I've been tasked with acquiring equipment to broadcast a festival through online stream, and have decided that blackmagic may be a good direction to go, so I'm going to strictly reference their products.

Currently I'm planning on purchasing:

  • 1 x Blackmagic ATEM Production Studio 4K
  • 4 x Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4K
  • 1 x Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Recorder (thunderbolt)
  • Some very long SDI cable runs

The cameras do not have internal storage, which means I can only record what's going to the stream through the UltraStudio mini recorder. Is there some kind of device I can set up between the cameras and the ATEM production studio to record my video feeds?

I don't think the ATEM has enough video outs to send to each feed to a capture card like the DeckLink SDI 4K. If I went this route, would I need something like the Smart Videohub?

Lastly, the cameras claim to have built in talkback and tally. Can I use this feature with my current equipment list? Or do I need the ATEM Talkback Converter?

I've decided that 3 blackmagic pocket cinema cameras (BPCCs) and a GoPro may actually be a better option for this. The BPCCs have a built in display (useful for my camera operators) and have internal storage via SD card. They also seem to perform well in low lighting. The downside is the cameras only have HDMI out, so I would require HDMI to SDI converters to run long lengths of cable (probably around 150-200ft per cable).

Am I going to have issues trying to use BPCCs with converters for live streaming? Are there other solutions for long cable runs that I may have missed?

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    This sounds like a question which you should be asking the supplier to make sure you have everything you need to do this, there are many companies who will provide the knowledge and kit so you can maximize your spending and results, Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 10:52
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    these types of setups are quite complex and can be costly if you buy it all and cant get it working and then have to buy more stuff and miss out on jobs or footage because something went wrong do to a setup of config issue. now there is probably someone on here who can help tho Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 10:54
  • Blackmagic makes a Multidock that holds 4 SSDs that you can record to, but as Adam has said, when investing this much money into a setup, it's best to talk to Blackmagic directly
    – Manly
    Commented Nov 11, 2016 at 18:47
  • Blackmagic does not make any product that separately records more than one video stream. If you want to "iso" your cameras you will need to provide some separate way of recording each stream. Note that there are some high-end software switcher products that DO include integrated iso recording of several video inputs. Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 20:12

2 Answers 2


You can use an SDI Distribution Amplifier ("DA") (one SDI input, and two or more SDI outputs) for each camera so you can "duplicate" the camera video to send to both the production switcher and to your camera iso recorders. I use DAs I buy on Ebay. My current favorite is "AVUE 3G-SDI/HD-SDI/SDI 1 to 2 Repeater & distribution extender with re-clocking" at around $100

Or you could use something like the Blackmagic Smart VideoHub 12x12 if you have the budget for it. Of course, you will need a separate recorder for each video stream. It seems unlikely that you can successfully use more than one UltraStudio Mini Recorder per computer.

The camera has a built-in tally light and the switcher sends the tally signals back to the cameras (assuming you use TWO SDI cables per camera!) The tally light appears to be quite small and hidden just above the lens mount, so it seems of limited visibility unless you have a very small lens and are very close to the camera. There does not appear to be any kind of output for an external tally that can be seen at a distance one would expect in the Real World, or any tally provision for a camera operator. Are you planning on using these as human-operated cameras? Or remote-controlled? Or fixed POV cameras?

The Micro Studio Camera 4K has intercom built-in, with a 3.5mm TRRS socket for a headset as one would use with an iPhone, etc. However you will need an ATEM Talkback Converter to access the intercom/talkback back at the switcher end.

Remember also that those cameras do not come with lenses, and they use a rather premium lens mount, so you may end up spending 2x or 3x for each camera by the time you hang some glass on the front of them. The Blackmagic stuff seems like great performance for the money, but not necessarily when you add up all the required "accessories". Especially if you want to equip the camera(s) with operator-controlled lenses. You could end up with 4x-5x the base price for each camera.

Remember also that SDI is quite high frequency and doesn't tolerate "very long SDI cable runs". My working rule is that even with large RG-6 cable, 300ft/100m is the practical length limit. If you want to go longer than that, those fiber optic boxes from Blackmagic are one solution if you have the budget for that.

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    This answer is fantastic, it actually answered some questions I didn't know I had as well. It seems like those cameras may not actually be best suited for my needs. I'm actually thinking now about using GoPro cameras with HDMI to SDI converters as a much cheaper alternative. Perhaps I should set that up as a separate question outlining how I plan to use them, but do you have any recommendations for relatively small footprint cameras for multi-cam setups? Any reasons why I may regret using GoPros?
    – Johannes
    Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 16:49
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    The biggest problem with GoPro (or any of those small POV cameras) is the lens. You are stuck with a single focal length. And that focal length is also extremely WIDE (actually FISHeye) which makes everything look far away and rather distorted. You won't be able to produce anything that looks like conventional video coverage with only GoPro. Of course, haveing a few of them here and there in special spots make interesting little "insert shots" (like spices in your recipe). Commented Nov 14, 2016 at 17:34

It's not really an off-the-shelf solution but, for multi-cam recordings, one company I work with built 2 PCs equipped with a Matrox VS4 "Quad HD Capture Card". The card is equipped with 4 SDI inputs and can synchronise the recordings on the 4 inputs so that the video files can be dropped into your favourite video editing software with the cameras synced for multicam editing. We can also network the 2 PCs together and record 8 channels of video simultaneously.

In addition to the cost of the card itself, to unlock the synchronised recording capabilities, you need to purchase a licence for the Matrox VS4Recorder Pro software, so it's not a cheap option, but maybe you can find a rental house that has built a similar machine.

For streaming, the card is recognised by Wirecast, and provides 4 independent sources.

One downside is that, by default, the card encodes using the Matrox MPEG2 or DVCPro codec, so you need to install their codecs on whatever system you use to edit. The cards can, theoretically, encode in h264 but this depends on the compatibility of the graphics card and motherboard in the machine, and I never managed to get this working.

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