Fremont, CA – May 20, 2019 – Blackmagic Design today announced that High School Nation is using Blackmagic Design’s URSA Mini Pro as their main cameras with the organization’s nationwide high school outreach program. The URSA Mini Pro cameras were recently used by High School Nation to film interviews at the NFL 2019 Pro Bowl and Major League Baseball’s 2019 Spring Training events.
High School Nation was founded in 2014 by Jimmy and Mike Cantillon when their efforts to help their younger sibling’s band find a place to perform evolved into a nationwide effort to support schools and young artists. “High School Nation set a goal early on to show teens there are thousands of unique career paths out there,” said Jimmy Cantillon. “We believe that once a student has had a taste of a career in a creative field, it can send them down a whole new path in life.”
Cantillon and his team have a unique ability to gain access for their students to what many see as the impossible; the group regularly takes student broadcasters to such illustrious events as the NFL Pro Bowl, NBA Summer League, MLB All-Star Week and more. But their beginnings were much simpler. At the start, HSN focused on radio broadcast by encouraging young, up and coming musical artists to stop by high school radio stations for an interview. Often this was followed by an on campus performance during lunch. From there, it seemed a logical extension to move into digital production.
HSN Videographer Ryan Slattery welcomed the upgrade to the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 4.6K, simply because it gave them professional options. “The footage quality is amazing. After shooting S-Log 3 for years, we found codec transition relatively smooth, but the 10-bit color depth is an important improvement. As a package, the URSA Mini Pro did give us an easier set up, by already having a monitor (with LUTS), having the XLR inputs, and the built in shoulder mount already in place,” said Slattery.
HSN’s first experience with the cameras was at the NFL Pro Bowl, and quickly Slattery found the practical flexibility of the cameras a great value. “They allowed us to shoot 60 fps at UHD, which is a huge improvement from our previous cameras which needed to be brought down to 1080 to capture 60fps. Another great improvement was the ability to plug XLR microphone cords directly into camera, rather into a separate audio recorder. The shoulder mount approach made sense in this application, rather than going with a monopod or stabilizer. Lastly, the color depth is incredible.”
Moving from DSLR technology into an URSA Mini Pro was a leap, but one that was welcome by HSN and the students, who had the opportunity to put the systems together and experience the setup as they prepared for their interviews. “They all commented, including the teachers, on how much better their on campus departments would be if they had access to gear like this,” said Cantillon. “They were blown away.”
High School Nation hopes to continue expand their programs, and intends to push further into digital production. “As more schools are wanting to introduce digital media, production classes and labs on campus, we saw an opportunity to play a role in helping make that a possibility for public schools nationwide,” said Cantillon. “We want to help schools start classes and eventually full departments that focus on these careers. We want to help them set themselves up for life after high school, and head off to college or careers with as much familiarity with new technologies and gear as someone who is in their mid late 20’s. Our goal is to start granting schools major production studios that their entire district can use for creating anything they can think up!”
But ultimately, HSN will always focus on giving back to the students, and providing experiences early on that might lead them into a positive career they love. The access to not only Blackmagic Design technology but also major athletes and performers is unique, but just like everything else, comes with a learning curve.
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.