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A Recommendation for Blackmagic Design: Overall System Diagrams

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Peter Jay Gould
A Recommendation for Blackmagic Design: Overall System Diagrams
on Apr 6, 2018 at 5:48:00 pm
Last Edited By Peter Jay Gould on Apr 6, 2018 at 5:48:39 pm

Among my other pursuits, I'm an adjunct professor teaching film and television production at a community college. I and one other adjunct have completely taken the department over from the full time professor who was running it, who just retired. We are undertaking raising funds for a complete facility redesign. It's desperately needed. To get a sense of how far behind they are: the centerpiece of their studio is an Echolab SD switcher.

So: our plan will use a 4 M/E BMD switcher, URSA Broadcast cameras with studio viewfinders, Hyperdecks, all new infrastructure, etc., etc. Pretty much the racks and the lighting grid will be all that remains from the former incarnation.

But I ran into a major omission among BMD's documents that I suggest you'll want to remedy as you embark more and more into SYSTEMS instead of individual pieces of gear, and that is some boilerplate system designs that fully reveal the engineering team's vision of how a complete BMD studio would ideally work.

As just one example: in our installation virtually all productions would be a recording (or live airing) of the director's linecut. But once in a blue moon, I can see doing ISO recordings at the camera end in addition to the linecut. Not often enough to justify purchasing individual Hyperdecks for each camera, but I still want to plan for the potential. In which case the cameras need to record timecode which would match the timecode attached to the recording of the director's cut (yes, we could do without it, but that's sloppy and if I'm designing a facility it's going to be done right to set the proper example for students). I see that the URSA Broadcast has a BNC input which can be timecode OR house sync. Somewhere or other in the vast camera manual, I seem to recall also noticing that the camera can sync to the SDI return from the switcher. So I'm guessing at least one configuration would rely on the SDI return for sync and would feed TC to the TC/Sync input. (We would not use the fiber back on the cameras as they're less than 100' from the control room and money is tight).

But I shouldn't be guessing at configurations. The right way to go about this would be for BMD to release some "typical application" system diagrams to use as a jumping off point. All the individual documents for cameras, switchers, panels, decks etc., are great - but on top of that it would be HUGELY helpful to folks in my position if there were some "Blackmagic System Design" documents showing the engineering philosophy for a best-practices approach to using all this stuff together.

Because if I'm raising six figures to build a new system for the school and staking my job and reputation on it, I really want to know I'm approaching it the way your engineers had in mind!

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