In the world of video, I would hate to be a BlackMagic Design competitor. They iterate so quickly, and drive their prices down so relentlessly that it must be hard to keep up. Today they launched a few revisions of their signal conversion boxes. The link will take you to a page featuring a 25 minute Grant Petty video. These boxes aren’t sexy, but they are the necessary glue that holds facilities together. The main news? All of their Mini Converters now accept 4K signals and can either pass the signal through as 4K, or downconvert to HD, and all for the same price as the previous HD versions. They also de-imbed audio, and have the capability to add 3D LUTS to the outputted signal. Their Micro Converters which were already inexpensive at around $100, have had their prices roughly halved again. They also announced a 8K capture card Today to work with a forthcoming version of Resolve. Busy beavers!
Negatives? The Micro Converters have made the new price partially by not shipping with a power supply (since they can power off a standard USB connection). I haven’t talked to anyone from BM or handled the latest units, but from what I can see in the pictures, a problem I’ve complained about in the past still seems to be present: there is nothing securing the USB connecter to the casing, it is only soldered to the circuit board. I’ve personally seen two earlier units take a little jolt to the USB connection and break off. Then what? Since they are so inexpensive, it’s not worth the shipping, time without the device and cost of repair to send it away to be fixed: just buy a new one. As they say in the movie Paul “It’s a false economy!” In the rental market, I can see a LUT being loaded into a Mini Converter, and then not being normalized before it goes out again. That could make troubleshooting difficult: “I have an image, but why does it look so weird?”