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Blackmagic “ultra committed to Ultra HD”

Blackmagic Design will soon offer products covering most of the workflow in 4K versions, including camera, switcher, SSD recording, scopes, capture and playback cards. “You are seeing it across every segment of our product range. We are ultra committed to Ultra HD,” said Stuart Ashton, its director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Blackmagic Design will soon offer products covering most of the workflow in 4K versions, including camera, switcher, SSD recording, scopes, capture and playback cards. “You are seeing it across every segment of our product range. We are ultra committed to Ultra HD,” said Stuart Ashton, its director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (pictured with the new SmartScope Duo).

“We’re seeing a lot of interest in 4K. At the moment, Ultra HD production is something that limits you to live events and local broadcasts, but all of our 4K products also have HD, and you then have Ultra HD for when you need it. It allows people to make long-term decisions,” he added.

Up and Atem

“The Atem 1M/E was probably one of the biggest selling switchers, now [as the Atem 1M/E Production Studio 4K] it is half the size, has two more inputs (from eight up to ten), and is all 6G-SDI for Ultra HD. It’s also got a touch panel on the front so you can hard switch from the front panel, and it’s got the world’s first Ultra HD DVE, with pan tilt, rotate, and zoom. We’ve also increased the media player to 180 frames in Ultra HD, 700 in HD and 1,600 in SD, for lower thirds or backgrounds. And it costs €100 less than the last version at €1,895.”

Denmark’s first Ultra HD OB van built for a start-up, Nimb TV, is based around the Atem Production Studio 4K. The three-wheeler moped van is small enough to can be positioned at the heart of a live production.

It will be used for multi-camera Ultra HD production for broadcast, big screen events and live concerts. It has already been booked for the ‘boot camp’ section of the next season of Denmark’s version of The X Factor, which will use various locations across Copenhagen.

The Atem can handle SD, HD or 4K video sources from up to eight cameras, and it will be used with an Atem 1 M/E Production Panel for hardware control. Each input includes a frame synchronizer allowing the use of non-genlocked sources. There is also an HD down converted HD-SDI programme output for when the switcher is operating in Ultra HD, but a regular HD programme feed is required.

Nimb’s workflow also includes a HyperDeck Studio Pro SSD recorder, while capture and playback is handled by Blackmagic’s UltraStudio 4K. The team has also installed a Blackmagic Audio Monitor, with 6G-SDI video for Ultra HD video sources, to for high quality monitoring.

“We had come across the Blackmagic range of products at NAB and quickly realized that they would be able to deliver huge production power at an affordable cost,” explained Niels Borup, co founder, Nimb TV. “We now have the ability to work with a huge range of customers, from independent filmmakers to national broadcasters, and can offer flexible, reliable Ultra HD 4K production, wherever they want to film.”

4K in demand

Blackmagic expects to deliver its first 4K camera this month (October), and already has thousands of orders.

The €3,145 Blackmagic Production Camera 4K supports Ultra HD and 1080HD resolution capture at 23.98, 24, 25, 29.97 and 30 frames per second. It has a Super35mm sensor (with a global shutter), 12 stops of dynamic range, takes Canon EF-mount lenses, records compressed CinemaDNG 12-bit Raw and Apple ProRes 422 (HQ) to its built-in SSD recorder, and has a 6G-SDI output for live production.

“6G-SDI is making it a lot easier to use 4K, sending signals down a single cable is massive,” said Ashton.

The camera may not have the ergonomic controls people may be used to from higher-end broadcast cameras, but anyone who has used an iPhone will find the touch-screen controls on its 5-inch 800×480-pixel LCD fairly easy to navigate. The screen can also be used to enter metadata that is compatible with non-linear editing software such as Final Cut Pro.

Given that it also includes both Blackmagic’s UltraScope software for live scopes (via its built-in Thunderbolt connection) and the DaVinci Resolve colour grading software, the camera represents tremendous value for a 4K camera.

Wider Scope

Blackmagic’s €765 SmartScope Duo is also now 4K, with 6G-SDI inputs, and all of its scopes are Ultra HD, for extra detail and contrast. The dual rack monitor allows a range of broadcast accurate waveform monitoring on two 8-inch LCD screens of any SD, HD or Ultra HD video source.

It offers seven types of waveform display: waveform, vectorscope, RGB parade, YUV parade, histogram and an audio scope with 16 channels of SDI audio and audio phase meter. It also has three-colour tally lights for live broadcasts.

Its €1,525 Hyperdeck Studio Pro 2 recorder can also now do 4K recording and playback, using ProRes 4K, as well as offering more codecs, including ProRes LT (which can store about 24 hours of video on a 256GB solid state drive).

It has 6G-SDI and HDMI 4K connections, plus four-channel SDI in and out, a Thunderbolt connection, and various SDI, HDMI and analogue ports, including standard XLR connectors for audio and timecode.

Its Thunderbolt-equipped €755 UltraStudio 4K and the €785 Decklink 4K Extreme PCIe card can both now do simultaneous capture and playback, “so you can now take incoming video forward into Resolve live, process and grade, and output footage at the same time. You could effectively do a live grade with minimal delay,” said Ashton.

Resolve Live is part of Resolve 10, which is currently in public beta, “so we are still looking for bugs, but it will probably be a product before the end of the year,” he said.

Converted to 4K

Three important additions to its range of glue products are Blackmagic’s new 4K convertors, each costing €385, are also being released this month.

The Mini Converter SDI Multiplex 4K will convert from: Single Link to Dual and Quad Link SDI; Dual to Single and Quad; and Quad to Single and Dual. It can also do single 6G in to four other 6G outputs. It can also perform 4:4:4 Single Link and Dual Link 4:4:4 conversions.

The bidirectional Mini Converter Optical Fibre 4K will convert 6G-SDI to 6Gbps optical fibre, “so you can increase you distance from 50m to several kilometres.” The original Mini Converter Optical Fibre 3G-SDI model is now being reduced to €225 as a consequence.

There is also a Mini Converter SDI to HDMI 4K, which will convert 6G-SDI to HDMI 1.4. It has four SDI inputs that allow support for Ultra HD using a single link 6G-SDI, dual link 3G-SDI or quad link HD-SDI connections.

By David Fox