Dream Street Productions video studio live streams virtual events supported by a Blackmagic workflow, including ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO switcher and URSA Broadcast G2 cameras.

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Dream Street Productions in Connecticut, USA, was founded by Scott Braun 20 years ago as a corporate A/V company. Since then it has grown into a video production and post production studio that live streams virtual events, with corporate clients ranging from telecommunications to pharmaceuticals to major American technology companies.

With a background in television production and newsroom broadcasting in the New York City market, Scott and has made efforts to continuously adapt to the production industry as it evolves. He attributes two decades in the industry and steady growth to maintaining flexibility both in how he thinks about the business and the tools he works with.

A Flexible Business

"A flexible attitude allows me to meet the demands of any project. If I don't know how to do something a client asks for, I learn it until I can deliver," he said. "On the equipment side, my workflow is largely backed by Blackmagic Design products, and their tools support nearly any job or request that comes my way.

"For example, at a recent town hall event, the client wanted the camera ISOs recorded so they could cut down the event on their own from the camera masters versus the program master. I love that the ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO has that feature as one of its recording options, rather than having to stick cards in cameras, feed in timecodes to sync them all and so on."

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"I don't even have to record in-camera unless the client is asking for that specifically," Scott said. "For most clients, recording to HyperDecks is more than adequate. With that approach, the ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO's media management becomes very easy. Anything that goes into the ATEM is recorded and gets put into a folder, which we just hand off to the client at the end of the show."

Scott also noted that he uses the ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO's counter overlay feature as a timer for the presenter or other speaker, placed over one of the aux outputs. This output can be connected to a presenter monitor, which the presenter watches to see how long they have been talking. The output’s content can be live switched directly from dedicated buttons on the control panel. "It eliminates the need for a special piece of timer gear and, using the panel, you can even change the background colour on the fly from black to red or from green to red when time expires. It's really a useful feature."

Acquisition Efficiency

Dream Street chose URSA Broadcast G2 cameras, mainly for the efficiency they would bring to the workflows. "We only need two SDI cables to and from the camera, but still have the features we would need with high end fibre system, like camera control, talkback, tally and others," he said. "Colour control, painting and matching cameras is fast and easy. Plus, with the B4 lens mount, you can use nearly any broadcast lens we want, including big box lenses.

“The URSA Broadcast G2 is not only affordable to own, but the firmware support and upgrade paths continuously add more functionally to the camera. Above all, the fact that everything, including the cameras, ties together into one complete system is why Dream Street is heavily invested in Blackmagic gear."

Scott has been working with Blackmagic Design hardware from his company’s early days when he learned switching basics on the ATEM Mini live production switcher. Since then, as his clients' events grew more complex, upgrading within the ATEM family of live production switchers has been fairly straightforward.

Bells and Whistles

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"When virtual events took over, clients began requesting more bells and whistles, and my productions began to get busier," he said. "They wanted them to look more and more like what they were seeing on TV at that time, which was a customised SuperSource background with multiple windows flying in and out. I discovered that the ATEM Mini did all of that and more, and I gained a real understanding of what Blackmagic devices are capable of."

SuperSource is a feature that can display multiple media sources on screen at once – a background plus a series of foreground sources such as cameras or presentations. As well as independent DVEs, the SuperSource multi layer processor – with four extra DVE layers plus a background layer – can be used to present all of these sources as one additional input source. Setting up such an effect before putting it to air will keep the main DVEs free for other tasks.

"With greater complexity came the need for more features or M/Es because I was feeding more screens, or a handling separate stream or I might have two technical directors, one cutting an IMAG feed and one cutting a stream. Since coming out of COVID, everything completely changed until now, when you have to be prepared for multiple options – live in-person events, streaming, hybrid events and other variations. Blackmagic Design's ATEMs can address all of those."

Prepared for Change

Though he had previously worked in the fast-paced environment of news production, Scott had to learn the ins and outs of live virtual event production. "This meant poking around and understanding broadcast production from the standpoint of a technical director,” Scott said. “Coming from a producer’s or director’s point of view, I’d always been great at telling people what I wanted to do, but actually creating those looks for myself was a different story.

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“I took it upon myself to spend the time in my studio learning and practicing, and I absolutely fell in love with the architecture of the ATEM software’s control surface design. It has been easy for me to learn and intuitive to use. I was able to jump right in and nothing really stopped me from then on."

Over time, Scott has noted that corporate shows are a bit different from the traditional broadcast environment. But Blackmagic Design's products have continued to align well with his business. For example, he works closely with clients in pre production to learn exactly what each one wants for its speakers. He can then build macros to match those expectations so that when he arrives on site, he is ready for rehearsal and there are no surprises.

"We are ready for it, it's all pre-planned and the macros are pre-built," he said. "If I have to go in and make some minor adjustments, it's just a matter of recording that one macro again and not rebuilding the entire show. Having the ability to save and restore those sessions for each event has been a lifesaver.

“I can build a master profile for that client, depending on what type of show it is, and then if we're redoing the show next year, I'll have saved myself three days' worth of pre production. I can reload or restore that show and just tweak it based on the needs for the current event, saving a huge amount of time." www.blackmagicdesign.com