WSL Japan streams in HD with Blackmagic
JAPAN: World Surf League Japan (WSL Japan) has been using a Blackmagic Design Atem 1 M/E Production Studio 4K switcher to enable the worldwide streaming and distribution in high definition of its surfing tournament. With offices in the US, Australia, France, South Africa, Brazil, Hawaii and Japan, World Surf League holds international tournaments for the world’s top surfers called the Dream Tour. WSL Japan hosts 10 events as part of the Dream Tour each year and has been streaming the events to a global audience since 2006. The Blackmagic switcher and additional equipment has facilitated the transition to HD.
‘We were using SD equipment for streaming the tournaments, but we wanted to upgrade to HD to increase the entertainment value and have the best quality picture,’ explained Jyunichi Ishimori, the WSL Japan technical manager in charge of the streaming of the events. ‘The staff from the US office of WSL were already using Blackmagic and recommended the equipment for our HD upgrade.’
On the US office's advice, Mr Ishimori chose to combine the Atem 1 M/E Production Studio 4K switcher with an Intensity Pro 4K capture card and several Mini Convertors. ‘The Atem switcher has many tools, such as Picture-in-Picture, and allows us to improve the image quality of our programme,’ furthered Mr Ishimori. ‘It is easy to use, and I was able to learn how to use it on my own. It is also compact, so I can set up the system for each tournament in only 30 minutes.’
Once set up, WSL Japan live streams using two consumer cameras. ‘As they are consumer cameras, they are not equipped with SDI connections,’ added the technical manager. ‘We use Mini Converters Analog to SDI and HDMI to SDI to convert those connections to SDI and send video feeds to the Atem switcher. Also we use the Atem for keying the graphics from a PC to display the surfers’ names and scores on the screen. In addition, we use a simple replay system for judges to be able to recheck the surfers’ rides and decide their scores.’