Building your 4K workflow: UltraStudio, DeckLink and the PVM-X300

If you think it’s time to get cracking with 4K but aren’t sure where to start, the good news is that there are plenty of increasingly affordable options out there for you. One of the leading 4K pushers is Blackmagic Design, whose popular UltraStudio and DeckLink lines are now both 4K capable. And if anyone’s been hanging round the blog long enough to remember the time we stitched four monitors together to get a 4K image, you’ll be pleased to hear Sony have a far simpler solution to hand now…

For capture and playback: Blackmagic Design Decklink 4k

Blackmagic Design’s popular Decklink range of capture cards allow you to get your hands on SD, HD, 2K and 4K footage faster, with throughput rates of up to 40 Gbps. The key thing about Decklink 4k cards is their flexibility: you can plug them into Mac, PC or Linux workstations, and choose to work to a range of film and television standards to ensure that whatever assets you create are in the correct format for your client from the get go. And, despite coming in at a very reasonable £625 ex VAT, these cards offer fantastic image quality. You can work in 10-bit SD, 10 or 12-bit HD, and for 2k and 4k in YUV 4:2:2 and RGB 4:4:4. Each pixel is copied like for like with no generational loss or damaging compression.

Another boon for anyone working in 4K is the inclusion of the new 6G-SDI and HDMI 4K connections on the Decklink 4K Extreme. This takes the old quad link HD-SDI connections and multiplexes them in order to reduce your cable count, giving you the ability to get four times the resolution of standard HD using only two BNC SDI cables. All of which means that working on 4K projects in programmes like Nuke and Resolve is now far more affordable, and will require far fewer changes to your infrastructure due to the lower cable and router point count.

For connecting to decks, cameras and monitors: Blackmagic Design UltraStudio 4K

UltraStudio 4K is Blackmagic Design’s leading breakout box for 4K workflows. Thunderbolt-equipped for faster throughput and featuring virtually every type of video and audio connection you’re likely to encounter, this unit is perfect for a rack or your desktop. Like the Decklink range, it supports  6G-SDI video technology for a more streamlined 4K workflow, and well as including HDMI 4K, analogue component video, 16 channels of SDI audio, two channels of balanced analogue, two channels of unbalanced AES/EBU audio, timecode, up/down/cross conversion, reference and serial deck control.

The latest Thunderbolt cables mean that your UltraStudio 4K can now be up to 30 metres away from your main computer, and the internal power supply means there’s no need to clutter your desktop with (or fork out for) an external plug pack. Win.

For monitoring: Sony PVM-X300

This 30″ LCD monitor is currently available with 24 months’ 0% finance, but that’s not the only reason why we’re keen on it. The IPS LCD screen ensures a wide viewing angle, while the inclusion of the same Trimaster technology that powers Sony’s OLED monitors means you can be sure of high colour quality and accuracy. The PVM-X300’s four 3G-SDI and HDMI 1.4a connections are designed to work natively with the F55, allowing you to connect the camera via a single HDMI cable to view 4K, which is great for on-set monitoring.

Sony have a direct SxS 4K player in the works that will allow you to play back XAVC 4K material directly from an SXS Pro + card, and control it from the PVM-X300’s control panel. Full details of this are still to be announced, but it’s an option that will be available after launch of the monitor this summer.

Want to know more about what’s in store for your 4K workflow? Give us a call on 03332 409 306 or email For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook

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