ROI Reviews: Blackmagic Design Multibridge Pro
This format wizard will ease your workflow.
Time is money.
Being a content provider these days means wearing several different hats and being ready for anything. When working with digital assets, such as high-definition video, it is important to find a workflow that, well, works.
In my regular content creation work, I always look for products that are efficient for my workflow. Capturing, editing and exporting footage from dailies to final renders is my lifeblood. This means that I need rock ‘ solid and extremely dependable hardware and software. On the NLE front, my editing applications are Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere Pro CS4. I began my search for a tool that would import uncompressed footage no matter the format.
Much to my surprise, I didn’t have to venture out into the abyss too long. A visit to Blackmagic Design’s Web site proved fulfilling. I was well aware of the company and its much ‘ heralded products, and I found what I was looking for: the Multibridge Pro. The latest version of the product, sometimes referred to and sold as Multibridge Pro 2, is a majestic metal monolith that not only will add speed and quality to your editing capabilities, but will keep a lid on your post production budget.
The Format Acrobat
The Multibridge Pro offers editors a way to get uncompressed 2K, HD, SD video captured playback in real time and to switch between formats with ease. Editors who have captured footage via FireWire will deeply appreciate the ability to use PCIe. At 10 Gbps latency was virtually nonexistent. The Multibridge Pro even ships with a PCIe card. Just plug the card in to your Mac or PC, connect it to the Multibridge Pro, and off you go.
One of the greatest features for me was the ability to use the Multibridge Pro with FCP and Premiere Pro CS4. Since I work in both applications extensively, I really wanted something that worked with both. I tested the Multibridge Pro on my MacPro 8 Core running Leopard. Besides supporting FCP and Premiere Pro CS4, it was also compatible with After Effects, Photoshop and Combustion. This makes the Multibridge Pro a terrific all ‘ around addition to any NLE setup. CS4 currently only works for PC. Photoshop and AE plugins are coming very soon.
A feature of the Multibridge Pro that really stood out for me was that it let me work in real time when adding effects in Premiere Pro, FCP, After Effects and Motion. Blackmagic advertised “real time, RAM previews in After Effects,” and they are right.
The Multibridge Pro comes packed with options for connections. The HDMI out was a huge plus for me. Not only could I capture from my camera via the HDMI in port but I could also connect my 42-inch HD television for previewing work. It’s always great to have a client come in and see their project plastered on the wall.
Also in the mix are:
SD/HD SDI In/Out
Two channels of Analog Audio In/Out
Eight channels of AES/EBU Digital Audio In and Out
An RS-422 port for broadcast decks
Two channel unbalanced audio outputs for low ‘ cost HiFi
NTSC/PAL Composite video out
Genlock and HD tri-sync input
Let’s discuss the SDI connection for a second. With a 3 Gbps connection speed, real ‘ time 2K capture and playback is truly real time. My tests were with a 2K image sequence and the Multibridge Pro performed amazingly well.
Along with the ability to capture/playback multiple formats, the Multibridge Pro offers another feature called Converter Mode. This mode, used via USB connection, allows the user to update firmware, set video levels and select audio embedding.
For content providers looking to add video game or machinima ‘ type capability, the Multibridge Pro is great for capturing. Plug in your console of choice via HDMI or component and off you go.
I found using the Blackmagic Design Multibridge Pro very satisfying, and setting it up was simple and quick. The uncompressed footage, from several source types, is fantastic to work with. The fact that I could use it with both of my favorite editing applications was a huge point for me. It’s easy to move between my PC and Mac as well. The unit is extremely compact and portable if need be. It is a cost effective and highly usable addition to any toolbox.