Blackmagic Design Workflow Used for MIXI’s In House Production and Streaming
Blackmagic Design today announced that Japanese social media service MIXI, Inc. is operating an in house streaming studio with a Blackmagic Design workflow. The company is taking on new initiatives, such as 4K streaming and virtual production, and uses a number of Blackmagic Design products in its studio, including digital film cameras, ATEM live production switchers, Smart Videohub routers, DeckLink 8K Pro capture cards, SmartView monitors, Teranex Mini converters, and more.
MIXI began operating in 2004 as a pioneer of social media in Japan. Since then, the company has had hits with smartphone games, such as “Monster Strike,” and is currently developing a wide range of businesses, including state controlled games and sports related businesses. The company has been using in house video production since very early on as a company, and in 2020 built a studio in conjunction with an office relocation.
In addition to regular live streaming, the new studio workflow can stream using Unreal Engine, supports 4K streaming and is used with two adjacent studios, main Studio One and Studio Two, for switching and compositing from the same control room.
Junpei Ochi, general manager of the Video Creative Office, Design Division of MIXI, explained, “Our in house video production began in 2014. It was right around the time when YouTube was starting to gain popularity, and we started to produce video content in house. Later, we built an in house studio and started live streaming, but at the time there was little information available, so we started by trial and error. When we moved to our current office, we decided to build a full fledged studio. We installed a lot of Blackmagic Design products, and we could get almost everything we wanted to do, including cameras and routers, from a single manufacturer.”
MIXI’s streaming work is mainly related to its popular smartphone games, while there is also other types of streaming content such as the company’s internal online events. In addition, as part of the company’s sports related business, it sometimes produces videos for the Chiba Jets, a professional basketball team, and FC Tokyo, a professional soccer team, with which they are affiliated.
Studio One runs an ATEM Mini Pro ISO live production switcher with Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K and Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 6K Pro digital film cameras, and Studio Two runs an ATEM Television Studio 4K Pro live production switcher with two Blackmagic Studio Camera 4K Pros.
“We use the ATEM switchers to do green screen compositing for regular streaming, and for streaming using the Unreal Engine, for which we handle compositing on the Unreal Engine side. All video related feeds are integrated into a Smart Videohub 40×40 12G-SDI router and then assigned to the DeckLinks on the PCs. The Studio One is used for casual content or used when the Studio Two isn’t available, or for shooting things during video production,” explained Yuhei Nogami, editor team leader of the Video Creative Office, who is in charge of live streaming and post production at the company.
Ochi added, “We use the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Cameras for both live streaming and video production. Because the footage shot on Pocket Cinema Camera is suited for color correction, the combination with the camera and DaVinci Resolve makes the footage look impressive.”
With its staff’s input, MIXI constantly updates its studio and tries new things. Kenji Tani, creative director of the Video Creative Office, who had experience using the Unreal Engine in his previous job, thought about using the Unreal Engine for live streaming, and added virtual production capabilities to the studio.
“Since new ideas come to us on a daily basis while we work, it’s like our studio is a work in progress all the time. It is never complete,” said Tani. “When I want to realize my ideas, there are few options other than Blackmagic Design where I can find all the equipment that I need in one place. I installed the DeckLink 8K Pros on the PCs for Unreal Engine because I found many people using DeckLink in my research of overseas virtual production cases.”
Tani continued, “Blackmagic products allow me to obtain the necessary performance with affordable prices. That means I can casually try if the products work for our studio. I wanted to use high resolution footage for Unreal Engine so I installed two Studio Camera 4K Pros. This way, I can change the size of the 4K footage within Unreal Engine without quality loss. Besides the compactness and affordability of the Studio Camera 4K Pro, I like that it allows me to connect everything with a single Ethernet cable.”
Nogami added, “Before live streaming, we are very busy taking care of performers and handling last minute requests. In the past, I had to go into the studio to change various camera settings and adjust zoom and focus, but now that we use Blackmagic products, I can make camera adjustments on the switcher from the control room, which is the most helpful aspect of using the system.”
“In house production is of course beneficial to the company in terms of cost, but the benefit is not just the cost. We understand what the company does deeply and can respond to any requests quickly, so we can keep the quality of our content high. The advantage of in house production is that we can not only technically produce video content, but we can also provide a lot of input to the content when shooting,” Ochi concluded.
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