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Holley Connects Remote Viewing Kits With Blackmagic Converters

Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro
(Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

BURBANK, Calif.—Since the pandemic hit in early 2020, there’s been a huge decrease in the amount of cast and crew on the typical production set. So, in response to the old maxim “the show must go on,” I developed and built remote viewing kits to help minimize the amount of crew on set, while production could still remotely view the cameras and make decisions offsite, while working from home.

As it happened, I had been playing with Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Mini switcher line and its Web Presenter for several months. As did most, I watched Zoom become the preferred standard among most people working from home. In putting two and two together, I designed a small rack that takes two video sources and puts them in a Zoom meeting.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

Basing my rack off the ATEM Mini Pro, I took two of the switchers and attached them on top of my rack. With custom-designed panels, I put four SDI inputs and one SDI output on the left side, and on the right I put one SDI input and one HDMI input. The four SDI inputs on the left patched into Blackmagic Design’s MultiView 4, allowing me to create my own quad split for shows that didn’t generate a multiview. I took the SDI out of the MultiView 4 and looped into one of Blackmagic Design’s SmartView Duo monitors; while on the right, I put a Blackmagic Micro Converter BiDirectional SDI/HDMI 3G, which let me take either SDI or HDMI as another source. The SDI output from that converter feeds another SmartView Duo.

The HDMI output from both the MultiView 4 and the Micro Converter feeds into input 1 of each ATEM Mini Pro, and the USB-C output of each ATEM Mini Pro feeds into a MacBook. From those computers, I can host two Zoom meetings with the show feeds.

The response was incredible. I have made many of these kits, and they have been a huge factor in keeping the executives and other producers involved with decision-making, while limiting the number of crew on set. The workflow has been used on many shows and projects, including “The Weakest Link,” the BET Awards, Nickelodeon’s “NickMas” special and more. As we begin 2021, I’m excited for this workflow to continue to aid productions and support remote connectivity.

Zachery Holley is a video engineer and owner of Holley Video Consultation. He is based out of Burbank, Calif., and works in live entertainment. He has contributed to shows such as the Academy Awards, the Emmys and the Grammys. When he isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his family and traveling. He can be reached at zak@holleyvideo.com.

For more information, visit www.blackmagicdesign.com.