Brooklyn Quarter storytelling collective produces original web series and films, as well as live performances with a workflow based on Blackmagic ATEM switchers and Studio Camera 6K Pro.

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Brooklyn Quarter is a storytelling collective and production company that creates original web series, films and podcasts, including their ‘Novel Chronicles’ YouTube adventure series. Timothy Reese and Danielle Beckmann co-founded the company, combining their years of filmmaking experience to bring interactive live events and multimedia performances to audiences. Both of them feature among the top speakers at conventions such as Comic-Con and WonderCon.

Dual Workflow

To live stream and capture events for post production, Brooklyn Quarter uses the Blackmagic Design ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO and three Studio Camera 6K Pros, along with other Blackmagic Design products including the ATEM SDI Extreme ISO live production switcher, ATEM Studio Converters, HyperDeck Studio HD Plus broadcast deck and an Ultimatte 12 HD real time compositing processor.

For mobile events such as their recent sessions at Comic-Con, Brooklyn Quarter created a flypack named Penelope-02, which includes ATEM SDI Extreme ISO, ATEM Studio Converters, Blackmagic Studio 6K Pros and HyperDeck Studio HD Plus.

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Timothy described the advantages of using the new workflow both in the studio and outside at conventions. “Last year we held panels at WonderCon and San Diego Comic-Con, and we recorded both to post on YouTube. Recording at a convention can be tricky because you need to be able to set up and break down your equipment very quickly. This year, the 6K resolution added to the Studio Camera 6K Pros made framing and punching in very straightforward. Large rooms can make camera placement daunting when you’re in a time crunch, but we didn’t have to worry about the distance.”

Comprehensive Recording

One of the most important new features of the ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO for Brooklyn Quarter is the ability to record all video inputs, which helped them on their return to San Diego Comic-Con this year to host two panels. Their team can now edit live events and record all inputs to separate video files with matching timecode and sync, while the program video is recorded onto a separate master video file. A DaVinci Resolve Project file is also saved and linked to the input video files, so live switching is converted into an edit timeline that can be clicked to open in Resolve.

“We have two ATEM switchers that we use for different types of projects,” Timothy said. “Our workflow wouldn’t be possible without the ISO recordings and Resolve Project files. Our HD8 ISO lives in our studio and is the heart of our setup. It drives the multicam shoots for ‘Novel Chronicles’ and all of our project builds. We use all eight inputs for cameras, and change the configuration based on whether we’re recording episodes or DIY tutorials.

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“The ATEM SDI Extreme ISO is used for production outside the studio. It lives in Penelope-02 and is simple to deploy for more complex on site setups. Everything is contained in one package, and it’s very portable.”

Historically with other cameras, Brooklyn Quarter would send display information to HDMI or SDI outputs into multiple capture cards on a PC, and then have to very rapidly check that they were all still recording onto their local SD cards after two or three hour sessions. “‘Novel Chronicles’ is complicated to edit. But now after a shoot, an editor can open the DaVinci Resolve Project file and trim the timeline from the ISO inputs. The turnaround takes a fraction of the usual time,” Danielle said.

Audio Simplified

One of the biggest challenges that the new products have helped them deal with is managing the “explosion” of different audio hardware and cables their productions can require. With a built-in Fairlight audio mixer, ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO makes it possible to carry out complex live sound mixing. The internal mixer features enough channels for all SDI inputs, as well as extra channels for the XLR, RCA and MADI inputs.

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“Because we run eight cameras and five microphones for every ‘Novel Chronicles’ episode, the amount of cable runs increases logarithmically. If we are not careful, there will be cables literally everywhere. A great feature of the HD8 ISO is the MADI input, allowing us to radically simplify our audio setup. Historically we used a separate PC, soundcard and ADAT (digital audio tape) to record the microphones in ISO within our Reaper audio workstation. Now with the ATEM Microphone Converters, we can connect all of the microphones into the ATEM with a single cable for built-in sync,” said Timothy.

“I’ve used quite a few Blackmagic switchers, and I am most impressed that all the functionality present in the ATEM HD8 is built into the device. There aren’t secondary or tertiary rack units required. It’s one device, it does everything we need, and even records locally to make everything accessible via the network.”