Atem Automation Software

Apr 13, 2015

We’re always looking for ways to do more cool and weird stuff at Punch Drunk. Coming from a background in EDM and rave visuals, we’re big on cutting fast live shows and intertwining what’s happening in video with what’s happening on stage.

Edirol’s seminal V-4 video switcher rolled out BPM tap and automatic 2-bus switching in 2004, which was an absolute game-changer. You could setup rudimentary automation between two video buses, then go switch and manipulate the inputs while the sources changed to the beat.


Fast forward more than a decade and we’ve got Blackmagic Design leading the charge in affordable, professional-level video gear with an open ecosystem that invites us to build and innovate with their products and platforms.


Sven Gareis and the Telematique team opened the floodgates in 2013 with ofAtem, which is a module that brings Atem commands into several familiar environments. 

We used the wonderful work from the Telematique team and built our Atem Automation software that allows a user to use the Atem switcher in new ways totally unavailable with standard components, but completely non-destructively by communicating over TCP/IP with the Atem hardware.

Punch Drunk Labs’ Atem Automation (beta) has three primary features:

  1. MIDI hardware control 
  2. BPM control
  3. Audio control

Adjusting the BPM speed.

Atem Automation in use at SXSW 2016.


The MIDI hardware control works exclusively with the Native Instruments Traktor F1 controller (for now). We’ve mapped core functionality to this MIDI controller include PGM bus cutting of inputs 1-8, cut, auto-take, and assigning the preview input (which is done with a slider).


The BPM control allows you to tap a BPM, which then automatically switches between inputs designated on an input list. This could be only inputs 1 and 2, or inputs 1-2-3, or 1-2-4-6, or whatever configuration makes sense.


The audio control module takes incoming audio – either from the microphone or actual line-in – and generates a “cut” command based on the volume level. The volume level can be tweaked and arranged using a low pass filter and gain control to make the system totally reactive to something like voice, or configured to pull only the loudest “beats” out of what it hears.

Screenshot 2016-04-13 14.49.44

Låpsley on stage with Automation cutting the show.

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