Blackmagic Design recently announced that DENDEN Inc., a strategic consulting firm for digital content production, uses Blackmagic Design products, including the new Blackmagic Cloud Pod network storage solution, to create new streaming, production and post production workflows and remote kits with dramatically improved efficiency. Additional Blackmagic Design products include ATEM Mini Extreme ISO live production switcher and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K digital film camera.
DENDEN is a strategic consulting company specialising in digital content that also provides video production, operational reform support and studio construction support.
Toshihiko Kiyomoto, the CEO of the company, through his experience and knowledge of the latest technology, wanted to create a complete workflow from recording to finishing based around Blackmagic Design products.
“Demand for video content and video streaming has increased dramatically over the past few years, partly due to COVID-19. Not only in the entertainment industry but also among general companies, the demand for video content for corporate events, such as shareholder meetings and recruitment events, is increasing. However, budgets are usually not very high. Since I was working for a production company, I had been thinking how I could improve our work efficiency and offer services at a reasonable price,” said Kiyomoto.
DENDEN outsources and delegates many parts of the production process to freelance staff as much as possible, except planning, technical and progress management. It also makes full use of various digital tools to create a workflow that is easy for staff from different organisations to work with, allowing clients to work with smaller budgets and shorter deadlines, reducing administrative work which does not affect the quality of projects.
“We have our freelance staff handle a large part of the operations that are held across the country,” said Kiyomoto. “We send them a streaming kit that includes a Blackmagic Cloud Pod, Pocket Cinema Camera 4K, ATEM Mini Extreme ISO and Video Assist 12G HDR, and they upload footage to Dropbox via the Cloud Pod. The footage shared on Dropbox is also synched in our operation centre in Tokyo, which allows the editing staff to edit quickly without downloading the footage manually.”
The powerful Blackmagic Design products allow Kiyomoto to build specific workflows for each particular project by determining whether it is more efficient to spend time setting up onsite or working remotely.
“We set our Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras to record in Blackmagic RAW with a 12:1 setting. If we wanted to create perfect lighting on the day of shooting, we would need a professional lighting crew, but by recording in Blackmagic RAW, we just set up two simple LED lights on set and use DaVinci Resolve to adjust brightness without causing any noise during the post production process,” he said.
“Also, if we want to do chroma key compositing on set, it would be difficult to make corrections when a client asks to replace their presentation slides or change the edge of the slide that was already composited. Therefore, we purposely just shoot green screen interviews without compositing and handle it during post production. As for editing, we have established editing procedures so that anyone can easily edit the footage. When the editor uses DaVinci Resolve, we share stills and have them edit based on them. After they finish editing, we handle any request for changes from our clients, so freelancers don’t need to stand by for random requests from them,” Kiyomoto continued.
“Clients who have been using large streaming studios are sometimes concerned when they see our system and wonder if DENDEN can really do the same thing they have been doing. They are surprised when we actually do the work with such a small setup,” he added.
Kiyomoto also commented on the Blackmagic Cloud Pod, a new addition to the company’s streaming system. “It is not unusual these days for recorded data to exceed 2TB per video source. We sometimes need to manage five sources. If we copy all of that data to a separate disk and send it to the editor, it can take hours for them to receive the data, and there is also the possibility of missing files due to a transfer error. With the Cloud Pod, we don’t have to worry about that because the data syncs instantly to Dropbox. I can connect the Cloud Pod to my recording media and go home and check the files from home,” he noted.
Kiyomoto also has high expectations for Blackmagic Cloud. “I am very excited about it. With this service, we don’t need a project server on the private network. Also, we no longer need to transfer files manually,” he said.
“As long as the internet is available, project files can be shared directly in real time with our team. Also, we don’t have to export every time we check the editing progress,” he added.
Kiyomoto considered using a virtual machine from another cloud service as a render farm to quickly export a large amount of video. “But this would require us to pay for that machine on an hourly basis, and if using a VPN, we would have to pay for a costly network and storage,” he said.
Kiyomoto concluded: “With Blackmagic Cloud and DaVinci Resolve’s remote rendering feature, our editing staff across the country can access the high spec rendering machine in our operation center for rendering a large amount of video. If we use the conventional workflow, the time required for export depends on each staff’s computer spec, which also affects the labor cost based on operational hours. By standardising this process, we avoid passing on the cost to clients who are not directly related to the quality of the video content.
“Not only does it reduce export time and labor costs, but it also reduces the financial burden on each staff member by eliminating the need to install expensive machines. It’s a great breakthrough.”