Blackmagic Design Spreads its Wings at 2017 NAB Show

The Blackmagic Design exhibit at the 2017 NAB Show demonstrated how this company has become a powerhouse in all aspects of video production.

The sun never sets on your activities when you are as busy as Blackmagic Design. In fact, just shortly after the 2017 NAB Show wrapped, their director of sales operations, Bob Caniglia, was good enough to steal away a few minutes during their set-up for Blackmagic Design Day in Burbank, CA as part of their multi-city North American tour to grant me a one-on-one interview to recap their Vegas announcements. Sheesh! These guys are hard to keep up with.

“Since our first acquisition in 2009 of DaVinci Resolve, we’ve gone from making pieces of the puzzle to producing solutions end-to-end in video production,” Caniglia began. “This year the NAB Show gave us the chance to show our customers how our products have matured to lead their production categories.”

Fairlight audio gives DaVinci Resolve a whole new dimension in post production.

Fairlight audio gives DaVinci Resolve a whole new dimension in post production.

Their announcements this year lead off with DaVinci Resolve vers. 14 which Caniglia said has a 10X performance improvement. It’s audio component is greatly enhanced with the addition of Fairlight audio built into it.

“This is a serious audio system capable of up to 1,000 tracks of 192kHz 24-bit audio,” Caniglia said. “It makes DaVinci a complete post production system.”

Blackmagic Design’s Duplicator received a 1.1 update giving it real time H.264 encoding capability

They also showed off ATEM TV Studio Pro HD, which, as Caniglia described it, “is a broadcast quality all in one live production switcher with integrated hardware control panel,” he said. “It includes 4 SDI and 4 HDMI inputs, all with re-sync, so customers can connect a total of up to 8 different HD sources.”

ATEM TV Studio Pro HD is powerful enough for professional broadcasts, but flexible enough for AV videographers.

ATEM TV Studio Pro HD is powerful enough for professional broadcasts, but flexible enough for AV videographers.

One of the most interesting announcements was that the price of the green screen compositor they purchased just last year, Ultimatte 11, is getting a 60% price drop, from $24,995 to only $9,995. I asked Caniglia if such a discount should spark skepticism in experienced production pros.

“Not at all,” was his response. “You have to understand that when Ultimatte was producing this system, they sold perhaps 100’s a year. We intend to sell many multiples of that. And since we keep the manufacturing in house, we can keep the costs low without sacrificing performance.”

They also announced UltraStudio HD Mini, the world’s first portable capture and playback system with 3G-SDI, HDMI and analog connections for broadcast quality 10-bit recording up to 1080p60 and 2K DCI and, importantly, Thunderbolt 3 performance. With the Thunderbolt 3 interface capable of up to 40 Gb/s transfer speeds this will give unprecedented power for edit monitoring and live broadcast graphics tasks at even today’s highest resolutions.

The URSA Mini Pro cameras will benefit from a new open control protocol that will let customers create their own remote control systems via Bluetooth. And Caniglia predicted a complete SDK for camera control should be released later in the year.

Blackmagic Video Assist vers. 2.4 gives you scopes that can be viewed full screen.

Blackmagic Video Assist vers. 2.4 gives you scopes that can be viewed full screen.

Finally, there is a new vers 2.4 update to the Blackmagic Video Assist which brings with it multilingual support (Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish), and new professional scopes including waveform, RGB parade, vectorscope and histogram that can be viewed full screen for accurately evaluating video signals.

Blackmagic Video Assist 2.4 update is available now from the Blackmagic Design website free of charge for all current Blackmagic Video Assist and Blackmagic Video Assist 4K customers. Blackmagic Video Assist 2.5, which will support scopes on the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K model will be available in June.

“There was a production truck at the 2017 NAB Show fitted out almost completely with Blackmagic Design equipment,” Caniglia finished up. “That shows how far this company has come from the days when we just produced capture cards and converters.”

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