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Enhancing Hybrid Event Audio With Blackmagic Design

Event Stream Team
The Event Stream Team uses BMD’s ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD live production switcher with built-in Fairlight audio mixer to improve audio for hybrid events. (Image credit: Event Stream Team)

BALTIMORE—Combining a live in-person event with a virtual online component is now ubiquitous. Yet, this was not the case in 2018 when I began asking my colleagues about expanding my company’s services to include hybrid events—people told me I was crazy, that hybrid events would never be relevant. 

Today, Event Stream Team is a full-service video and webcast production business with more than 120 active clients ranging from nonprofits to government and state agencies, providing hybrid events for everything from workshops and conferences to plays, talk shows, and more. I serve as the chief technology officer of our family-run business along with my wife, business partner and CEO Auset Reid, and our children who are training as technical directors, audio engineers, and camera operators. 

The Right Audio Solution
In order to ensure high-quality video and audio for hybrid events we use Blackmagic Designs’ ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD live production switcher with built-in Fairlight audio mixer at the core of our workflow.

We previously used an ATEM Television Studio HD and recently upgraded to take advantage of the ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD’s newest features. The switcher’s built-in Fairlight audio mixer can easily handle complex live sound mixing—the audio is de-embedded from all the SDI video inputs and passed to the audio mixer, where each input channel includes 6-band parametric EQ and compressor, limiter, expander and noise gate as well as full panning.

Prior to using the ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD’s Fairlight mixer, our biggest obstacle was managing audio sync with video sources, particularly image magnification, (or “IMAG”), common in many client productions. In addition, I had to use outboard audio gear to manage EQ, compression, and audio flow which often required lugging a full-size audio mixer to events. Using the ATEM’s built-in Fairlight mixer vastly improved workflow by providing the capability to create macros to control audio sources and settings. 

We use the ATEM’s Fairlight mixer to manage the audio mix of SDI and analog sources, including gain structure, EQ, dynamics, and audio sync. One of the main benefits is the ability to save the configuration file for the many types of gigs that we do, plus, the compact design of the ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD is perfect for portable live production. As a bonus, the switcher is extremely quiet due to its high-efficiency thermal system, which comes in handy when we’re working in a courtroom or museum.

Smooth Audio Production
Our team recently produced a three-day religious conference that included IMAG, as well as live streaming. Two Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Pros, paired with ATEM Studio Converters, simplified both the workflow and the cable management. The cameras’ dual native ISO ensured the quality of the IMAG, while the ATEM 2 M/E Constellation HD’s Fairlight mixer—used with the front-of-house mixer—ensured smooth and consistent audio between the HyperDeck Studio HD Plus recorders and the audio mixers from wireless mics. 

With Blackmagic Design gear, we’re confident that we’ll deliver top quality in any situation. I am proud to say that Event Stream Team is now considered one of the go-to teams for live streams and hybrid events in the area. 

For additional information, contact Blackmagic Design at 408-954-0500 or visit
www.blackmagicdesign.com.

Jimmy Reid has more than 25 years’ experience producing audio and lighting for social events. After falling in love with the art and science of live video production, he started live streaming studio recording sessions. Today, Jimmy, business partner Auset Reid and their kids run Event Stream Team out of Baltimore. He can be reached at 240-745-5267.