Published on Monday, 16 February 2015


Blackmagic ATEM Switchers Go Live with Custom Macros

Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Switcher Update 6.3 adds a macro design tool used to coordinate and operate several different switcher functions instantly and in parallel, as a single operation. Because the macros users build are located within the switcher, they are available on each control panel, for all users.


To better control live event productions that may involve unexpected challenges, the new power macros, which are fairly simple to build, allow the user to predefine complicated setups comprising several dozen settings and to recall or animate complex scenes in real time. For example, if more keyers are needed for a complex production than the ones the switcher has built in, a macro could be created for each camera, chroma key and background combination.

Then the switcher operator can cut between each by triggering the required macros. The moment the macro is triggered, the layers and the key are set up and brought on line instantly. In some virtual set scenarios over a dozen camera views are possible, and each view can be handled by a separate macro, although the switcher itself doesn’t have a dozen separate chroma keys built in.


Macros make sure automated sequences are precisely timed actions and can include transitions between video sources, graphics, media pool assets, key effects, audio mixer adjustments, camera control settings. They can also incorporate time delays, allowing macros to be used to create animations over time, and automation for frequently used commands or creating complex sequences that would be impossible to achieve manually. Once created, macros can be recalled as a single command from any of the control panels.
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Custom macros can be built using either the ATEM software control on Mac and Windows computers, or directly on the ATEM 1 M/E and 2 M/E hardware control panels. They can also be copied for use across multiple panels at the same time, or saved as editable XML files to recall settings at another location or on another switcher. Macros can also include other macros as you create them, so extremely complicated sequences can be designed with scope for simple changes and finessing in the future.

ATEM Switcher Update 6.3 applies to the most recent Ultra HD ATEM Production Studio 4K models, the ATEM Television Studio and the older discontinued ATEM Production Switcher models. ATEM Switchers are available now.