Fremont, CA – Blackmagic Design today announced that KABB Fox San Antonio Chief Meteorologist Alex Garcia is using a number of Blackmagic Design products, including an ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K live production switcher, to remotely broadcast and live stream weather segments for the nightly “Fox News at Nine” news program. As news stations continue to adjust to broadcasting’s new normal, the “Fox News at Nine” weather team has successfully pivoted to a workflow connecting its chief meteorologist from home to keep the program on air every night, delivering local news to its viewers at the high quality viewers expect.
KABB Fox San Antonio is a local television station covering news for the greater San Antonio, TX area. Garcia hosts three weather segments nightly for “Fox News at Nine,” covering the local temperature, rain and pollen and the ozone forecasts. In addition to his role at KABB Fox San Antonio, Garcia hosts Hurricane Center LIVE, an online weekly series that aims to help meteorologists and emergency teams prepare for hurricane season, which is also powered by a Blackmagic Design workflow.
Pivoting to meet the demands of social distancing and the new normal, Garcia quickly adjusted his “Fox News at Nine” workflow to begin broadcasting from home, relying on an ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K, ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel, Blackmagic Web Presenter and Micro Converters HDMI to SDI for his setup that also includes a green screen, several computers, microphones and three cameras.
“We were in an unprecedented situation where suddenly we had to be socially distant, while still maintaining weather coverage for our viewers at home without a noticeable drop in quality. Fortunately, I’ve managed to set up a studio in my living room with my Blackmagic Design gear doing much of the heavy lifting,” Garcia explained.
During the day, Garcia communicates with his team remotely to prepare talking points and weather graphics for the segments. When it’s showtime, Garcia runs a big part of the production by himself, live streaming his forecasts in real time to a minimal crew at the station to broadcast live.
“My workflow is very streamlined, especially for just one person at home. I utilize the ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K to do the chroma key for the show. Since I’m sending a completely prepared show to the station with the graphics already embedded in my feed, all they have to do is put me on air,” said Garcia. “During the show, I don’t have the ability to go to the ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K and switch live because I’m on camera, so I rely on the ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel, which I have next to me, to switch and cut scenes, dissolve and preview. At the same time, the output of the show is going to my Blackmagic Web Presenter and through to the station for a simultaneous live stream to our social media channels.”
Garcia continued, “I have a computer at home that is directly connected to the weather computers at the station to create my show. The output of the station’s computers is sent through a private stream, which is then converted using a Micro Converter HDMI to SDI and sent into the ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K for keying. This allows me to see what is being shown behind me on a monitor I’ve set up in my living room.”
In addition to the “Fox News at Nine” weather segments, Garcia produces Hurricane Center LIVE, an online weekly series that has replaced the National Tropical Weather Conference (NTWC), a five day convention organized by the Storm Science Network, Inc., where he serves as president and CEO. Annually hosted for broadcast meteorologists, corporate emergency directors and government emergency managers to prepare for hurricane season, Garcia and the team had to quickly pivot to a recurring online weekly series this year, which is also powered by Blackmagic Design.
“We knew that this was going to be a very active hurricane season, so it was crucial that we found a way to not cancel the conference, as it’s where all the broadcast meteorologists and emergency managers in more than 60 countries get their updates, including new products, new trends in hurricane forecasting and hurricane messaging,” he said.
“At the physical conference in the past, we used the ATEM Television Studio HD to switch what we were showing on screen, but this year, since we’re bringing everyone in virtually via Skype, Zoom or Google Meet, we use the ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K. Each participant comes in as a separate input into the ATEM 4 M/E Broadcast Studio 4K and since I have 4 M/Es to work with, I can build them into SuperSource, taking advantage of the picture in picture function. Additionally, I’m using a HyperDeck Studio Mini recorder for playback” he added.
“The past few months have brought significant change to the broadcast weather industry,” concluded Garcia. “With my Blackmagic Design gear, I have been able to continue sharing news with our viewers without skipping a beat. While the future is still unclear, we’re excited to see how our broadcasts will continue to evolve with our Blackmagic Design setup.”