Blackmagic Design has announced that three new television studios at the Media Convergence Center of Wuhan University of Communication (WHUC), which are designed for news production, virtual production, and variety shows respectively, have adopted a state of the art 4K HDR studio solution built around various Blackmagic Design products.
These three new studios serve as both practical training platforms for teaching and as production facilities, and incorporate Blackmagic Design products, including seven Blackmagic URSA Broadcast G2 cameras, an ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K and two ATEM Constellation 8K live production switchers, two ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel 10s, ATEM Camera Control Panel, Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converters, Blackmagic Studio Fiber Converters, HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro broadcast decks, Teranex Mini converters, Micro Converters, and Teranex AV and Teranex Express standards converters.
The Office of Assets and Lab Management of WUC, responsible for the overall design of the three studios, with the assistance from Wuhan Vijita Technology Co. Ltd, designed the studio infrastructure to adapt to a variety of productions, from single studio projects to large scale collaborative endeavours, and facilitate hands-on learning experiences that simulate real production scenarios, ensuring students are well prepared for professional challenges.
The studios can function independently, producing three different programs simultaneously, or they can be combined into a larger broadcast system. The core equipment facilitating signal routing are the two ATEM Constellation 8K switchers installed in the news and variety show studios.
Wang Wei, the technical director at Wuhan Vijita Technology, explained that they use the ATEM Constellation 8K primarily as a video switcher, taking advantage of the switcher’s 40×24 12G-SDI inputs and outputs with the multiple shows and formats. Beyond its role in video mixing, they take advantage of its ability to incorporate frame sync on each input to manage all signal routing tasks for the control room.
The four 12G-SDI multiview outputs of each ATEM Constellation 8K are linked to four 4K TVs for monitoring diverse video sources.
“Opting for a security camera over a traditional glass observation window between the studio and control room, we utilise the ATEM Constellation 8K’s multiview outputs. Capable of displaying 4K images, each smaller window, when configured in a four window layout for monitoring, ensures high definition clarity. This guarantees a precise and detailed view of the studio, enabling control room staff to accurately observe and comprehend activities within the studio,” explained Wang.
The ATEM switchers’ Ethernet control supports streamlined video routing and studio monitoring across all three studios, offering simplicity and convenience. Situated in the control center on the second floor, staff members are able to efficiently manage video and security camera feeds in any studio using the user friendly ATEM Software Control, eliminating the need to physically descend to the studios. Leveraging the unified LAN infrastructure across the entire campus, they enjoy the flexibility of controlling the switcher seamlessly from any location on campus.
Wang also highlighted the ATEM switchers’ beneficial capability to back up and restore settings through software.
“This proves especially advantageous in educational environments, where various students and teachers interact with the switchers. The ability for the studio manager to swiftly reinstate the original settings ensures a seamless and consistent operation,” he said.
To ensure a clean and efficient setup, numerous SMPTE optical fiber cables and SDI cables were strategically installed beneath the floors and within the walls during the studios’ construction. Now, the URSA Broadcast G2 cameras easily connect to the studio system by accessing cable outlets located on the walls or floors, providing a neat and organised environment for seamless operation.
When an URSA Broadcast G2, equipped with a Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converter, connects to the studio system via the SMPTE optical fiber outlet, the Blackmagic Studio Fiber Converter in the control room manages all the necessary conversions between the camera and the switcher. This includes handling video, audio, tally, talkback, program return, camera control, and even powering the camera, all down a single SMPTE fiber cable.
In each control room within the news and variety studios, a dedicated DaVinci Resolve Studio workstation, featuring a DeckLink 8K Pro capture and playback card, was installed. These workstations facilitate the direct capture of program feeds to centralized storage, enabling seamless editing, color grading, broadcast graphics, visual effects, and audio post production within DaVinci Resolve Studio. Assets stored centrally can also be accessed by editing classrooms, color grading classrooms, and other classrooms throughout the school, all connected via high speed 10G fiber optic connections.
In the studio configuration, DaVinci Resolve Studio is not only used for video capture and post production but also proves indispensable, especially in addressing color matching challenges across cameras from different brands.
“What’s particularly noteworthy is the URSA Broadcast G2’s ability to import LUTs. We can create custom LUTs in DaVinci Resolve to simulate the visual styles of other cameras and then import the LUT to the URSA Broadcast G2. This is the way we ensure color consistency across multiple camera angles, which has been adopted by many other clients, such as Wuhan TV,” said Wang.
As all three studios support 4K HDR production, DaVinci Resolve Studio’s HDR waveform monitors are also used for technical monitoring.
Following the official delivery to WHUC in early March 2023, the three studios were selected to do the live production of the final round of the inaugural Hubei College Students Ecommerce Competition. Cheng Meng, teacher with the Practical Skills Laboratory and Teaching Center at WUC, highlighted, “Our students independently managed all aspects of shooting and video mixing for the competition thanks to the user friendly nature of Blackmagic Design’s products. Known for their ease of use and reliability, these products are excellent for both teaching and learning. By entrusting our students with these worry free tools, they can effectively hone their professional skills.”
“I was deeply impressed by the diversity, functionalities, and flexibility of Blackmagic Design’s products throughout the design and implementation of the solution. Whether it’s production, live production, or post production, it offers products that suit our needs. Each product comes with rich features, reducing the need for external devices. This not only streamlines the entire system design and maintenance but also cuts down on overall costs,” concluded Cheng.