Blackmagic UltraScope

Stephen Yagielowicz
For adult videographers concerned with producing quality footage on a budget, having access to low-cost, high-performance tools is a must — and thanks to technology, the value proposition of these tools is escalating each year. One case in point is the $695 UltraScope from Blackmagic, which lets users turn an unused PC into a powerful video monitoring system.

According to Blackmagic, its UltraScope is "the world's first 3 Gb/s SDI and optical fiber SDI scopes designed for editors and colorists, with the technical accuracy broadcast engineers will love..."

"High end post production and television engineers have known for decades the benefit of using waveform monitoring not just for engineering, but operationally in color correction and editing workflow," states the Blackmagic website. "From color correction to matching black levels when keying and overlaying video, only waveform monitoring lets you keep track of what's going on, and helps you eliminate illegal colors, and other problems that could cause your work to be rejected by broadcasters."

Providing an easy alternative to hard-to-use waveform monitors, UltraScope offers a robust set of features for editing and color correcting, with an elegant user interface. When plugged into a compatible Windows-based computer with a 24 inch monitor, the UltraScope will display six live scope views simultaneously; auto detecting the SD, HD and 3 Gb/s SDI inputs.

The UltraScope eases video color correcting with its realtime RGB parade waveform view, which displays the color balance in blacks, mids and whites; and it also offers a component mode that allows users to align equipment and decks.

Synthesized composite waveforms and a component vectorscope view are provided, along with a histogram feature for location shoots that allows users to have full control over the video's contrast range, no matter how extreme the color grade is.

Eight channels of audio metering is also provided along with a stereo phase meter, which plots left and right audio as an X/Y scope display. A live picture view allows users to see the video input, with VITC and RP188 HD timecode displayed on the video image.

For those without a spare PC, Silverado is now offering its custom UltraScope-based, rack-mounted ColoRig for $2495.

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