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Old July 10th, 2010, 11:55 AM   #1
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Blackmagic Intensity Pro as Vegas' external preview?

I have been trying to find out for months now if this card will improve the external preview from the Vegas timeline, but all the threads I find in forums mostly seem to talk about the capture features of this card, which really don't concern me much, except maybe for the occasional capturing of VHS tapes.

My main interest in this card is about its monitoring features. Currently I have an ATI Radeon 4850 HD card with my TV set connected to the second output, using a cable that is DVI on the card's end and HDMI on the TV's end, purchased from Monoprice. Previously I had an Nvidia 7950 GT card connected the same way. As any Vegas user knows, the "Windows Secondary Display" output mode in Vegas can't display interlaced content properly, even when the quality is set to Best and Full. In Best, Good and Preview it will show both fields at the same time, and in Draft Full it just takes away one field. It doesn't even send the video signal through the proper video rendering engines, such as EVR or VMR 7 or 9, so it doesn't take any advantage of the DXVA acceleration in the card. The picture quality is good, but it's not possible to properly preview interlaced material. In other words, it looks like it was shot as progressive, and when there's movement, it kind of looks like it's sending the fields in the wrong order.

So I've read user reviews and forum threads on this card, and many users say that they can output the Vegas timeline with it, but I was never able to find out if the card will output the fields in the proper order, or if it uses DXVA so that the graphics card performs BOB deinterlacing. My goal is to be able to preview the interlaced content in the timeline the same way as when I connect the AVCHD camera to the TV set through HDMI, or even after I rendered the timeline or a loop in it to an MP4 and play it in a player that uses the video card acceleration, such as Splash, or even Windows Media Player, or Windows Media Center.

This card, for $200, would be great if it can allow me to preview the timeline properly, but if it will show it the same way I already get with the Vegas' own secondary monitor preview, then it would be totally pointless for me.

So can any owners of this card tell me if it would work for me? My editing workflow is very simple, using device explorer to import from my AVCHD cameras, and start editing in 1080i 29.97fps.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #2
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If you can specify a test that I can run with an Intensity Pro to a Dell 24" monitor or Sharp consumer 1080i TV that will tell the story, I'd be happy to try it and report on the results.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 02:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
If you can specify a test that I can run with an Intensity Pro to a Dell 24" monitor or Sharp consumer 1080i TV that will tell the story, I'd be happy to try it and report on the results.
Well, basically any interlaced footage that you may have where there's movement. If you have an AVCHD or HDV camera you can do a one minute take moving the camera. It doesn't have to be extremely shaky, just a fast pan or tilt would do, and shooting objects that bring some contrast to the frame, to appreciate the movement better in shapes. Then, connect the camera to the 1080i TV set using HDMI and take a look at the footage. After that, import it in Vegas, put it in the timeline (obviously with the project settings also being 1080-60i) and select the Intensity Pro as output, connected using HDMI to the TV set. Then select Good Full or Best Full as preview quality in Vegas.

When you playback the footage, does the motion look as fluid as when you were previewing it from the camera connected directly to the TV set, or does it look as if you had shot it in progressive mode? This is, of course, if your timeline is playing at 29.97 fps, which it should as long as you didn't put any video fx to the footage.

Thank you for taking the time to try this.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 11:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
If you can specify a test that I can run with an Intensity Pro to a Dell 24" monitor or Sharp consumer 1080i TV that will tell the story, I'd be happy to try it and report on the results.
I'm interested myself Seth on this as I was told it would work, but there was no clear consensus either from Black Magic or SONY.
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Old July 10th, 2010, 11:46 PM   #5
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Should have time in the next couple days to test this, and I will post when I do. All the bits and pieces are sitting around here; I'm interested in the answer too.

Originally, I bought the Intensity Pro for the true 1920 live capture capability. Always had it in mind to use it for monitoring, but it hasn't been a priority yet...
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Old July 13th, 2010, 01:02 AM   #6
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Well, this wasn't as definitive as one might want.

Using version 9 pro (this may be important - I will do some testing with v8 as well - but Sony keeps improving things). As Sebastian suggested, I shot HDV (Sony V1) at 60i, both of moving camera and moving subject.

1) I've never really done much comparison of the hdmi output from my camcorder against anything. It's kinda' disappointing how good the direct output looks when compared directly with any output from Vegas preview. This is mainly in apparent resolution and clean frame rate. Shooting the tests in my back yard; there's enough detail there to break a codec between the grass and leaves on a breezy day. I'd say that the camera hardware codec performed fine, Vegas' HDV decoder was slightly bruised but not broken. Maybe I should rerun the recording with the camera pointed towards the house instead of the yard...

2) Interlace artifacts is the question of the day. My comparisons were between a Sharp 42" consumer LCD via Intensity pro, vs. some ordinary VGA 17" LCD via internal preview, vs. an outstanding DVI Dell 24" 2409WFP showing either internal preview or windows secondary display external preview.

2a) Comb artifacts apparent on all internal previews. No comb artifacts on external previews, Intensity Pro or DVI / Win secondary display.

2b) Image blur and image doubling artifacts seeming to be equal between Intensity Pro / 42" and DVI / Win secondary / 2409WFP.

2c) Camera color bars looked good on the TV, with the 0/7.5/10 IRE pluge pattern correctly valued. (v9 default settings, 8-bit.) I'd do some more experimenting with this... but that's encouraging.

Preliminary conclusion: The Intensity Pro is a fine way to get out to a consumer TV, (that doesn't require SLI like some other approaches to 3 or 4 monitors do, and SLI certainly has its own problems). It's inexpensive. On V9pro, it doesn't look significantly different than external preview on a DVI Windows Secondary Display.

If I have time later in the week, I'd go for a less detailed background, and rerun the tests. I'd also try some higher shutter speeds, to see if I can lessen the blur and doubling artifacts; which may show a difference between the external preview and Intensity Pro.
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Old July 13th, 2010, 11:04 AM   #7
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If I read this correctly Seth - your initial tests are a toss up?
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Old July 13th, 2010, 01:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Preliminary conclusion: The Intensity Pro is a fine way to get out to a consumer TV, (that doesn't require SLI like some other approaches to 3 or 4 monitors do, and SLI certainly has its own problems). It's inexpensive. On V9pro, it doesn't look significantly different than external preview on a DVI Windows Secondary Display.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cliff Etzel View Post
If I read this correctly Seth - your initial tests are a toss up?
Quite right. OTOH, it's an easy and inexpensive way to:
Get out to a consumer display, potentially a big one.
Add a third "head" to your video outputs, if you're running short on screen real-estate.

On that last point, I've a buddy who runs 2 graphics cards in SLI - it kind of hamstrings his system, as the total physical space takes up four slots (Some ASUS x58 mobo).

I'm not too sure how the fine quality of my Windows Secondary Display might have also swayed the results. I'll have to do a swap of the primary and secondary.

One last thing: "No comb artifacts on external previews, Intensity Pro or DVI / Win secondary display." If your windows secondary display is showing comb artifacts on pause, be aware that the Intensity Pro output doesn't. (In v9, with the good monitor via DVI, I don't have that problem with Windows Secondary display.)
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Old July 14th, 2010, 10:50 PM   #9
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So if I get this right, you're saying that the motion in the Intensity Pro is as blurry as when you output from the graphics card using the Windows Secondary display module in Vegas? Meaning that when you connect the camera straight to the TV set the motion looks as it should but when you view the same footage on the same TV set but played back from the Vegas timeline through the Intensity Pro card, the motion looks kinda blurry, as if it had been shot in progressive mode and not interlaced? I think that's what you meant, I just want to be sure about it.
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