Blackmagic Hit Broadway in Production of ‘Network’

FREMONT, Calif.—Live theater got its own taste of a live broadcast production in the Tony Award-winning production of “Network” on Broadway with the help of Blackmagic Design. Video designer and cinematographer Tal Yarden used Blakcmagic’s Micro Studio Camera 4Ks, Studio Camera 4Ks, Video Assist 4K monitor/recorders, ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K and ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel both on and off stage to create the show’s very own live newscast depicting anchorman Howard Beale’s breakdown.

Bryan Cranston in "Network"

Bryan Cranston in "Network"

An adaptation of Paddy Chayefsky’s Academy Award-winning film of the same name, the Broadway version of “Network” (directed by Ivo van Hove and adapted by Lee Hall) takes place entirely in Beale’s TV studio, which thanks to the Blackmagic equipment was able to operate like a real-life studio, with cast and crew operating the equipment on and off stage to power the newsroom and feed content to onstage screens.

To do this, the Micro Studio Camera 4Ks were installed in handheld rigs with Video Assist 4Ks and wireless transmitters, while the Studio Camera 4Ks were mounted on tripods and used teleprompters during Beale’s (played by Bryan Cranston) newscasts. Cameras were also used to capture a scene that begins outside the theater on the street and then works its way inside to the stage; the scene was filmed live for each performance.

Actors who had some camera experience were responsible for handling the cameras on stage during the production.

Some of the crew who operated the ATEM switchers were also on stage during each performance. While the ATEM 2 M/E switcher operated from a rack underneath the stage, the ATEM 1 M/E was a part of the stage and used by an onstage operator. The onstage operator had to monitor the cameras, as well as followed the script for multiple ATEM cues, recalled presets on the matrix router and switched video feeds from the cameras to multiple onstage screens.

The Broadway run for “Network” came to close on in June of this year.