BlackMagic turns focus to live-streaming in latest cameras and production gear

What’s the biggest thing to hit the broadcast industry since color TV? Live-streaming and live webcasting, at least according to high-end video tech company BlackMagic Design. Today, the company unveiled five new products designed to simplify online streaming — and at a price that makes them a bit more accessible for small productions. Two new cameras offer the same functions at a lower price by removing the built-in battery, while a slew of production equipment aims to do more with less.

BlackMagic said during a press conference that live-streams won’t replace traditional broadcasts, but  are becoming a part of the bigger picture. The company is continuing its focus on high-end products, but upgrading with a feature set more in-tune to the needs of live-casting. The updates also slim down the product’s profile — and several also lower the price point.

The BlackMagic Studio Camera 2 sells for $200 less than the earlier version, outfitting the same features with the exception of the built-in battery. The 4K version now costs the same as the previous HD version by also removing the battery.

The cameras are designed for broadcast and live production, still including advanced control features, built-in color correction, and lens control. BlackMagic says many were using the studio cameras plugged into an outlet, with the batteries making the systems unnecessarily heavy and expensive, and harder to ship.

The newly reduced cameras sell for $1,695 for the 4K version and $1,495 for the HD. BlackMagic says this prices the new models in a range more accessible to smaller production teams.

BlackMagic also announced upgrades to its broadcast deck and switcher, along with a new product for downsizing video for live-streams. The HyperDeck Studio Mini broadcast deck allows production teams to broadcast video without the bulk. The deck handles video up to 2,160p at 30fps while using a smaller design that can be used in a rack mount with other gear or on a desktop. The deck is able to broadcast video feeds with a smaller profile because of two SD slots at the front.

The company’s pro-level sub-$1,000 switcher is also getting an upgrade. The ATEM Television Studio HD switcher allows production teams to swap between video feeds, audio feeds, and even graphics and slideshows. The switcher is also smaller but with additional input ports and DVE transitions, including picture-in-picture. With built-in flash memory, the switcher can be used without a computer, controlling the feed with the front panel controls.

The only product in today’s announcements not an upgrade to an existing piece of equipment, the BlackMagic Web Presenter, downsizes video to match the live-stream. Along with creating a more reliable live-stream connection, the system’s software acts as a web cam, which means it can be used to stream video from any SDI or HDMI camera to any application compatible with a web cam, including Skype. By taking camera footage and downsizing to 720p for a reliable live-stream, the footage has a higher quality than a budget camera or web cam, BlackMagic says.

The HyperDeck Studio Mini retails for $695, the ATEM Television Studio HD for $995, and the Web Presenter for $495, with an optional $85 Teranex Mini Smart Panel that allows users to switch between two video feeds.