Doug Johnson Productions Brings Events to Life With Blackmagic Design Live Production Workflow
Doug Johnson Productions is a video production company based in Northern Utah that started in 2016, specializing in producing, shooting, and streaming multi-camera live video for conferences, conventions, concerts, sports, and other local live events. The company also produces corporate videos, television commercials, and music videos. Doug Johnson started his career as a software developer, with a hobby of shooting video. He then started to take on smaller video projects before eventually making the official switch to a career in video. With a focus on value and a passion for high quality video, Doug set out to shake things up and start a video production company that could produce professional quality video that costs a fraction of what it used to.
One of Doug Johnson Productions’ recent accomplishments was completing a mobile production truck that has transformed the way the company operates. With seating for eight, the truck features numerous Blackmagic Design live production and broadcast products, including URSA Mini 4K, Micro Studio Camera 4K, ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K, ATEM Television Studio HD, HyperDeck Studio Mini, Smart Videohub 40×40, numerous Teranex Mini converters, and more. All of the equipment in the trailer supports video formats from Ultra HD down to SD (6G-SDI to SDI), and it can be set up and broadcasting in less than an hour.
Doing More With Less
Doug is the only full time employee at Doug Johnson Productions (DJP), but works closely with camera operator/colorist David Skousen and camera operator/sales and marketing expert Paul Green, both of whom he considers part of DJP. Doug credits his team’s amazing skills as well as the flexibility of the numerous Blackmagic Design products that he owns with making DJP what it is.
“We can run an entire event with just the three of us when need be, and have video coming out looking like something done with a crew more than twice our size,” said Doug. “The two of them will run two-four cameras inside a venue, and I’ll run two more cameras remotely from inside the trailer while acting as director and running audio. It isn’t always ideal to multitask like that, but the resulting videos look much better than you’d expect from a crew this size. When clients have budgets that allow, our crew can expand up to a dozen or more, but honestly the videos look amazing even with a small crew.”
Having known about Blackmagic Design for several years, Doug first began to purchase Blackmagic Design gear because of its affordability. Impressed with the products’ image quality as well, Doug now owns more than 100 Blackmagic Design products, and notes that he appreciates how the Blackmagic gear enables people who couldn’t afford more expensive products to acquire the gear and do exactly what they want to do with video.
“One thing that we had decided from the get-go was that if we’re going to all of this trouble to build a trailer, it has to support the latest technologies, so everything inside the trailer from recorders to switchers to monitors all supports 4K, and all cameras connect over fiber optic cables with distance capabilities measured in miles,” said Doug. “Because we wanted features like instant replay and graphics, we also upgraded to the ATEM 2 M/E Production Studio 4K, which can handle up to 20 video sources and output two independent, finished video feeds.”
Creating Efficiencies and Cutting Down Overhead
Some of the products Doug finds the most useful include fiber-based products such as the ATEM Camera Converter and ATEM Studio Converter.
“Our trailer sets us apart because we are able to bring it into an event and be up and running quickly,” said Doug. “We run a 12 channel fiber cable from our trailer into the venue, and we’re able to run 10 cameras at once, including tally, intercom, and all other communications. It’s easy to manipulate and keeps setup time super fast. This has made a huge difference in how the company works, and we’re able to do this because of the fiber products Blackmagic Design offers.”
One of the projects where the trailer has gotten the most use is called Reel Sessions, which helps rising artists get noticed by talent scouts and professional recruiters through raw, live music videos. Reel Sessions hires a recording studio for the day and brings in DJP to shoot a live-switched music video without any post processing, which is what music executives are looking for to assess musical talent. Doug notes that the ability to live switch on-site during events with a simple camera crew and the ability to deliver a finished video on the same day as an event are game changers.
Doug also creates custom software which has allowed him to streamline many of the tasks required to run the business.
“I created the software that generates graphics in real-time, another app to control PTZ cameras, and am presently working on an app to do instant slow-motion replay using the HyperDeck Studio products,” said Doug. “I’ve also got an app to control the ATEM switchers using the X-Keys controllers in the works, and another to control the Videohub products as well. I also created a website called lutmath.com that creates 3D LUTs that I can upload into the Teranex Mini SDI to HDMI or Mini Converter SDI to HDMI 6G. The site has a tool to color match two dissimilar cameras, and I use that with the Blackmagic Design Converters to make sure that every camera has a similar look to it in real-time.”
Doug also created a website called CrewAxis.com, which does scheduling for events, including helping to hire a crew, keep track of equipment, track potential sales leads, create quotations and invoices for clients, and keep tabs on company finances. He initially created it for internal use, but received enough interest from others to make it is own commercially-available website. The website was made public and within two weeks it was already in use by one of the largest airlines in the world to coordinate all of their A/V needs.
“With my website, as well as the fact that none of my crew besides me is truly full time, along with the fact that I can own all of the Blackmagic Design products that we have, my overhead is a lot lower than my competitors, so I can do better work for less for my clients.”
About Doug Johnson
Doug Johnson is the owner and lead engineer of Utah-based Doug Johnson Productions, a full service video production company specializing in producing, shooting, and streaming multi-camera live video for conferences, conventions, concerts, sporting, school, community, and more. Doug Johnson Productions is an expert at leveraging high quality, low cost solutions, passing these savings on to their customers. Their YouTube channel serves as an excellent educational resource for those working in the budget segment of the video production market, offering product reviews, how-tos and viewer Q&As.