Focusing on Creativity and Relationships with Events United and Blackmagic Design
Where do musicians turn when they prepare carefully for gigs, only to find their performances ruined by poor production? They take matters into their own hands. That's what Tim Messina did when he founded Events United in Londonderry, NH.
Events United is a full-service audiovisual production company specializing in houses of worship, concerts, theaters, corporate events, weddings, and other special events.
Tim grew up as a performing musician, and encountered the world of sound engineering at college. The more he delved into production, the more he realized the need for a more customer-centered approach. In 2008 he launched Events United, a production company that offers exceptional services to clients, along with a complete inventory of sound, lighting, video, staging and backline equipment.
Events United uses a number of Blackmagic Design products as part of its workflow, including ATEM switchers, Videohub routers, HyperDeck recorders and SmartView monitors.
Being Smart About Business
When Tim started Events United, he made sure to hire a creative team that prioritized each client's unique needs. He speaks highly of the team's passion and talent - and so do his customers, which include Nascar, Soulfest, George Bush, Bill Clinton, NBC, and the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Events United believes it is important to grow without debt, which is why they only buy equipment after they earn enough to afford it. This formula has proved quite successful. After seven years in business, the company has expanded its inventory year-to-year while remaining completely debt-free.
When Events United began to offer video services, they knew they would need a production switcher that was scalable and flexible enough to accommodate a growing program. In Blackmagic Design, they found a range of switchers that could be tailored to fit the individual requirements of each client. The switchers not only offered high-quality, adaptable technology, but were also affordable, allowing Events United to maintain its financial commitment to no debt.
Steubenville Youth Conferences
After researching many options on the market, the team decided to purchase several ATEM Television Studio switchers for smaller events, as well as an ATEM 2 M/E Production Switcher for larger events that require multiple outputs. Events United produces events as modest as specialty church services, and as large as concerts for O.A.R., Newsboys, Mercy Me, Rend Collective, and stars from American Idol. According to the Events United team, the ATEM line offered the most flexibility at the best price.
In addition to concerts, the team has used the ATEMs at numerous other events, including the Steubenville Youth Conferences. These annual gatherings take place in various locations throughout the country, and are some of the larger events where Events United has employed the Blackmagic setup to manage their video workflow.
Typically, each event includes between five and eight cameras and two or three computers running Renewed Vision's Pro Presenter and Pro Video Player. Events United uses all outputs of the ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K, including one for recording with a HyperDeck Studio; one for live streaming to Ustream or Livestream; one for IMAG for projection; one for the house video screens; one for confidence monitors; and others for the video walls provided by Events United.
The team also uses a Smart Videohub 20x20 and a Compact Videohub for routing at the conferences. Everything in the video system goes to and from one of the Videohub routers, so that the team has instant access from any source to send to any destination throughout the venue. Even the inputs and outputs in the ATEM switcher go to and from the Videohub.
"The screens on the Videohub routers are really useful, because they allow us to quickly see where certain sources are routed - and the buttons let us make changes on the fly without needing software," said Messina. "The SmartView Duo monitors also help us reference the setup, so we can see what a display is receiving or what is being recorded. Sometimes for smaller events where space is tight, we'll use a SmartView HD as a multi-view screen."
For recording the events, Events United uses HyperDeck Studio recorders with 240GB SSD cards. As one card fills up, the next one immediately takes its place. The team inserts full cards into a Blackmagic Design MultiDock to offload the footage and format the card to be used again.
Looking to the Future
The Events United team has recently begun to upgrade their cameras and other video equipment to 4K, and will be able to offer 4K content in the near future. Once again they have turned to Blackmagic, purchasing an ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K that enables the switch to 4K content. The team also plans to buy Blackmagic Design's URSA Mini 4K cameras, which will allow them to shoot in 4K.
Events United is currently testing the ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K while still working in HD, which they did at the SoulFest Christian music festival in Gilford, New Hampshire, in August of 2015. But the team plans more immersive events in the future, where audiences will be closer to the production elements - and when that time comes, they'd like to wow people with 4K video.
"Blackmagic Design offers a variety of switchers that lets us meet all of our clients' needs," said Messina. "Right now the products are great for HD content, but as soon as we can add a few more elements, we're excited to use the Blackmagic products in a full 4K workflow."