Blackmagic Takes Conversions on the Run
KANSAS CITY, MO.—Space, speed and compatibility—
when you operate a mobile satellite
communications company, you find
yourself dealing with those three issues on
a frequent basis.
At Freebird Communications, we provide
broadcast services throughout the Midwest
for most of the major broadcast networks
and we also provide an array of live production
and SNG/ENG services in both SD and
HD. Each day brings a new production
challenge. One day we may be
servicing a network news crew;
the next day we could be called
upon to uplink a sporting
event with closed captioning;
and the following day could find
us producing a three-camera
satellite media tour.
Our services revolve around three
mobile production trucks which are constantly
being updated as the need arises
and technology evolves. We have two
SNG-style Ku-band uplink trucks with full
equipment complements, and we also
have a dual-band C/Ku uplink truck that’s
equipped with a 3.7 meter antenna, and
designed specifically for use with sporting
events and entertainment show backhauls.
The Teranex 2D
Due to our diverse client base and
broad service offerings, our trucks have
to handle multiformat video cross-conversions.
To accomplish this, we’ve been
adding Teranex 2D processors from Blackmagic
Design, with units up and running
in two of our trucks.
The Teranex units allow us to roll with
the punches on any given job. Since we
work with so many different broadcasters
and newsrooms, we have to be incredibly
flexible. It’ not surprising to be given DVCAM
footage and be asked to upconvert it
to 1080p, or we could be given some 1080p
content with a request to provide component
analog video from it.
Most of the work we’ve done with the
Teranex devices has been video in/out conversions
on the fly, and the unts have proven
really great in these applications.
Upon taking delivery of the converters,
I was immediately impressed with
their design and functionality. They were
also incredibly easy to integrate and use.
It took all of five minutes to get all my operators
up to speed.
SETUP IS NO CHALLENGE AT ALL
Our experience with converters from
other manufacturers has been that they
sometimes take oversimplification too
far, and that can make the workflow that
much more difficult. Teranex has engineered
an intuitive product with front
panel configurations that are easier to use
than anything else
out there. You can do
everything you want
with just a couple of
We also now rely on the Teranex
2D devices’ ability to work with any
of the other technologies we need
to use in our production workflow.
They easily interface with HDMI, analog,
SD/HD 3G SDI video, and balanced analog
audio sources and destinations, and let
us perform up-, down- and cross-conversion
without any worries. Such things as
aspect ratio conversions, de-interlacing
and standards conversion don’t faze them
Anyone who’s ever been in a mobile
production facility knows that space is
very much at a premium. The Teranex
units fill the bill here too with their small
Matthew Roberts is the president of
Freebird Communications. He may be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For additional information, contact
Blackmagic Design at 408-954-0500 or