For the details of the announcements, see my news report at the Digital Production BuZZ.
Among a blizzard of NAB announcements Blackmagic Design’s Ultrascope is another of Grant Petty’s breakthrough products. Grant has always had as his goal to bring down the price of truly professional tools without sacrificing quality.
Until now, HD monitoring has not kept pace with the drop in prices for other parts of the HD production workflow. The Ultrascope runs on commodity PC hardware (i.e. cheap) and a 24″ display to bring six SD or HD Waveform Monitors into a single display, for a total investment of around $2000. The bundle includes a DeckLink card and the Ultrascope software for $695: bring your own PC and monitor.
Like the VideoHub router, Ultrascope breaks through the price/performance barrier. All we can wish for now are future software updates that add Vectorscope and other scopes to the display. (All things in time I guess.)
The optical fiber support in HDLink and a new DeckLink card positions Blackmagic Design well for the “big iron plant” business. Optical Fiber is a little out of my league but it is becoming increasingly important in those large facilities and previously needed to be converted to HD-SDI before capture. The new card takes the conversion out of the picture for direct capture to anything offered.
While I didn’t mention it in the main press release, I was interested to notice that there is now Linux support for Blackmagic cards and their Media Player software. Linux is not widespread in the post industry except in the large facilities that would also be likely targets for VideoHub and optical fiber support.
Seems to me that Blackmagic Design are providing more and more for the higher end facility while maintaining low cost products for the wider production community. And that’s a good thing.