BlackMagic design showcased the UltraStudio 3D back at NAB this year.  I have been excited to get my hands on of these for some time.  I waited patiently and finally, I got one and I have been testing the BlackMagic Design’s UltraStudio 3D over the past few weeks.

The UltraStudio 3D is a portable thunderbolt based capture and playback device for HD-SDI, HDMI,  RS-422, and analog. Harnessing the power of Intel’s Thunderbolt technology the UltraStudio 3D is capable of passing data at 10GB/s. What this means is that  the UltraStudio 3D is able to capture and playback with full HD dual stream 3D at 10 bit using a dual link SDI. It also provides you with support for up to 1080p60, as well as full SD, HD and 2K support.

UltraStudio 3D Key Features


  • Thunderbolt™ technology at 10 Gb/s data rate.
  • 3G SDI (3 Gb/s SDI) in and out, supports SD, HD up to 1080p60 and 2K.
  • SDI inputs include full SDI re-clocking for capture from poor quality SDI sources.
  • HDMI 1.4a in and out, supports SD and HD formats up to 1080p60 and frame packing 3D.
  • Hardware based 10 bit Up, Down and Cross Conversion.
  • Component analog in and out.
  • Component analog switches to s-video and composite.
  • 2 channel balanced analog audio in and out.
  • 2 channel AES/EBU unbalanced audio in and out.
  • Genlock/tri-sync input.
  • Sony™ compatible RS-422 deck control.
  • Supports uncompressed 8 and 10 bit and compressed video capture and playback.
  • Capture/playback of side by side, line by line, top and bottom and frame packing 3D via HDMI.
  • Capture/playback of side by side, line by line, top and bottom and dual stream 3D via SDI.
  • Includes hardware SD and HD keying.
  • Compatible with Mac OS X computers with a Thunderbolt™ port.
  • Supports Final Cut Studio, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, DaVinci Resolve and more.
  • Includes free developer SDK.
  • Includes free Media Express 3 capture and playback software.

BlackMagic Design UltraStudio 3D supports supports color space for uncompressed YUV 4:2:2 and RGB 4:4:4 workflows up to full resolution 2K. Unbelievable for such a small portable device!

The one thing I was very pleasantly surprised to see was the inclusion of a universal power supply, with a set of international socket adapters for all countries. This is fantastic if you have to work on films for docs in another country, BlackMagic has got you covered.


Bundled with the UltraStudio are a full set of drivers and software for capture and playback. One of these is Media Express which provides you with the tools for batch capture and output to tape with frame accurate deck control using AVI, QuickTime and DPX files.  BlackMagic Design has even provided you with a set of plug-ins for Adobe Photoshop so you can grab individual frames from your footage.




While working with the UltraStudio 3D in either Avid, Final Cut Pro, I was amazed at how easily it transferred, and captured footage. But Where it was truly impressive was with AfterEffects. As we all know After Effects is a heavy duty piece of software and require a lot power and ram. The UltraStudio 3D surprised me with it’s ability to provide real time ram preview in adobe After Effects. This to me was truly an incredible feature.

Software Support 

  • Avid Media Composer 6
  • Avid Pro Tools
  • Final Cut Pro 7
  • Adobe Premier Pro
  • Adobe After Effects
  • Adobe Photoshop

Working with my Macbook Pro and the UltraStudio 3D, I was able to color grade using BlackMagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve and a large 52’ monitor with no real issues.  Grading with the UltraStudio 3D and DaVinci Resolve is a perfect combination.

BlackMagic Design seems to be pushing the envelope with technology and software. They are innovating ways to help improve post production workflows  while keeping cost down.  The UltraStudio 3D is simply one of the best portable I/Os I have ever used. Now combine that with with a low price $995 and you have a very powerful tool at your disposal.

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