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AvocaBlue Broadcasts the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design today announced that award-winning singer-songwriter Kate Miller-Heidke’s performance with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was captured in 4K using its Micro Studio Camera 4Ks and Studio Camera 4Ks. In order to broadcast the performance, Australian television production company AvocaBlue built a flypack using Blackmagic Design’s ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K live production switcher, Smart Videohub 20×20 router, HyperDeck Studio Pro broadcast deck and more.

In early 2017, Kate Miller-Heidke, a popular Australian singer-songwriter and actress, held a series of concerts with orchestras throughout Australia. The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra was one of her first stops, and the accompanying broadcast was produced by Toby Parkinson and Technical Director Benjamin Doudney and aired on the Foxtel Arts television channel. During post production, Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve Studio was used for editing and color correction by Auckland’s Department of Post.

To capture the broadcast, AvocaBlue used five Micro Studio Camera 4Ks and two Studio Camera 4Ks, which were all connected to the ATEM switchers via optical fiber. The Micro Studio Camera 4Ks were placed throughout the orchestra to capture up close shots of the musicians and Kate Miller-Heidke, with the two larger Studio Camera 4Ks positioned front of house for wide shots. AvocaBlue also used an ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K and ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel for live switching, ATEM Camera Control for CCU control of the seven cameras, a Smart Videohub 20×20 router, ATEM Talkback Converter 4K to provide optical fiber distribution to the cameras, multiple HyperDeck Studio Pro for SSD recording the line cut and selected cameras and a SmartView 4K and SmartScope 4K for monitoring and testing in 4K.

The compact nature of the Blackmagic Design equipment allowed us to be creative in our design of the system, while still getting the highest broadcast quality results…

AvocaBlue’s mobile setup has also been used at recent performances by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra with Miriam Margolyes narrating “Peter and the Wolf” and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra with violin soloist Maxim Vengerov and conducted by Sir Andrew Davis.

“Over the past year we’ve built a seven camera ‘flyaway’ system to record live performances of Australia’s premiere orchestras for the Foxtel Arts television channel, including the Melbourne, Queensland and Adelaide Symphony Orchestras, the Australian World Orchestra and more,” said Doudney. “That system is basically a full mobile broadcast setup condensed into a much smaller footprint using 100 percent Blackmagic Design gear. The first show with this setup was a Christmas concert by the Melbourne Symphony, and that worked out so well that we have been able to grow our production schedule to include new shoots across Australia.”

“Shooting an artist like Kate Miller-Heidke in front of a huge orchestra is uniquely difficult to get right. You have to be very aware of not intruding in the performance or getting in the way of the sightline between the conductor, singer and musicians. The compact nature of the Blackmagic Design equipment allowed us to be creative in our design of the system, while still getting the highest broadcast quality results,” he continued.

“The Micro Studio Camera 4K is able to fit in the palm of my hand, but still got me amazing 4K footage even in a lowlight situation like a concert. Its size allowed me to design our own delicate camera stands, which we placed inconspicuously among the musicians and in front of the stage to get viewers right into the performance,” said Doudney.

“Based on the quality and positive reaction from this performance, we have secured the international rights to distribute the Melbourne recordings through German company Unitel, which was looking to expand its 4K catalog. Blackmagic Design’s products were definitely a big part of making that possible,” Doudney finished.

Once footage was captured, it was sent to Auckland’s Department of Post for final editing and color correction using DaVinci Resolve Studio.

“DaVinci Resolve Studio works really well with 4K material,” said James Brookes, GM of Department of Post. “Since AvocaBlue was able to do initial color correction on all of the cameras from the ATEM switcher, the footage was already in good shape leaving us to focus on creating a high quality grade right away. We took the ISO’s directly from the cameras and went right into DaVinci Resolve Studio without any extra steps.”

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. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.

Creative Credits

Technical Director: Benjamin Doudney
Department of Post GM: James Brookes



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