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Katapult Uses Blackmagic to Wow Audiences at Hybrid Live Events

Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design's SmartScope Duo 4K monitor. (Image credit: Blackmagic Design)

NEW ORLEANS—As an AV company focused on all aspects of live events, including design, production and management, Katapult Events is dedicated to executing the perfect event for each client and enhancing the audience’s experience from beginning to end. 

Due to the pandemic, we had to figure out how to switch from a live audience to a virtual one, and more recently as things began opening back up, to a hybrid model. Along the way, we learned how to engage both live and virtual audiences simultaneously so that they both have the most positive experience possible. 

Most of our clients exist in the direct sales space, and we assist them with many events throughout the year; typically, one to two larger events in an exhibit hall or even an arena, and then four to five smaller breakout shows. 

TWO UNIQUE EVENTS

In the hybrid live and virtual model, we essentially do two unique shows under the same roof. This often requires twice as much equipment, almost twice as many people, but not twice the budget. On the virtual side, we have a TV truck where we do a lot of custom picture-in-picture for the 16:9 viewer. 

On the arena side, we’ll do two 8K pixel maps to cover everything from the LED that we brought and installed for that show, as well as the banners and LEDs that exist in the building, so it’s a fully immersive takeover. We don’t want one audience to have a lesser experience than the other, and to accomplish this we rely on a number of products that help us deliver the events flawlessly.

One product that we use on every event is Blackmagic Design’s SmartScope Duo 4K monitor. We rely heavily on the SmartScope Duo 4K for almost every event as a confidence monitor for streaming and closed captioning, as well as video engineering (video shading, camera painting), and confidence monitoring for some of our other video positions. 

ALWAYS IN USE

We use at least two per event, and we’ll even use a third on our largest events. Our video engineers rely on the SmartScope Duo 4K’s scopes in a combination of waveform view, vectorscope and audio view. Having the ability to quickly change from scope to video to audio makes this an incredibly useful tool.

We have one SmartScope Duo 4K permanently mounted into our streaming rack, which we use as a confidence monitor for our streaming operators to display both the outgoing stream program feed on the monitor’s first display and the outgoing closed captioned program feed on the monitor’s second display. 

Another SmartScope Duo 4K is always mounted in our engineering rack and our video engineer uses this in conjunction with a SmartView 4K monitor to see the camera feeds for visual shading and painting. For permanent installations, we also use the SmartScope Duo 4Ks in rack rooms as confidence monitors when changing and verifying sources for the operator

The past 18 months have presented plenty of new challenges for live events, and it’s been interesting to adjust when there’s no real standard anymore. 

We’re learning how to do things on our own, and through it all Blackmagic Design’s products, like the SmartScope Duo 4K, have played a vital role in the design and execution of our events. 

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

With over a decade of experience in production management, lighting, video and sound design, Scott Beelman has worked on some of the biggest stages and events in the world. When senior vice president of production Beelman isn't working, you'll probably find him performing music in and around the New Orleans area. For more information, contact him at scott@katapultevents.com.