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.
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 output formats are supported: 720p50, 720p59.94, 720p60, 1080i50, 1080i59.94, 1080i60, 1080p23.98, 1080p24, 1080p25, 1080p29.97, 1080p30, 1080p50, 1080p59.94 and 1080p60.
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.
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.
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 firmware which will provide a fantastic web interface basis 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Buy a fully assembled controller ready to work out of the box.
What you get is:
Designs and Options are:
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