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OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin

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Tim Wilson
OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 2, 2015 at 1:58:47 am

If there was such a thing as off-topic here, this might come close. Your pal and mine Bob Zelin wrote an article I thought was really cool, and I think you will too.

I know that we've talked in these parts about how Blackmagic has been putting the pieces together for quite some time, right under our noses, with us still needing time to catch up to what's actually there. Bob's now built a number of TV studios using more or less only Blackmagic Design gear. (With some obvious exceptions for things like tripods and fiber optic cable.)

And based on his experiences in building a handful of such facilities, with clients lined up to build even more of them, Bob has some insights to share about the specifics that have gone into his decision-making matrix. You'll find plenty to chew on here.

Building A Broadcast Studio with Blackmagic Design



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David Mathis
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:55:00 am

Great article and before we know it college graduates will be at home with their parents living in the basement setting up their own studio. Party time, excellent! ;-)


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David Roth Weiss
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 2, 2015 at 3:45:50 am

I stumbled upon Bob's article before you touted it Tim, and indeed it is a cool and interesting new look at Blackmagic's inexpensive solutions for building out a TV studio that would have been prohibitively expensive in days past.

The fact that one can now outfit a studio with (4) 4K studio cameras for about $10K total, each with a built-in 10" monitor, is mind-blowing. And, the rest of the BM gear Bob discusses is equally inexpensive and powerful too.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Mark Suszko
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 2, 2015 at 2:15:54 pm

Indeed, an eye-opening account of how one could put together a complete facility. Very comprehensive and I like that it takes into account all the peripheral items (Except lighting, I guess).

I know that there's an infinite number of variations in how one can do such a thing these days, but I'd like to hear opinions from Bob and others comparing and contrasting the approach Bob took with the "all-in-one" box approach of Newtek.

Granted, Newtek doesn't offer the breadth of equipment for the entire chain (from lens to line monitor) but they share somewhat of a similar market space for the lower-end broadcaster/webcaster/corporate/government/worship/school markets. And they sell a LOT of them boxes.


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Bob Zelin
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 2, 2015 at 11:36:06 pm

I love the Tricaster and Newtek is a great company. I put a lot of these in as well. But the bottom line is that Blackmagic stuff is cheaper - A LOT CHEAPER - and it's wildly popular because it's so cheap. No one has to consider "gee can I afford this" - anyone can afford the Blackmagic gear. And this applies to their scopes, cameras, monitors, routers, multi viewers, standards converters, etc. This does not mean that there are not other great products - products BETTER than Blackmagics (certainly the Newtek Tricaster is a much more powerful product) - but its MORE MONEY - and all the gear from Evertz, Miranda, Grass Valley, Sony, etc. etc. is REALLY a lot more money. And isn't that what everyone really cares about anyway these days ?

Bob Zelin

Bob Zelin
Rescue 1, Inc.
bobzelin@icloud.com


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Mark Suszko
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:11:12 am

Well, yes, initially. Though there were two instances in our shop, where the "lowest Bidder" won, that vendors gave us real lemons. One was a Toaster, which never worked right and spent more time on UPS trucks than in our control room, due to a VAR that was below par... the other case was a Premiere workstation with a Pinnacle fx card in it, a special "hotrod" package. We wound up paying Bob Holtzman, THE pinnacle expert/savant, to come look at that one, after he lost out to a lower bidder. Bob's evaluation was that the thing had the very minimal components in it that could pass the specs, z"on paper", and they were all put in badly, using substandard practices. The cooling fans for example were put in backwards, trapping heat in the chassis and leading to sudden shutdowns. Even with the fans fixed, the case sides off, and a box fan blowing across it, the processor still overheated and got wonky after an hour or so. This had to have been hard for Bob, seeing as we drove to his place and he initially demo'ed this very powerful setup... and then, his bid didn't get accepted. A lesser man would have just laughed at us over the phone in our hour of need. But he did come down (for a fee) and advise on some repairs that got the unit limping along until we moved to another platform. That was the first and last time we used Premiere here, but it wasn't Adobe's fault. But the bad taste from those experiences steered us eventually into an Apple-based track.

So I would say that while price is the usual major driver over all, the old saying is still true: the cheapskate always ends up paying twice as much.

Price has to be balanced against actual performance, because when a program is a failure, nobody is cheered by someone piping up; "well, at least we didn't spend too much for it". No, they forgive a little overage in the budget, if the results are right.


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Dave Jenkins
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:43:45 am

We moved from the Trickster to Blackmagic because it's to much to have everything in one box. We find it's much better to have a video playback system and a streaming computer that someone can be operating. It's more flexible for us.

Dajen Productions, Santa Barbara, CA
Mac Pro 3.5MHz 6-Core Late 2013
FCP X


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Ryan Holmes
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 6:00:06 pm

[Mark Suszko] "So I would say that while price is the usual major driver over all, the old saying is still true: the cheapskate always ends up paying twice as much."

Mark - this is so true. While I like saving money if the gear doesn't hold up that's a problem. If it fails, I'm to of a job.

I have a mixture of Blackmagic components at our shop (converters, recorders, cameras), but also some AJA, some SoundDevices, some Convergent-Design, some Utah Scientific, etc. My experience has been that Blackmagic has a much higher failure rate than the other companies listed above. My vendor always warns me when selling me a Crackmagic device (their term, but I find it amusing), "As long as you buy 2, you'll always have 1 that works. Keep the other on the shelf as an immediate backup."

I think Bob's article is great. Very nice work Bob! It's a nice use of available technologies in order to achieve a desired end. My worry with Blackmagic is that when cost is the main factor in purchasing for a production/post-house, to the exclusive of other factors, and less expensive (or less tightly manufactured) products are sourced the failure rate tends to go up. And the crazy thing is you can literally buy 2 of a given BMD item and still be cheaper than some of the above named companies!

All that said, I'm still looking forward to several of BMD's product releases this summer like the Video Assist recorder for $500! And Resolve...of course. Having owned their 4K Production Camera I'll wait a while to see if they make some progress in the camera category before buying in again...

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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David Roth Weiss
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 6:18:20 pm

Sounds like someone else now owns a BM camera you never wanted to see again Ryan...

One of the terrific aspects about the democratization of video and the incredible pricing that BM has helped to bring this industry is that no one is stuck with gear that's so expensive that a bad purchase can financially ruin anyone these days. And, if we sell something we don't like, even if we eat 50% of the original cost (which seldom actually happens), so what, no harm, no foul.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Herb Sevush
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 6:23:16 pm

[Ryan Holmes] "My experience has been that Blackmagic has a much higher failure rate than the other companies listed above."

I have owned several Blackmagic i/o cards and converter boxes over the past 10 years and have never regretted those decisions. They have very limited costumer support compared to AJA for instance, but I have never had any equipment failures.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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David Roth Weiss
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 6:42:16 pm
Last Edited By David Roth Weiss on Jun 4, 2015 at 6:50:26 pm

I agree with Herb... The customer service and support at BM are virtually non-existent. On the other hand, you pay almost exactly 200% for similar AJA devices that do have the best support in the biz.

The bottom line is, do you have more time than than money, or more money than time?

Oh, and let's not forget, if you choose BM I/O cards you can use Resolve, and most can even use the free version - choose AJA or another brand and you're out of luck, no Resolve for you.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Ryan Holmes
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 6:55:58 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "The bottom line is, do you have more time than than money, or more money than time?"

Exactly. I'll be using this in meetings coming up! Thanks David!

[Herb Sevush] "I have owned several Blackmagic i/o cards and converter boxes over the past 10 years and have never regretted those decisions. "

I've received "lemon" BMD devices that fail right out of the box, had converters fail for no reason, had ATEM video mixers fail during recording, had other ATEM's output ports fail. I'm not saying I regret using them, but it is a question of time vs money. It has made me opt for other companies in certain situations because I don't even want to take the risk. In my experience it's cheaper and less reliable. But sometimes cheaper is exactly what the situation calls for.

[Herb Sevush] "They have very limited costumer support compared to AJA for instance, but I have never had any equipment failures."

AJA has killer support. And in a pinch that can be the difference between getting the job done or not.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Tim Wilson
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:02:55 pm

[Ryan Holmes] "AJA has killer support. And in a pinch that can be the difference between getting the job done or not."

That's as may be, but what about the parts of the BMD product range that AJA doesn't cover? Like switchers? What have your alternatives been for those?

Not meaning to debate or be contrary. I have no experience with any of this, and for once, am using this as guidance to not have an opinion. Just curious.


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Ryan Holmes
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:54:38 pm

[Tim Wilson] "Not meaning to debate or be contrary. I have no experience with any of this, and for once, am using this as guidance to not have an opinion. Just curious."

Tim, I'm no spring chicken here at the COW. There's no way you don't have an opinion about this! :-) I've been around long enough to know better....

But seriously, there's nothing in the ATEM price range that can touch what BMD has to offer both in terms of functionality and cost. I'm actually running 2 ATEM TV Studios and 1 ATEM 1 M/E here for our various live event production work. For our new studio space I've been looking at moving "up to" a Ross switcher, but as such, that represents a huge price increase over the ATEM's I'm using now. Is it worth it? Don't know yet.

[Andrew Kimery] "Would I swear off BM products? No, but I certainly have more of a 'buyer beware' attitude with them than I do other vendors."

You said this better than I did. Like I said, I have a bunch of BMD products, but I'm more cautious now than I used to be. And many of their products I run "behind" another product as a backup. So AJA provides my primary recording solution in the Ki Pro Rack, and the BMD Hyperdeck Studios (or Shuttle in some cases) are my backup recording. I would've liked to run all AJA Ki Pros, but the cost was too high for one particular setup.

[David Roth Weiss] "BTW, another huge issue at BM is their propensity to show cool stuff at NAB, take orders, then not ship the product for years. For example, when they acquired Teranex, it took them approximately two years to ship a working 2D model, and approximately three years to ship the 3D model, and both had huge issues too that took even more time to fix."

You can also add all the cameras they've ever sold to this list! The Cinema camera missed it's ship date by about 8 months (and needed some definite firmware tweaking after release), if I remember right. The 4K Production camera missed by a similar amount. My order for one wasn't filled until March 2014, when they'd announced it NAB 2013 and said it'd ship by August 2013. The Pocket camera was also delayed over and over again that same year, etc.

The "race to the bottom" cost wise within the production side of our industry does concern me. What's being sacrificed to get down there? Component manufacturing processes? Customer support? Engineers to maintain firmware? I appreciate how great it is that we can build whole studios now for fractions of costs compared to the 80's or 90's. That really shouldn't be diminished. It is incredible! But we are sacrificing something to push those prices as low as BMD has gotten them.

This could easily be a spinoff thread but BMD's software approach is free, subsidized by a large enough hardware market (kinda Apple-esque?). Give Resolve away from free, sell Decklink and Intensity Pro cards, and now cameras to support your costs. Long term I wonder what the impact will be on other companies - Sony, Panasonic, Canon, AJA, Convergent Design, Apple, Adobe, Autodesk, etc. If the vortex being created by BMD's drive for lower costs continues, which is should, how do other companies maintain a profit margin as people migrate to a free NLE/coloring tool? Or how do niche companies, like an AJA, maintain profitability when they can't sell their hardware because it costs twice as much but offers more options or better support? Maybe there's room enough in the industry for both? Low margin player like BMD vs higher margin players like Canon/Apple/AJA?

Just wondering out loud....

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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David Roth Weiss
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 8:21:25 pm

Wow! This is an interesting discussion, and Ryan, you raise some terrific questions.

Per your final question about AJA and others contending against BM's disruptive pricing... All I tell you is, since I've been on both sides as buyer and seller, this is a very tough business for all on both dudes of the equation. The democratization of video has been a mixed blessing at best, wonderful for newbie filmmakers compelled to communicate their ideas, but not so wonderful for many who have invested their lives and their treasure to build successful careers before the democratization.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Herb Sevush
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 9:29:16 pm

[Ryan Holmes] " Or how do niche companies, like an AJA, maintain profitability when they can't sell their hardware because it costs twice as much but offers more options or better support?"

AJA i/o cards had capabilities that BM didn't match, much the same way that KiPro offers services that the BM recorders don't match. When we shoot multicamera in-studio we go strictly KiPro because of the control software that lets you custom name the files. The xtra value far exceeds the xtra cost, which is where smaller companies like AJA can shine.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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Andrew Kimery
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 10:51:17 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "Per your final question about AJA and others contending against BM's disruptive pricing... "

A race to the bottom is an interesting discussion and Walter Soyka has brought it up multiple times. Usually with the focus on software, not hardware. BM giving away Resolve Lite (which is barely less functional than the $999 Resolve), Apple (so far) just having a one time fee for it's ProApps, Apple no longer charging for OS upgrades, Apple not allowing upgrade pricing in it's stores, etc.,. (well, that's a lot more than I originally intended but oh well), etc., and how does this impact software companies.

I think in general there has been a devaluation in IP (be it software or media) over the last 10-15 years and that is leading to business model changes such as more ad supported software, freemium (software is 'free' but expanded functionality costs money) and subscription services. The rise of mobile devices and app stores were supposed to open the door for the little guy, and they did, unfortunately the door generally leads to a giant abyss. According to the following link the average iOS app price is between $0.99 and $1.50, 94% are free to install, and only 1% will be financially successful. Ouch.

http://www.ibtimes.com/how-do-you-make-money-when-less-1-apps-are-financial...

Even these low price points mobile apps are still routinely pirated. Double ouch.

So, from the short term, consumer perspective this is pretty cool because we have many, many options at deep, deep discount prices but how long can it last? What does this mean long term for product development and, thus, long term for consumers? By cashing in on a short term gain are we setting ourselves up for a long term loss?


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Ryan Holmes
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 5, 2015 at 4:22:00 pm

[Andrew Kimery] "The rise of mobile devices and app stores were supposed to open the door for the little guy, and they did, unfortunately the door generally leads to a giant abyss. According to the following link the average iOS app price is between $0.99 and $1.50, 94% are free to install, and only 1% will be financially successful. Ouch."

This was exactly what I was thinking about when I posed my original questions. It's tangentially related to our discussion here. And much credit to Walter Soyka as I've found a good deal of smart critique in reading his posts. So I don't claim to be original by any means...

But in looking at the App Store, as a user, if an App is priced at $9.99 or $4.99 I typically bypass it immediately. Too much money. So I drive towards the lowest cost app I can find and deal with the shortcomings. Overall in the app store market then those apps that are trying to hold on to make a profit by charging for better interface, more features, or better support get relegated to being unprofitable because another company is chewing the bottom out by offering a $.99, or more typically a free app.

Bringing this around to BMD, what is the cost 5 years in or 10 years into this model for our industry in terms of hardware or software? The effects do already seem to be playing out - Apple, Adobe, Avid, and Autodesk have all drastically lowered their costs for software. Apple - $299 one time purchase, Adobe - $50/month for the entire Master Collection plus additional goodies (Lightroom, Candy, Kuler, etc), Avid Media Composer - $50/month or $1600 outright, Autodesk (which is a mess right now) - Smoke $1,470/year. Those are drastically cheaper prices. And I don't want to argue that BMD's business model is the result of this. There's a confluence of factors driving business decisions. But I do think BMD's approach is at least one of the factors other companies are considering when building and marketing products.

[Tim Wilson] "I think there is. I know that Canon is going great guns right now. You can see it in the ads here, but I also see it in the forums and out in the world. I've asked a number of consultants, resellers, etc, and they agree, Canon is on a massive roll."

Yep. Canon has a lot of my money right now. C100, C300, 5D3, and just yesterday purchased a set of Canon CN-E primes from Duclos Lenses (great lens shop by the way!)...so basically I'm a Canon homer at this point, I guess. But for so much of the work I do their product offerings nail exactly what I need - sharp image, high/clean ISO, portable, fast menu access via outboard buttons (I'm looking at you Sony and Panasonic), good run 'n gun ergonomics, etc.

[Tim Wilson] "So, buyers being wary notwithstanding, that's the kind of question I'm asking. Okay, disk recorders and some I/O have AJA alternatives. I asked about switchers -- what about studio cameras?"

I don't know that there are cost comparative options for BMD's studio offerings either. Like you say, there aren't moderately more expensive products on the market. Typically you have to spend a whole lot more or modify an existing camera to "act" like a studio camera. But that by itself doesn't mean that BMD's products are good, only that they are inexpensive. Again, if money is the driving factor for the purchase then BMD wins nearly every time.

Having owned the 4K Production Camera I'm very leery of BM's quality in that segment. Every time we shot the camera my crew would say, "Well....it only cost $3K" in order to justify whatever inadequacy it was presenting us. I'm sure they're getting better at cameras, but I'm currently not willing to "find out" by placing my cash there. In the year plus I owned that camera (just sold it off about 3 weeks ago) the firmware strides that they made were remarkable. And to their testament, they did seem to provide continuing support for the product via firmware updates. That's something I don't think the Japanese camera makers value nearly as much. Sony/Panny/Canon treat their camera like a car. You buy that year's model and that's it. If you like the new model, sell the old one and buy the new one. But they're not going to unpack additional functionality via firmware updates (though Panasonic has addressed the GH4 market pretty well with firmware updates...so maybe positions are changing?).

Quite possibly BMD don't need to "support" the products the way an AJA does because they don't cost enough. So if your breaks, just go buy another one. If BMD is selling commodity hardware they may figure it's not worth dumping millions into fast, reliable support workers because they expect the end user to just buy a second one because the costs are so low. And honestly, that's what I've done with their products. I don't treat them like a long term investment. I treat them like a one off product that will be replaced in 2-3 years time when it fails. Buy a $995 ATEM today, when it burns out in a year or two, buy another one for $995. And even then, I'm still no where close to the cost of a Ross, Grass Valley, Tricaster, etc price tag. For some of my builds, cost pushes me towards BMD products.

[Tim Wilson] "Hey, I admitted that it might be a first. LOL"

Fair enough. I just didn't want some new video person reading this thread be under any disillusionment about who The Tim Wilson is! It could be dangerous for them thinking Mr. Wilson has no opinions! ha ha

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Shawn Miller
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:09:26 pm

[Ryan Holmes] "Every time we shot the camera my crew would say, "Well....it only cost $3K" in order to justify whatever inadequacy it was presenting us."

Hey Ryan,

Just out of curiosity, what kind of issues were you running into with the BMPC 4k?

Shawn



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Ryan Holmes
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:25:52 pm
Last Edited By Ryan Holmes on Jun 5, 2015 at 5:26:44 pm

[Shawn Miller] "Just out of curiosity, what kind of issues were you running into with the BMPC 4k? "

Persistent problems - internal electrical grounding issues when running off of an external battery which resulted in static being recorded on the audio track, horrible internal battery, sensor dynamic range was poor in terms of ISO (200, 400, or 800, and 800 being unusable due to fix-pattern noise) and overall usability (about 8 stops, similar to the AJA CION because they share the same sensor), and ergonomics are non-existent (like the Cinema Camera so we knew that going in). And not so much a problem, but an aesthetic choice...the footage from BMD looked a bit too sharp for my taste. And not sharpness as in focus but the look and feel of the footage does appear different when compared side by side to our C300. I tend to enjoy the look of Canon more than BMD (but see above...I'm a homer :-)

Things that drove us nuts until the firmware was updated - not being able to format a SSD in the camera, not having multiple choices of ProRes (not everything needs ProRes HQ), not being able to delete clips from the SSD from within the camera, not telling the shooter how much space/time was left on the disc, the LCD screen on the back being absolute garbage in any environment beyond a dark room (though this is still a problem as it's just the hardware they sourced).

6 months into owning the camera we added a C100. Once that happened the BM Production Camera just started to collect dust because nobody took it out. So after using it a couple times this year, I decided we should just cut our losses and move on. One benefit is that I got a full copy of Resolve out of it... :-)

DISCLAIMER: This is not to say the camera is junk or awful or unusable. Far from it. We shot some great stuff with it (and the built in time lapse feature is totally killer and should be included by more manufacturers). For our workflow and our style it didn't fit. It needs a lot of light to work well and it needs time to be setup properly. As a corollary it doesn't do well with quick run 'n gun style shooting, which can be a part of my corporate work life.

Ryan Holmes
http://www.ryanholmes.me
@CutColorPost


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Shawn Miller
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 5, 2015 at 6:27:16 pm

[Ryan Holmes] "Persistent problems - internal electrical grounding issues when running off of an external battery..."

Thanks Ryan, those are serious issues. I've had great experiences with the Pocket Cinema Camera and the 2.5k Cinema Camera, so I was on the fence about the Production Camera 4k, so much so that BMD announced the Ursa Mini at just about the time I made up my mind to try it. Now, I think I'll wait to see how the 4.6k Ursa Mini shakes out.

[Ryan Holmes] "As a corollary it doesn't do well with quick run 'n gun style shooting, which can be a part of my corporate work life."

Same here. I use the more conventional AF100 in my corporate day job, but I use the BMD cameras for personal projects. The downside is that I seem to be losing my tolerance for 8bit, 4:2:0 images. So much so that I frequently find myself wondering why Panasonic, Sony, Canon, et al can't seem to deliver 10bit, 4:2:2 compressed or 12bit raw images for less than the cost of an economy car.

Shawn



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Tim Wilson
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 5, 2015 at 2:49:04 pm

[Ryan Holmes] "Tim, I'm no spring chicken here at the COW. There's no way you don't have an opinion about this! :-) I've been around long enough to know better...."

Hey, I admitted that it might be a first. LOL

I actually don't have an opinion. I know a lot of facilities that have gone all-in, or nearly all-in, with Blackmagic, including the three Bob mentions. I know of a couple of Major Motion Picture Studios whose in-house is all-in with Blackmagic. I know of a couple of sports and concert arenas who are all-in. I haven't heard a peep from any of my peeps in any of those places that anything is amiss.

But folks here say they're having issues, so I asked. But I certainly don't have any opinions on anyone's reports of their own experiences! I mean, it's one thing if I don't respect the person's understanding of the products or processes, but that's not at all the case here.


[Ryan Holmes] "Maybe there's room enough in the industry for both? Low margin player like BMD vs higher margin players like Canon/Apple/AJA?"

I think there is. I know that Canon is going great guns right now. You can see it in the ads here, but I also see it in the forums and out in the world. I've asked a number of consultants, resellers, etc, and they agree, Canon is on a massive roll.

But once they arrived, I've heard good things about the BMD cameras. And that's certainly the reports from Bob's clients for the Studio Camera. He mentions its limitations of course, as have others on this thread...but the price-performance ratio seems pretty compelling.

So, buyers being wary notwithstanding, that's the kind of question I'm asking. Okay, disk recorders and some I/O have AJA alternatives. I asked about switchers -- what about studio cameras?

And yeah, BMD's first Teranex releases shipped late and with issues, but now? 12G-SDI up to UHD for $1395? Wow. And are people still having issues? And, seriously, who's your alternative vendor? And for how much?

Again noting, I'm not passing judgement for once. (Or technically, now twice.) I'm just asking. Sure, pay more for security...but I'm really not aware of meaningful alternatives in a price range just a little more expensive. I think you have to get a lot more expensive...yes? Or...?


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Andrew Kimery
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:04:42 pm
Last Edited By Andrew Kimery on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:05:48 pm

[David Roth Weiss] "I agree with Herb... The customer service and support at BM are virtually non-existent. On the other hand, you pay almost exactly 200% for similar AJA devices that do have the best support in the biz.

The bottom line is, do you have more time than than money, or more money than time?"


My Blackmagic experience has been more in line with Ryan's. Price is right, looks great on paper, but always underwhelmed enough during actual use that I'm left feeling like I sold myself short.

A place I used to work at was all Blackmagic and the Decklink cards we had (can't remember exact model, but top of the line at the time of purchase) were always finicky which on more than one occasion meant we had to go out of house to make our tape masters. One out of house trip probably killed the price difference between BM and AJA.

Would I swear off BM products? No, but I certainly have more of a 'buyer beware' attitude with them than I do other vendors.


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David Roth Weiss
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 4, 2015 at 7:25:47 pm

Well, I don't want to burn any bridges here with BM, cuz I really do like a lot if what they do, but I have say, that my experience with them from the sales side pretty much sucked even more than it does on the buyer side.

If a customer became frustrated, and would call me to try to get answers from BM, there was a 99% chance that, even with the assistance of my reseller rep, could get nowhere. I actually hope someone at BM reads this, though I'm certain they'd do nothing even if they did.

BTW, another huge issue at BM is their propensity to show cool stuff at NAB, take orders, then not ship the product for years. For example, when they acquired Teranex, it took them approximately two years to ship a working 2D model, and approximately three years to ship the 3D model, and both had huge issues too that took even more time to fix.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor/Colorist
David Weiss Productions


David is a Creative COW contributing editor and a forum host of the Apple Final Cut Pro forum.


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Mark Raudonis
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 3, 2015 at 3:55:02 am

Bob Z's business card should read: Promoting disruptive technologies since 1983!

Great article Bob. Thanks for the info.



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Herb Sevush
Re: OT: Building a broadcast studio with Blackmagic and Bob Zelin
on Jun 3, 2015 at 12:56:02 pm

It's interesting to see where Blackmagic is going - as these individual components were released over the last few years it all seemed so helter skelter - but now it's obvious that this was the plan all along, to provide a complete end-to-end studio production system. Great article Bob.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions
---------------------------
nothin' attached to nothin'
"Deciding the spine is the process of editing" F. Bieberkopf


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