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Wireless Control for Blackmagic Cameras

You might have purchased the APC-R for use without any gimbal, and specifically for its wireless Camera Control feature. In a live production multi-camera setup, Blackmagic Design ATEM Software Control is powerful and allows you to adjust settings like Iris / Shutter / ISO / Focus / ND Filters / WB as well as Primary Color Correction remotely.

However, if you have moving camera operators (steadicam, shoulder cam..) which have to send the video signal wirelessly (i.e using Teradek / Hollyland video transmitters), you will only have a one-way communication. You cannot have both the video transmission and the reverse camera control information running in the same wireless video TX/RX kit. This is why URSA Mini Pro and URSA Broadcast require 2 SDI cables if you want to control them remotely. One for the video signal and one for the return signal (which includes Camera Control signal). And you also can’t use two video TX/RX units, one for each direction, because the control commands will be cut from the Program return feed by the video transmitter.

Using the APC-R for Wireless Camera Control

With the Middle Things APC-R , we wanted to solve this by offering a solution that acts as a Wi-Fi (ATEM Network) to Bluetooth (Camera Control) converter. Let’s take the network router that you’ve connected to your ATEM. Well, the APC-R connects to this router through Wi-Fi and grabs the camera control information of ATEM Software by reading into the ATEM. The APC-R then forwards that information wirelessly to the Blackmagic Camera using Bluetooth.

Workflow

The APC-R can be powered with 5V using the back USB-C port of the URSA Broadcast G2 , or any 5V USB Powerbank. It is compact enough to be easily attached to the URSA Broadcast (i.e : velcro).

1. Power the APC-R

Mount the two included APC-R antennas before connecting the device.

Power the APC-R by feeding 5V DC into the micro USB port. It could either be a USB power bank, the BMPCC USB-C output or the URSA Mini Pro / Broadcast USB-C output. The LED of the APC-R will turn yellow.

2. Pair the APC-R to your Blackmagic Camera using Bluetooth

To pair your APC-R to your camera using Bluetooth, you need to use iOS Middle Setup app (not possible on Android). Once the pairing is made, you do not need to open the app again, so you can borrow an iPhone / iPad / Mac M1 if you are on Android.

Pairing procedure :

   1. Activate Bluetooth on your iPhone / iPad / M1 Mac.
   2. Launch Middle Setup and select your APC-R.
   3. Make sure you also activate Bluetooth in the Setup page of your Blackmagic Design camera.
   4. Bring your camera close to the APC-R.
   5. Select your camera in Middle Setup. A prompt will pop up, asking for a code.
   6. A 6 digit code will show up on the Blackmagic Bluetooth Screen. Enter this pairing code into the Middle Setup prompt.

And your camera is paired! The LED on your APC-R will turn from yellow to blue.

You can also change the APC-R Camera number for this APC-R in the very same app.

3. Download & Install Middle Control

The Middle Control desktop app is the central software that controls all your APC-R units and communicates with the Blackmagic Design ATEM switcher if you have one. The software has to be running all the time. It is available both on Mac OS and Windows.

Download the Middle Control app in the Mac OS App Store
Supported OS : Mac OS Big Sur (11) or later.

Run the app, set your ATEM switcher IP address in the Preferences tab and press "Connect".

4. Connect the APC-R to your network (wired)

Connect the APC-R to your ATEM router using an ethernet cable at first , to check wether you're all good on the connection. The APC-R will automatically get its IP adress from your router DHCP. If DHCP is disabled on your router, or you are using a switch instead of a a router, please check this section that will guide you for setting a fixed IP in the APC-R

Make sure your laptop is connected to the same router as your APC-R.

Confirm that your APC-R is showing up in the status page. You can click on the APC-R name to bring up more detail. On Mac OS, the status page is the left sidebar of the app. The devices will show under "Network Status".

Now, try adjusting settings in Blackmagic ATEM Software Control for Camera ID number 1 (Iris, ISO, Color Correction), you should have a response on the camera.

info

If you are not seeing any APC-R show up in the Middle Control Status, please check the corresponding. troubleshooting section

5. Connect the APC-R to your network (wireless)

It's now time to set your Wifi Access Point credentials in the APC-R.

Just connect your APC-R to your laptop via the APC-R micro-usb port using a data cable (not a power cable). Then you can set the Wi-Fi crendentials and the APC-R Camera number in the setup page. If you wish to set up a fixed IP, make sure the wireless IP address is different from the wired IP address.

Connect your APC-R, then the APC-R will show up on the left sidebar with a USB icon. You can select it to access the network settings. Don't forget to press Press Save when you're done. You can disconnect / reconnect the APC-R to make sure the settings have been saved successfully.

6. You now have complete wireless control!

Disconnect the ethernet cable. The APC-R will connect to your Wi-Fi network within around 5-15 seconds. You can know adjust your settings wirelessly from Blackmagic ATEM Software.

You are now ready to go!

Wireless Range

Here are a few notes on how to tweak the wireless range.

Bluetooth Range (APC-R to Camera)

The actual range will depend a lot on your environment. But the idea is to put the APC-R as close as possible to the Blackmagic camera. Ideally within a few feet away. This way, you can maximise the bluetooth signal strength and have great reliability even in crowded areas. We never received reports of disconnection issues / latency with such a short distance.

Wi-Fi 2.4Ghz Range (APC-R to Wi-Fi Access Point )

The actual range will depend a lot on your environment. You can improve the Wi-Fi coverage by using a powerful wifi access point, close to the stage (Ubiquiti, Cisco, a mesh system…) . You can connect that Wi-Fi access point to the primary router using a long ethernet cable.

Troubleshooting

Running into issues ? Here are few elements to help you troubleshoot.

I have control over all camera settings except Lift / Gamma / Gain / Contrast / Saturation

Set your Blackmagic recording mode to ProRes. CCU control is not supported when the Blackmagic Cameras internal recording is set to Blackmagic Raw.

I have control over all camera settings except Focus

For the moment, remote focus control is currently not supported on BMPCC 6K cameras.

Tally Program/Preview status not shown on camera

The Blackmagic Bluetooth Camera Control protocol does not allow us to show the tally preview / program info on the camera LCD / monitor. In order to address this, we have released on a little external Tally light that can be connected to the **AUX** port of the APC-R. You can find more information [here on the product page](https://www.middlethings.co/middle-tally/).

I have control over ethernet but not Wi-Fi

Are you using 2.4Ghz Wi-fi and not 5Ghz Wi-Fi ? The APC-R does not support 5Ghz Wi-Fi, only 2.4Ghz. Could you also try with another router?