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Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design
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Blackmagic Design creates the world's highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and film restoration software for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries.

Blackmagic Design new HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR

On 8 April, Blackmagic Design announced HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR a new innovative broadcast deck with advanced H.265 8K recording combined with touch screen user interface and traditional broadcast deck controls. HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR will be available in June 2019 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

The new HyperDeck Extreme 8K HDR features the trusted reliability of HyperDeck combined with new innovations such as space saving H.265 files, optional internal cache, 3D LUTs, native 8K and HDR support. With the ability to record native 8K in H.265, customers get reduced storage costs and amazing image quality. The large touch screen ensures a perfect view of their recording as well as control over all deck settings. Customers can then add HyperDeck Extreme Control to transform it into a traditional broadcast deck. This means HyperDeck Extreme is the perfect solution for the next generation of broadcast, live production and digital signage.

HyperDeck Extreme has an innovative touch screen user interface with deck controls as well as a large screen to view their recording. Then add a HyperDeck Extreme Control for traditional broadcast deck controls and a large shuttle knob that feels incredibly luxurious to use. Customers can even rack mount the HyperDeck and the controller. HyperDeck Extreme also includes 2 media slots, Quad 12G-SDI for 8K, analogue connections for archiving, USB-C external disk recording, plus a front panel speaker and headphone jack. There’s also an optional cache that eliminates dropped frames if their media becomes full or is too slow. Both AC and DC power connections are also included for studio or on location use.

With its amazing versatility, HyperDeck Extreme is also great for live production as a master recorder, clip player and for recording ISO cameras. The analogue inputs allow customers to record from old video tapes, so legacy programming can be used on the latest streaming services or for use in editing. Digital signage in 8K is easy with HyperDeck Extreme as it has 10G Ethernet for fast media uploads, plus it features a simple remote control protocol. Customers can even use it as a field recorder as it includes HDMI, SDI and analogue inputs with built in scopes and 3D LUTs. The scopes also help customers QA masters to ensure compliance with broadcast standards before streaming and broadcast.

HyperDeck Extreme Control lets customers connect to legacy broadcast decks, set an in and an out point, then edit. Just add HyperDeck Extreme 8K and HyperDeck Extreme Control to each legacy deck to keep them all archiving constantly with just one operator. It’s even possible to edit across formats by using Teranex Express to convert tapes from SD to HD in one step. Customers can control a wide range of decks, including Digital Betacam, 1 inch C format, and Betacam SP.

The latest Quad Link 12G-SDI is included so it’s possible to record and playback in full resolution 8K for amazing quality. The SDI connections are multi-rate, so customers can use Quad Link 12G-SDI to get compatibility with other 8K products, or switch to SD, HD or Ultra HD using the single link 12G-SDI connection. To allow regular CFast cards to be recorded at high resolution 8K, HyperDeck Extreme uses modern H.265 files for 8K recording and playback. This means HyperDeck Extreme 8K is perfect for connecting to the latest 8K televisions and projectors.

The innovative touch LCD user interface provides incredible control. On screen, there are dedicated buttons for play, stop and record, plus a mini timeline for scrolling through their recordings. Customers can even image swipe to jog. The LCD includes a heads up display of timecode, video standard, media status as well as audio meters. Scopes can be enabled via the touch screen as well as focus and exposure assist. There’s also an extensive range of settings all controlled from the large LCD. Plus customers can load and save 3D LUTs. Customers also get direct buttons for transport control, enabling the 3D LUT and remote enable.

HyperDeck Extreme Control extends their HyperDeck Extreme to add traditional broadcast deck controls. It works like a traditional broadcast deck with a familiar layout. Customers can control up to 8 decks via industry standard RS-422 control. Customers can even rack mount to the HyperDeck Extreme to create a single “broadcast deck” unit. Because it uses standard RS-422, customers can control old broadcast decks and perform edits using set in and out points. That’s perfect for archiving work. Plus customers can even edit between frame rates if standards converting between formats.

Blackmagic Design announces new ATEM Constellation

Blackmagic Design has announced ATEM Constellation 8K a major new high-end live production switcher with 8K capability that lets customers create content for the next generation of the television industry. ATEM Constellation 8K is available immediately from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

The ATEM Constellation 8K will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design stand at NAB 2019.

The new ATEM Constellation 8K is an Ultra HD live production switcher with so many features, customers can combine them all to make an incredibly powerful 8K switcher. Customers get 4 M/Es, 40 x 12G-SDI inputs, 24 x 12G-SDI aux outputs, 4 DVEs, 16 Keyers, 4 media players, 4 multi viewers, 2 SuperSource and standards conversion on every SDI input. Then when switched to 8K, all these features combine to make a powerful 8K switcher.

ATEM Constellation 8K features a compact 2RU rack mount design with a built in control panel. This allows operation of the switcher, critical during setup or for emergency use. Also included is a large LCD so customers can see program output and change switcher settings via on screen menus. Although only 2RU size, the rear of the switcher has a massive 40 x 12G-SDI inputs, 24 x 12G-SDI aux outputs, plus balanced audio, Ethernet, RS-422 control and MADI digital audio extra inputs to the internal Fairlight audio mixer.

With a built in control panel, customers can simply walk up and take full control of ATEM Constellation at any time. Customers get incredible power with both PGM/PVW or cut-bus style operation. The buttons are the same premium type used on full sized panels, and allow control of transitions, upstream/downstream keyers, media players and fade to black. But users are never limited, as the LCD menus also allow every single operational feature of the switcher to be accessed.

Customers get 40 independent 12G-SDI inputs, with each input featuring its own dedicated up and cross converter. That means it’s possible to convert 1080p and Ultra HD sources to stunning 8K to use them in their 8K programs. When used in HD or Ultra HD, customers can connect up to 40 different sources in all formats up to 2160p60. When running 8K formats, connect 10 Quad Link 12G-SDI 8K sources in all formats up to 4320p60.

ATEM Constellation 8K features 24 independently routable 12G-SDI outputs that can be fully customised. All of these outputs are similar to aux outputs, however they’re more powerful because customers can route any external SDI input and all internal sources to any of these 12G-SDI outputs. All 12G-SDI outputs contain embedded program audio, plus customers get mix minus support, RP-188 embedded timecode, SDI camera control, tally and talkback.

The built in multi views let customers monitor multiple sources in a single monitor. Customers get 4 independent multiview outputs that can each be individually customised or transformed into a single full resolution 8K multiview when customers switch to 8K. Plus all external inputs and all internal sources can be routed to any view. Plus each multiview can be independently set to 4, 7, 10, 13 or 16 simultaneous views. Each view also has on screen status including a custom label, VU meters and tally.

ATEM Constellation 8K includes a wide range of broadcast quality 8K native transitions such as mix, dip, wipe, and more. All transitions can be customised by adjusting parameters such as their duration, border colour, border width, position and direction. Transitions are even fully 8K native. Customers also get exciting DVE transitions, perfect for graphic wipes and even stingers when used with the internal media players.

To keep crews working as a single creative team, ATEM Constellation features built in talkback. Talkback supports a front 5 pin XLR headset connector, as well as a rear RJ12 talkback expansion connector for interfacing with industry standard systems such as ClearCom or RTS. Customers get full talkback control including program and engineering loops, sidetone control for hearing the headset mic into the headphones and program mix. ATEM Constellation also supports SDI talkback that uses SDI channels 15 and 16 for 2-way communication with Blackmagic Design cameras. Customers can even use channels 13 and 14 for engineering talkback.

The built in media pool stores broadcast quality RGBA graphics and animations that can be played back instantly by the two media players. For the highest quality, the media pool can hold up to 24 full resolution 8K stills, or 64 Ultra HD or HD stills. Motion graphics clips for use in animations and stingers can be up to 100 8K RGBA frames, 400 frames in Ultra HD or a massive 1,600 frames in 1080HD.

For news or virtual set work, the ATEM Constellation is the perfect choice as it features 16 ATEM Advanced Keyers for high quality chroma or luminance keying. The chroma keyer is incredibly powerful and features a colour picker to sample background colours for automatic generation of the key parameters. Customers get precise controls for edge and flare, and there is even a foreground colour corrector so customers can match the “look” of the foreground layer to the background layer making seamless compositions possible. The keyer can also be used for pattern and DVE keying allowing incredible versatility. Then when customers switch to 8K, customers still get four independent full resolution 8K ATEM Advanced Keyers.

With a built in Fairlight audio mixer, the ATEM Constellation makes it possible to do extremely complex live sound mixing. The internal mixer features a massive 156 channels, for the biggest audio mixer in a live production switcher. 80 mixer channels are de-embedded from the SDI inputs, while an extra 64 audio channels are input via MADI in. Each input channel features the highest quality 6 band parametric EQ and compressor, limiter, expander and noise gate as well as full panning. Customers get extra channels for the analog input, talkback microphone and media players. All this audio power can be controlled via the ATEM Software Control, a Mackie compatible panel or Fairlight Audio Console.

The ATEM Software Control Panel gives customers total control over their switcher and is included free. ATEM Software Control Panel features a beautifully designed interface with a visual switcher and parameter palettes for making quick adjustments. The ATEM Software Control also lets customers access camera control, audio mixing, media, macro programming and even control of HyperDeck disk recorders. Customers can even save the full state of the switcher as XML files, plus all media is backed up from the media pool.

Unlike other switchers, all features are included in the purchase price. That means customers get all features fully enabled and always ready for use. There are no license fees to allow customers to use features and no ongoing monthly costs. This means users will never experience a license expiry five minutes before their program starts. Advanced features such as multi view, SuperSource, DVEs or the ATEM Advanced Keyers are always enabled and always ready to use.

“This switcher is so incredibly big that we think customers will love it, even if they don’t need to do 8K production,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “The ATEM Constellation 8K will help our customers handle more complex jobs and put more cameras into scenes than ever before possible. It’s very exciting!”

ATEM Constellation 8K Features

  • HD and Ultra HD switcher can be switched to 8K.
  • Advanced design with built in front panel controls.
  • Large 40 standards converted 12G-SDI inputs.
  • 24 customizable 12G-SDI outputs.
  • Supports all ATEM hardware and software control panels.
  • Includes 4 Ultra HD multiview with multiple layout options.
  • Includes DVE and stinger transitions.
  • Includes 4 Ultra HD DVEs that combine into an 8K DVE.
  • Professional talkback compatible with ClearCom and RTS.
  • Internal media for stills and motion graphics.
  • Includes new ATEM Advanced Chroma Key in 8K.
  • Multi rate 12G-SDI for HD, Ultra HD and native 8K.
  • Built in 156 channel Fairlight audio mixer.
  • Includes free software control panel.
  • Compatible with all ATEM hardware control panels.
  • Supports Blackmagic Design studio camera with SDI control.
  • All features are included with no extra customer costs.

 

Homebrew Films: Keeping ahead of the curve with Blackmagic Design

For the 40-strong team at Homebrew Films, no two work days are ever the same. The production company, based at Cape Town’s Atlantic Studios, delivers a huge variety of high-quality content, from stunning wildlife documentaries, to studio-based soap operas and lifestyle magazine shows filmed in front of live audiences.

Now a new, Ultra HD studio infrastructure – built around a broadcast workflow featuring Blackmagic Design equipment – is allowing the team to not only evolve and future-proof its broadcast programming, but also to expand into the world of corporate production.

“This modern studio solution opens up an opportunity that we’ve always wanted to explore, and places us in a very competitive segment of the market at a very affordable cost,” begins Chris Gardner, Homebrew’s technical studio director.

When Gardner started to scope out the new infrastructure, his main requirements were for a system that could be assembled and configured quickly, and for a solution that would allow Homebrew to have a technical advantage over the rest of the market.

“Although our broadcasters are not yet accepting Ultra HD 4K, it made sense to get ahead of the curve, so that we can meet their content needs now and in the future,” Gardner continues. “And the beauty is that at the same time, we can use the 4K functionality in our studio system for live streaming and events, so our clients can have the best possible experience for video production.”

Gardner explains that Homebrew’s studio acquisition relies on six URSA Broadcast cameras paired with Canon KJ20 x 8.2 BIRSE HD b4 optics; four positions are mounted on pedestals with two positions being jib- and tripod-mounted respectively. The latter provides a locked-off shot that can be moved easily.

“We produce a large amount of content for local television channels, including Tussen Ons, an all-female Afrikaans version of The View, and a local affairs talk show called Kwela, and all of these require multi-cam set-ups that are flexible,” he explains.

“For shading we rely on a pair of ATEM Camera Control Panels, alongside the ATEM Camera Control software, and an ATEM Talkback Converter provides our operators with return, tally, comms and control. That ensures we can communicate clearly and effectively with our operators as to what shots the director needs at any given time during a production.”

Video with embedded audio is sent from the studio floor via SDI through to a Smart Videohub 40×40, which each camera channel ISO recorded to SSD using the HyperDeck Studio Pro. Those broadcast desks are also used for VT playback and prerecorded content, while an UltraStudio 4K I/O box is used to generate a fill and key output from RGB graphics and animations or Photoshop. All of this feeds into the central production desk, where an ATEM 4M/E Broadcast Studio 4K with ATEM 1 M/E Advanced Panel is used to produce the live programme mix.

“When we need to stream content to social media sites, for example for the Facebook series Capetona Live and LCA Spark Talks, we simply take the programme feed from the ATEM through to a Blackmagic Web Presenter and then stream it via a laptop running OBS. It’s that simple to move between traditional broadcast and a live streaming workflow.”

“We’ve been incredibly impressed, not only by this flexibility, but also the ease of design and installation,” concludes Gardner. “To put it in perspective, it took two of us just four weeks to design, wire, install and deploy the system, and that includes building custom elements and racks.”

Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K user review

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

Written by Garth de Bruno Austin, documentary filmmaker

It was the beginning of August and I was in Perth when I nearly hit my ceiling with excitement, as I received an email from Blackmagic Design asking if I would consider making them a short video of my choice with the Pocket Cinema Camera 4K (Pocket 4K). With 13 stops of dynamic range, 4K recording, dual native ISO up to 25,600, a 5-inch touch screen, mini XLR inputs, full size HDMI, C-fast cars and external SSD recording for only $1,295 USD (including the full DaVinci Resolve Studio License) – I couldn’t actually believe it! I had three days to film my short video called The Colour of Light, before I had to fly back to South Africa to continue filming for a documentary I’ve been working on. The timeline was tight, but there really is no better way to learn about a camera other than to put it through its paces!

It was late afternoon, two days before filming was to begin, when I received a call to say the Pocket 4K would be delayed at Australian customs. Anxiety set in – with production planned to start on a short film, where we would be using what seemed to be the rarest camera in the world, it was a mad rush to organise flights across the country to their headquarters in Melbourne to pick up a pre-production Pocket 4K quickly and attempt to make it back to Perth in time. Fortunately, I did make it and – with three hours to spare before shooting began – I finally managed to put my head down so I could doze off for a quick two-hour sleep.

Functionality, Dual Native ISO & Battery Life

For obvious reasons, there was a lot of hype around the Pocket 4K – and with my production process already being deeply embedded within the Blackmagic ecosystem, it was hard to avoid getting caught up in it all. But to really understand what this camera was capable (or not capable) of, I needed to put the hype aside and focus on using it in the real world. Luckily for me, the menu system is identical to my URSA Mini Pro. This made it very familiar when starting the camera up for the first time.

This first day of shooting for my short film was going to be challenging. The set was indoors but only lit with a workers-light from my local hardware store and an LED light. That meant the lighting was very harsh! My plan was to cast the shadow of my subject Steve Brown onto the canvas that he was painting for us. I then set up the small LED light behind him to give a hint of fill from the side. Now for the moment of truth: would the camera blow out and crush the shadows like most other small DSLR-type cameras? Blackmagic have said this camera has 13 stops of DR and a really good highlight roll-off. I set the camera to ISO 400, looked at the histogram and realised I could push it to 800 ISO – exposure was good, but there was quite a bit of noise in such a dark room.

Before I received the camera, I had a quick chat with some of the tech team at Blackmagic, who explained that with the dual native ISO it will be noisy at the top end of the first part of the sensor’s circuitry but any noise should mostly disappear when you hit 1250 ISO. I tested this and sure enough, the image was bright but the noise vanished! To make certain that the image was clean, I used the zoom function on the large touch screen, moved around the image and concluded that there definitely wasn’t any noise at 1250 ISO.

I had made sure that I started filming with a battery that was 100 per cent charged, but was surprised when it died only 30 minutes into filming. I swapped batteries and put another LP-E6 battery in, this time a generic, and it only lasted just shy of 25 minutes. With both of my batteries on charge, I borrowed a third LP-E6 battery from my photographer and was back in business. Luckily, we could take breaks in between filming to charge the batteries, but I quickly realised that to get the most out of this camera, I would need to look at an external battery solution to keep the filming schedule running smoothly.

Small But Powerful

For the past year and half I have been filming with Blackmagic’s URSA Mini Pro. So, for the second day of filming, it was a dramatic change in filming style moving from a heavy shoulder-mounted camera to one that was so light (the Pocket 4K only weighs 720 grams).

I borrowed a Smallrig shoulder mount from my friend and behind-the-scenes cameraman, John Sullivan, who fortunately had a V-lock battery with a D-Tap cable that could power the Pocket 4K. This, paired with my Edelkrone follow focus and the Panasonic MFT 12-25mm f2/8 lens, was a great run and gun setup – best of all, the entire rig could easily fit in my Lowepro Whistler backpack.

It was early morning and we set off into the Australian bush to film a photographer friend of mine called Shaun Atherstone from Dear Rabbit Photography. The idea was to film him documentary-style while he was capturing images using a smoke machine in the early morning light. Usually, constant ND changes are needed with smaller mirrorless or DSLR cameras, but with the Pocket 4K’s dynamic range and dual native ISO, the sun only caught me off guard a couple of times as the piercing rays hit the billowing pure white smoke. I also found myself straining to see the image on the screen because of the glare; however, I’m hoping to fix this with a small sun hood.

Another often-overlooked aspect of most cameras is their ability to record internal audio. The majority of camera companies seem to have internal audio as an afterthought, but with the Pocket 4K that is certainly not the case. With two internal microphones on either side of the lens mount, the internal audio captured is arguably the best I’ve ever heard from any camera that I’ve owned – it was so good that I ended up using it as the audio for the short film!

Another great little feature is that you can choose to record separate channels from each internal microphone so that you’re able to get an amazing stereo effect. Still, if you prefer to use other microphones, there is the option to choose between the 3.5mm stereo jack or the mini XLR audio input with phantom power.

Using Gimbals & Filming at Night

Filming at night on a gimbal brought on a whole new set of challenges for the Pocket 4K. Our first evening shoot was centred around recording two dancers in Perth’s CBD. When filming in cities with the URSA Mini Pro, I was used to people looking, and especially the police asking for permits – so I was curious to see how the general public would react to the Pocket 4K on a DJI Ronin S. Fortunately, no one batted an eyelid and the whole scene went almost unnoticed!

I had a great time using the pocket 4K on the DJI Ronin S, and from someone that is used to only getting smooth cinema-quality footage from a camera dolly or heavy Steadicam, it was fantastic to get the same results from a piece of equipment that was so portable. However, it did take some time to balance the Pocket 4K, as we had to use a small adjustable base plate to help centre the camera.

The next night, I again used the DJI Ronin S but this time swapped out the Panasonic 12-35mm f/2.8 for the Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 with the Metabones speed booster 0.71 ultra. I found that the Sigma was easier to use as the focus happened faster and internally, so it wasn’t constantly tipping the gimbal off balance. When filming my friend, Darian Bradara, who agreed to be the actor for the night, I was able to get some shots that completely took my breath away, and once I felt quite confident with the gimbal, I decided that I would track Darian from the car to where he overlooks the Perth skyline at 35mm with f/1.2. This meant my focal plain was incredibly small and my margin for error even smaller, and that is where the large bright screen and green focus assist dots made it easy to keep at the right distance.

How the Pocket 4K Will Fit into My Workflow

The day after I finished filming I was on the plane back to South Africa and I ended up cutting the entire short film on my old 2015 Apple MacBook in DaVinci Resolve. The only reason that was possible was because I had shot the entire project in ProRes and – apart from a few RAW clips that slowed me down – I managed to film, edit and grade the entire project in 6 days.

The small design and incredibly powerful features and capabilities of this camera make it a great choice for filmmakers when stepping into the world of manual cinema cameras. However, it’s certainly not the perfect camera for every situation, and you will need to factor in the money that will need to be invested into a quality kit to get the most out of this little beast. But, for me, this camera has changed what I thought was possible from such a compact design. Yes, I’ll need to carry around quite a few extra batteries, but besides that downside, I’ve really enjoyed using it alongside my URSA Mini Pro and can barely tell the difference when editing the footage side by side. At the end of the day, the Pocket 4K has become an essential part of my filmmaking toolkit and I look forward to using it on film projects in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

Blackmagic Design announces DaVinci Resolve 15.2

Blackmagic Design has announced DaVinci Resolve 15.2, a major update to its editing, colour correction, visual effects and professional audio post production software. DaVinci Resolve 15.2 has been designed based on feedback from professional customers around the world. It includes over 30 new features that simplify and streamline everyday tasks so editors, colourists and sound engineers can work even faster. DaVinci Resolve 15.2 is available for immediate download from the Blackmagic Design website.

The editing timeline in DaVinci Resolve 15.2 draws at a higher frame rate which makes editing and trimming feel faster, more responsive and more fluid than ever. In addition, new animations have been added so clips slide in and out of position, making it easier to see exactly how different edits affect other clips in the timeline.

Visual dup detection lets customers see when the same clip has been used more than once. In addition, clips displayed in the bin now display usage indicators for the current active timeline. White vertical lines highlight the currently marked portion of a clip, while red horizontal lines show which frames are used. The timeline can also be cleaned up by flattening down unused clips, and timecode entry has been simplified throughout the application.

DaVinci Resolve 15.2 also adds features that make pancake editing, which is the editing of clips between multiple timelines, much easier and faster than before. Timelines or compound clips can now be loaded into the source viewer and edited into the current timeline in their decomposed state. Most importantly, editors can tap the X key to instantly mark a clip in the source timeline and edit that clip directly into the active program timeline.

The inspector, on-screen controls and metadata viewer on the Edit page now automatically update to show the relevant information for the highest visible clip under the playhead. That means customers no longer have to manually select a clip to change a parameter.

Keyboard customisation has been completely redesigned in DaVinci Resolve 15.2. The new visual interface lets editors quickly see which keys are in use and assign shortcuts. The included keyboard sets emulate other popular editing applications, making it easier for editors switching to DaVinci Resolve. Keyboard sets can be shared between systems and shortcuts can now be assigned to different pages and user interface panels within the application. Shortcuts can even be assigned to commands in contextual pop-up menus. New highlights make it easier to see which portion of the interface is active so customers know which keyboard shortcuts they can use.

DaVinci Resolve 15.2 also includes new ResolveFX plugins. The Blanking Fill plugin automatically fills black letterbox or pillar box areas of the screen with defocused video. This makes it easier to use vertical video or photos in standard widescreen timelines because customers no longer have to manually create a background. The new Beauty plugin is designed to gently and realistically smooth textures and blemishes on skin and other surfaces. Colourists will also find new plugins for ACES transformations and limiting gamut. In addition, colourists can now bypass mixer node inputs by turning off connected nodes and can export gallery stills with custom label names.

The Fairlight page includes dozens of refinements along with new FairlightFX plugins that make fixing common problems and mastering final audio faster and easier than before. The new Stereo Fix plugin features presets for the most common channel mapping operations so clips can be fixed with a single click. This lets customers quickly fix problems such as dual-channel mono dialogue that was edited in stereo tracks.

The new Multi-band compressor features realtime spectral analysis and four different independently adjustable frequency bands. This lets customers achieve the desired overall volume without creating artifacts when mastering sound. The Fairlight page also adds new VCA groups for ganging channel strips together. This makes it possible to adjust the gain on multiple tracks simultaneously.

Since it was announced at NAB last April, Blackmagic Design engineers have been listening to feedback from professional customers around the world and have been working hard to add the features they need. Over 110 new features have been added to DaVinci Resolve since April.

“The momentum of DaVinci Resolve and the speed at which it’s being adopted is incredible,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “It’s exciting because many of the new features in DaVinci Resolve 15.2 are things that will make a difference to artists that use it each and every day. This is a massive release that customers are going to love!”

 

DaVinci Resolve v15 – reviewed

SCREEN AFRICA EXCLUSIVE:

Written by Daniëlle Nel, editor/post workflow consultant.

Working as an editor and post workflow consultant for everything from Tomb Raider to National Geographic wildlife documentaries, I’ve certainly dabbled in Resolve in the past: I’ve known about it as a colour correction tool since version 9. In all honesty, though, I never paid too much attention to it until version 12 a few years ago. This was when Blackmagic Design added an editing page to the software. For the first time, I could see the possibility of it going from well-known colour correction tool into a fully-fledged nonlinear editor. The fact that this was also a piece of software that was free to download (even for commercial projects) made it attractive to many.

With version 15, which was first announced at NAB this year, Blackmagic have improved the nonlinear editing toolset even further. This year, I was in the middle of an edit on a feature length documentary when the producer gave the instruction to move the project from Avid Media Composer to Resolve 15.

MY EXPERIENCE

We moved over to 15 and relinked to the original media, most of which was ProRes 422/4444. In total, we had 280hrs of initial rushes that we had to edit down into a 93-minute documentary using a 12 core Mac Pro ‘trashcan’ with 64gb of RAM and an AMD FirePro D700 graphics card and Drobo 5D3. It was a pretty challenging project!

At first, I had my reservations about moving to v15 as it was still in beta when we first began the transfer, but I needn’t have worried. We didn’t even have one crash the whole way through the edit. We kept the standard of procedures as we did for Media Composer by keeping the project in reels. This gave us the ability to work on each reel independently and also we found that 20-30min timelines worked better to allow us real-time playback. It was only at the end that we ‘stitched’ all the reels together into one long 93min.

With other NLEs, I typically had to wait up to half an hour in the morning just for the project to load, but thanks to Resolve 15’s new video playback engine with GPU optimisation I’d open the project, and would be ready to start cutting and trimming in minutes, even with 4K CinemaDNG raw material. At no point was I yearning for a particular tool inside Resolve, I felt at home editing on this NLE. I also found an amazing shortcut – Command Y – which selects everything in the timeline to the right of the playhead! This was such a timesaver – especially when we started intercutting scenes.  I also quite enjoyed the option to have the Data-Burn ins on during editing and it did not slow down the machine.

The main issue I had with it was that sometimes I had to select a clip to use the trimming functions but this has since then been fixed as it was a beta niggle. Another problem I experienced was that while getting the project as an AAF out to Pro Tools for final mix was possible in theory, the preset for Pro Tools didn’t do the trick as it also outputs video and doesn’t link up so I instead had to use a manual custom setting.

Overall though, I’m truly pleased with my first experience editing in DaVinci Resolve and am very much looking forward to seeing how this piece of software keeps on improving for the future.

NEW FEATURES

Blackmagic have added quite a few interesting new features in the v15 release, not all of which I was able to test on my editing for the wildlife documentary. It looks like Blackmagic are really pushing to have DaVinci Resolve become four applications in one, allowing users to edit, grade, complete audio using Fairlight, and create visual effects using Fusion without having to round-trip to another piece of software.

In version 15, their standalone Fusion compositing and visual effects software has now been integrated as a new page in DaVinci Resolve, which is ideal for editors who would like to add effects or do some quick green screen keying work.

The Fairlight audio tab also has an update with over 300 new features and improvements. The editing page now features new tabbed and stacked timelines, the ability to add on-screen annotations, subtitle tools and more. For colourists, Blackmagic have added a new LUT browser to quickly preview and apply LUTs, as well as over 20 new ResolveFX filters that make it easy to remove dust, fix dead pixels, and more. There is also a face enhancement tool that automatically recognises and tracks facial features to brighten eyes, smooth skin, and even change lip colour.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, I was very impressed with DaVinci Resolve v15, both while testing it on the documentary and when looking at the new features. Keep in mind, Resolve, even as a free version, is a fully capable NLE. I personally feel with the inclusion of Fairlight and Fusion, and the constant improvements to Editing and Colour, this is the future.

 

Blackmagic Design announces advanced new Blackmagic Raw codec

Blackmagic Design recently announced the public beta of Blackmagic Raw, a new and very modern codec that combines the quality and benefits of Raw with the ease of use, speed and file sizes of traditional video formats. Blackmagic Raw is a more intelligent format that gives customers stunning images, incredible performance, cross platform support and a free developer SDK.

The Blackmagic Raw public beta will be demonstrated on the Blackmagic Design IBC 2018 booth at #7.B45. Customers can download the public beta for use with URSA Mini Pro cameras via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update. In addition, DaVinci Resolve 15.1 Update, which includes support for Blackmagic Raw, is also available free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website.

Blackmagic Raw has been in development for years and is a next generation hybrid codec that features multiple new technologies such as an advanced de-mosaic algorithm, extensive metadata support, highly optimised GPU and CPU accelerated processing and more. It can be used from acquisition throughout post production for editing and colour grading, all from a single file.

Traditional Raw codecs have large file sizes and are processor intensive, making them hard to work with. Video file formats are faster, but suffer quality problems due to the use of 4:2:2 video filters that reduce colour resolution. Blackmagic Raw solves these problems with an intelligent design that moves part of the de-mosaic process into the camera where it can be hardware accelerated by the camera itself. This results in incredibly efficient encoding that gives customers the same quality, bit depth, dynamic range and controls as Raw, but with much better performance and smaller file sizes than most popular video codecs. Because the processor intensive partial de-mosaic is done by the camera hardware, software such as DaVinci Resolve doesn’t have to do as much work decoding the files. In addition, GPU and CPU acceleration make decoding of frames incredibly fast, so you get extremely smooth performance for editing and grading.

Blackmagic Raw is much more than a simple Raw container format. Its intelligent design actually understands the camera and the sensor. This means the image data, along with the unique characteristics of the image sensor, are encoded and saved into the Blackmagic RAW file, giving customers much better image quality, even at higher compression settings, as well as total control over features such as ISO, white balance, exposure, contrast, saturation and more.

In addition, Blackmagic Raw uses Blackmagic Design Generation 4 Colour Science for superior imaging that results in reproducing extremely accurate skin tones and gorgeous, lifelike colorus that rival those of cameras costing tens of thousands of dollars more. Images are encoded using a custom non-linear 12-bit space designed to provide the maximum amount of colour data and dynamic range.

Blackmagic Raw also makes it easy for any software developer to access all this technology. The free developer SDK lets any third party software application add Blackmagic Raw support on Mac, Windows and Linux. The Blackmagic Raw developer SDK automatically handles the embedded sensor profile metadata, along with Blackmagic Design colour science, for predictable and accurate image rendering that yields consistent colour throughout the entire pipeline.

Blackmagic Raw features two types of file compression. Customers can choose either constant quality or constant bitrate encoding options, depending on the kind of work they are doing. This lets them prioritise image quality or file size. Constant quality uses variable bitrate encoding so complex frames are encoded at higher data rates to preserve detail and maintain the highest possible quality. Blackmagic Raw Q0 has minimum quantisation and yields the highest quality, while Blackmagic Raw Q5 uses moderate quantisation for more efficient encoding and a smaller file size. Blackmagic RAW 3:1, 5:1, 8:1 and 12:1 use constant bitrate encoding to give customers the best possible images with predictable and consistent file sizes. The ratios are based on the unprocessed file size of a single frame from the camera’s sensor, making it easy to understand the relative amount of compression being used.

The pristine camera native quality of Blackmagic Raw Q0 and 3:1 are perfect for effects heavy feature film and commercial work. Blackmagic Raw Q5 and 5:1 are extremely high quality making them great for episodic television and independent films. Blackmagic Raw 8:1 and 12:1 offer high quality and speed, making it suitable for productions that wouldn’t normally consider shooting Raw. Now, more customers than ever will be able to use high quality Raw images in an incredibly efficient way that was impossible before.

“Blackmagic Raw could entirely change the workflow going from camera through post production,” said Kees Van Oostrum, director of Photography and president of the American Society of Cinematographers. “A superb image quality, fine detail and incredibly small file sizes could possibly make Blackmagic Raw the go-to format for filmmakers. It will be an important change for post because the editorial team can work with the camera original files, which are fast enough to use for everyday editing. That means less confusion in regards to creative choices I make at the camera. The images can now travel throughout the entire workflow because we’re shooting, editing and grading with the same files! Blackmagic Raw could be a game changer in the way films, television shows and commercials are made.”

Blackmagic Raw dramatically simplifies and speeds up post production workflows. DaVinci Resolve 15.1, which was also released on 14 September, includes full support for Blackmagic Raw. The performance of Blackmagic Raw is much faster in DaVinci Resolve than any other Raw format. This makes editing, colour correction and visual effects incredibly fast. In addition, working with single files instead of folders full of still image sequences greatly simplifies media management. When the Raw settings are changed in DaVinci Resolve, a .sidecar file can be generated or updated if one already exists. When opened in other software applications that support Blackmagic Raw, the .sidecar file, which contains the Raw settings made in DaVinci Resolve, will be automatically used to display the image. If the .sidecar file is removed then the file will be displayed using the embedded metadata instead. This innovative new workflow gives customers a non-destructive way to change Raw settings while working between different applications.

Featuring a fully scalable design and completely modern CPU and GPU acceleration, Blackmagic Raw is optimised for AVX, AVX2 and SSE4.1 enabled processors, multi-threaded, works across multiple CPU cores and is GPU accelerated with support for Apple Metal, CUDA and OpenCL. Frame decoding and image processing is extremely fast, making it super smooth for editing, colour correction and visual effects in DaVinci Resolve. Another benefit of media being stored as single files, and not image sequences, is it makes media management easier and file copying much faster.

The free Blackmagic Raw Developer SDK is available on Mac OS, Windows and Linux. This SDK takes care of all the work for developers, so adding support for Blackmagic Raw to third party software applications is easy and fast. Developers get access to GPU and CPU accelerated algorithms for decoding files, along with unique information about the camera’s image sensor so their applications can accurately decode and display the files. The SDK features highly descriptive and flexible metadata options designed to support today’s modern workflows. Metadata is embedded directly in the .braw file or it can be stored in a .sidecar file. Metadata is important because it contains the Raw settings along with information for the slate, iris, focus, focal length, white balance and a lot more. The metadata in .sidecar files can be used on top of the embedded metadata without overwriting it. Blackmagic Raw also supports frame based metadata so customers can access values, such as focus distance, that often change on a frame by frame basis.

“Blackmagic Raw is the world’s only truly modern, high performance, professional RAW codec that is open, cross platform and free,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It’s exciting because customers can get the visually lossless image quality of Raw with the speed of traditional video workflows. Best of all, there are no hidden licenses or ongoing fees. Blackmagic Raw has been designed to provide the industry with an open, elegant and standardised high quality image format that can be used across products and in customer workflows absolutely free!”

Availability and Price

Blackmagic Raw is available as a public beta via the Blackmagic Camera 6.0 Beta Update for URSA Mini Pro. The final release of Blackmagic Raw is expected to ship in several weeks’ time once further testing is complete.

The DaVinci Resolve 15.1 Update, which features support for Blackmagic Raw, has also been released and can be downloaded from the Blackmagic Design website.

Blackmagic Design delivers news production hub for The Motorsport Network

Blackmagic Design recently announced that The Motorsport Network, a multi-platform news network, has installed the first in a series of greenscreen television studios, built around Ultimatte 12 compositing processors, Ultimatte Smart Remote 4 and URSA Mini 4K.

The network, which provides original news, highlights and analysis for motorsports fans across the globe, needed a production hub that could not only deliver bespoke, original content for Motorsport TV, as well as its online and social media channels, but also act as a blueprint for further studios throughout its global outlets.

Designed by JAM Creative Consultancy, the compact studio is housed within Motorsport Network’s offices, to allow easy access for journalists, experts and engineers to participate in the various segments. “In order to achieve the look and feel of a large scale, professional broadcast studio within a very restrictive office environment, greenscreen and virtual elements were essential elements in our studio blueprint,” explains Julian Okines, executive producer at JAM Creative Consultancy

The team chose Ultimatte for its superior keying quality and control to ensure programme output was as authentic as possible and worked with integrator Broadcast & Production Services (UK) Ltd to implement the solution.

“Because the operating space is so small, it created an almost impossible environment for realistic keying, so we had to make sure we had the right system in place,” continues Mark O’Leary, JAM’s creative director. “Using the Ultimatte Smart Remote gives us total control over our keys, so we can refine and adjust edges in real time during a live production to ensure complete realism.”

Each of the three Ultimatte 12 processors are paired with an URSA Mini 4K, delivering a central wide shot, and left and right tight angles on the talent. Backdrops created by JAM’s in-house graphics team are combined with regularly updated b-roll of the Motorsport Network’s production office to give a insight into the busy newsroom environment, and played back on a series of HyperDeck Studio Pro broadcast decks.

Ultimatte’s layering features are also used to enhance the foreground of the set. “We have additional lights in the studio, which can add spill, so we use additive blends in Ultimatte to blend the light seamlessly onto people’s skin as a flare in the foreground,” explains O’Leary.

The studio feeds are taken into an ATEM Television Studio Pro HD, which allows for live keying and live vision mixing from a single console. “Not only does this save huge amounts of time in post, it also allows the presenters to see the studio environment in real time, so they can interact with the graphics in a very natural and intuitive way,” he adds.

Okines concludes: “Although VR backgrounds are now industry standard in television news production, we have been incredibly impressed at how Ultimatte 12’s technology has advanced to a point where the transition between the physical and virtual worlds is seamless.”

Blackmagic Design announces DaVinci Resolve 15 is now shipping

Blackmagic Design has announced that the full release of DaVinci Resolve 15, its professional editing, visual effects, motion graphics, colour correction and audio post-production software, is now available as a free download from the Blackmagic Design website.

Blackmagic Design would like to thank the customers that participated in the beta, tested the software in a wide variety of workflows, reported bugs and have helped make DaVinci Resolve 15 even more reliable. The excellent feedback and strong community has been a critically important part of the development process. Blackmagic Design is grateful to have such a large and talented group of people that care deeply about making DaVinci Resolve the world’s most powerful post-production solution.

DaVinci Resolve 15 is a massive update that fully integrates visual effects and motion graphics, making it the world’s first solution to combine professional offline and online editing, colour correction, audio post-production, multi-user collaboration and now visual effects together in one software tool. DaVinci Resolve 15 adds an entirely new Fusion page with over 250 tools for compositing, paint, particles, animated titles and more. In addition, DaVinci Resolve 15 includes a major update to Fairlight audio, along with over 300 new features and improvements that professional editors and colourists have asked for.

DaVinci Resolve 15 continues to revolutionise post-production by combining four extremely high end applications as different pages in one single piece of software. The edit page has all of the tools professional editors need for both offline and online editing, the colour page features the world’s most advanced colour correction tools, the Fairlight audio page is designed specifically for audio post-production, and the new Fusion page gives visual effects and motion graphics artists everything they need to create feature film quality effects and animations. All it takes is a single click to instantly move between editing, colour, effects and audio.

This gives individual users unlimited creative flexibility because they can learn and explore different toolsets. It also enables collaboration so people with different talents can work together on the same project at the same time. Because of these new features, DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio was awarded the prestigious 2018 Engineering Excellence Award by the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA). The awards are designed to highlight outstanding technical and creative ingenuity in media and content production. DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio is the only system that lets editors, colourists, visual effects artists, and audio engineers all work in the same project at the same time.

The DaVinci Resolve 15 collaborative workflow dramatically speeds up post-production because customers no longer need to import, export or translate projects between different software applications, and work no longer needs to be conformed when changes are made. Everything is in the same software application.

The free version of DaVinci Resolve 15 can be used for professional work and has more features than virtually every other paid application for post-production. DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio, which adds multi-user collaboration, 3D, VR, dozens of additional filters and effects, unlimited network rendering and other advanced features such as temporal and spatial noise reduction, is available to own for US$299. There are no annual subscription fees or on-going licensing costs. DaVinci Resolve 15 Studio costs less than all other cloud based software subscriptions and it does not require an internet connection once the software has been activated. That means customers don’t have to worry about losing work in the middle of a job if there is no internet connection.

“The public beta of DaVinci Resolve 15 has been download more than any other release, customers have provided incredible feedback, and more high end editors are adopting it faster than ever before,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Customers get an incredibly mature and fast set of editing and trimming tools that rivals all other systems, the world’s most advanced colour correction tools, a completely integrated digital audio workstation, and now Fusion visual effects and motion graphics. It’s unlike any other software out there and is redefining professional multi-user workflows in Hollywood and around the world! Now teams of editors, colourists, sound engineers and VFX artists can all collaborate and work together on the same project at the same time, all in the same software application!”

New features added since NAB 2018 include:

  • Improved performance when rendering H.264 clips.
  • Clip names can be added as part of a window burn.
  • Added support for HTML text formatting in subtitles.
  • Added support for 2D and 3D title templates.
  • Subclip extents can now be changed from the Edit timeline.
  • Dynamic Trim icon has been added to the toolbar with slip and slide indicators.
  • Audio automation data can now be edited on Fairlight page.
  • FairlightFX now include presets and customers can now create their own.
  • Sound libraries can now be created using DaVinci Resolve disk databases.
  • Initial ResolveFX and OpenFX plugin support has been added to the Fusion page.
  • New bypass Color and Fusion effects button has been added to all pages.
  • Fusion compositions can now be copied and applied to additional clips.
  • MediaIn nodes now let customers modify trim and media properties.
  • Saver nodes have been added to the Fusion page.
  • Clip level blanking output is now supported on the Color page.
  • Nodes can now be assigned custom colours on the Color page.
  • Compositing images with transparency has been improved.
  • Optical flow performance has been dramatically improved.
  • DCTL support has been extended and now supports ResolveFX.
  • On-screen control for OpenFX and ResolveFX are now more responsive.
  • Added support for encoding CEA-708 closed captions in MXF OP1a clips.
  • Added support for encoding EXR clips with alpha channels.
  • Added support for importing audio clip levels from AAF imports.
  • New French and Portuguese language localisation.
  • Improved codec and format listing on the Deliver page.
  • Simultaneous monitoring of SDR and HDR for DolbyVisionTM and HDR10+.
  • New support for importing audio only AAF timelines.
  • New support for Final Cut Pro X XML version 1.8.

Availability and Price

DaVinci Resolve 15 is available today as a free download from the Blackmagic Design website for all current DaVinci Resolve and DaVinci Resolve Studio customers. DaVinci Resolve Studio is available for $299 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

Blackmagic Design and Apple collaborate on new eGPU

Blackmagic Design recently announced the Blackmagic eGPU, a high performance graphics processor for pro creative software such as DaVinci Resolve, 3D games and VR. Designed in collaboration with Apple, the Blackmagic eGPU features a built-in Radeon Pro 580, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, HDMI 2.0, 85W of charging power and four USB 3.1 connections. It comes in an integrated design that brings high-end desktop class graphics processing to MacBook Pro for professional video workflows, 3D games and immersive VR. And, the Blackmagic eGPU is the first to support Thunderbolt 3 displays.

Designed to address the needs of professional video editors, Hollywood colourists and visual effects artists who need to remain mobile, but want the power of a desktop class GPU added to their MacBook Pro, the Blackmagic eGPU is incredibly flexible and simply plugs in via Thunderbolt 3, so users can benefit from improved graphics performance and acceleration of computational tasks. It’s perfect for speeding up professional creative application workflows including editing, colour correction and visual effects with DaVinci Resolve. The Blackmagic eGPU adds the performance customers need to make the latest 3D games and VR look more realistic than ever. That means customers will get higher resolution images, higher frame rate gameplay, better lighting and more detailed textures for truly immersive experiences, even on a laptop computer.

Featuring an elegant, textured finish design, Blackmagic eGPU is extruded from a single piece of aluminum and features a unique thermal cooling system that’s been designed to perfectly balance the airflow and dissipate heat more efficiently. The cooling system also enables extremely quiet operation as low as 18dB, vital for those working in video production and audio engineering environments.

The Blackmagic eGPU features a Radeon Pro 580 graphics processor that delivers stunning graphics and incredible computational performance. You get 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, 256-bit memory bandwidth and 36 discreet compute units for up to 5.5 teraflops of processing power. The Radeon Pro 580 can fill a massive 38.4 billion textured pixels per second! In addition, the Blackmagic eGPU supports Metal graphics technology from Apple, which provides near-direct access to the GPU for maximising graphics and compute performance with games and applications.

Customers running DaVinci Resolve 15 can expect increased performance for editing with more real time effects, colour corrections with more nodes and spectacular ResolveFX such as film grain, light rays, blurs and more. DaVinci Resolve 15 also fully supports multiple GPUs, as well as Metal, so it’s the best way to get the full benefit of the Blackmagic eGPU. Customers can download DaVinci Resolve 15 now free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website for the best editing, colour correction, audio post and visual effects solution available.

In addition to graphics and computational acceleration, the Blackmagic eGPU is also the perfect docking hub for connecting devices such as keyboards, mice, Thunderbolt monitors, big screen HDMI televisions, high speed storage and more. It features two 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 connections, a built-in 4 port USB hub and HDMI which supports 4K output. Plus, the connections are ergonomically spaced, making it easy to connect and disconnect peripherals.

When it comes to power, the Blackmagic eGPU has a massive built-in power supply that powers the GPU while also providing 85W of downstream power via Thunderbolt 3 for charging laptop computers and powering peripherals. The power supply works from 100V to 240V and features a standard IEC power connector so it can be used anywhere in the world.

“The Blackmagic eGPU is the world’s first eGPU designed specifically for accelerating professional video workflows with DaVinci Resolve,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “It also adds the performance customers need for truly immersive, more realistic looking 3D game and VR experiences. Best of all, the Blackmagic eGPU gives you desktop class graphics performance on a laptop computer!”

The Blackmagic eGPU is available now for US$699 exclusively from the Apple store and selected Apple retail outlets worldwide.

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