Fontys guides future journalists with Blackmagic Design

MindLabs research facility in the Netherlands is home to a new state of the art television studio facility built by Fontys Journalism, which is centred around Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast G2 cameras and the ATEM Constellation 8K live production switcher.

MindLabs is home to Fontys University of Applied Sciences and, more specifically, Fontys Journalism, which offers students a unique opportunity to engage with cutting edge technologies and initiatives.

One of the most exciting developments is the recent completion of a television studio, a critical part of the University’s commitment to preparing students for the dynamic world of journalism in the 21st century, delivered with the support of integrator Cue Support BV.

“Our previous studio, which had been in operation for over a decade, was built for a different use case, and although it had served us well during that time, it had reached the end of its useful life,” said Sjoerd van den Bersselaar, AV hardware technician at Fontys Journalism.

“Flexibility and adaptability are paramount in a rapidly evolving world of media production. A cutting edge studio we can quickly reconfigure to accommodate diverse needs is a valuable asset. We recognized this and designed the studio with those principles in mind,” said van den Bersselaar.

The studio’s master control room (MCR) manages all aspects of modern production, and connects to a patch room where the core systems, including a HyperDeck Studio HD Mini for recording and three HyperDeck Studio Minis for graphics and overlays, are racked using a 12G-SDI backbone.

At the new facility’s heart is an ATEM Constellation 8K alongside an ATEM 2 M/E Advanced Panel for vision mixing, and a Smart Videohub 40×40 12G router handling signal management and distribution. “The Constellation gives us the flexibility to expand into UHD and beyond down the line and build on solid foundations. Future proofing has never felt so good, what a piece of hardware the ATEM is,” continued van den Bersselaar.

Acquisition on the studio floor relies on four URSA Broadcast G2 cameras equipped with Blackmagic URSA Studio Viewfinder G2s, while Blackmagic Studio Fiber Converters and Blackmagic Camera Fiber Converters provide video, power and comms via optical fiber.

Within the MCR is an ATEM Camera Control Panel with a SmartScope Duo 4K monitor and color accurate production monitor for remote shading of the cameras.

Students upload items through an online studio program, which automatically distributes assets to the right software package and workstations in the MCR ready for students to use.

“In addition to our custom scripts that run the studio, the presets in the ATEM software have played a crucial role in our automation, allowing us to control the HyperDecks, media players and macros via the ATEM 2 M/E panel,” said van den Bersselaar. “Before we’d have done this all manually, so this saves us a lot of time.”

“We initially used first generation Blackmagic equipment in our previous studio, and that hardware remained operational for years,” he concluded. “The durability and versatility of those systems instilled confidence in the team, leading to our continued partnership in the development of the new studio space.”