Blackmagic - Ultimatte 12 4K - Butcher Bird Studios

Blackmagic Design’s Ultimatte 12 4K compositor is helping production company Butcher Bird Studios expand the possibilities of its work, which often relies on the use of chroma key.

Blackmagic - Ultimatte 12 4K - Butcher Bird StudiosButcher Bird Studios is a company that specialises in using green screens to create live compositions based on the Unreal Engine graphics engine, a tool it began using in 2019. At the time, the virtual technology was already being used in large-scale projects with generous budgets, such as The Mandalorian, but Griffin Davis, its technical director, was confident that Butcher Bird could offer a similar finish at a ·more reasonable· price. Their first tests were based on combining a chroma set with several Blackmagic Design solutions, including URSA Mini Pro and Micro Studio Camera 4K cameras, and multiple ATEM mixers. All of this equipment was interacted with an Ultimatte 12 compositor, which was used to integrate live subjects into three-dimensional environments by combining foreground elements with Unreal Engine-generated backgrounds.

Butcher Bird’s next step was to integrate the ultra high definition version of this system. Several Ultimatte 12 4K units are already part of the production company’s workflow. The latest version of Blackmagic Design’s system, in addition to being able to work in 4K resolutions, features “a sleeker design, a new onboard video interface, and buttons to save profiles directly to the machine itself. It’s definitely a technology upgrade in all the right directions,” says Davis.

Blackmagic - Ultimatte 12 4K - Butcher Bird StudiosThese devices are responsible for compositing multiple cameras at different angles, each with elements in the foreground and with motion tracking in the real and virtual world. Signals extracted from the Ultimatte 12 4K are sent to Unreal Engine via DeckLink 8K Pro capture and playback cards.

Davis feels that the new Ultimatte 12 4K model, like many Blackmagic Design products, allows other studios to enter the world of virtual productions regardless of size or budget: “This is a major hero move by Blackmagic Design. Just like so many of their amazing products, what once cost a lot to even consider is now approachable. That opens a lot of doors for the budget filmmaker. You can now have a device that does professional grade, newscast quality keying, including shadows, at an affordable price. I’m always impressed how Blackmagic continues to democratize big broadcast tools, making them affordable and easy to use.”

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By • 19 Jan, 2023
• Section: AR / VR / XR, Study, Graphics