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4K Studios Relies on Blackmagic Design Ultra-HD Workflow


San Francisco-based 4K Studios relies on a Blackmagic Production Camera 4K, ATEM Production Studio 4K and DaVinci Resolve, as well as a number of additional Blackmagic Design products, to support its 4K workflow. 4K Studios converts existing media and creates original materials for its new Ultra-HD network, UltraFlix.

UltraFlix is a 4K Ultra-HD streaming network that has been ported to multiple platforms, including Android devices and smart 4K Ultra HD TVs, such as Samsung, Vizio and Sony.

4K Studios also uses a HyperDeck Studio Pro SSD recorder, SmartScope Duo 4K monitor, DeckLink 4K Extreme capture card and numerous Mini Converters HDMI to SDI to deliver a wide variety of digital formats and streaming ready media for its numerous digital channels.

As a senior producer at 4K Studios, Owen Morris is responsible for clean-up and compression of the various content sources they receive, much of which is 35mm film. “Once the 35mm film is scanned at 4K, we run it through DaVinci Resolve for color and clean up, and the mastered films then get compressed and placed in the Cloud ready to stream,” he said.

“DaVinci Resolve has been the biggest game changer so far,” explained Owen. “We scan a film to 6TB of uncompressed 4K at roughly 1TB per reel of film, and we need a way to color grade, assemble and sync these huge sequences. DaVinci Resolve is a great all-in-one application that lets us output an assembled master file in a single step. For good-quality scans, Resolve’s dust cleaning tool takes care of quite a bit of cleanup, instead of having to use an additional damage software, which saves significant production time.”

The HyperDeck Studio Pro and SmartScope Duo 4K are currently being used to capture a variety of old Kung Fu films for cleanup and conversion to HD. “Capturing these older formats is a common use for the HyperDeck and SmartScope,” said Owen. “We capture the old tapes in real time at low res and then take the files up to HD. The HyperDeck and SmartScope combination is often used like this to create workable files from old formats.”

In addition to converting existing content, 4K Studios also creates its own original Ultra HD content using the Production Camera 4K. The company produces full 30-minute episodes as well as short videos and promos on a variety of subjects to build and populate 4K channels.

“It’s amazing to be able to stream 4K live to the Internet from a camera that’s actually shooting high quality 4K,” said Owen. “We even used the camera in conjunction with the ATEM and DeckLink to live grade with DaVinci Resolve.”

Owen is working on a Twitch-like streaming channel that will feature a host of gamers and entertainers hanging out and gaming. Shot with the Production Camera 4K and a few additional cameras, the ATEM Production Studio 4K will mix the camera footage with a live feed of the game and produce a 4K stream.

“The notion here is to be able to broadcast video games at 4K, and the ATEM can capture and handle multiple video sources, including broadcasting the final 4K signal,” said Owen. “Game developers will be able to showcase their games at a higher resolution thanks to the added production value from Blackmagic Design’s 4K products. We don’t have big budgets, and we don’t have lots of artists with the hours to burn, so we need affordable tools to begin working in the 4K space now.”

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