Blackmagic Design has announced that Australian production company Avoca Blue used URSA Broadcast cameras and ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K video live production switcher to capture the recent Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) Gala. The concert was captured in 4K, and also included a number of other Blackmagic Design cameras and broadcast products in the eight camera production.
The MSO opened their 2018 season with a gala concert series that included performances by Brazilian pianist Nelson Freire and Australian heldentenor and Grammy Award nominee, Stuart Skelton. Shot in 4K, the concerts are to be broadcast to audiences in Australia. Previous concerts shot by Avoca Blue of the MSO using Blackmagic Design products were also sold to China and were watched by more than 600,000 views.
To capture the performance, Avoca Blue used a combination of eight Blackmagic Design cameras, including two URSA Broadcasts, an URSA Mini 4.6K EF and five Micro Studio Camera 4Ks. The cameras were fed into an ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K for live switching, and also were used with Blackmagic Design Talkback Converter and Mini Converter Optical Fiber 12G for moving from SDI to fibre.
Producer Toby Parkinson and Technical Director Ben Doudney had previously shot and streamed a number of Australian concerts with other Blackmagic Design cameras, but this was the first event using the URSA Broadcast.
“I loved the ability to have the URSA Broadcasts used with our B4 lenses. The results were phenomenal,” Toby said. “We had used cinema camera lenses before, but the zoom was always limiting. For a concert, you want to be able to quickly zoom in on fingers and faces, and being able to use good zoom lenses was fantastic. Being able to do this makes the URSA Broadcast perfect for these types of live shoots.”
“Also, being able to use B4 lenses with the URSA Broadcast, we could get in a lot more light through the lens. The director was able to pull out to the orchestra from tight finger shots quickly and beautifully and knowing that we could work in low light we could get more creative with our shots and get really wide open,” he continued.
With the Gala, Toby and Ben were faced with the task of getting as many angles as possible, but at the same time remaining inconspicuous and out of the shot. With eight cameras capturing the performance, they relied on the URSA Broadcast, URSA Mini Pro and Micro Studio Camera 4K’s low profiles and small design.
The set up, which was run with only three camera crew on the URSA Broadcasts and URSA Mini 4.6K included using the URSA Broadcasts set up at 45 degree angles to stage, and raised to the first balcony in order to get full shots of the orchestra and tight shots of the soloists. The URSA Mini 4.6K EF was set up in the back for wide shots, while the five Micro Studio Camera 4Ks were set up among the artists. This included cameras located near the string, brass, timpani and pianos areas, as well as a unique ‘Conductor Camera’ that ISO’d footage directly in front of the conductor, making it look like the conductor was looking directly at the viewer.
“Anyone watching the show live or broadcast later could not see the cameras in their line of site sight while watching the performance. The small design of all the cameras made it possible to get really creative with our angles and let us really bring the audience right in there with the performers,” said Ben. “And the Micro Studio Cameras are easy to set up and adjust, so I was able to quickly move the cameras and get set up, while during the show the ATEM’s camera control let us quickly trim focus and adjust each of the Micro Studio Cameras right from the switcher.”
Avoca Blue shoot concerts and other events all over Australia, and relies on Blackmagic Design products to be compact, easy to transport and easy to set up. Following the MSO Gala concerts, Toby and Ben were able to load the entire eight camera setup, along with the rest of their gear and cabling in a single SUV.
“With our complete Blackmagic workflow, we are able to offer our customers a large, high quality multi-camera production that is both affordable and easy to set up and tear down. The fibre converter alone saved us from having to travel with 80 kilos of cable line,” said Toby.
In the upcoming months, Avoca Blue will use their Blackmagic Design workflow to shoot work with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for Germany’s Unitel.
“It will be a huge accomplishment to provide these concerts for the German market. German broadcasters will only accept a very high standard and moving forward we, using Blackmagic gear, will be capturing and delivering to an incredibly high standard and distributed by this very prestigious company,” he concluded.