Shading your Blackmagic Camera with Hardware

RCP panel for CCU control of Blackmagic URSA Mini (+ Pro) and Studio Camera series in a Sony form factor

 

 


CCU control of Blackmagic Design cameras has been notoriously difficult through software only. We have already specialised in CCU control of multiple cameras (ATEM CCU & ATEM CCU Lite) but now we present a Sony form factor remote control panel (RCP) for Blackmagic Cameras, such as the URSA Mini (+ Pro) and the Studio Camera series. The RCP even allows you to control cameras without the need of an ATEM switcher thanks to the BMD Arduino Shield inside.

  • CCU controls Blackmagic URSA Mini (+ Pro) or Studio Camera series compatible camera ("Blackmagic Video Device Embedded Control Protocol" must be supported on SDI return feed)
  • Familiar CCU operation via a single axis joystick iris control with master black wheel and top push button
  • Fits in your existing OB van rack with a Sony RCP Form Factor (4"/102mm wide)
  • Embeds CCU data on the 3G-SDI return feed via a Blackmagic Design Arduino Shield. Alternatively, sends CCU data via a Blackmagic ATEM Switcher (currently subject to limitation in connected ATEM clients)
  • Customize the RCP to your liking via the awesome SKAARHOJ UniSketch OS (all RCP interface components included!)
  • Use a Blackmagic Design Videohub or ATEM switcher AUX output to control CCU operator monitor via joystick push button
  • Connect external trigger and control external devices with the DB-9 "EXT I/O" relay output and GPI trigger connector
  • Clear ID indication with large 8 character Camera ID display featuring Tally-colored backlight
  • Shade with dedicated encoder knobs for lift, gamma and gain
  • Access other camera settings like shutter speed, sensor gain, contrast, saturation, details etc.
  • Advanced functions like "Active Panel", "Relative" and limits functions
  • Awesome overview of encoder settings with the very crisp 256x64 pixel OLED display
  • Store and recall settings with 4 scene stores and dedicated control buttons
  • Send Auto Iris command via ATEM or via BlacMagic 3G-SDI Arduino Shield (camera must support this feature)
Back connections on RCP
Blackmagic 3G-SDI Arduino Shield

On the backside of the controller, you find a 3G-SDI in and out BNC plug. Route the return feed to the camera through this connection to insert CCU data on the signal.

If you use the Blacmagic 3G-SDI Arduino Shield for camera control the following outputs are supported: 720p50, 720p59.94, 720p60, 1080i50, 1080i59.94, 1080i60, 1080p23.98, 1080p24, 1080p25, 1080p29.97, 1080p30, 1080p50, 1080p59.94 and 1080p60, but the camera doesn´t have to be running the same video format as the program input, so you can use cameras in Ultra HD while the camera protocol is sent over HD signal to the camera.

Camera Support

The RCP controls any Blackmagic camera that supports CCU over the return SDI feed. This includes the Micro Studio Camera 4K, Studio Cameras and the URSA Mini (+ Pro). The CCU data is inserted on the SDI return feed.

Compatibility for CCU Control, Tally and Program Return Feed for the BMD 3G-SDI Arduino Shield

It has the same form factor as a Sony RCP-1500 series, so it will fit into your OB van. Here are the dimensions of the Sony RCP taken from their manual.

 

 

RCP-1500 Dimensions
SKAARHOJ RCP
Joystick with push button

The RCP feature a push button on the top of the joystick that will bring up the source on a local monitor. This can be achieved in three ways: Through the AUX output of an ATEM switcher (so, the CCU will have to be connected to an ATEM switcher), through connection to a VideoHub which will route sources to the monitor - or via a traditional Sony DB-9 relay plug (pin 1+2+3), also known as "EXT I/O".

The device will ship with a great default configuration that make it work out of the box. However, the unit will run on the SKAARHOJ UniSketch OS which provides a  fantastic on-line configuration tool to change, extend or limit the functionality of the controller including shift levels, controller states and presets to add flexibility and conditions and which ensures new features and hardware supports will be available through software upgrades from SKAARHOJ over time.

 

 

The web interface features a beautiful SVG rendition of the controller which lets you click any component to edit its function.
Every hardware component is configured through the web interface, even with multiple "states" in mind so it can perform different functions under different conditions. Here the encoder knobs are configured differently depending on the menu state the controller is in.
This shows how the RCP joystick handle, wheel and button could be configured.
The controllers IP address can be set in the interface in addition to enabling communication with external hardware such as an ATEM switcher, SmartScope, VideoHub and of course the Blackmagic SDI Shield.
Presets saves complete configurations in EEPROM memory so they can be recalled easily when the RCP is moved from one hardware and network context to another.
Camera Control via ATEM
Camera Control via Blackmagic Shield: Simple setup
Camera Control via Blackmagic Shield: Control of multiple cameras
Camera Control via Blackmagic Shield: Using a Videohub as CCU monitoring device
Camera Control via Blackmagic Shield: Using Sony DB-9 Relay Plug. This can control external routing devices + relay tally information to cameras.
Camera Control via Blackmagic Shield: Using the ATEM for Tally information

Please notice we have recently published a "Strategies for Blackmagic Design Camera Control" white paper with additional information about Blackmagic Design Camera Chains. Please see this document for additional information.

 

Here we present some of the principles for how you can control cameras via the RCP. One setup does not necessarily rule out another. Please contact us for questions.

Arduino Shield Vs. ATEM

The RCP is able to send CCU data in two ways; either through the Arduino Shields SDI out connector or via a connected ATEM switcher. What you prefer is up to you. Using the ATEM route is known to work with any recent ATEM firmware to this date and doesn't require new cabling, but since an ATEM can only have a limited number of clients connected, it won't scale beyond a few cameras with an RCP dedicated for each camera. Using the SDI in/out to insert CCU data on the return signal is the BMD endorsed way, but it requires you to cable the return feed accordingly through the RCP.

Camera Control via ATEM

The RCP is connected either directly to the ATEM Switcher via ethernet or via a network switch/hub. You need an SDI return feed to the camera (for instance a AUX channel) to relay CCU parameters to the camera from the ATEM Switcher. This setup is similar to using the ATEM Software Control Panel.

Camera Control via Blackmagic Shield

The Blackmagic Arduino Shield makes it possible to relay CCU information to cameras directly without the need of an ATEM Switcher. The RCP is designed to control 1 camera at a time, but it can control multiple cameras if you use a SDI Distribution unit (or something similar like a Videohub), to distribute the SDI CCU control signal to multiple cameras (up to 10).

Camera Control via Blackmagic Shield and ATEM

You can control a camera directly via the Blackmagic Shield while the tally (and more) information from the ATEM is relayed to the camera. For this you need to route an output from the ATEM to the RCP.

EXT I/O

With the DB-9 you can connect an external trigger and control external devices. Furthermore you can use the DB-9 connector as GPI in order to relay tally information to cameras connected.


RCP Features

  • CCU joystick with master black wheel and push button on top
  • 10 rotary encoders
  • 16 x 12 mm buttons for system control
  • 3 x 12 mm bi-color buttons for InActive, Relative, Auto Iris
  • 1 x 17.4 mm button for preview toggle
  • 256x64 pixel crisp OLED display for overview of encoder settings
  • ID indication with large 8 character camera ID display
  • Miniature high contrast 128x32 OLED display, white on black
  • Same form factor as the Sony RCP-1500 series
  • Controls camera via ATEM or via Blackmagic Arduino Shield
  • UniSketch web interface for extensive configuration

Physical Specifications

  • Enclosure Size 10.2 x 35.5 x 13.5 cm (top of joystick)
  • Weight 1.160 kg

Lets take a closer look at how exactly the RCP works, Kasper gives you the overview.


The SKAARHOJ RCP allows you two ways of CCU communication with Blackmagic Cameras;
through an ATEM video switcher and through the Blackmagic Arduino Shield. Which way you choose may be easily selected by presets! Watch the magic unfold in this video.


See how "Joystick Override" can be configured on the SKAARHOJ RCP. There are three ways; Through ATEM AUXs, Blackmagic Videohubs and GPI pins.


See how you can select which camera your RCP will control. Kasper demonstrates a variety of ways to set that up.

Multi Turn Dial option. The RCP will be fitted with the joystick, if this option is not selected.

Multi Turn Dial

Get the RCP with a 35mm multi turn dial (aluminium knob) instead of the joystick. The RCP controller will be fitted with the joystick, if this option is not selected.

In the manual you can find more information about the configuration, the menu system, joystick override, data channels, cabling and more.

Please also refer to the "Strategies for Blackmagic Design Camera Control" document for additional information.


Buy Now

Buy a controller ready to work out of the box.

What´s Included:

Purchase Options:

  • RCP: MSRP $2.499,00 USD
  • RCP w. Multi Turn Dial: MSRP $2.499,00 USD

Shipping Configurations:

You either place your order by PayPal or by email and pay by bank transfer - please read the "Pricing, Terms and Conditions" page for more details.

Models and Options

Other Applications for the RCP

Although originally designed for controlling Blackmagic Design cameras the RCP is far from limited to this specific use scenario. As we support more and more broadcast devices via our Device Cores the feature set of the RCP continues to grow

Using the VISCA Device Cores on SKAARHOJ controllers you can easily shade an AJA RovoCam from you OB van.

The universal and customizable RCP from SKAARHOJ can easily map the iris joystick to adjust an AJA RovoCam. This video also demonstrates how to change exposure modes and set white balance. Later more features will be added for RovoCam color shading.

SKAARHOJ makes awesome generic and yet specific VISCA controllers in any formfactor you need. For an OB Van you want an RCP “Sony-1500” form factor RCP, even for robotic cameras. Or even simpler; you just want your PTZ operator to stay clear of shading the camera colors. SKAARHOJ makes all the relevant controllers to separate these concerns properly for broadcast professionals.

In this video you will see a Sony BRC-X1000 4K used, but the same and other controllers support many other VISCA cameras. Notice how we really mean *support*! We have specifically integrated each cameras command set so we offer all relevant value ranges and labels instead of cryptic numbers from the underlying protocol. The controllers also support VISCA over IP (in various forms) as well as RS-232/422/485 (via converter). For the current list of specifically supported VISCA cameras, visit the link below and browse the list for robotic cameras: List of device cores.

The RCP shown in this video can be found for sale on this link. Notice how its presented as specific for Blackmagic cameras, but as this video shows the product is flexible far beyond that.

To really understand the flexibility in depth you don’t even need to own a controller first! You can play with the commands at https://cores.skaarhoj.com . Try to “add a device”, select a “BRC-X1000” device core, and see how the commands appear in the list of actions you can assign to the controller interface components.

See the SKAARHOJ universal RCPs control 3 professional Sony broadcast robotic cameras and how we did it so well!

For an OB Van you want an RCP “Sony-1500” form factor RCP, even for robotic cameras. Or even simpler; you just want your PTZ operator to stay clear of shading the camera colors. SKAARHOJ makes all the relevant controllers to separate these concerns properly for broadcast professionals.

In this video you will see three Sony BRC-H900 used with our RCPs. We will show you how the default profile work and introduce you to the powerful online configuration interface that immediately empowers you to get the most out of your control hardware with no need for programming skills.

Adjust parameters of your IO Industries Flare 4K camera with an RCP Mini from SKAARHOJ. The SKAARHOJ RCP communicates over IP to the camera with a serial-Ethernet converter in between. Try it out yourself.

Read more information about the IO Flare device core options and connectivity in the manual here.

The RCP Mini can be found at SKAARHOJs website.

See the list of device cores - the "apps" you can install on any SKAARHOJ controller.

SKAARHOJ universal RCPs support Ember+ access from VSM Studio to internal variables so you can easily manage a group of RCP panels.

This video shows how the display label and tally light on an RCP is manipulated via VSM Studio. Ember+ support is available free of charge in the full versions of any SKAARHOJ controller.