Hayabusa 2 spacecraft lifts off with Blackmagic
JAPAN: Broadcasting and filming for the recent launch of the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 was supported with equipment from Blackmagic Design. Promoted by JVC Kenwood・VideoTec and Japan Cablecast, the entire launch sequence was aired live on Channel 4k.
The Hayabusa 2 spacecraft is operated by JAXA, the Japanese space agency. The craft recently launched from the Yoshinobu launch complex at Tanegashima Space Center via an H-II A rocket and is now on route to survey and sample an asteroid. ‘The project was originally to make content for a dome shaped theatre like a planetarium, which JVC Kenwood・VideoTec offered us,’ said Kei Nozawa, president of Japanese production company, Gokuraku Eizo. ‘Usually, the content for this type of theatre is CG or animation, so we were looking to do something with live action.
‘We decided to shoot in 4K and convert the footage to 8K for showing in a dome theatre,’ he continued. ‘As we also planned a live broadcast of the launch of Hayabusa 2, we had to find a switcher that would allow us to switch 4K feeds without any stress. We found the Blackmagic Atem 1M/E Production Studio 4K and decided it was the one to use.’
The production company was supplied with equipment that was selected by Japanese rental company, Video Service. ‘We had to use many cameras for the project, and we needed enough inputs to cover all of those camera feeds,’ explained Video Service’s Yoshinori Nakona. ‘We chose the Atem because it supports 4K, has 10 inputs and is capable of picture-in-picture.’
Multiple HyperDeck Studio Pros provided backup recording for the live broadcast as well as playback decks for insert footage. ‘We recorded the programme output from Atem for a backup,’ added Mr Nakano. ‘One with titles and another without titles, so we introduced two HyperDeck Studio Pros. We had also recorded the launch of ALOS-2 and Himawari 8 before as a test shoot, so we used the material as insert footage for live broadcasting of the Hayabusa 2 launching project. We used three HyperDecks for playback of that footage.’
Teranex Express was used to colour correct each signal from the satellite feed and ensure it was synced up, while Blackmagic Mini Converter SDI Multiplex 4Ks were connected to each camera's output to convert to 6G SDI. Extra converters were required on the Atem programme output to convert back to four HD-SDI for compatibility with the broadcast system. The footage edited using Blackmagic’s Resolve was recorded on to an SSD drive by a HyperDeck Studio and played back from HyperDecks as insert footage.
‘When live broadcasting, any video material for insert was sent from a HyperDeck,’ continued Mr Nakano. ‘That footage sometimes needed to be down scaled by the DVE to fit in the live footage, and Atem easily handled it. Also, still graphics could be displayed using the Atem’s keyers.’