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Blackmagic Design Releases Video Assist 2.5 Upgrade

Blackmagic Design’s Video Assist 4K now has professional ‘scopes that will make it an indespensible tool on the set or in the studio.

Although patents for video assist technology go back to 1947 (US Patent 2,420,197 by Adolph H. Rosenthal), Jerry Lewis is usually credited for its first practical implementation by strapping a video camera onto his 35 mm film camera to parallel the shooting of “The Bellboy” in 1960.

But the enormous leap in video assist technology since then is epitomized by Blackmagic Design’s release at the end of June of their Blackmagic Video Assist 2.5 upgrade, which adds professional vector scope, waveform monitoring, RGB parade and histogram displays to the screen of their Blackmagic Video Assist 4K 7-inch high resolution monitor with Ultra HD recorder.

We previewed these capabilities on May 16th after Blackmagic Design gave us a glimpse of them at NAB Show 2017, but now that they are available as a free download for all Blackmagic Video Assist 4K customers, I asked the president of the company, Dan May, to give The Broadcast Bridge a description of their functional usefulness.

First, May wanted to let us know that in addition to what is in their press release, this 2.5 update also adds anamorphic de-squeeze to the Video Assist 4K along with Blue only for calibration.

But it’s the ‘scopes that will be center of attention for most applications.

“With the addition of these scopes, we hope to continue to see the Video Assist become more and more a part of everyone’s production kit,” he said, “from live production to broadcasters to color grading, and from in the field to the studio and everywhere in between.”

May figured that most of The Broadcast Bridge readers are already well familiar with classic vectorscope (color hue and saturation) and waveform monitor (luminance and black level) displays

However, RGB parade may not be as well known.

The RGB parade displays separate waveforms showing the luminance of the red, green and blue channels.

The RGB parade displays separate waveforms showing the luminance of the red, green and blue channels.

“RGB Parade shows separate waveforms displaying the luminance of each red, green and blue color channel, providing an extremely detailed overview of color in your images,” May explained. “Additionally, you can also see if one specific color channel is clipping because the parade scope shows a waveform for each channel. You may not see this otherwise if you are looking at a single combined waveform.”

Then there is also the histogram display.

The histogram shows the distribution of the luminance, or the black to white information along a horizontal scale.

The histogram shows the distribution of the luminance, or the black to white information along a horizontal scale.

“Histogram shows the distribution of the luminance and lets you monitor how close the detail is to being clipped in the blacks or whites of the video, as well as representing the effects of gamma changes in the video. By seeing if your video is clipping, you can adjust the camera iris and ISO settings to keep all black and white detail in the image. This means you have the full contrast range of video for easy color correction during post production,” May said.

Finally, in our polyglot production world, it is also handy that the Blackmagic Video Assist 2.5 upgrade can display in several different languages, including Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

Jerry Lewis would have been impressed.

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