Blackmagic Design recently announced a new family of live production switchers that include powerful broadcast features, while including the latest electronics technology so they are extremely affordable. The new models are a 1 M/E model with 10 x 3G‑SDI inputs, 2 M/E model with 20 x 3G‑SDI inputs and a 4 M/E model with 40 x 3G‑SDI inputs. All models include full standards conversion on every SDI input, 4 ATEM advanced chroma keyers per M/E row, a DVE per M/E row, media players, larger media pool and much more. These new switchers are designed as a professional upgrade for ATEM Mini customers who need to expand, or for large broadcasters who want to upgrade their studios to get a modern switcher. ATEM Constellation HD switchers are available immediately from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide from AU$1,569.
ATEM Constellation HD switchers feature a compact rack mount design with a built in control panel. This allows operation of the switcher, critical during setup or for emergency use. Also included is a large LCD so customers can see program output and change switcher settings via on screen menus. The compact design is perfect for portable live production, with the rear of the switcher including the connections for 3G-SDI inputs, 3G-SDI aux outputs, balanced audio and Ethernet for control. The top 4 M/E model even includes RS-422 for serial control and MADI digital audio connections.
With a control panel built into the front panel, customers can simply walk up and operate the ATEM Constellation at any time. Plus the front panel control buttons are the same premium type used on full sized panels so they are extremely reliable. Customers can even control keyers, media and fade to black from the front panel. Plus the front panel LCD and menu buttons also allow almost every single operational feature of the switcher to be accessed.
The ATEM Constellation HD family features models that have up to 40 independent 3G-SDI inputs, with each input featuring its own dedicated up and cross converter. That means it’s possible to convert any 1080p input source to the video standard of the switcher. That means customers could have each switcher SDI input running a different television standard and all the inputs will just work.
The ATEM Constellation HD family have a massive number of fully independent 3G-SDI outputs. Even the small 1 M/E model has 6 x 3G-SDI outputs. Then the 2 M/E model has 12 x 3G-SDI outputs and the 4 M/E model has a massive 24 x 3G-SDI outputs. These SDI outputs are very powerful because customers can independently route any SDI input or any internal source to each SDI output. Or use the SDI outputs for ISO recorders, where each deck will get a resynchronised switcher input with matching timecode. All SDI outputs contain program audio, RP-188 timecode, SDI camera control, tally and talkback.
The built in multiview lets customers monitor multiple sources on a single monitor. The 1 M/E model includes 1 multiview, the 2 M/E model has 2 independent multiviews and the 4 M/E model has 4 independent multiviews. All external SDI inputs, plus all internal video sources can be routed to any view. All multiviews are fully customisable and can be independently set to 4, 7, 10, 13 or 16 simultaneous views. Customers can add the tally border plus source label and VU meters as an overlay on each view. Plus a red and green border will show tally on each view, so customers know what sources are on air.
ATEM Constellation HD includes a wide range of broadcast quality native transitions such as mix, dip, wipe, and more. All transitions can be customised in the system control menus with adjustments for border color, border width, position, direction and a lot more. The ATEM Constellation switcher includes a powerful digital video effects processor for DVE transitions, which can be used to squeeze the current picture off screen revealing a new video under it. The DVE can even be used to create graphic wipe transitions.
To keep crews working as a single creative team, ATEM Constellation features built in talkback. Talkback supports a 5-pin XLR headset connector, plus a rear mounted RJ12 connector for interfacing with industry standard talkback systems such as ClearCom or RTS. Customers get full talkback control including program and engineering loops, sidetone control for hearing the headset mic into the headphones and program mix. ATEM Constellation HD also supports SDI talkback that uses SDI channels 15 and 16 for 2-way communication with Blackmagic Design cameras. Customers can even use channels 13 and 14 for engineering talkback.
The built in media pool stores broadcast quality RGBA graphics and animations that can be played back instantly by the 2 or 4 media players. The built in media pool holds graphics for use with the media players and the 1 M/E model can hold 20 stills and 200 frame animations, the 2 M/E model can hold 40 stills and 400 frame animations and the 4 M/E model can hold 60 stills and 600 frame animations.
For news or virtual set work, ATEM Constellation HD is perfect as it features lots of ATEM advanced keyers for high quality chroma or luminance keying. The chroma keyer is incredibly powerful and features a color picker to sample background colors for automatic generation of the key parameters. Customers get precise controls for edge and flare, and there is even a foreground color corrector so customers can match the “look” of the foreground layer to the background layer making seamless compositions possible. The keyer can also be used for pattern and DVE keying. Customers get 4 ATEM Advanced Keyers on the 1 M/E model, 8 ATEM Advanced Keyers on the 2 M/E model and 16 ATEM Advanced Keyers on the 4 M/E model.
With four upstream chroma keyers per M/E row, customers get the perfect solution for building virtual sets. With so many ATEM advanced chroma keyers, customers can use a keyer per camera to create a seamless composition of the camera over the custom background. Even the 1 M/E model has enough keyers to generate a four-camera virtual set. Customers can use external image processors for virtual sets, or customers can even build a fixed camera virtual set by loading pre rendered still image backgrounds from the media players and media pool. Customers can setup macros to change cameras and load the correct background into the media players. With so much flexibility, customers can experiment to try out different studio setups.
In addition to the DVEs in the M/E rows, the 2 M/E and 4 M/E models include powerful SuperSource multi layer processors with four extra DVE layers plus a background layer, that all appear to ATEM Constellation HD as an additional input source. Any switcher video input can be used for each SuperSource DVE, then it’s all layered together over a media pool custom background. SuperSource is just like having an extra multi-layer VFX switcher built in. SuperSource is perfect for doing picture in picture displays for interviews because customers can set up the effect while keeping the main DVEs free for other tasks. The ATEM 4 M/E Constellation even has two completely independent SuperSource processors.
The SDI inputs will also handle embedded audio and mix audio from all video inputs. Plus the program outputs include talkback, tally and camera control information. That means customers can connect any of the switcher SDI outputs back to the camera for program return, camera control, and talkback.
With a built in Fairlight audio mixer, the ATEM Constellation makes it possible to do extremely complex live sound mixing. The internal mixer has up to 156 input channels, for the biggest audio mixer in a live production switcher. Audio is de-embedded from all the SDI video inputs and passed to the audio mixer. Then the 4 M/E model has extra audio mixer input channels for the MADI audio inputs. Each input channel features the highest quality 6 band parametric EQ and compressor, limiter, expander and noise gate as well as full panning. Customers get extra channels for the analog input, talkback microphone and media players. All this audio power can be controlled via the ATEM Software Control or a Mackie compatible panel.
The ATEM Software Control Panel gives customers total control over their switcher and is included free. The ATEM Software Control Panel features a beautifully designed interface with a visual switcher and parameter palettes for making quick adjustments. The ATEM Software Control also lets customers access camera control, audio mixing, media, macro programming and even control of HyperDeck disk recorders. Customers can even save the full state of the switcher as XML files, plus all media is backed up from the media pool.
All rows of M/E buttons include integrated LCDs for dynamic input button labelling. The 1 M/E model features a single M/E row with 10 input buttons. The 2 M/E model features 2 M/E rows with 20 input buttons. The massive 4 M/E model features 4 M/E rows with 40 input buttons per row and four independent system control LCD screens.
Unlike other switchers, all features are included in the purchase price. That means customers get all features fully enabled and always ready for use. There are no license fees to allow customers to use features and no ongoing monthly costs. This means users will never experience a license expiring five minutes before their program starts. Advanced features such as multiview, SuperSource, DVEs or the ATEM Advanced Keyers are always enabled and always ready to use.
“We are excited to introduce these new live production switchers, as many high end broadcasters don’t need Ultra HD, but they still need to upgrade their studios,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “Plus a lot of our ATEM Mini customers have been growing and doing innovative work. They are now looking to upgrade and purchase more advanced switchers that can keep up with their work as their streaming channels grow. It’s a very exciting time!”