Blackmagic’s J. David Hoffman on convergence of broadcast, cinema workflows

The lines between traditional broadcast and cinema workflows are blurring as content continues to be pushed to new mediums and more non-traditional broadcasters emerge.

To gain insight into this convergence and how Blackmagic Design is addressing this changing market plus further expanding its 2110 lineup, NewscastStudio sat down with J David Hoffman, Blackmagic Design’s business development manager for the Americas.

From cinema to sports, looks matter

Hoffman traces the start of this trend to around 2018, when he first noticed switchers being used on soundstages for multi-cam productions. This cinema look soon made its way to live sports. Hoffman noted a watershed moment when his 10-year-old son, while watching an NBA game, remarked, “that looks like a movie.”

It wasn’t a special effect. The NBA used Sony A7 cameras on the sidelines to achieve a shallower depth of field, a cinematic technique that elevated the broadcast’s visual appeal.

IP and modularity drive efficiency

Hoffman emphasized the importance of SMPTE 2110, a professional video over IP standard, to manage these converging workflows in non-traditional spaces efficiently.

“The speed at which you are setting up essentially a micro broadcast facility inside the (virtual) volumes inside these soundstages is only going to be able to be done efficiently with 2110,” said Hoffman.

With IP technology, features like reduced cabling, Power over Ethernet (PoE), tally, talkback, return feeds and camera control become more manageable. This modularity allows quick setup in corporate settings, conference rooms and other non-traditional studio spaces.

Democratization through vertical integration

Blackmagic’s ability to quickly adapt to these evolving needs stems from their vertically integrated model. The company designs its own chips, like the 12K sensor, and manufactures everything in-house.

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“That allows us to really feature-pack the product while keeping the cost down,” explained Hoffman. “We now have an entire solution from the acquisition to reporting and delivery in both the cinema workflows, but also now the broadcast workflows.”

This democratization of high-end tools was especially valuable during the pandemic. Products like the ATEM Mini switcher and Pocket Cinema Camera 6K allowed creators to affordably elevate their remote production values.

“The ethos of Blackmagic is to provide as many creative tools to as many creators as possible,” said Hoffman.

Serving expanding markets

Blackmagic has expanded its market reach as more entities become de facto broadcasters, from corporate communicators to esports streamers.

Hoffman cited examples like Adam Carolla’s podcast studio and the visual effects company Corridor Digital, which heavily use Blackmagic gear across their productions. Even traditional broadcasters are taking note.

ESPN is building suites around Blackmagic products, while NewsMax and Al Jazeera are using the gear to serve niche audiences.

“We empower those people that are working out of office spaces and not studio spaces,” said Hoffman.

Looking ahead, Hoffman noted continued growth and innovation from Blackmagic in both broadcast and cinema.

New products like the 12K URSA Mini Pro 12K and the 4K PYXIS Studio Camera show Blackmagic’s commitment to serving different levels of production. Meanwhile, updates to the ATEM line, like a new hardware control panel, cater to the changing needs of the broadcast market.

“What you’re seeing at this show is, we’re building the house on that foundation now,” said Hoffman, “and we’re building it rapidly.”