Blackmagic Design engages cruise control

AIDA Cruise has chosen to incorporate Blackmagic Design’s infrastructure products for switching, routing and monitoring to provide the backbone for ship-wide AV on two of its luxury liners. The system delivers entertainment and leisure onboard AIDAprima and AIDAperla, which includes a state-of-art broadcast gallery for content production of in house content.

The installations aboard AIDA Cruises’ two newest ships feature the ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K and ATEM 2 M/E Broadcast Panel for vision mixing, Teranex Express for standards and frame conversion, as well as multiple Universal Videohub 288 routers to handle ship wide signal management.

Each day the onboard content teams produce and broadcast a host of daily programming, including live shows, cruise itineraries and event schedules, to television screens throughout both ships’ 1,643 cabins and many public areas, as well as to a multipurpose, three-tier theatre which features a giant moveable LED stage backdrop.

As well as receiving signals from three PTZ cameras in the Theatrium, the gallery is also connected to a smaller onboard television studio and 55 optical fibre connection points. Located throughout the ship’s public decks, these afford the production team total flexibility when filming.

AIDA Cruises says that this is even more important on board AIDAprima and AIDAperla where the company recreates AIDA versions of popular television formats in cooperation with license holders for onboard entertainment.

The heart of each broadcast gallery is an ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K and accompanying broadcast panel where a live program is vision mixed and fed through to the ship’s playout system. As the cruises also feature guest performers, many of whom bring their own videos for use during live shows, the Teranex Express helps to standardise all show material to 1080i50 regardless of its source.

“When the ships are out at sea, the last thing you want is for a performer’s videos to be incompatible with our systems. The Teranex affords us total adaptability and guarantees that the show goes on, no matter what the production team is presented with,” explains Steffen Bachmann, manager, Broadcast & Media Technics AIDA Cruises.

A pair of Universal Videohub 288 routers handle ship-wide routing of audio and video signals, relying on a custom-built control app designed by AIDA using the Videohub’s SDK. Not only does it provide an interactive map of all connected fibre points and displays on the ship, but it can also be operated remotely by the central AIDA technical team in Hamburg, should the need arise.

“When specifying the systems it quickly became apparent that a solution built around Blackmagic Design would provide us with all of the flexibility we’d need to handle live production, transmission, digital signage and post production,” concludes Steffen. “Not only has the solution proven robust and reliable, but we also found the equipment very straightforward to use, giving us a setup that would rival that of any broadcaster.”