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Blackmagic UltraScope PCI question

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John Cox
Blackmagic UltraScope PCI question
on Feb 22, 2012 at 12:29:26 am

First, I'm a prosumer and like to play with my toys. I have an upcocming project to ingest a lot of video media shot over the last 20 years.

My current setup includes custom build PC, Core i7 2600k CPU @ 5GHz, 32G RAM, Quadro 4000 and a 4-drive SAS SSD RAID0 array running @ 1000+MB read and write and I use PP5.5 and just started using Media Composer 6. (my wife's Mac has FCP X) I currently have twin Dell U2410 monitors running off the Quadro via displayports, leaving their HDMI inputs unused.

I have plans to ingest various kinds of media including VHS, VHSc, SVHS, SD and HDV material as well as some 5D MKii video with plans to get it all into 1080P projects.

I actually bought a Sono SVO-5800 deck last year with very low hours for the S/VHS-c tapes since it has component video out and balanced audio output. I also have a Sony HVR-M15N deck for the HDV/DVCAM/DV tapes, though some of the HDV is from a Canon XHA1 shot in 24F which I assume the Sony will not handle and I will have to use the camera itself as a playback deck for ingest.

Now the questions:

1. Which hardware to use for ingest? I will not need anything over HD for the time being so really don't need 2K+ or 3D capability. (I'm actually going to upgrade to a Canon 105 or 305 soon with a HyperDeck shuttle now that I see that it'll capture timecode, etc) I am leaning toward the Ultra Studio Pro USB 3.0 for ingest unless another option would be better.

2. I would also like to incorporate the UltraScope into the system. Could I convert the card's SDI to HDMI to use one of my monitors or would it be better to have a dedicated SDI monitor for color grading, etc via my NLE (or would stepping up to Davinci Resolve software and a control surface be preferable) Total hardware and software cost under about $10k isn't an issue.

3. Since the life of some of these tapes are already in question due to age, I am also considering the archive process before undertaking this project. Should I ingest everthing uncompressed and go from there or is that overkill for some of the VHS, SVHS media? Since I see no need to ever view in less than HD, should I upconvert everyting to HD to start with as well? I have 200 hours of tape and only want to do the ingest once, of course.

4. DV/HDV video. I've seen recommendations to output via component video and audio and letting the Ultra Studio Pro do it's work, as with the other analog video, and avoid taxing the NLEs with conforming the DV/HDV.

Thanks in advance for your gracious input.


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Aleksander Steffensen
Re: Blackmagic UltraScope PCI question
on Feb 22, 2012 at 10:57:06 am

2) The UltraScope PCI-E version has SDI loop through, so you should be able to loop it out to an SDI to HDMI converter, however I don't know how much delay this will introduce. Also, you cannot have a UltraScope card installed along with a BMD capture card, the drivers won't let you.

3) In my opinion, going uncompressed is a waste of disk space. If you are going uncompressed, at least use an 8-bit preset. I am not sure if ProRes LT is a viable option, someone else might have some input for you here.

4) This is the way I would do it, however I am not sure if it matters that much. While you would definitely benefit from recording the analogue feed while actually recording (not playing out from tape), the video on the tape is already compressed, and I am not sure if you will get any better quality with either option.

Aleksander Steffensen
Steffensen Multimedia


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