Fremont, CA - January 24, 2017 - Blackmagic Design today announced that the URSA Mini 4.6K, Micro Studio Camera 4K, Blackmagic Duplicator 4K and numerous other products were used for live streaming and archival footage during the National Park Service’s 100 Year Anniversary Celebration in Glacier Bay, Alaska.
Since 1916, the National Park Service has been entrusted with the care of the United States’ national parks, which garner more than 275 million visitors every year. 2016 marked the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, with special events taking place around the country throughout the year, including a celebration at Glacier Bay National Park, the ancestral homeland of the Huna Tlingit clans. To mark the day of the park service’s actual birthday, park and tribal partners opened the Huna Tribal House, which represents all of the clans that were driven out of Glacier Bay by an advancing glacier more than 250 years ago. The purpose of the Huna Tribal House is to anchor the Tlingit in their ancestral homeland and to share the Tlingit culture and values with tens of thousands of visitors. The Huna Tribal House celebration was live streamed to Facebook, YouTube and the Hoonah Indian Association’s website, which was also linked to from the National Park Service’s website. Live streaming services were provided by StreamVu, and nature footage throughout Glacier Bay National Park was also shot in 4K for archival purposes.
The video team in charge consisted of Producer and Director John Brooks, Director of Photography Robin Charters and Broadcast Engineer Jim Toten. They used two URSA Mini 4.6K PLs with shoulder kits, five Micro Studio Camera 4Ks, two Micro Cinema Cameras, five Video Assist 4Ks, two ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K switchers, an ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel, a Teranex 3D Processor, three Teranex Expresses, two Teranex Minis SDI Distribution 12G, a Smart Videohub 20x20 router, a HyperDeck Studio 12G, a Blackmagic Duplicator 4K and several other products including various Blackmagic Design monitors and converters.
During the live stream, the cameras were set up to capture the event from all angles, with the two Micro Cinema Cameras on remote heads and one of the Micro Studio Camera 4Ks on a small wireless RF stabilizer rig serving as the A camera. The cameras, Teranexes and playback sources were fed into the Smart Videohub 20x20 router. This provided distribution of all signals to the various monitors, recorders, stream encoders and most importantly, the ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K switchers that were used for live switching. The five Video Assist 4Ks were used with each Micro Studio Camera 4K, which allowed the team to record a 4K master from each camera while sending the color matched signals out from the cameras for the live stream. The Blackmagic Duplicator 4K was used to record the event as it happened so it could be distributed to the various media in attendance who needed material instantly for editing and putting together news reports.
According to John, who had previously directed a film in Glacier Bay National Park, filming in such a remote location under extreme conditions is not an easy task. “Not only do you have to consider the cost and logistics of shipping the equipment to and from Alaska, but you also have to make sure your crew and your equipment can improvise and do anything necessary to make it a success,” he said. “Putting our team together and utilizing the incredible depth of the Blackmagic Design product line, covering everything from shooting and acquisition all the way through posting and a complete live studio, allowed us to put a package together that gave us a lot of versatility.”
Jim added, “One of the biggest takeaways, especially being in Alaska, was the size and weight of the equipment. We were able to do a multi-camera shoot with playback. I’ve done similar shoots in remote locations that were easily five times the weight and size of what we were able to do with Blackmagic Design gear. That’s a significant difference and an advantage that Blackmagic Design has over anybody else.”
In addition to being used for the live stream, the URSA Minis and Micro Studio Camera 4Ks were also used throughout Glacier Bay National Park to film 4K footage of glaciers, landscapes, interviews, cultural scenes, such as Native American tribes rowing in hand chiseled canoes, and wildlife like seals, otters, whales, puffins and bald eagles. The National Park Service wanted the archival footage in 4K, but the team knew they would not be able to do the live broadcast in 4K due to bandwidth restrictions from being in such a remote location. They tested numerous options to find out what would produce the best results and ended up doing the live stream in 720p, using several different Teranex models to convert the signals down from 4K and 1080p.
According to Robin, “We did the full eight hours of live broadcasting, but we also spent a lot of time traveling around Glacier Bay capturing footage. The cameras really helped us by serving a dual function. For example, as a cinema style camera the URSA Mini 4.6K was great for going out into the field and shooting, but it’s also very capable as a live camera. We shot wildlife, we were on boats, we were on the shore shooting glaciers, and we did a live stream, all with the same cameras. Everything was totally integrated, and the cameras were phenomenal. I spent a lot of time using the URSA Mini 4.6K, and it takes really beautiful images.”
John added, “For a producer or director, there are different levels that you worry about on a shoot like this, starting with cost. We had to do it in a parsimonious way, and the Blackmagic Design gear was the best option for us by far. Then you worry about the quality, because usually when you cut cost, you cut quality as well. With Blackmagic Design, that was not true at all. The quality was outstanding. Even in some tough conditions, like rain and mist and being exposed to the elements, everything worked flawlessly. We had backups but never had to use them. Ultimately, we needed a workflow that would work in a remote location for archiving 4K footage and streaming at 720p, and that would be highly reliable, and the Blackmagic Design gear allowed us to do it all seamlessly.
Product photos of URSA Mini 4.6K, Micro Studio Camera 4K, Micro Cinema Camera, Video Assist 4K, ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K, ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel, Teranex 3D Processor, Teranex Express, Teranex Mini SDI Distribution 12G, Smart Videohub 20x20, HyperDeck Studio 12G, Blackmagic Duplicator 4K and all other Blackmagic Design products are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/press/images.
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.