Fremont, CA – March 24, 2014 – Blackmagic Design today announced that Sky News Arabia, the Arabic language 24 hour breaking news broadcaster, has launched The Content Hub, a new virtual production, transmission (TX) and playout environment, equipped with broadcast infrastructure from Blackmagic Design, including the ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher, Compact Videohub and UltraStudio 4K.
Engineers for the Skynet project have built in high levels of redundancy across every aspect of the new virtual studio workflow. 40 x 40 Compact Videohub routers handle signal distribution for The Content Hub, while separate 16 x 16 Micro Videohubs are responsible for monitoring. The smaller router handles multiview outputs from the vision mixers and other sources while also feeding streaming encoders.
Receiving feeds from studios and live positions around the world, Sky News Arabia routes those signals via the Compact Videohub to the ATEM 2 M/E Production Switchers where the show is crafted. A second ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher is used for adding graphics. Four UltraStudio 4K I/O devices are connected to Mac Minis in the studio outputting Internet based programs.
Using the ATEM’s SDK, Sky News Arabia’s developers have built a custom control system and graphical user interface (GUI) for the system, providing a simple, user friendly interface that manages the multiple devices, redundancy and system flexibility. Each component in the workflow has a mirrored counterpart, which means operators can lose either and remain on air uninterrupted.
“The system we’ve developed allows multiple workflows incorporating two or more of every component; so that’s two Compact Videohub routers feeding four ATEM 2 M/E Production Switchers,” explains Dave Mace, Project Manager for Sky News Arabia. “However, the custom GUI means operators only see this as one system regardless of what is actually controlled to achieve their objective. If any components should fail, the GUI automatically detects this and changes what is available within the user interface.”
Dominic Baillie, CTO for Sky News Arabia adds: “Our in house development team worked closely with Blackmagic’s developers to get the GUI operating how we wanted it. Having the SDK available was a massive selling point when it came to choosing Blackmagic Design. The solution offers the perfect mix of high redundancy and broadcast quality output in flexible and extremely easy to use systems. We opted to go with Blackmagic’s ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher because it was rich in features, reasonably priced and we had access to the SDK. This afforded us a higher degree of flexibility when it came to developing the virtual studio.”
Product photos of the ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher, Compact Videohub and UltraStudio 4K are available at
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability, while the company’s Emmyâ„¢ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including stereoscopic 3D and 4K workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Singapore, and Australia. For more information, please check