• Christopher Head

Black Magic Constellation

Black Magic Constellation

Black Magic just released it’s newest ATEM. When it comes to A/B switch and camera switching A/B switching BMD has shot to the top of the game with the most affordable products on the market that allow to fully perform and switch a live show in the format of A/B switching. I have yet to see the newest addition in the wild but the Blackmagic Design ATEM Constellation looks to be positioned as the best switcher on the market as far as a rack version is concerned. I have yet to see the Control Unit that I assume will be made for it or the price tag it will hold. If it comes in a relatively inexpensive and easily navigable package it could be the very top switcher above others.

There are so many great features of ATEM switchers that are great for the Audio/Visual industry but one of the one things that BMD does not focus on is preset based multi screen switching. That for me is a big pitfall. We know it can be done with Macros but it just isn’t the same as the albeit crude but simple to use interface as the Analog Way Ascender or my favorite the Barco E2. Analog Way is now advertising the Aquilon and it seems to rival the E2 and even the Spyder.

We hope that one day a creative software designer will write a program that allows us to utilize the 24 Aux outputs on the Constellation as multiscreen outputs and even allow us to assign super destinations.

I am not as well versed in the capabilities of this machine to know if it would support any of the same type of transitions or effects that the aforementioned switchers provide so my dream may be a moot point. However for what we do at a boutique level at HeadwayATX we could get by just fine on many of our shows with the Constellation.

We look forward to seeing this one in the field and possible getting one for ourselves in the near future. See the specs below and be sure to support all of these companies when possible. We have an exciting future of Audio and Video wonders ahead of us.

Blackmagic Design ATEM Constellation Overview

The Blackmagic Design ATEM Constellation 8K is a powerful switcher in a 2 RU chassis which can easily handle 4K video and supports 8K. It features a built-in control panel on the front and 40 12G-SDI inputs, with two main and 24 AUX 12G-SDI outputs. Each input has its own standards converter, which allows you to seamlessly switch between inputs no matter what format it is. The Constellation 8K incorporates four DVE, 16 Keyers, and four media players, allowing for flexibility in creating your program. Four multiview outputs enable viewing 4, 7, 10, 13, or 16 simultaneous views.

The relatively large LCD view screen on the front of the unit displays the input video with a label of the input number. You can control the Constellation 8K locally via the front panel buttons, or you can use the built-in Ethernet connector to control the system from a computer using the included control panel software. The built-in Fairlight audio mixer supports 80 channels of de-embedded audio from SDI, plus 64 channels via MADI in. Talkback functionality is available via the 5-pin XLR on the front of the unit, or the RJ12 connector on the back.


The ATEM Constellation 8K features the following built-in capabilities:

16 upstream keyers in Ultra HD, 4 in 8K supporting chroma, linear, and luma keying4 downstream keyers in Ultra HD, 2 in 8K.16 advanced chroma keyers in Ultra HD, 4 in 8KTalkback communication is supportedMix-minus is supportedThere are 4 transition keyers (Stinger/DVE)Supports up to 28 layers in UHD and 7 layers in 8K21 pattern generators are available in Ultra HD, while only 9 are available in 8KSupport for 2 color generators4 DVE with 3D borders and drop shadow are supported in Ultra HD; one is supported in 8KControl is via front push-button switching with illuminated buttons, software, or an optional hardware panel.64 routable windows in Ultra HD, and 16 in 8KTally support (red for program, green for preview)

ATEM Software Control Panel

The included ATEM Software Control Panel provides control over the switcher. Featuring a well-designed interface with a visual switcher and parameter palettes for making quick adjustments, the ATEM Software Control also lets you access camera control, audio mixing, media, macro programming, and even control of HyperDeck disk recorders.

Built-In Fairlight Audio Mixer

The ATEM Constellation features a built-in Fairlight audio mixer that makes it possible to do extremely complex live sound mixing. The internal mixer supports up to 156 channels. Eighty mixer channels are de-embedded from the SDI inputs, and each input channel features a high-quality 6-band parametric EQ and compressor, limiter, expander, and noise gate, as well as full panning. Extra channels for the analog input, talkback microphone, and media players are supported as well, and the audio mixing features can be controlled via the ATEM Software Control, a Mackie-compatible panel, or Fairlight Audio Console.

Advanced Keyers

The ATEM Constellation 8K features 16 ATEM Advanced Keyers for high-quality chroma or luminance keying. The chroma keyer features a color picker to sample background colors for automatic generation of the key parameters. Precise controls for edge and flare are supported, and there is even a foreground color corrector, so you can match the "look" of the foreground layer to the background layer for making seamless compositions. The keyer can also be used for pattern and DVE keying. Then when you switch to 8K, you still get four independent full-resolution 8K ATEM Advanced Keyers.

Built-In Transitions

Built into the ATEM Constellation 8K is a variety of broadcast-quality 8K native transitions such as mix, dip, wipe, and more. All transitions can be customized by adjusting parameters such as their duration, border color, border width, position, and direction. Transitions are in full 8K native. Also included are DVE transitions, suitable for graphic wipes and stingers when used with the internal media players.

Media Pool

The built-in media pool stores broadcast-quality RGBA graphics and animations that can be played back instantly by the two media players. The media pool can hold up to 24 full-resolution 8K stills, or 64 Ultra HD or HD stills. Motion graphics clips for use in animations and stingers can be up to 100 8K RGBA frames, 400 frames in Ultra HD, or 1600 frames in 1080 HD.

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