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2021 HPA Tech Retreat Goes Virtual with Help from Blackmagic Design

For more than 25 years, the Hollywood Professional Association’s (HPA) Tech Retreat has gathered the most innovative and tech-savvy minds to help pave the way for the industry to advance. With the 2021 event unable to take place in person due to COVID-19, HPA had to ensure that the virtual version kept its promise as a topflight event. The main program, educational roundtables and more had to translate to the new all-virtual format.

“The 2021 Virtual Tech Retreat had to be something unique. It needed to capture the essence of an in-person event that created opportunities for networking and provided robust educational sessions,” explained HPA Director Phil Kubel. “We needed to transform this highly respected four-day intensive conference and package it in a way that could be intuitive and engaging to the remote end user. The HPA Tech Retreat committee had a vision and plan to create the most dynamic and engaging event possible, creating our own content and leveraging our community and partners to provide content. Then, we had to present that content in a way that emulated the connection and inspiration of an in-person experience.”

The 2021 theme was focused on remote collaboration, which made the stakes completely relevant and even higher. “We had to produce an event that focused on how to collaborate remotely, while creating an entirely remote workflow behind the scenes,” added Kubel.

HPA has relied upon a variety of Blackmagic Design gear during previous Tech Retreats, as well as other HPA events, and Kubel and his team immediately turned to the familiar, reliable technology. “We continue to implement Blackmagic Design because we love the gear’s ease of use, quality and stability,” Kubel noted.

Three URSA Mini Pro 4.6K G2 digital film cameras were used for the multi-cam live streaming workflow, along with an ATEM Television Studio HD live production switcher as a backup switcher, a Web Presenter HD self-contained streaming solution powering the URSA Mini Pro G2s’ integration into more than hundreds of standalone Zoom sessions, and three UltraStudio Mini Recorder capture and playback devices.

“We used the URSA Mini Pro G2s to pre-record several elements and content for the show, including select interviews, show opens, and interstitial content,” said Kubel, “Then, for the live portion, we reconfigured the cameras in a studio setup, using the clean camera out SDI feeds into a switcher. The flexibility of being able to use the cameras for pre-recorded and live content was valuable and streamlined our overall workflow. We love how the URSA Mini Pro G2s made this an easy task. In addition to the flexibility, the picture and dynamic range were perfect for our needs.”

“Maintaining the HPA’s high standards required a lot of planning and preparation for this year’s Tech Retreat as we transitioned to an all-virtual event,” Kubel concluded. “Thanks to the Blackmagic Design gear, we were fully supported from a technical standpoint, which was one less thing we had to worry about.”

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