August 9, 2019

Here's What Is Missing From the Blackmagic Update

Blackmagic Ultrastudio is the primarily method we use for monitoring true video images from Resolve, but one vital element still hasn't gotten an update.

If you want to accurately monitor your video image while you edit or color grade, you need a hardware converter that outputs a true video signal from your computer to hook up to a monitor.  You simply cannot accurate analyze video for color on a computer desktop.  While many companies make video output products, if you are working with Blackmagic Resolve software, you need to use Blackmagic Hardware to get that video signal out. It's one of the ways they make a living, since the software many use for color grading (Resolve) is of course available for free.

Along with their exciting release of the Blackmagic Pocket 6K, Blackmagic also released an all new UltraStudio 4K Mini.  This is an exciting little box, giving a host of input and output connections, including 4K over SDI, HDMI for consumer boxes, and even a microphone port with phantom power, all in a small little box running a single tiny Thunderbolt 3 cable to your computer.

Even cooler, the Thunderbolt 3 connection puts out 45watts, so if you have this on set connected to a laptop it can prevent your laptop from loosing power (though it doesn't put out the 85W you would need to charge a 15" Macbook Pro).

However, it's $995. Which is a great price point considering all the features it offers, but some of us still love putting together truly independent style rigs. There is the $500 Ultrastudio HD Mini, but that is still a bit footprint. For affordable and small, we used the Blackmagic Mini Monitor, which is only $145. For that price, the device lets you plug a thunderbolt cable in one side and get an SDI signal out the other in a convenient small  package. However, it's still only available Thunderbolt 2. That is the final hole we're waiting for Blackmagic to fill in the ecosystem, a Blackmagic Mini Monitor for Thunderbolt 3. If it did 4k that would rule, but even in plain old HD we think there would still be value.

Now, if they wanted to go really crazy and combine an UltraStudio 4K Mini and an eGPU into one a one-stop box that you account to your laptop for real mobile power, we wouldn't complain about that either. But that seems unlikely. The real surprise is that we still don't have a T3 Mini Monitor.

Available now.

Tech Specs:

SDI Video Inputs

1

SDI Video Outputs

2 x program out, 1 x loop out.

SDI Rates

270Mb, 1.5G, 3G, 6G, 12G.

Analog Video Inputs

Component YUV or Composite NTSC/PAL. Component is switchable between SD and HD.

Analog Audio Inputs

2 channels of professional balanced analog audio with 1/4 inch Jack connectors.

Analog Audio Outputs

2 channels of professional balanced analog audio with 1/4 inch Jack connectors.

SDI Audio Inputs

16 Channels embedded in SD/HD/2K/UHD/4K.

SDI Audio Outputs

16 Channels embedded in SD/HD/2K/UHD/4K.

HDMI 2.0b Video Inputs

1

HDMI 2.0b Video Outputs

1

HDMI Audio Inputs

8 Channels embedded in SD/HD/UHD/4K.

HDMI Audio Outputs

8 Channels embedded in SD/HD/UHD/4K.

Mic Input

1 x XLR microphone input. 48V Phantom Power switchable via software control.

Sync Input

Tri-Sync or Black Burst.

Device Control

Sony™ compatible RS-422 deck control port. Serial ports TxRx direction reversible under software control.

USB

1 x USB-C 3.1 Gen 1 (up to 5 Gb/s).

SD Card Reader

UHS-I and UHS-II compatible.

Computer Interface

Thunderbolt™ 3 (Mac OS, Windows and Linux) with 45W host charging capability.

Real Time Effects

DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro X internal effects. Premiere Pro CC Mercury Playback Engine effects. Avid Media Composer internal effects.

Colorspace Conversion

Hardware based real time.

3D Processing

Dual stream and frame packed capture and playback. 3D capture supported via HDMI input only.

Physical Installation

Requires a computer with a Thunderbolt™ 3 port. Please check support pages to see the full system requirements.     

Your Comment

14 Comments

*losing.

August 9, 2019 at 4:43PM

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Wow ! is it possible to live streaming with it ?
does the computer can recognize the signal to be use as webcam ?

August 9, 2019 at 10:48PM

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Multiflave
Director , Editor , Audio Engineer
195

No that's not what this device is. You are looking for the web presenter - https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/products/blackmagicwebpresenter

August 12, 2019 at 8:35AM

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There is absolutely no need for a T3 Mini Monitor HD. The one they sell works fine with a T3 to T2 adapter. T3 Mini Monitor 4k is, on the other hand, is long overdue. As for an eGPU/VideoIO combo, I am waiting for it since the first Multibridge.

August 10, 2019 at 12:24AM

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Misha Aranyshev
Film Editor
156

“If you want to accurately monitor your video image while you edit or color grade, you need a hardware converter that outputs a true video signal from your computer to hook up to a monitor. You simply cannot accurate analyze video for color on a computer desktop.”

I’ve never really understood why this is the case. I’m not doubting it’s true, but would love it if someone could explain the technical reason for this.

It seems ridiculous that you can spend $5k plus on getting the top Nvidia Quadro graphics cards but then you still need to spend at least $145 to get accurate colour out of your pc.

Can Nvidia / AMD not include this on the graphics card? Is the software limiting it? If so is that the individual app, or is it the OS?

August 10, 2019 at 2:39AM

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Richard Lewis
3D Specialist
180

I'll take a crack at it...computer graphics displays have whatever gamut and gamma that their manufacturer thinks looks most sexy. And computer display profiles fit within those to display whatever is most tasteful within that gamut and gamma. On the other hand, the video world has standardized on REC709 for HD and REC2020 for HDR, which are not the typical P3 or sRGB spaces of typical computer monitors.

Can you use Davinci Resolve to grade for P3? Yes. Does that make any sense in the world of professional video? No. Can you try to make a P3 display behave like a REC709 display? Yes, but it will poison so much of what makes the P3 display so beautiful in the first place.

And by the way, the $145 card is nothing compared to the $4,000-$50,000 monitor of a proper professional HD or HDR reference monitor.

August 10, 2019 at 11:24AM, Edited August 10, 11:24AM

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Rec 709 is close to sRGB and P3 is digital cinema gamut. It is not about "tastes". Video IO is traditionally not only "Out" but also "In". Neither AMD nor NVIDIA cares much about capturing video.

August 10, 2019 at 3:35PM

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Misha Aranyshev
Film Editor
156

Thanks for taking a crack, but that doesn’t really answer the question.

Let’s say I already have an HDR reference monitor. According to Nvidia, the Quadro graphics card that I have is capable of outputting a rec 2020 signal.

Why can’t Resolve (or Premiere, or others) send that rec 2020 signal from my Quadro directly to the reference monitor and provide an image accurate enough to analyse and grade. Why is extra hardware connected by T3 even required? Is there a technical reason, or are they just intentionally not allowing that to happen.

August 10, 2019 at 5:49PM

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Richard Lewis
3D Specialist
180

First. Nvidia needs to provide correct API for this functionality. Second, Blackmagic needs to assign a few programmers to make Resolve talk to this API. It doesn't make any financial sense for either company.

August 11, 2019 at 12:49AM

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Misha Aranyshev
Film Editor
156

To answer your question, yes you can get a quality reference image out of a GPU without a hardware box, but it requires a lot of know how about color management when it comes to the software/OS you are using. I'd recommend reading some of this if you want to learn more - https://jonnyelwyn.co.uk/film-and-video-editing/colour-management-for-vi...

August 12, 2019 at 8:52AM

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They can and they did. There were Quadros with SDI daughtercards for Autodesk Lustre. But it is more silicon and more lines of code for a tiny market.

August 10, 2019 at 3:31PM

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Misha Aranyshev
Film Editor
156

Richard, a little off topic but as someone who creates content for the Internet and maybe an occasional documentary, I shouldn’t need to worry about P3 correction..... right?

August 11, 2019 at 1:32AM

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J. Kohnke
Editor/VFX
79

I reference everything on my iphone since millions of people will most likely be watching what I create on a smartphone.

August 11, 2019 at 2:07AM

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Dantly Wyatt
Musical Comedy & Content Creator.
854

BMD has neglected many of their io products which still need to be updated to Thunderbolt 3 and HDMI 2.0

August 12, 2019 at 9:52AM

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