Thursday, August 20, 2009

I want to like Blackmagic

If you’re tired of hard to use and ugly waveform monitoring, then you’ll love Blackmagic UltraScope. We have included all the features you need when editing or color correcting, and then, combined it with an elegant user interface that looks great when added to your studio!

The reason some things are hard to use is that they are complicated - like video test and measurement. The reason Fisher Price don't make television test gear is because it's not for children! Anyhow - I sat down to have a tinker with this new gadget (in fact it's a PCI-e card you put in a spare computer) - it then hijacks the Windows desktop and runs full-screen. I don't imagine anyone would be willing to sacrifice one of their Avid or FCP monitors (aside from the fact that you'd be taking at least a couple of lanes of PCI-e bandwidth and hence making a non-supported config).

It is surprisingly uninspiring - you get only what you see - you can't move anything around or zoom in either direction. You have no measurement graticules and non of the features that are necessary in a modern rasteriser. It really is just the facade of a waveform monitor but when you look harder it is kind of useless. Seriously - save your money because this is pretty pointless. It might make a nice display for reception.


martinjbaker said...

Hmm I don't know...seems a little harsh Phil!

From everything I've read or heard about this product, it's intended to be installed on a dedicated PC rather than your editing system.

Secondly, engineers and editors have very different needs. What feels Fisher Price to an engineer is perfectly adequate for an editor or colourist. In my previous role, I would have been very happy with a device like this, and (from the marketing paragraph quoted) that seems to be the market BM is going for.

Phil Crawley said...

Well have a tinker and see what you think Martin - it definitely has no place in QC or engineering but I think it is even too lightweight for a colourist or editor.

I sat it next to a Tektronix WVR5000 (their cheapest rasteriser) and the vector display (in particular) bore little relation to the proper 'scope. There was no definition in the blacks (so matching colour between shots in the dark areas would be hard). It also didn't show half the overshoots on badly shot DV (which I imagine is a target for them). Also - when you turn on the Gamut option all it does is highlight the overshoots which is no way to ensure you're actually within a colour space.

Most colourists love the Arrow Head and Diamond displays that you only get with Tek - it's unfortunate that those are so much more useful than a vector display but only available with Tektronix.

Anonymous said...

Fisherprice... "My First Video Measurement Device"... now with big buttons to press ;-)