Multi-Camera Setup with Atem Television Studio Church

Not so long ago you needed a massive budget in order to have a full hd multi-camera set up. Full Hd switchers alone were in the vicinity of $7000-$10,000 which meant for many churches a multi camera set up was just not an option.

What is a Multi Camera Set up?

For starters, a multi-camera setup is simply having multiple cameras to record a service or event. The cameras are all connected to a central device known as a video switcher which is controlled by an operator.

The operator would have a monitor for each camera and would cut between shots, choosing the best shot at any given moment. They would usually also have some sort of key source where they could overlay titles and images over the footage. The final output would be recorded and distributed. This typically is how a any live or tape delayed show you see on TV works.

As you can imagine it is very labour intensive and requires a lot of personnel in camera operators, switchers, keying etc

Why Multicamera Setup’s have become accessible to churches

Many churches are now embracing the multicamera setup to record their services and get what is happening within their four walls out to the world. More churches are able to achieve basic consumer level multicamera setups quite simply because the technology has become less expensive.

Consumer level Full HD cameras are relatively inexpensive compared to 10 years ago and there are now options for software switching devices, which are controlled by a computer meaning you only pay for the hardware. One of these being the ATEM Television Studio (TVS) by blackmagic design.

The video below shows how our church has a multicamera setup using a few older computers and three Sony Cameras using the ATEM TVS:

The Atem TVS allows you to input up to 6 sources which is more than enough for most smaller situations.

It also can receive a digital audio signal. Devices like the Behringer Ultra Match 2 are cost effective solutions for converting your analogue signal to a digital one which the ATEM TVS can receive.

With an old G5 Mac we were able to both control the switcher and also record the full hd video which the TVS was outputting simultaneously.

Below is an low quality example of footage we have captured and uploaded to You Tube using this setup. We had to reduce the resolution of the video so it was suitable for youtube so the quality is not a true reflection, but gives you an idea. We used this video to showcase our 7 Pack of Lower Thirds:

Live Streaming with the ATEM Television Studio

Live streaming is also an option. There are many ways you can do it, but we found the easiest way was to convert the HDMI out signal from the Atem Television Studio into a composite signal.

You can buy these converters for around $40 from hong kong on ebay. Then we bought a simple USB video capture card which captured the composite signal. We used an old PC and with the free flash media live encoder installed.

There are a number of free services, but we found Justin.tv to be the most suitable as they only run one ad at the start of the stream and then do not interrupt the stream after that.

UPDATE:

We now are using Ustream. The ads occur more often on their free service, but we are finding that they provide a more reliable, consistent stream.

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James Alviani

After completing a degree in Biblical Studies, James served as a Chaplain and Youth Pastor for over 15 years at a local church. With a love for graphic design, he found himself working to help the church communicate through visual and print media. He now runs Halo Digital, a digital marketing agency that helps businesses and ministries grow through online visibility.

20 thoughts on “Multi-Camera Setup with Atem Television Studio Church”

  1. This is so inspiring! We have just ordered our TVS and looking forward to it arriving this week. I didn’t realise you can get such good distance using the sdi interface rather than HDMI. Will have to probably order some converters as our cameras use HDMI. Thanks for the vid.

    Reply
  2. Hi there. First, thank you for putting time into this blog. I really appreciate it.

    Second. Are you using your ATEM for imag as well? If so, what is the delay like? Is it noticeable?

    Thank you

    We are growing and looking to make a purchase soon, I would love one switcher that could do both imag and stream.

    Reply
    • Hi James,
      Yes we use it for IMAG and there is a tiny delay but not enough to be noticeable or distracting. I was concerned it would be an issue because we convert HDMI out of the switcher to VGA then split VGA for a 60meter run to the projectors. Thats quite a bit of processing but even with all that no probs at all!

      Reply
    • We use a mac mini to put pro presenter through the ATEM switcher. Our first display goes to a monitor for the user and the second display port is HDMI out into HDMI channel 1 of the switcher. From there it is a few settings on the mac mini system preferences and on the pro presenter program. In System preferences we set the second monitor to 1920×1080 and 50hz. These settings are essential for the switcher to recognise the signal. In pro presenter we select preferences and once again set the second output screen resolution to 1920×1080. It is here that we also set the background of the second screen to be a bright blue colour. SO the image that is output will always have a blue background. We then set the Upstream Key on the atem switcher to take out the bright blue on channel one. The operater then toggles the key on or off during production depending on whether we are putting words over the top of camera (key on) or if we are playing a video through propresenter (key off). The Atem switcher will only recognise sources with the same resolution and framerate that it is set to. In our case 1080 50i. Hope this helps. It takes a bit of setting up. At first we tried to do all of the above with a pc but found it kept changing the second output resolution and frame rate randomly which meant the switcher wouldn’t recognise the signal. Once we bought the mac mini it worked every time.

      Reply
  3. Hi, my name is Mikhail.
    First of all, I’d like to praise the Lord for your service, really awesome.
    I have a question about your set up with atem, if you don’t mind.
    I’m trying to set up in my church so I could overlap text with the video. Kind of like you did during the singing, could you instruct me on that? thanks a lot. Blessings.

    Reply
    • Hi Mikhail thanks for the feedback.
      To overlay text we set up pro presenter to output a second screen which has text over a blue background. We put that second screen through channel 1 on the switcher.
      Then on the ATEM Switcher Control Program select the “switcher” tab at the bottom left hand corner. On the menu on the right we select Key1 and configure the settings to take out the blue colour on channel 1. Then during operation it is just a matter of toggling key 1 on and off to overlay the words over the output (program). hopefully this helps!

      Reply
  4. Hi there, I’m from a Melbourne church and have been researching the next upgrade for our live streaming and media setup. I just wanted to say thank you for sharing your setup it has helped me answer the last few niggling questions I had whilst looking at how to setup the black magic atem tvs.

    Bless you guys

    Reply
  5. Hi,

    Just wondering how you are using the G5 Mac to control & save to disk as I can’t find any version of the software that works with the G5 on PPC, the highest it goes is 10.5.8 as well

    muchly appreciated

    Reply
    • Hi Tim
      The G5 we have is one of the last models (specs Im not sure of but will check and get back to you). It runs 10.6 Snow leopard which meant the BlackMagic Media Express Capture program and the ATEM TV Control software both work on it.

      Reply
  6. James, we are looking to start using the ATEM. Can you use a DVD recorders to capture? And how do you hook up sound?
    Thanks for your help!

    Reply
    • Hi David,

      You could use your DVD to record but you would need some sort of converter (depending on your DVD recorder input ie whether it is a composite or component input). There is a HDMI output from the switcher which contains the final video and audio embedded in it. You would send that to a HDMI / Composite or a HDMI/Component Converter which then went to your DVD recorder. Good converters will take the audio as well as the video out from the HDMI signal.

      This of course is assuming that your audio is running into the atem switcher from your sound desk. Otherwise the HDMI out from the switcher wont have any audio embedded into it.

      Reply
  7. The New Livestream actually shows no ads on their streams and allows you to archive your streams into event categories. The catch is that if you sign up for the free account, your viewers will have to create an account with Livestream. But for less than $50a month Livestream becomes a Livestreaming powerhouse!

    Reply
  8. James, we are looking to buy the ATEM for our church but have a few questions. Would like to pick your brain a little bit before we do can you get a hold of me and we could talk?
    My numbers are (209) 384-0770 work (209) 349-1926 or email me at souza777@hotmail.com
    Thanks for any help
    David

    Reply

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