NAB: Blackmagic updates, intros pro video products

Blackmagic Design has updated the software that powers its professional video capture hardware for Macs and PCs, and introduced new hardware aimed at the professional video market. New to Blackmagic's lineup is the Multibridge family, a PCI Express-based bi-directional video converter. What's more, the company has updated the software that runs its DeckLink uncompressed video card, released a new software utility called FrameLink, and has updated its HDLink Monitoring Converter.

Multibridge

Multibridge is a bidirectional video converter that uses a breakout box that will debut this summer starting US$2,595. Multibridge can manage bi-directional analog video and audio conversion switching between High Definition (HD) and Standard Definition (SD) video, featuring 4:2:2 and Dual Link 4:4:4 video quality; full-resolution HD monitoring through DVI-D; uncompressed capture and playback; compatibility with QuickTime and more. The system is available in two configurations: Multbridge Extreme, suitable for limited-space installations, and the $3,495 Multibridge Studio, which adds extra audio connections, dubbing outputs and a sync generator.

Multibridge works natively through a PCI Express interface, available at least initially only for Windows PCs, since PCI Express hasn't yet made it to the Mac. Blackmagic offers a PCI Express bridge card to connect the Multibridge to a Power Mac G5 in the interim. Blackmagic noted that Multibridge supports Apple's Final Cut Pro 5, Shake, Adobe After Effects, Photoshop and other applications.

FrameLink

Blackmagic Design also announced FrameLink, a new free software utility for users of its DeckLink video card. FrameLink has been developed to simplify the use of QuickTime and AVI files in a workflow that is otherwise dependent on sequential frame animation displayed in DPX format. Any frame can be accessed by the user, with saved files stored back to the QuickTime or AVI movie file, all happening in the background.

In addition to support for uncompressed QuickTime and AVI, supported media formats include Blackmagic Design-compatible types like uncompressed 8 bit, uncompressed 10 bit 4:2:2 YUV and uncompressed RGB 4:4:4 10 bit. FrameLink will be available at no charge to all DeckLink users; it'll also be included in the DeckLink v5.0 software update and automatically installed. Blackmagic said that FrameLink is compatible with Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger."

DeckLink update

In related news, Blackmagic Design announced monday that the software that powers its DeckLink video capture card has been updated to v5.0. The new release is compatible with Apple's Final Cut Pro 5 software, and adds improvements for DI feature film workflow. The new update will be released when Final Cut Pro 5 is released, according to Blackmagic.

Support for Final Cut Pro 5 means that Decklink cards can now support HDV playback with up to 12 channels of audio HD capture and playback, support for mixed media formats in the time, and real-time effects in HD.

Decklink now supports custom gamma tables. Lift, gain and gamma adjustments can be applied directly to capture video, allowing gamma-encoded video to be removed during the capture process. Users can also use built-in preset gamma tables for Panasonic CineGamma, or gamma tables from industry-standard cameras. You can also manage color adjustments and correction during capture using 10-bit gamma tables.

HDLink v1.7

Blackmagic also announced the forthcoming release of HDLink v1.7, new software for its HD video monitoring and audio solution for Mac OS X and Windows. The software will be released at no charge the week following NAB 2005, according to Blackmagic.

HDLink 1.7 adds built-in lookup tables for Panasonic's Varicam and Grass Valley/Thompson Viper cameras. A "blue-only" mode useful for detecting noise and monitoring video hue. A new interlace simulation mode has been added and other improvements have been made as well.

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