There are several ways you can control a Blackmagic Design Camera remotely.
You can use a Bluetooth mobile app (such as Bluetooth+ on iOS) , which is the easiest way to control Blackmagic cameras that have a bluetooth chip built-in, such as the BMPCC 4K / 6K/ 6K Pro and the Ursa Mini Pro G1/G2 and Ursa Broadcast. The downside is that the range is quite limited. In real world environments you will often get a maximum range of 20-30 feets. It makes the app more suited for situations where you are close to the camera.
Using Blackmagic ATEM Software Control
If you are in a live production multicamera environnent, you might be using an ATEM Mini to live switch from camera to camera, in which case you will have direct control over your BMPCC 4K / 6K cameras through HDMI using ATEM Software Control. If you are using Fiber Optic HDMI cables you can get hundreds of feet of reliable range this way. The ATEM Software Control is powerful and allows you to adjust settings like Iris / Shutter / ISO / Focus / ND Filters / WB remotely as well as Primary Color Correction remotely. You can also control URSA Mini Pro & URSA Broadcast cameras through SDI using the rest of the other ATEM switchers, and with the ATEM Mini series through Blackmagic’s Bidirectional 3G SDI/HDMI Converters.
The ATEM Software Control is much more suited to live production environnements.
Wireless Camera Control Workflow
However, if you have moving cameras which have to send the video signal wirelessly (i.e using Teradek / Hollyland transmitters) , you will only have one way communication. You cannot have both the video transmission and the reverse camera control information running in the same wireless TX/RX unit. 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).
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.
Wireless Range with the APC-R
How good is the range ? 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. On the other end, you can improve the Wi-Fi coverage by using a more powerful router, close to the stage. You can connect it to the primary router using a long ethernet cable. This stage router then acts as a sort of repeater. Also, we recommend you check out the video above that goes into setting up the workflow with further detail.
Also, the latency is very reasonable and does not affect the usability of color matching / painting and camera control.
We’ve used this solution a lot in our own live productions, and it works like a charm! You just have to try for yourself, we offer a 30days money back guarantee on the APC-R, that you can order online here
The APC-R offers other features such as remote DJI Gimbal control, integration with Bitfocus Companion, etc…
If you have any questions, please let us know!
The Middle Things Team