Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Nippon TV’s NiTRo Uses Blackmagic Workflow for New Streaming Studio

Blackmagic Design has announced that NiTRo (NTV Technical Resources Inc.), a comprehensive technical production unit of the Nippon Television Group, uses a number of Blackmagic Design products for its main streaming studio, M-CUBE. The workflow includes ATEM 4 M/E Constellation HD live production switchers, ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel, ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel, HyperDeck Studio HD Plus broadcast decks, Ultimatte 12 4K real time compositing processors and other Blackmagic Design products.

NiTRo handles technical operations for TV production and it has recently begun streaming services. M-CUBE began operating in 2023 and has done numerous streaming and recording projects for various clients, including an esports league for one of the largest fighting games in the Japan esports league.

The main switcher at the studio is the ATEM 4 M/E Constellation HD, with control facilitated by the ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel. The setup also includes four HyperDeck Studio HD Pluses, seven HyperDeck Studio HD Minis and a HyperDeck Extreme Control, as well as three Ultimatte 12 4Ks and Ultimatte Smart Remote 4 for chroma keying.

Masaaki Iwahara from the production technical department said, “We had previously used several other models of Blackmagic switchers, so we felt confident and found that the ATEM 4 M/E Constellation HD was well suited for the esports programs we currently work on, offering higher cost performance compared to competing products from other manufacturers. One of the features that made us chose the ATEM 4 M/E Constellation HD was the large number of inputs and outputs it had.”

He continued, “Moreover, the ATEM’s MADI output capabilities were crucial. We use around 27 inputs for the esports program we regularly broadcast, with approximately 15 of them having accompanying audio. Usually, dedicated equipment is needed to separate audio and video for sending audio to an audio mixer, but with this switcher, the MADI output provides audio for each input. In our small studio, not needing additional equipment is a significant advantage in terms of both space and cost.”

For redundancy, two sets of the ATEM switchers and control panels are used to ensure swift response in case of any issues. “We have two ATEM 4 M/E Constellation HD units installed. It’s convenient to switch immediately by just changing the IP address. Due to spatial constraints, we introduced the ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel to control the main switcher and the ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel to control the backup switcher. However, we flexibly rotate between the switchers depending on which panel is more suitable for the particular program,” he added.

Ultimatte 12 4K is used for chroma keying, providing clean keying without occupying M/E buttons on the switcher for complex effects. Iwahara explained, “When compositing with the switcher, it ties up M/E columns, restricting other functionalities. So, we installed Ultimatte for its affordable price, clean keying and the ability to save background stills on the device. The DSK function allows us to create a new layer by inputting fill and key, providing a complete real time compositing solution.”

NiTRo uses HyperDeck Studio HD Mini for simple VTR playback and also for sending video signals to computers via the HyperDeck during remote broadcasts between different locations, as it is compatible with the UVC standard. HyperDeck Studio HD Plus is also used for its ability to output fill and key signals, combined with the Ultimatte 12 4K.

“There is a high demand for displaying sponsor logos on screen during esports tournaments or playing videos with keys during opening sequences. The HyperDeck outputs both fill and key signals, which we put into the Ultimatte for compositing,” said Iwahara.

Currently, the esports streaming program that NiTRo regularly works on is being streamed on five different platforms. “Each platform is slightly different. For example, some stream with and some stream without commercials, so we make full use of ATEM’s macro features to accommodate this. Since ATEM allows setting up macros for the destination of outputs, we set up macros for each of the 24 outputs, and automatically switch between the inclusion and exclusion of commercials on each line. The scale of what we did with the switcher for this esports project was large, so we used it in a different way than in the past, but even including that, the ATEM is very easy to use,” concluded Iwahara.

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