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Blackmagic Designs Multibridge Pro

uncompressed HD and SD video capture solution By David Basulto

As a filmmaker I always look for products that are efficient to my workflow. Since capturing, editing and exporting my footage from dailies to final renders is so vital I keep a keen eye as to what works and doesnt work. My current editing applications are Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro CS3. My search for a solid tool to import uncompressed HD footage led me to Black Magic Design's Multibridge Pro. The Multibridge Pro is a majestic metal monolith that will add speed and quality to your editing capabilities without compromising your post budget. 

What is the Multibridge Pro?
Blackmagic Design really had filmmakers in mind when the company created the Multibridge Pro. The Multibridge Pro offers filmmakers a way to get uncompressed HD and SD video captured and available for playback via a PCIe slot. Editors who have captured footage via FireWire will deeply appreciate the speed PCIe offers. At 10 Gbps, latency was virtually non existent in my trials. The Multibridge Pro ships with a PCIe card as well. Just plug it in to your Mac or Pc, connect it to the Multibridge Pro and off you go.

Capturing footage
I was able to capture my footage via the component analog inputs on the rear of the Multibridge Pro. The system works with most HD and SD cameras used today. Before buying, make sure your camera is compatible.

One of the greatest features for me was the ability to use the Multibridge Pro with Final Cut Pro AND Premiere Pro CS3. Since I work in both applications I really wanted something that worked with both. This was a huge plus. I tested it out on my Mac OS and Windows via Bootcamp, and on my Dell PC and it worked as it should.

Other compatible applications are After Effects, Photoshop, Combustion, and Shake. This makes the Multibridge Pro a terrific all around addition to any NLE setup.

Real time for me
One feature that really made me feel warm and fuzzy was the fact that I could work in real time when adding effects in Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro. I also tested this in After Effects and Motion. Blackmagic had advertised ?real time, ram previews in After Effects and the Multibridge Pro performed as advertised.

Connection City
The Multibridge Pro comes packed with options for connections. The HDMI out was a huge plus for me as I wanted to connect my 42-inch HD television for previewing work. Also in the mix are:

  • SD/HD SDI In/Out
  • 2 channels of Analog Audio In/Out
  • 4 channels of AES/EBU Digital Audio Inputs and Outputs
  • An RS-422 port for decks
  • 2 channel unbalanced audio outputs for low cost HiFI
  • NTSC/PAL Composite video out
  • Genlock and HD Tri Sync input

Converter Mode
Along with the ability to capture and playback, the Multibridge Pro has another feature called converter mode. This mode, used via USB connection, enables you to update firmwire, set video levels, and select audio embedding.

Whats the cost?
Having the ability to capture high quality uncompressed 10 bit footage does not come cheap. The Multibridge Pro will run you just under $1,600. While this may keep out some independent filmmakers its really not too shabby if you think long term. Blackmagic Design does a great job on updating their products. Just visit the site for software and codec upgrades.

My thoughts
I am extremely happy to use the Multibridge Pro. Uncompressed footage is fantastic to work in. The fact that I can use it with both of my favorite editing applications is a huge point for me. Its easy to move between my PC and Mac as well. The box is extremely compact and portable for those situations that call for you to bring it to other locations. Hopefully with the Multibridge Eclipse out now (the higher end model at $3,500) the Pro price can drop although good things do cost money. Time will tell. Im glad that I padded my post budget however.

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David Basulto is an independent filmmaker in Los Angeles. After 17 plus years, David is well versed in all aspects of filmmaking from development to distribution. He produces, directs, edits, and now is addicted to motion graphics and 3d. His last film, Death Clique is in Blockbusters nationwide. David is also the host of the In his spare time David is an avid gamer and can be found slaying monsters in the world of Vanguard. For more info visit
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