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Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota produce patient television with Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design announced that Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (Children’s), one of the largest pediatric health systems in the United States, is creating and broadcasting in-hospital programming using Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve and ATEM Television Studio. The programming is aired on the hospital’s  in house closed circuit TV channel, which brings live, interactive shows to young patients and their families.

With roots dating back to 1978 when security guard Larry Johnson used his own equipment to produce and broadcast a show, “The Wishing Well,” for patients, Children’s has a long history of providing programming for its patients. After “The Wishing Well” went off the air, Star Studio was launched in 2008 and is now producing eight live shows with plans to expand further for nighttime and Saturday programming. In addition to broadcasting content 24×7, Star Studio’s content is available online for patients’ families who want to follow along from home, as well as patients who still want to watch their favorite programs after discharge.

Star Studio completes broadcasts using an ATEM Television Studio live production switcher, two Micro Videohubs for routing, DeckLink Studio 4K, DeckLink Extreme 3D and UltraStudio Thunderbolt for capture and playback and multiple Mini Converters and Mini Recorders. Star Studio also uses DaVinci Resolve for editing and color correction and Fusion for VFX.

“No matter the program, we strive to give kids and their families an outlet and the ability to laugh,” said Ben Diger, Star Studio Broadcast Engineer. “The interactive parts of the shows are designed to give our patients an escape and allow them to participate in the programming, whether it’s having a choice and voting in a poll or coming down to the studio if they’re healthy enough and talking to someone on TV.”

Having expanded filming to a second campus in June 2014, Star Studios relies on the Blackmagic Design products to keep everything running smoothly, whether they are shooting in Minneapolis or St. Paul, MN.

Diger uses the Micro Videohubs as central hubs on both campuses, with all three cameras, switcher outputs, and live signals from the studios and other video sources being routed in and out to the TVs in the studio. The ATEM Television Studio is used as a filter for programming, to reduce delays and provide a backup if the live broadcast ever encounters problems.

With the Minneapolis studio serving as the main control room, the DeckLinks are used for graphics and video playback to the ATEM Television Switcher, with the other DeckLink used to import videos to the main computer used for scheduling content and broadcasting live video. Similarly, on the St. Paul campus, Diger’s team uses the UltraStudio Thunderbolt for graphics and video playback. On both campuses, the system is connected through Mini Converters and uses Mini Recorders to put video from the Videohubs on digital signage throughout the health system.

“Operating with such a small team and limited resources, it’s crucial that we’re able to rely on the workflow that we’ve built with Blackmagic Design’s products at the center,” said Diger. “We’re able to focus on making the programming the best for our patients, keeping them at the front and center where they should be.”

For post production, Diger and his team use Fusion for VFX and DaVinci Resolve 12 for color correction and editing. For the Star Studio Music Series, featuring videos of various local and famous musical artists, they use DaVinci Resolve 12 to edit the video and color grade different camera shots to give the videos a consistent look.

“We started using DaVinci Resolve 11 for color correction on our premiere projects and then began using its editing features once DaVinci Resolve 12 was available,” Diger explained. “We split up clips based on cuts so we can color correct the different cameras without affecting other shots, which is incredibly helpful. It has made the whole editing and color correction process much easier.”