Recording an Amazon Rainforest Fundraiser With Blackmagic's HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro

Amazon Rainforest
(Image credit: R20)

MALIBU, Calif.—As a seasoned video professional, I pride myself on doing work for worthy causes. Recently, my team and I worked with L.A.-based event company NK Production to help kick off “A Return to Origin,” a fundraising campaign benefitting the Amazon Prophecy Project. Hosted by Rev. Patrick McCollum and The McCollum Foundation—who specialize in conflict resolution by elevating marginalized and indigenous voices—the year-long campaign aims to raise money to save the Amazon rainforest and preserve indigenous cultures with special monthly fundraising events.

The campaign launched on Thanksgiving Day with a global live stream, and we were brought in to provide our flypack system. There were many important components that we needed to capture, including speeches from Jane Goodall, Dr. Vandana Shiva, Chief Phil Lane, Ambassador Chowdhury and other notable visionaries, as well as performances from indigenous artists Kandy Maku and Olos.

Setting Up to Give Back
To capture these moments, we used  a number of Blackmagic Design products including five HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro broadcast decks—one to record the program feed and the other four to record the camera ISO feeds.


Blackmagic Design HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

We also used an URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 camera on a 24-foot Jimmy jib, and three URSA Broadcast cameras, with one on a camera slider next to the stage, one for reversals and side shots, and one in the back of the house with a Canon XJ72x9.3BIE-D 72x HD Box Lens. Everything was brought into our Videohub 40x40 router and then to our ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K switcher paired with an ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel for control. 

I then routed the program feed to the first HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro, and all four cameras went to the other four HyperDeck Studio 4K Pros, which were fitted with 1 TB SSDs. NK Production provided the media server for video playback and received my camera feeds from our switcher for streaming.

H.264 & H.265 Recording
We recently added the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pros to our arsenal so we could take advantage of the H.264 and H.265 recording ability. Today, certain formats are not always useful as the files can be monsters to move around. Recording H.264 in 1080p and H.265 in 4K is key for us, especially when most things are streaming online, and we don’t have a need for the bigger files. We found the recorders to be incredibly portable and with our setup and the design of the system, we were ready for the camera input in about 20 minutes.

We love having the ability to dump files directly from the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to the internet or client sites for footage. Clients appreciate this and it also provides a backup for archives with the USB-C drive attachment. We also like the reliability of the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro, not only in the fact that it works great no matter what type of event we are doing, but also that the SSD drive modules can be replaced if they become worn from heavy use. We use them so often that it’s important for us to keep them running reliably for many years. 

Michael Shubert has been designing innovative production environments since 1973 and continues to create distinctive looks for a varied and long-standing clientele in
corporate, music and special events industries. As a technical director and video director, he has numerous award show ceremonies and lighting designs to his credit. As a lighting designer and now as a video director/DP, he paints with this media in artful ways, not just technically. For more information, contact Michael at

For additional information, contact Blackmagic Design at 408-954-0500 or visit