View Full Version : Blackmagic Ultrascope
01-12-2012, 01:58 PM
i am thinking about building a lean workstation (Windows/PC) to use with the blackmagic ultrascope card and software - any experience / thoughts about this piece of gear?
I also thought about using this workstation as swiss army knife for all kind of conversion jobs my mac can't handle, testing windows media files and as backup redcine-x system - any recommendations on what kind of processor / what graphic card I should choose?
Thanks in advance - best wishes and kind regards,
01-13-2012, 12:52 AM
Hey! A Mac can handle anything. My understanding is that the Ultrascope might best be served with its own dedicated PC but I could be wrong as whenever I think about the Ultrascope it's the USB 3 version over the card version. You might also want to keep in mind having a dedicated monitor, or one dedicated monitor output from a multi output videocard, as the Ultrascope is only useful if you see the scopes but you'd likely be doing other things simultaneously. I'd recommend you buy the best you can get in terms of processor, mother board, ram, etc. A SSD boot and software drive is a must. Use platter drives for storage and archiving. In comparison to buying Apple products you can build a an spiffy PC system for a fraction of the cost. I'd guess a third of the price. However, graphic cards are something you might want to think about. Good ones cost big $$$. That's why the RED rocket costs $4K (4K haha). A swiss army knife gives you an opportunity for a death by a thousand cuts so think through what you really want to use the PC for and take it from there.
01-13-2012, 11:23 AM
Until BMD releases a new version of the software mine is back in it's box. If you're used to Leader scopes you'll be frustrated by the lack of customization - No ability to magnify or set markers, only has 50 and 100IRE numbered waveform markings, no custom colors. If you just want it for an overall reference then it's fine and the price is great obviously. I'm still using a Leader 5330 or Vidscope HD for now. Vidscope is great except it does not auto-detect the incoming signal - you have to manually select it from a drop down menu. If that doesn't bother you then I'd go for Vidscope instead if you have the budget.
Both my Vidscope and Ultrascope PCs are based on mini-itx boards from Zotac (see below) with an i5 661, 4GB RAM. That's all they do so it's fast enough. All 6 windows in vidscope display without dropped frames using onboard graphics. I use either a Kona LHE, Kona 3G, Decklink Extreme pcie, or Decklink Extreme 3D in the pcie x16 slot, whatever I am not using in my other workstations.
Hope that helps.
01-13-2012, 11:40 AM
The BM scopes are good. The only thing Id say is if your using any form of external monitoring connected via HDSDI is all your measuring is the HDSDI card interface on the interconnect and the signal that it carries. If you can use software meters on the host mac you can measure the actual data from the application your using then your much better off. An example may be the internal meters in Da Vinci Resolve. Use them and you dont need external meter systems.
01-13-2012, 11:42 AM
Should have added, I'd only recommend my build as a dedicated scope or capture/playback PC with something like Cineform which is what these mini-itx PCs were formerly used for before being dedicated to monitoring software. For a swiss army knife you'll need a lot more horsepower. I mainly use an i7 970 - Gigabyte X58A-UD5 based hackintosh in a 3U rack enclosure for my heavy lifting. Wouldn't recommend a hackintosh though unless you've done it before and have the budget for a backup. (I have 2 just in case) Lots of great used Mac Pros out there.
01-13-2012, 01:32 PM
thanks very much for all your informations!
I might quit the idea of the swissarmyknife and just stick to the ultrascope idea ;-)
i like the idea of the used macpro - is anybody running ultrascope on a macpro?
best wishes and kind regards,