Drexel Media Program Relies On Blackmagic Design Technology

Blackmagic Design
(Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

PHILADELPHIA—The virtual production program at Drexel University’s Westphal College of Media Arts and Design is using Blackmagic Design’s Ultimatte 12 HD and Ultimatte 12 HD Mini real-time compositing processors as part of its virtual production workflow.

Program director Nick Jushchyshyn is also responsible for the school’s Animation, Capture and Effects Lab (ACE-Lab) and its Immersive Research Lab (IRL). Together, these university offerings use Blackmagic Design cameras, compositors, switchers, routers and other technology for course work and to teach the latest production workflows. This technology also is used for events, live productions, hybrid meeting spaces and remote learning, the company said.

The ACE-Lab is the university’s hub for student learning and activities related to animation, visual effects (VFX), motion capture, 3D scanning, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and a variety of other traditional and immersive forms of digital media. Along with various class, meeting and screening rooms, the lab also features a 40-by-40-foot studio with a 25-by-17-foot green screen cyclorama, motion capture system, studio lighting equipment, full dome immersive projection system and room scale VR systems, it said.

“We’ve used Blackmagic Design for many years as part of our volumetric, stereo photometric and stereo 360 VR systems, VFX courses related to green screen compositing and 3D camera tracking courses. We’ve also used it for remote learning and streaming pre-COVID,” said Jushchyshyn. “However, I recently completely rebuilt the A/V architecture of the lab’s main teaching studio around Ultimatte 12 HDs, ATEM SDI switchers and more. The Ultimattes and ATEMs have been transformational for us.”

The price of the Ultimatte 12 has made it possible for the institution to acquire several units. “It’s truly a full featured compositing unit,” he said. “Virtual production interfaces real world video equipment with digital 3D technology, and we use tools like Unreal Engine and Ultimatte to teach the students these skillsets, since they are the same technology used in major sports broadcasts, network news and weather. We even use Ultimatte 12 HD Mini as a bidirectional interface for our HDMI Pocket Cinema Camera 4Ks, which we didn’t necessarily buy for live use, but can now bring into an SDI live virtual production space.

An Ultimatte 12 HD assists Jushchyshyn in his office where a Micro Studio Camera 4K and the compositing engine are used with an ATEM Mini for meetings interviews and classes. The Ultimatte 12 HD key is fed to Unreal Engine. “That creates a 3D environment that appears to be a full TV studio with a moving camera on a dolly track,” he said.

More information is available on the company’s website.

Phil Kurz

Phil Kurz is a contributing editor to TV Tech. He has written about TV and video technology for more than 30 years and served as editor of three leading industry magazines. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Journalism.