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Old September 28th, 2006, 09:11 PM   #1
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Use the BM Multibridge & HD100? Smell the smoke?

I'm looking for others who use the Blackmagic Multibridge Pro (or Extreme) in conjunction with the HD100, and their experiences.

We ordered our Multibridge, should receive Friday, for all it's functions but mainly for component capture for chroma key work. I'm getting fed up with less than ideal conditions with HDV from tape. I think HDV is fine for straight shoot to edit but post work (or should I say workarounds) have cost us more than buying the board in the first place.

The fun part...
The Multibridge Pro will go into a three week old Mac Pro quad running both OS 10 & XP (unique drives) as dual boot. The "attempt" is to have a dual boot system that allows us to run BOTH the Adobe Pro Suite on XP and Final Cut on the Mac OS, both using the Multibridge for the selected boot choice.

So far we are using the Mac Pro in production (without Multibridge) and it has done extremely well as dual boot, very friggen fast setup, super flexible. From what I gather from Blackmagic no one else has been crazy enough to give it a go. Understandable, since most people are brainwashed into one OS or another, sad if you think about it. I can keep you posted if interested in what we find. MMMmmmm the smell of burning CPU's. ;)

Regardless, I would like to hear from anyone using the Multibridge (in any system) with the HD100 so I can have some idea of what to expect. All the information I have read on the product is very impressive, but we have also been known to bleed to death on "cutting edge" before. If not the Multibridge then... is anyone using the same type board and the HD100 and with what results?

Peace!
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Old September 29th, 2006, 12:22 AM   #2
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I've used the multibridge extreme to capture analog component HD from the HD100.

Works good.

I have heard on another forum that dual booting with it should work just fine.
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Old September 30th, 2006, 04:34 AM   #3
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Hi Daniel

That seems quite an interesting solution - the dual-boot MacPro and the Multibridge. Could you please keep us updated?

That seems an almost perfect solution, if the Multibriidge works fine in both modes on the same machine - but will it?

Good luck,

Best:

Boris
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Old September 30th, 2006, 02:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Silva
I've used the multibridge extreme to capture analog component HD from the HD100.

Works good.

I have heard on another forum that dual booting with it should work just fine.

Mark, since we now don't receive our board until Monday, so much for weekend testing, I will have to wait to see first hand. Do you have anything in the way of a frame grab from the analog component to share? I seriously would love to see how a still looks from the JVC that has bypassed the MPG compression (noticed I didn't say uncompressed... you can all breathe easy again). =D

As for what you saw on another forum and dual booting with the board... it may have been my post and hammering out some ideas with the Blackmagic tech, with only a good guess that it should or could work in theory. If you saw something from an actual user who was dual booting with the board then I would appreciate it a ton if could you find that link again.


Boris, I agree! I think it could in fact be a perfect solution to those who prefer the benefits that both OS's can offer. The question of will it work is what intrigues me the most.

Monday night I'll try and load the board and go from there. If the Multibridge is not the answer then I will simply keep looking, since the JVC HD100 tape/MPG for us has not been the answer. This is only speaking in terms of compositing, keying, etc... I don't mean anything against MPG and straight editing.

Peace!
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 02:44 PM   #5
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I should have said, it was from an HDV tape.

We had to do it that way because one of our shooters thought he was shooting in DV 24p but he was shooting HDV 24p, so we captured it as 60p through the component connections to get the job done.
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Old October 2nd, 2006, 07:13 PM   #6
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Ah, got it. I have read that it does a good job as a stand-alone converter, it's also another thing I will need to test.


Update on the Multibridge Pro/Mac Pro/Dual OS...
We received the Multibridge today and I just installed it into the Mac Pro. I don't dare give too much opinion just yet since I still need to get it to capture via the JVC HD100 component, and lack of function at this point is more than likely due to my lack of product understanding. ;) The card-drivers did install and boot on one OS of the two, so it's off to a good start anyway. But I'm having to work on this in my spare time in the evening so I don't screw up our current work schedule. After a long day today I think Tuesday evening might be a better time to tackle this beast.

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Old October 5th, 2006, 04:20 AM   #7
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Hey Daniel,

I'm looking to get the same setup as yours as I have 2 licences of Adobe Production Studio w/Cineform Aspect HD but running them on older 2.4GHz Dual Intel Xeons is just horrible. I was considering the HP xw9300 machines for running Production Studio but now I feel getting a Mac Pro for it would be a better choice. I am also looking to capture live on set with the Blackmagic Multibridge. Please let me know your experience with running Premiere Pro on your Mac Pro w/Multibridge.

Thanks

Sid
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Old October 15th, 2006, 06:45 PM   #8
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Initial testing done, sorry for the delay.

Everything they tell you online at Decklink about this bridge is essentially true. I could spend hours writing about all the cool stuff that can be done, the time saving features, and the incredible quality of captured HD video with the HD100, but my main goal for starting this thread was to learn/share more about how it integrates with the Mac Pro and the possibility of a dual boot OS. Second, I hoped that my findings might help those of you looking at the Multibridge or similar type of capture/bridge when shooting with the HD100/250, etc.. The following information could have saved me personally, as well as our company a lot of time / money (and fingernail chewing).


Getting straight to the point, does the Multibridge Pro and the Mac Pro work with both OS's (with dedicated OS drives) and more importantly, with our HD100?
Yes, but more like yes - with a reboot or two.

Does it work well?
Yes! It works well, In fact, very damn well!
However there is a catch on the side of the Multibridge. Although considering the fit and function of this bridge and the flexibility of using it in a system like this, the "Gotcha" in my opinion is minor.

The "Gotcha", what and why...
The Multibridge Pro being a piece of hardware (and like any other well designed system) has firmware that is automatically updated as needed by the manufacturer during OS/system boot. So each time you boot it looks to see if you have the latest and greatest firmware for the bridge and THAT OS. This is a good thing in my opinion, but it comes with a cost of a possible reboot. the firmware for the Multibridge used in conjunction with the Mac OS is not the same firmware used for the Multibridge and the XP OS. Most people have typically installed the board in one type of system/OS or another, and used it that way until the cows came home (or until they upgraded computers, etc.). But to use the Multibridge with a dual boot OS on the Mac Pro you will need to get use to the following process:

Example,
I'm in XP working (fighting viruses, crashing, whatever you want to believe) ;) and decide to use the Multibridge in Final Cut on the Mac OS.
- Restart Mac Pro, hold Option key, choose the other drive for Mac OS.
- While booting into the Mac OS I receive a dialog box that tells me I need to update my Decklink Multibridges Firmware (this only happens if I last changed the Firmware for the Bridge while in the XP OS)
- System restarts to the Mac OS, and now I'm ready Multibridge and all it has to offer!

The same is true for using the Multibridge in XP, same reboot, same process.

In fact, my only real complaint about all my findings was that I later got the impression the Decklink technicians knew exactly what I would go through to run the Multibridge this way, but would not share the findings before me actually buying the product. I asked both sales and techs very specifically "what would I find on the other side, what are the known issues and what should I expect"? I never got a straight answer. I know I'm not the first to use the product this way, they said as much over the phone, had they been upfront about the simple firmware/ reboot, I would have been relieved more than anything. Live and learn I guess... I lived, hopefully they learn.
That small issue aside I would highly recommend this product and the Mac Pro to anyone giving it a serious consideration. It passed my unauthorized and unorthodox testing. We have been getting good results with the Multibridge / HD100 and will be putting it through it's first all day test during a shoot this next week. I might have more to say on that later, time will tell.

Why The multibridge in conjunction with the Mac Pro dual boot OS? Call it a blessing in disguise, but i will get to that later.




You already know exactly what a bridge (be it Decklink or AJA) can do for you... you sure? Then your done, otherwise read on.
That brings me to the second part of my post, geared more towards others looking at investing in the Multibridge or some other type of "capture or bridge" product for getting the best results from your HD100. Not everyone in this forum is as steeped in a past of film and video like our Tim, Paulo & Stephen, invaluable sources no doubt, but with knowledge more rare than common. I was under the impression I knew what a bridge did for me... and have since learned that I had a lot to learn. Fact is, I'm still learning and have a long way to go but I'll share what I can for the next guy. By the way, I invite Tim, Paulo and Stephen's input, as mentioned always invaluable.

Keeping in mind that we are (our company) looking at this from the standpoint of improving quality during capture for compositing, keying and general post production workflow's, I can honestly say these cards are not for the weak of heart (or pocket). Personally I think these cards and related workflows are overkill for a straight shoot and edit (weddings, shorts, etc.) unless you are going to blowup, or have a lot of post work in mind. We found that the Multibridge/decklink products gained us the following options by bypassing the cameras Tape / MPEG, but it also opened the doors for some interesting questions as well.



On the Mac OS using Final Cut Pro you have a couple options (all with 60P for over cranking as well)...

- Uncompressed
Very clean, as perfect as you can get (from the HD100 component anyway) but at the additional cost of a drive array. Do not even think of trying to get around this. If you want the quality of uncompressed then figure another $1,800 - $2,500 (starting cost, you can spend far more) for your drive array on top of whatever card you use as a capture/bridge. I'm not trying to scare anyone away from this option, in fact we decided it was the only option that might work for our needs, but we are now more realistic and understand the additional cost involved as well. You can either use 8 bit or 10 bit (4:2:2 or 4:4:4) but the later is not directly supported by our HD100, so nothing gained is my understanding. Can capture full 1280x720 native CCD resolution.

- Compressed via DVCPRO HD
Is 4:2:2, looks far better than HD100's native MPEG/Tape (4:2:0), is better for post work than MPEG and does NOT require a drive array like uncompressed, only a single - good fast large drive. The down side was that it is at a 970x720 opposed to the cameras native 1280x720, compressed, and some say might look a little soft. **I have also heard of minor color shifting (but not confirmed by personal testing) from guys that do a lot of compositing.

- Motion JPEG by Decklink
Not for compositing/keying from what I could tell, but maybe well suited for straight shoot to edit (better than HDV maybe) when you have a full system around. Drive space is far less the issue here. Anyone interested in looking at some stuff shot with Motion JPEG? I did some but never posted any.

-I need some other options here guys.




On the XP OS using Premiere Pro 2 you have 2 options that I can find...

- Uncompressed
(all the same uncompressed benefits as listed above)

- Motion JPEG by Decklink
(all the same compressed benefits as listed above)




Now that I have tried all of these options first hand and I have seen with my own eyes what uncompressed 8 bit looks like with the HD100, I can honestly say I believe I want the HD250. My reason for this is fairly simple, what's the point of a large outlay of cash for drive arrays and a capture / decklink solution for the best image possible if you are going to transfer a digital stream to analog (through the cameras DAC, Digital to Analog Converter) and travel out of the component out? Am I missing something here? Or is this the biggest reason to upgrade to the HD250 with it's SDI output for studio / post work?


At the time of setting this system up we had no idea that we would lean so heavily towards Final Cut Pro for HD capture through DVCPRO HD. This is the only option I can find until our drive arrays arrive. This is from a group that has leaned heavily on the Adobe Pro Suite and PPRO2 up until now. Interesting.
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Last edited by Daniel Patton; October 15th, 2006 at 08:15 PM.
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Old October 17th, 2006, 07:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Patton
Initial testing done, sorry for the delay.
- Compressed via DVCPRO HD
Is 4:2:2, looks far better than HD100's native MPEG/Tape (4:2:0), is better for post work than MPEG and does NOT require a drive array like uncompressed, only a single - good fast large drive. The down side was that it is at a 970x720 opposed to the cameras native 1280x720, compressed, and some say might look a little soft. **I have also heard of minor color shifting (but not confirmed by personal testing) from guys that do a lot of compositing.
.

Wow Daniel thanks for the report. We are getting 2 Multibridge Pro's. We were going to get 2 last year but they were delayed. We have 2 Aja Kona LH boards now and I am interested to see how the Multibridge stacks up. One area is in down conversion on input. I read you can downconvert HD coming into the box.

About DVCPro HD. That's what we capture in when using the analog inputs on Kona. ne note. JVC HD100 footage looks best in HDV codec when coming off HDV tape. No recompression, no color space change, pure as it was laid down.

OTOH, the converted DVCpro HD footage that came from HDV looks fabulous as well. No real visual cue it's been recompressed or made a journey through analog land. It's I frame based and 100Mbit so it's only 75% larger in file space requirements than HDV. So there are a few benifits, probably the biggest would be green screen work. I have not tested green screening with HDV native versus DVCPro converted HD100 footage. The stuff we've done with HDV looks great using Ulimatte Advantage.

If I have a choice, I bring in the footage HDV firewire. If the TC stream breaks are killing me, then analog capture is the savior, (Or AIC catpure).

I edit the shots rough cut in HD, then convert my timeline to DVCPro 50 codec for NTSC delivery on tape or DVD.

But a box like the Multibridge is totally useful in a post production setting where you need analog or HDMI monitoring and preview during graphics and analog output for BetaSP or SDI for Digibeta out.

So far, none of our clients have requested HD masters. Although we hope to land some Discovery, AE or Nat Geo docs soon!

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Old October 17th, 2006, 11:51 PM   #10
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The Decklink and AJA boards are very much the same from everything I have read, both solid products. The only real reason we went with Decklink was the dual OS option in the Mac Pro. Agreed, the down and cross conversion is a great utility feature to have as well.

Well, we shot our greens screen pre shoot today using the Decklink with HD100, it was an all day shoot with full studio, pro lit, and full crew. The Decklink performed flawlessly to DVCPROHD. Captures went straight to After Effects for checking keys at the end of each segment, and again... as perfect as we can get with this configuration. We are sold even more so now after a full day of use like today. I still see a bit of noise and overall fringing even with the HDV removed from the equation, but this could be so many other things like factory 16X glass, the cameras DAC, or simply both.

After today I think we need to get our hands on the HD250, SDI, and the 13X lens more than ever. It might better suite our needs. In fact, if anyone is looking for an HD100 in perfect condition... we might need to move it for the 250 and 13X glass before the full shoot.


Dave Beaty
"About DVCPro HD. That's what we capture in when using the analog inputs on Kona. ne note. JVC HD100 footage looks best in HDV codec when coming off HDV tape. No recompression, no color space change, pure as it was laid down."

Dave, are you saying that when shooting to tape it's simply best to import via an HDV stream via 1394 and not using the AJA or Decklink, or that you still use it there too? We didn't intend to change our existing straight "shot to edit" workflow when in the field with tape. Unless you have some ideas on that as well.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 04:09 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Patton
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Now that I have tried all of these options first hand and I have seen with my own eyes what uncompressed 8 bit looks like with the HD100, I can honestly say I believe I want the HD250. My reason for this is fairly simple, what's the point of a large outlay of cash for drive arrays and a capture / decklink solution for the best image possible if you are going to transfer a digital stream to analog (through the cameras DAC, Digital to Analog Converter) and travel out of the component out? Am I missing something here? Or is this the biggest reason to upgrade to the HD250 with it's SDI output for studio / post work?


At the time of setting this system up we had no idea that we would lean so heavily towards Final Cut Pro for HD capture through DVCPRO HD. This is the only option I can find until our drive arrays arrive. This is from a group that has leaned heavily on the Adobe Pro Suite and PPRO2 up until now. Interesting.

Hi Daniel - as you've discovered DVCPRO HD because of its compressed raster is not ideal (but is still v good).

The other options I have seriously considered are the Cineform codec with PP2 (no MacOS needed) Not sure if Cineform only supports the Kona though? Also considered an Avid hardware solution including the DnxHD board, but this would be expensive and very cumbersome. Once the 250 comes out with HD-SDI the Avid DnxHD should work directly with the camera though.

Alternatively you could test the new JPEG2000 codec. Even Motion JPEG should give similar results compression wise to DVCProHD but at full raster (I don't know - does mJPEG support HD?). DVCProHD is a good option because the Multibridge does the compression work so you take the strain off the system.
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Old October 18th, 2006, 09:44 PM   #12
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John,

From everything I have read it does not look like Cineform will support the Blackmagic products, due to a limitation on the development side of Decklink. This is according to Cineform anyway. It's a bummer for us since we are vested in Cineform and the Aspect HD for our tape / shoot to edit workflow.

I understand what you mean about SDI and Avid route, I'm starting to wonder if the Multibridge will have a SDI setup for the HD250. Until now I didn't realize that having an SDI connector on the Multibridge was not enough in itself. Paolo was trying to get that point across to me in another thread but it was over my head at the time, I think I got it now, sorry Paolo.

As for the JPEG2000 codec, you can "convert" after you capture easy enough, but that means you are still limited to capturing uncompressed or DVCPROHD in the beginning before you can get there. I can capture native through the Multibridge to the MJPG option provided by Blackmagic, but this is only good for shoot to edit workflows like HDV in my opinion, and not compositing / keying.
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Old February 28th, 2007, 06:15 AM   #13
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Instead of using a desktop (Mac Pro), can I use a laptop like Macbook Pro to capture with Multibridge and HD100?
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Old February 28th, 2007, 09:33 AM   #14
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Sorry Andrea, but this will not work since both the Multibridge Pro and the Extreme use a bus card that must be installed in the computer. According to Blackmagic the Multibridge is roughly the same thing as the decklink card that can be installed in your computer, except it's in an external inclosure with more INPUT/OUTPUTS. So it still needs a way to connect to the system bus to handle the larger data stream going in and out.

For now a card is required when using the Multibridge products, otherwise I'm sure a lot of us would be running our setups with laptops. ;)
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