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Open Media Foundation Helps Denver Open Media

and the City of Cortez, CO Achieve Greater Transparency and Accessibility with Blackmagic Design

While Open Media Foundation (OMF) regularly juggles a number of projects, they all encompass the same mission of putting the power of media into the hands of the people. The Denver, CO-based media and technology nonprofit organization is dedicated to enabling everyone to engage in their community, empowering underserved and underrepresented communities through media and technology.

"We have a dozen or so projects going at OMF, and two the largest rely on Blackmagic Design," said Tony Shawcross, Executive Director, Open Media Foundation.

Doing More with Less
The first project is Denver Open Media (DOM), a public access television and radio station with three television channels on Comcast and three on CenturyLink, plus one FM radio station. DOM's master control room is powered by Blackmagic Design's SmartScope Duo 4K monitor, Audio Monitor, Smart Videohub 20x20 router and OpenGear converters. Its Studio A and B each use a HyperDeck Studio Pro broadcast deck for high-quality master recordings, and Studio A also uses additional Blackmagic Design gear, including three SmartView Duo monitors and a Videohub Master Control.

SmartScope Duo 4K monitor

Smart Videohub 20x20 router


"The master control workflow uses some of the OpenGear converters to process the video signals coming in from various sources to be routed into the Videohub," explained Ann Theis, Open Media Foundation's Station Director. "The router is synced with our broadcast server and is scheduled to switch automatically as the programming schedule dictates for each of our three channels. We also use one of the outputs to feed audio to our FM radio station. Then we use the Audio Monitor, SmartView Duos and SmartScope Duo 4K for quality control of the content before it goes out to an OpenGear converter for signal distribution to various outputs, such as our live streaming devices and the Comcast and CenturyLink modulators for transmission to the cable company headends."

"As a nonprofit, you have to do more with less," said Shawcross. "We've always been interested in cutting-edge technology and new approaches, so we aren't spending ten times as much to accomplish our goals. Blackmagic Design innovates in a way that makes professional gear accessible to people it wouldn't otherwise be available to. We've always seen Blackmagic Design as an innovator."

Transparent and Accessible Government
Open.Media, another OMF project, is a SaaS solution for government transparency and accessibility. The service is bundled with the Blackmagic Web Presenter, a product that gained OMF's attention for its ability to cost-effectively enable clients to livestream and archive video. The Web Presenter makes any SDI or HDMI video source appear as a USB webcam for higher quality web streaming, using software such as Skype or streaming platforms such as YouTube Live, Facebook Live,, Periscope and more.

Shawcross explained, "Open.Media makes government proceedings more transparent and accessible by streaming and archiving video of meetings with time-stamped agendas. Users can easily navigate to the parts of a meeting that are most relevant to them. Automated transcriptions and smart search tools let users find any issue discussed, providing a whole new level of accessibility, and the service is free for small governments with populations of 5,000 and fewer." 

One early adopter of Open.Media is the City of Cortez, CO. While the city was filming its council meetings, it lacked an in-house, streamlined process to make the meetings available to the general public. The City of Cortez would record its sessions to a switcher, then export the files to its local PEG station, which would subsequently upload the files to YouTube, making them available days after the fact. By inserting a Web Presenter and the Open.Media SaaS solution into its workflow, the City of Cortez itself can now stream live directly to YouTube, removing the need to export the files, send them to the PEG station and re-upload to YouTube after the fact. Additionally, with the Open.Media SaaS solution, the City of Cortez can easily archive and make meetings searchable and shareable online. 

"Open.Media gives us incredible transparency and flexibility in accessing our own records as well as sharing them with the public," said Rick Smith, General Services Director, City of Cortez. "The service has greatly enhanced our council meetings, and we plan on using it for candidate forums, public addresses and more."

"From a hardware standpoint, it cost less than $500 for the City of Cortez to increase its level of transparency using the Web Presenter," said Shawcross. "More and more local governments are following their lead. Any of the 100,000+ small governments in the U.S., or even other markets like HOAs, Boards and Commissions, etc., could adopt emerging tools like our Open.Media SaaS and the Web Presenter to expand transparency and engagement."

About the Open Media Foundation
The Open Media Foundation (OMF) is an innovative media and technology nonprofit organization dedicated to putting the power of the media in the hands of the people, enabling everyone to engage in their community and bring about the change they wish to see in the world. Based in Denver, CO, OMF provides affordable, high-end media and technology services exclusively to nonprofit and public sector clients, also offering training and tools that enable underserved and underrepresented communities to shape public awareness and public policy.

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