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Interview with Grant Petty, CEO Black Magic Design

Grant talks about the philosophy behind Black Magic Design


Grant Petty Interview

The thing that we really wanted to do was try and turn the video industry into something similar to what the computer industry is like - where you can buy a video card as a peripheral and plug it in and you’ve got high quality connections and you can work in uncompressed video. It becomes a peripheral based thing. I worked in an industry where you had really big systems - some of them cost a million dollars - they were expensive but they were really good quality. But my theory was well the software on these systems was really just like an application and the hardware that’s in there for the video connections - it’s really just like a peripheral. So if we could build one that was QuickTime compatible, we’d be able to plug it into a Mac and we’d instantly have capture and playback ability at incredibly high quality.

So we’ve got high definition products, we’ve got standard definition products. They are all SDI based which is a serial digital interface used on high end equipment.

The thing that I think is really exciting about this show is we have a new product called Intensity. And Intensity is designed for HDMI capture and playback. With HDMI you work with a normal camera. You don’t need one of these expensive SDI cameras. So you can work with uncompressed video with incredible quality and get around the HDV quality issues with resolution problems and tough compression. Now you can get the raw video - straight from the camera in uncompressed, record it to disc, play it back in real-time with real-time effects in say Final Cut Pro and it works with all QuickTime software - so this is a huge thing for us going forward.

And the extension we’ve done for Intensity is exciting which is if you plug two intensity cards in and use the Blackmagic On-Air software - 2.0 - you can turn it into a live production mixer. This is the fun bit. Nobody ever does this. They just have a card and they work with Final Cut - that’s exciting, but if you can put two in you can resynchronise the cameras, so you you don’t need any genlock cameras - you can just use standard off-the-shelf cameras then you can do live production. The cool thing is it’s a much more fun way to work, So you record the performance and the edits finished. It’s done. You don’t have to sit in a dark room for a couple of days editing away. Wer’e doing two because we’re doing things like recording in DVCPro HD.

Intensity sells for $249 USD.


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