Casadonte Productions Relies on Blackmagic Gear to Stream National Xball League

Blackmagic Design announced that Dallas- and San Francisco-based production company Casadonte Productions uses a variety of Blackmagic Design products, including three Blackmagic Studio Camera 4Ks, ATEM production switchers, and a Smart Videohub router, to live stream National Xball League (NXL) paintball events for GoSports.com.

Blackmagic DesignA full service video production and post production company, Casadonte Productions has been hired by GoSports to manage its year round video coverage of NXL tournaments. The NXL hosts five events across the United States each year featuring hundreds of professional, semi-pro and amateur paintball teams from around the world. So far in 2016, events have taken place in Las Vegas and Dallas, with Nashville; Cleveland; and Kissimmee, FL still to come. For each three day event, GoSports produces a live webcast and later makes all matches available for on-demand viewing.

During the NXL’s inaugural season in 2015, Casadonte Productions was brought in by GoSports to design and build out its live video production system from scratch. According to Brett Casadonte, executive producer and director at Casadonte Productions, “The system needed to be flexible and expandable to support the growth of both GoSports and the league, and also be battle tested and reliable, given the sometimes harsh environments that the equipment needs to operate in. As we began designing the system, we immediately turned to Blackmagic Design equipment to form the core of our video routing and switching environment.”

Casadonte and his team use an ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K live production switcher and an ATEM 1 M/E Broadcast Panel, as well as a Smart Videohub 40×40 router as the backbone of their production environment. Seven camera feeds are sent through the Smart Videohub 40×40. From there, the individual camera feeds run out to seven HyperDeck Studio Pro broadcast recorders to provide program recording as well as camera ISO recording capabilities. The feeds then go into the ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K. Program feeds are also shown in the VIP booths around each venue, so several of the ATEM outputs are sent to the monitors in the VIP areas, in addition to the monitor for the onscreen talent. Several Blackmagic Design Mini Converters are also used to connect the program feeds to monitors in the VIP and other areas of the tournament venue. The Smart Videohub 40×40 also routes feeds within the team’s broadcast environment so they can view the program feeds as well.

Casadonte uses three Blackmagic Studio Camera 4Ks as part of the camera setup to cover onscreen talent, as well as in static positions to provide a variety of alternate views of the field and player areas at the tournaments.

“We knew that the talent camera was not going to be manned due to budget, and that we would need to operate it remotely,” says Casadonte. “That’s when we decided to bring the Blackmagic Studio Cameras 4Ks into the production. Having the CCU control in the cameras that I can manage from the ATEM switcher is fantastic. The sun moves throughout the day, and with the CCU control we can constantly adjust the exposure. We also like the ruggedness and durability of the cameras. One of the guys dropped one off a 15 foot pole into the dirt. We just brushed the dirt off of the corners and it looked and performed like it was brand new. The image quality is also amazing.”

To support each three day webcast, the team also uses a Blackmagic Design UltraStudio 4K for capture and playback, which allows them to webcast a full day’s worth of paintball matches on GoSports.com. They use a Teranex 2D Processor to integrate aerial footage from a DJI Inspire 1 drone into their productions, and they have added several ATEM Studio Converters and fiber connections for talkback and tally.

“I really liked the idea of having tally and comms all rolled in one package,” said Casadonte. “We have a Clear-Com system that we do a good deal of our crew communications on, but our three field camera operators who run our crane and tower cameras are connected into our communications system through the ATEM Studio Converters that are connected back to our truck. It’s very helpful for them to know when their camera is live.”

In addition to live webcasting for all of the NXL paintball tournaments, Casadonte Productions and GoSports are rapidly expanding into additional sports.