Roker Labs uses Blackmagic Design’s Web Presenter streaming and encoding device, HyperDeck Studio Mini broadcast deck and ATEM Television Studio HD live production switcher to support its live streaming workflow
Blackmagic Design announced today that Roker Labs uses Blackmagic Design’s Web Presenter streaming and encoding device, HyperDeck Studio Mini broadcast deck and ATEM Television Studio HD live production switcher to support its live streaming workflow. This includes using the Web Presenter for Roker Labs Live as well as with the production on digital lifestyle expert Mario Armstrong’s “Never Settle” show.
Roker Labs is an industry-leading innovator in the live streaming space. Focused on media and innovation, Roker Labs tests streaming technologies, pioneers new streaming formats and produces next-generation, interactive experiences across leading content platforms. It produces dozens of successful live streams, including hugely popular cooking, entertainment, technology and science shows.
Ben Ratner is Roker Labs’ Live Streaming Technical Supervisor and is the main technical operator and designer. Roker’s shows each have a vastly different set of technical requirements, with some shot and streamed directly from Roker Labs and others from a variety of small and large locations around New York City. Because Ratner is often the only crew member available to shoot and direct the streams, his production gear has to be compact, easy to use and mobile.
Roker Labs Live is a news show that covers new developments in the live streaming industry. Each episode features interviews with experts and celebrities, such as American Ninja Warrior host Matt Iseman, as well as executives from the streaming, media and technology sectors. The Web Presenter is used on each episode to manage the return feed for guests of the show, as well as to allow producers to remotely watch in-studio productions.
“The Web Presenter has become a key part of each stream for Roker Labs Live,” said Ratner. “Our producers love it because it saves them trips to the studio but still allows them to provide real-time input from anywhere in the world. For example, we recently recorded an interview in New York with SNL’s Sasheer Zamata and our LA-based producer was able to keep an eye on the high profile recording in real time from our Web Presenter feed.”
For Mario Armstrong’s “Never Settle” show, Ratner used the Web Presenter to live stream via Skype. “Never Settle” is a high-quality talkshow with a live studio audience in New York City and an interactive audience online. In developing the show, Armstrong decided to hold a series of crowd-sourced production meetings with various audiences in order to help him decide on the show’s final format. The Web Presenter was used on these crowd sourced meetings to pull footage from a number of different devices into 720p video, with the final program recorded on a HyperDeck Studio Mini.
“The ‘Never Settle’ Skypes are a perfect example of the quick streams that we always have to be prepared for. The setup was fairly simple. I used my laptop hooked into the Web Presenter to get 720p video from any source. It was the easiest time we ever had getting high-quality video into a computer. Worked right the first time and every time,” said Ratner.
“With the HyperDeck Studio Mini, it was great being able to just hand the client an SD recording right after event. Normally we would have to upload it to the Internet, and it would take hours, but now we just hand off an SD card. The client was incredibly happy,” he continued.
Ratner, who is also a freelance streaming director, additionally used Web Presenter, HyperDeck Studio Mini and the new ATEM Television Studio HD outside of Roker Labs work. Recently he used the ATEM Television Studio HD on a recent production with the hugely popular and famous scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson. For Neil’s podcast StarTalk Radio, Dr. Tyson collaborates with science educators around the world.
Ratner was the only operator for the shoot, which included three ISO’d cameras and the ATEM Television Studio HD used to do a line cut of the stream, which was additionally recorded via his laptop.
“For this one, I was a one man band. And on top of that, I was using the ATEM for the first time, so I was juggling a three-camera shoot with a brand new piece of gear,” said Ratner. “The ATEM has everything I need right in front. The easy access front panel was a lifesaver, and the fact that I could operate all of the switch features right from there is the thing I love the most about this new model. And since I was alone, the fact that it comes with multiview was also an absolute life saver.”
“Overall, I am using all three of these products more and more. They are like a magic bullet for these quick streams that we are doing,” he finished.