Blackmagic Design Mini Converters
Mastermind Your Formats
Blackmagic Design first announced its new family of mini converters at NAB 2008. Since then, they have been attracting some very positive comments in the industry, and for good reason. They really are excellent in quality, easy to use, and offer some unique features at a reasonable price.
I tested five separate models of Mini Converters: SDI to Analog; Analog to SDI; SDI to HDMI; and HDMI to SDI; and a Mini Converter Sync Generator.
SDI to Analog and SDI to HDMI
Both of these converters have two SDI inputs (in addition to a loop-through) that auto switch to the correct incoming format. If the primary input is interrupted, they will auto switch to the alternate input, allowing redundant cabling in situations where cable damage is possible but “failure is not a possibility.” The converters support a wide range of input formats and additional format support can be added via USB from a Mac or PC as new formats become available. They also have two ¼-inch audio outputs that support analog or AES/EBU. The SDI to HDMI unit can embed audio into the HDMI. The SDI to Analog unit outputs composite, component or S-video, and analog or AES/EBU audio.
The Analog to SDI unit accepts composite, analog, S-Video or component inputs and two channels of analog or AES/EBU audio. It will embed the audio into the SDI/HDSDI output. The HDMI to SDI unit accepts an HDMI input and two channels of analog or AES/EBU audio and will embed the audio into the SDI/HDSDI output as well.
Sync and Share
The Mini Converter Sync Generator has six outputs and can provide both high definition Tri-Sync or standard definition Black Burst television standards.
All the units come with a 12v power supply with international connectors. The 12 volt standard makes them compatible with batteries that are likely to be available in the field. The HDMI to SDI unit is great for taking the HDMI outputs of some cameras and routing them directly into an SDI/HD-SDI system. The SDI to HDMI unit can be used to connect large HDMI-based monitors to post systems for client viewing or post sound work.
Each of these handy units has DIP switches. The instructions and settings are also printed right on the devices themselves, so there is never any guessing or looking for a manual. Overall, these are the most advanced and cost-effective products of their kind to date and provide a professional solution to bridging the gaps between the ever-increasing number or formats present in professional video today.