Grob Comedy Relies on Blackmagic Design for Video Production
Josh Grob is dead serious about comedy. It’s why he founded Grob Comedy, the definitive guide to comedy shows, comedians and comedy venues in New York City. While the website mainly helps fans keep track of their favorite comedians, as well as discover new ones, it also serves as a marketing platform for the comedians themselves.
“While I don’t perform myself, I’ve always loved going to comedy shows, and I wanted to create a destination where people can find their favorite local comedians,” explained Josh. “Highlighting local artists really helps get their names out there, and I help some of the comedians with marketing and improving their shows as well. One thing that quickly became apparent was the need to figure out how to get the right content in front of the right people, and video and live streaming were the obvious solutions.”
Not only does Grob Comedy feature clips from past shows, but it also live streams select shows, such as “Running Late Show with Scott Rogowsky,” which helps fans find their favorite comedians. It also helps the comedians build their audiences. “Bringing an audience to the comedians is more valuable than having them market to the masses. We are able to provide them with a targeted group of people who love their stuff, and they can leverage that,” said Josh.
A Professional and Mobile Solution
Just like he helps fans find their favorite comedians, Josh needed to find the perfect equipment to support his small, mobile and professional video and live streaming productions. “I needed something that was portable and light with a great interface. It had to be affordable, have all the inputs and outputs, as well as professional features. I’m not doing the comedians any favors if the resulting footage isn’t high quality and professional looking,” he noted.
After much research, Josh found everything he was looking for in Blackmagic Design’s ATEM Production Studio 4K live production switcher. At one RU in size, the rack mounted ATEM Production Studio 4K fits perfectly in Josh’s portable kit, which also houses a Blackmagic Design SmartView HD monitor.
“It’s important for me to have a mobile solution because I’m constantly traveling to shows and live streaming performances,” said Josh. “Another big factor were the ATEM’s audio inputs and XLR jacks because I needed to put audio mixes straight into the switcher for frame syncs.
“The great thing about the ATEM Production Studio 4K is that it’s portable and has all the professional features at an affordable cost. I get SD, HD and Ultra HD at an amazing price point,” he said.
While Josh is not producing Ultra HD content just yet, the ATEM Production Studio 4K’s 6G-SDI and HDMI 4K inputs support SD, HD or Ultra HD workflows, allowing Josh the flexibility to work in HD now and upgrade to Ultra HD when he is ready.
Delivering HD Video
During a typical live stream, Josh uses a stationary HDMI camera for wide angle shots of the crowd and two mobile SDI cameras for shots from a variety of angles around the venue. All three cameras feed into the ATEM via SDI, and the ATEM outputs the signal to the SmartView HD monitor. Josh also takes a house audio submix routed to stereo and into the ATEM.
With two cameramen and an assistant, Josh takes care of all the directing and cuts the footage in real time for the live stream, which also reduces time spent editing video on the backend. Using encoding software, the feed is streamed live to the platform of the comedians’ choosing, or they can use Josh’s proprietary streaming service.
“The SmartView HD is great because I can line up all my shots and use the ATEM Software Control running on my MacBook Pro laptop, which is connected via USB to the ATEM, for all the camera switching,” said Josh. “The software control panel increases mobility and saves costs because I can switch right from my laptop as I watch the monitor. I use overlays, titles, graphics and fades, which all really help enhance the video. It’s all about getting a nice clean HD video, and the ATEM delivers.”
Targeting a Niche Market
With up to six shows a month, Josh has his workflow down to a science. With setup averaging 30 minutes, he is in and out without wasting any time, and he can price his rates extremely competitively while delivering high quality web content.
“Professional quality web content is my niche. I’m not trying to compete with the huge networks. I’m introducing people and getting them hooked on local comedians, and in order to do so, you need a base level of content,” said Josh. “That’s not to say I don’t see some big names pass through. I’ve worked with Chris Elliot, David Cross and Andrew W.K. I have hundreds of hours of footage, so the content and demand are there, and Blackmagic Design helps me deliver.”