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Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?

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J. Tad Newberry
Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:05:58 am

It looks like my Blackmagic SP card has finally truly died (or maybe it's just the breakout cable?), but the only output i get from my computer through the card to my BetaSP deck yields a black and white scratchy picture on the monitor. This is all on my old G5, and i need a capture card for my Mac Pro (the Decklink won't go in the Mac Pro anyway), so gotta get something. MOST of my projects have been on HDV and XDCam, so i capture via firewire, so i need a card to capture and output to my BetaSP deck (UVW-1800). What are you guys liking these days, at least for those of you with a Mac Pro and a Beta deck? It looks like the choices are a Kona ($990) or the Decklink Studio ($295). Anything wrong with the Decklink Studio?

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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Aaron Neitz
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:04:07 am

Blackmagic makes a good product. We personally switched to all AJA products a couple years back - BM wasn't as "on it" with driver stability and they simply had too many models of cards. However I think the consensus is they're very solid now.

Now the Kona 3 has been out for how many years? And it's still the king of the hill. Bar none.



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walter biscardi
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 12:17:20 pm

If you have no need for 2k, and it sounds like you don't, then the Kona LHi is the way to go. Has the most flexibility and realtime conversion features out there of any products except the Kona 3.

Walter Biscardi, Jr.
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Credits include multiple Emmy, Telly, Aurora and Peabody Awards.
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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:07:52 pm

I have used both Kona and Decklink cards. Both cards deliver more or less what they advertise. Both work well and are reliable.

Buy the Kona.

Aja has better software. the control panel is easier to use and allows you to configure the card much faster and more easily. Plus, I get to decide which input or output I want to downconvert or upconvert, so it's not a mystery only to be solved by arbitrarily connecting, disconnecting and reconnecting until I accidentally find the one that works the way I want it to.

Aja TV is worth the price difference, alone. Why should I have to open up FCP every time I want to see something play out on my broadcast monitor?

And I really shouldn't have to look up my serial number every time I want to update my driver. If I didn't own the card, I really wouldn't need the driver now, would I?

And then there's the break out box. It seems like a little thing, only 1RU high, but in reality, it really saves you a lot of time and effort when you need to connect or disconnect anything. Why should I have to crawl around under a desk to do that? There's dustballs down there! And it doesn't get tangled!

And the ins and outs on the Aja are labeled. Which means that I don't need to consult the manual when I decide to rewire something.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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Herb Sevush
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 1:36:31 pm

If it were my $700 and the Decklink had all the features I needed, I'd save the money. Aja has better tech support and better features especially for up and down scaling, however the Decklink is a very solid product and if you don't need the other features, spend the money on more memory for your MacPro.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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gary adcock
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 2:25:30 pm

http://forums.creativecow.net/thread/8/1051804


Go kona....

gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Rafael Amador
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 3:13:46 pm

I think the same than Herb.
If your workflow is HDV/XDCAM > BetacamSP, the 'Decklink Studio" have everything you need.
Many things to do with 700 bucks.
rafael

http://www.nagavideo.com


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Chris Borjis
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:12:35 pm


Someone may someday bring you a 720P HD file they need a beta tape of.

only the Kona will do that right. :)



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Shane Ross
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:11:07 pm

[Chris Borjis] "Someone may someday bring you a 720P HD file they need a beta tape of.

only the Kona will do that right. :) "


Uh...gonna disagree with you there. I have a few colleagues that use Decklink cards and deal with HD and SD and the need to go from HD to SD all the time. They have no problems at all with the BMD cards, and the quality is great. Equal to what you get with AJA.

I would mention the Matrox MXO2, but that is the same prices as the Kona LHi...but another option on the table.

Still, BMD makes a fine product.

Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:35:47 pm

Thanks Shane, glad to hear it, because it looks like i'll be grabbing that Extreme 2 card shortly. Any thoughts on the 2 vs. the 3? I didn't see anything about the diffs (or even that the two versions exist!) on the BMD site. As long as i can get a card that will fit in my Mac Pro and talk (both ways!) to my UVW-1800 (at least until that deck completely turns into a boat anchor!), i will be a happy camper, and an even happier editor. Thanks again guys for the input.

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:46:35 pm

Dealer called back and says the $200 BMD Intensity Pro will give me all the bang for my buck that i'm looking for...things that make ya go "hmmmm". Anybody out there with an Intensity Pro story or two?

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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Shane Ross
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 5:47:13 pm

My buddy has the Decklink Extreme HD. He doesn't have the new stuff. He does national commercials and music videos...loves the card.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 10:30:55 pm

Oh my gosh...i just got the Extreme 2 installed...and i have the same problem! so now i'm guessing it is something in my UVW-1800...or MAYBE i have a bad cable somewhere,,,though all these are new ones today. Still getting great sound through the system, but the black and white and a bit shaky picture. OY VAY - FRUSTRATED TO THE MAX ! ! ! ! !

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:47:37 am

Oy...i'm loosing my mind. I think this is getting down to some bonehead thing on my part (as usual). Figuring it was my deck, since i had the exact same problem, i took it to my dealer's shop. The tech hooked it up to scopes, and it worked fine. Mind you, it wasn't hooked up to another BM card and FCP, but it recorded and played back video (in all colors). To check, i rented an 1800 of theirs, have hooked it. It's capturing fine, but now can't see ANYTHING on my monitor for playback. It's black! The newly captured video looks good on the canvas window. There must be some little creepy software thing i'm not clicking to make my picture go from my timeline to my monitor. Tried the "views" and resfreshing A/V devices. No luck. Hmmm. I'll trash FCP prefs and see if that might do it, then just try outputting off the timeline and see if i get anything. Really strange! Any other insight would be great...

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA? progress, but not there yet
on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:08:24 am

well, i trashed the prefs, and finally a picture on my monitor! the deck still says i'm not sending a signal, but i have the Y out from the Extreme card to the (upper left) ref in, and then did the loop from the upper right ref in to the Y input on the deck. this is how i hooked it up before and it always worked. any ideas? the Extreme monster cable (ultra short as it is! i had to buy every cable on it to extend the reach!) has a REF In cable, but it hasn't seemed to make any difference.

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA? progress, but not there yet
on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:48:14 pm

finally ouputted (4) Beta masters last night! ye haw! ended up pulling out Betacam CAMERA and running the video out of it to the ref in on the deck for sync. for some reason this time the loop thing wasn't working. any hoo, this set up allowed me to finish, played back the tapes and they look great. the only hitch now is (other than my gigantic boat anchor of a camera on the floor!) is that "non std ref" will occaisionally flash across the deck's screen, though it keeps chugging away. i know, i know...get a black burst generator, but then i always end up hearing of a solution where i don't need it.

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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Herb Sevush
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA? progress, but not there yet
on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:59:29 pm

Tad -

Yes the UVW is a pig and SONY intentionally crippled it in many ways, as they do with much of their industrial product line, in order to keep selling the high priced lines. The simplest solution is to get a cheap distribution amp and send your signal thru it and then to then to both the Beta input and the Beta Sync In. Don't need a camera for that.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA? progress, but not there yet
on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:32:22 pm

Thanks for the input Herb. It's a little sad how some of these threads end up getting taken over by bickering, so your post was appreciated even more this morning!

What's really baffling me is that the old "Y deck input looped to the ref in" worked with my last BMD card, but doesn't want work with this card. I was really hoping the loop would work so as to safe the additional expense (which i do realize is not much, when figuring all the time it would've saved me so far!), but also one more thing to plug in, and one more source of heat in the cave...er, uh, the "editing suite".

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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Chris Borjis
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:38:57 pm

[Shane Ross] "Uh...gonna disagree with you there. I have a few colleagues that use Decklink cards and deal with HD and SD and the need to go from HD to SD all the time. They have no problems at all with the BMD cards, and the quality is great. Equal to what you get with AJA."

when did black magic start doing hardware based 720p down conversion?

it always looks terrible on my multibridge extreme.

they won't give me a straight answer when I ask why it won't do it in hardware.




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Patrick Sheffield
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 11:56:38 pm

Hardware doesn't necessarily mean better, btw...

I've got a $99 box that converts between sizes and frame rates and it does not look great.

Compressor, OTOH, does an excellent job and it's all software.

Just my 2¢




Patrick



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gary adcock
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:40:45 am

[Patrick Sheffield] "I've got a $99 box that converts between sizes and frame rates and it does not look great. " "Hardware doesn't necessarily mean better, btw... "

A $99 box that creates content that looks like crap.

I would say you got what you paid for.




gary adcock
Studio37
HD & Film Consultation
Post and Production Workflows for the Digitally Inclined
Chicago, IL


http://library.creativecow.net/articles/adcock_gary/AJAIOHD.php




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Patrick Sheffield
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 2:38:10 pm

Well, it served it's purpose - viewing PAL stuff on an NTSC monitor...

But I wasn't recommending it - just pointing out that the holy grail of hardware conversion is a silly classification.



Patrick



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David Roth Weiss
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:27:20 pm

[gary adcock] "I would say you got what you paid for. "

Doesn't sound like a good deal to me even if Patrick got it for free.

David Roth Weiss
Director/Editor
David Weiss Productions, Inc.
Los Angeles

POST-PRODUCTION WITHOUT THE USUAL INSANITY ™


A forum host of Creative COW's Apple Final Cut Pro, Business & Marketing, Indie Film & Documentary, and Film History & Appreciations forums.


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Chris Borjis
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:46:49 pm

[Patrick Sheffield] "Compressor, OTOH, does an excellent job and it's all software."

Patrick for 1080i its ok, but 720P absolutely requires an excellent hardware
based system for sd down convert.

look at angles like a house roof. in HD 720P = nice and sharp angle.

downconverted with compressor = aliased and jaggy (even with best resize option)

downconverted with Aja Kona cards = hardly noticeable

downconverted with a Teranex - flawless.

the matrox mxo did a pretty decent job too btw.






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Herb Sevush
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 3:53:26 pm

Chris

"when did black magic start doing hardware based 720p down conversion?"

They've been doing it for years. With the older cards it's a setup in the Blackmagic control panel, processing tab, and it affects all the outputs. In the newer cards you can have simultaneous HD & SD playback.

Herb Sevush
Zebra Productions


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Chris Borjis
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:49:29 pm

[Herb Sevush] "They've been doing it for years. With the older cards it's a setup in the Blackmagic control panel, processing tab, and it affects all the outputs. In the newer cards you can have simultaneous HD & SD playback."

Herb, I have that with my multibridge extreme.

but its software only. BMD never replies to my questions of why its only doing
software down conversion on 720P. It's completely unacceptable to me.
Overall the image is ok, but look at any angles and you have aliasing. that doesn't cut it here at my post house.

I dunno, maybe the multibridge product isn't capable?



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Arnie Schlissel
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 5:42:15 am

I have used Decklink cards to lay 720P to digiBeta. Works just fine. I'd still pay more for a Kona, though.

Arnie

Post production is not an afterthought!
http://www.arniepix.com/


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 4:49:50 pm

Hey gurus, thanks so much for all your quick input on this. Called a local dealer this morning and he has (in-stock, on the premises!) a BM HD Extreme 2 for $800 which i think i'll go get since time is of the essence, or i could also get an HD Extreme 3 for $950, or order a Decklink Studio for $700, but it looks like the Extremes have quite a few more bells and whistles...though i THINK i really need is the Studio. No word from my other dealer as to whether he wants to talk me into an AJA or what they might have on hand. Thanks again. Any good stories about the Extreme cards? 2 or 3? or even what is the diff between the two?

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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Steve Oakley
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 3, 2009 at 6:53:29 pm

I'm not sure you've looked at the matrox mini or MXO2 then... the mini is $450 and will do what you need, plus a keyspan USB 422 adaptor. the mini will work on a laptop as well via the PCIe port. for not much more you can add the MAX h.264 faster then real time encoding option. every day this saved me 15-30 long end of the day minutes when generating client previews for web... or other final output work. the mini can also work on a PC too....

while the MXO2 might be a little more then you where looking at consider its a real metal box with real connectors, not a cheap fan out cable that are always too short. its also got 4 XLR's out + 6 RCA's out - so you can feed stereo to everything ! or mix 5.1 directly without adaptors / or another audio I/O. its also got 4 XLRs IN, HDMI without wasting a precious PCIe slot like the other cards. its also battery powerable portable and can work with a laptop or tower.

some significant differences to be sure. its a future safe investment. matrox has been turning out driver updates on a steady basis adding new features like closed captioning support for input and output. take a look !

Steve Oakley
DP • Editor • VFX Artist
http://www.practicali.com


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Tony Brittan
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 12:20:28 am

Another vote for the Matrox products! Use MXO2 every day.


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Hector Silva
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:02:23 pm

It sounds like it's too late to sway you, but maybe others will read this thread.

Go AJA Kona. Unless there is a very special feature that they do not have available (like the MacBook Pro connectivity the MXO2 has). It is true that you can work quite well with Decklinks, but the difference lies in how quickly you can recover when things stop working well.

AJA's support is unparalleled and they are quite responsive with replacement units if it is necessary. When you are up against a deadline every day saved may mean the difference as to whether or not you get paid.

The other part that I like is that you don't have to buy all the cables for a Kona card. Most of them are included in lengths that are usable. Buying up a whole whack of cables can make up the difference in price between AJA and BM quite quickly.



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Chris Borjis
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 4, 2009 at 4:50:37 pm

[Tony Brittan] "Another vote for the Matrox products! Use MXO2 every day."

I forgot to mention I had an mxo and it did a much better job at 720P down conversion.

I wonder if you guys that say the bmd does good down conversion have noticed
angles with aliasing. thats what I clearly see. QC is one of my primary duties
so I scrutinize everything.



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Shane Ross
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 5, 2009 at 11:41:40 pm

[Loren White] "Are all of the outputs active? For example.. can I run a display out of the SDI output and a monitor out of the HDMI output at the same itme?"

Yup. ALL outputs. YOu can output HD SDI to an HD monitor, HDMI to a client monitor and SD out via composite or component to an SD TV.


Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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Shane Ross
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic or AJA?
on Sep 8, 2009 at 6:16:52 pm

[Loren White] "Hey Shane, can the MXO2 output 2k to a 2k display? "

Only the Kona 3 does that.



Shane



GETTING ORGANIZED WITH FINAL CUT PRO DVD...don't miss it.
Read my blog, Little Frog in High Def


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J. Tad Newberry
Re: Capture Card: Blackmagic - the saga continues...
on Sep 6, 2009 at 4:01:15 am

So after a full day (well, almost) of dandy editing with nice color pictures on my monitor, i turned off my UVW-1800 deck, and when i turned it back on, i got ye olde black and white (and a bit jumbled) monitor pix again! Trashed FCP prefs, restarted, no change. This is very strange. I would call BMD tech support, but i don't think such a thing exists...especially on the weekends. Very very weird.

Thanks again!

J. Tad Newberry
Big Ya Productions
Mac Pro 2.66 GHz Quad-Core
3 GB RAM
http://www.bigya.tv


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