype design (available in the downloads section) to fix the fan noise on Blackmagic Design ATEM Production Studio 4K video switchers. The  downloadable design uses 60mm fans – in the end I fitted 80mm fans.

Warning: This will most likely void any warranty from BMD – but it worked for us and makes the product more usable.

  1. Remove the existing ATEM outer case
  2. Remove the 3 internal (noisy fans).
  3. Fabricate the new top cover
  4. Fit 2 x 80mm silent fans
  5. Connect fans to a Speed controller
  6. Connect speed controller to an external 12v PSU
  7. Enjoy the silence.

OpenSCAD Design for ATEM Production Studio 4k 60mm Fan

Screen Shot 2016-03-20 at 07.41.42

 

You will need to download and install OpenSCAD to use/modify the design.

The fans I used :Coolink SWiF2-80P Fan (80x80x25)

Coolink SWiF2-80P Fan (80x80x25)

Fan Speed Controller:

“12V PWM PC CPU Fan Temperature Control Speed Controller Module High-Temp Alarm” from ebay

fancontroller

I used an external 12v power supply instead of risking an internal connection to the ATEM power supply.

I used the GS90A12-P1M from Meanwell – it is over the top for this application but was on-hand.

 

Getting Started

Off we go with a site dedicated to any tech that takes my interest… that may or may not be related to my work at ripcaster.co.uk

A brief afternoon setting up the accounts:

Twitter

Domains registered, DNS created:

nelsoj.uk

nelsoj.co.uk

nelsoj.com

Enjoy!