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Jim Peterik’s Empty Arena Livestreams from Chicago’s Jam Lab Using Blackmagic Design Cameras and Switchers

Blackmagic Design recently announced that the recent “Empty Arena” concert by Grammy winning Jim Peterik was livestreamed using Blackmagic cameras and an ATEM live switcher. The event was livestreamed from Chicago’s The Jam Lab.

“Empty Arena,” livestreamed over Facebook Live on March 23rd, was a multicamera livestream from raised more than $4,000 for the Recording Academy’s® MusiCares® program, which includes the COVID-19 Relief Fund designed to help musicians affected.

“Empty Arena” featured Jim Peterik, a Grammy award winning American musician and songwriter known for his work with bands such as Survivor and the Ides of March, as well as cowriting dozens of top charting songs. He performed for more than an hour and interacted with viewers through a livestreamed Q&A after the show.

Located in an old auto body workshop that has been renovated to a live music and production venue, The Jam Lab has worked with artists since 2012 to bring their visions to life, from songwriting and arranging, to tracking and mixing, all the way to mastering and release. The Jam Lab’s owner and chief engineer, Colin Peterik, came up with the idea for “Empty Arena” with Jim Peterik and Bill Allan, a Chicago based Emmy winning high school teacher, musician and live streamer.

Allan, who worked on the stream with fellow Chicago area high school broadcast teacher Dave Karaffa, used two Blackmagic Design URSA Broadcast cameras to capture the set in 4K, switching between the two cameras and bringing in graphics and audio with an ATEM Production Studio 4K. The ATEM Production Studio 4K feed was sent to Facebook Live vis OBS, where it streamed to viewers at 1080p at six Mbps.

“We had one camera set up dead center and the other slightly off center. Because the Blackmagic gear lets us be incredibly efficient, just the two of us working on either the cameras or the switcher was plenty,” Allan said.

Along with the video and audio feeds, Allan fed a number of graphics into the stream. This included various logos and MusiCare custom overlays built by Colin.

“Safety was a top concern, and we ran this with a skeleton crew. Just me and Dave handling video and Colin manning the audio. The Blackmagic Design cameras and switcher are so easy to use, while giving us an amazing image, that the stream going over Facebook Live looked amazing. And I am sure most people would assume that we had a much larger crew,” Allan continued.

“The quality of the Empty Arena livestream was amazing, and it was great to see how easy the Blackmagic gear made the whole thing,” Colin said. “The Jam Lab was built to be a flexible and inspirational place for artists to record and perform. Adding the ability to livestream at high quality is important, and we are already trying to figure out what our next streams will be.”

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