Blackmagic Design Intensity Shuttle Video Interface Review

Blackmagic Design’s Intensity Shuttle is geared towards editors looking to retain and capture the highest quality video. The Shuttle is an inexpensive video capture and playback solution that has the ability to capture and playback high quality 10-bit uncompressed video in the form of an external device. The Shuttle is powered through a relatively new high speed USB 3.0 connection that turns out to be about 10 times faster than regular USB 2.0. USB 3.0 clocks in around 4.8Gb/s and is slowly being adopted by computer manufactures, which ultimately makes this all possible without breaking the bank.

Capturing it

The Intensity Shuttle can capture high quality and analog footage through several ports, which includes HDMI 1.3, Component, Composite and S-Video. The shuttle allows you to simply plug in and bypass your camera’s video compression, pulling directly from the image sensor for capturing the highest quality possible. So, if you’re in a studio environment you could capture directly to your computer at a fraction of the cost of other professional solutions. The device also has the ability to capture an array of video formats from 480p/29.97 to 1080p/29.97 among many others. Capturing was rather simple using the Intensity Shuttle, you need to just be sure to have the video formats matched up on both ends or else you’ll be staring at a blank screen.

We used the included Media Express software to capture from several devices we had at the Videomaker offices through the HDMI port. Media Express was intuitive and easy to use with no complaints, however, the Intensity Shuttle is compatible with other software like Sony Vegas Pro and Adobe Premiere, for example, so you don’t necessarily have to use the Media Express software – but it’s nice to have on standby. We were impressed with the results, although the files were rather large when capturing uncompressed video. You will definitely want to factor in added storage for a 10-bit workflow, we would recommend even going with a RAID setup if you’re serious about editing 10-bit uncompressed video.

Displaying it

The Intensity Shuttle is ideal for monitoring uncompressed HD, HDV and even DV footage on your big screen TV or video projector by simply connecting to the built-in HDMI port. Of course, you could use the other outputs available as well, but HDMI will provide you with the highest quality. This feature alone is incredibly important for accurately monitoring your footage while color grading and it justifies the price tag alone.

What does it mean?

The Intensity Shuttle now allows editors to capture and display high quality 10-bit HD uncompressed video at a fraction of the cost of a few years ago, all wrapped up in a simple-to-use external device. Editing with 10-bit uncompressed video allows editors to apply intensive color effects without degrading their footage. Having the ability to play back that footage in its 10-bit uncompressed glory makes this a must-have accessory for any serious editor’s workstation. As with any new computer accessory, make sure the Intensity Shuttle is compatible with your system before purchasing it.

Tech Specs

Requirements: Installation: USB 3.0. Requires an x58 based motherboard with onboard USB 3.0, or a USB 3.0 PCI Express card and an x58 or P55 series motherboard. Does not support USB 2.0 capture and playback.

Digital Video Input: 1 x HDMI input

Digital Video Output: 1 x HDMI output

HDMI Audio Input: 8 Channels

HDMI Audio Output: 8 Channels

Analog Video Input: Independent connections for component and composite and S-video.

Analog Video Output: Independent connections for component and composite and S-video.

Analog Audio Input: 2 Channel RCA HiFi audio in 24 bit.

Analog Audio Output: 2 Channel RCA HiFi audio in 24 bit.

Computer Interface: USB 3.0

Real Time Conversion: HD Up Conversion Real time standard definition to 1080HD and 720HD during video capture. HD Down Conversion Real time 1080HD and 720HD to standard definition during video playback. Selectable between letterbox, anamorphic 16:9 and 4:3.

HD Format Support: 1080i50, 1080i59.94, 1080i60,1080p23.98, 1080p24, 1080p25, 1080p29.97, 1080p30, 720p50, 720p59.94, 720p60

SD Format Support: 625i/50, 625p PAL and 525i/59.94, 525p NTSC, 480p.

HDMI Video Sampling: 4:2:2

HDMI Color Precision: 4:2:2

HDMI Color Space: YUV 4:2:2

HDMI Audio Sampling: Television standard sample rate of 48 kHz and 24 bit.

Form Factor: External

Strengths

  • Affordable
  • Sleek Design

Weaknesses

  • Hardware Intensive Files
  • USB 3.0 Not Widely Supported Yet

Blackmagic Design

1551 McCarthy Blvd., Ste. 106

Milpitas, CA 95035

www.blackmagicdesign.com

$199

Summary

The Intensity Shuttle is an easy-to-use affordable solution for capturing and playing back high-quality video, with an array of inputs and outputs, and a well-thought out design.

Derek Sine is Videomaker‘s Technical Editor.

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