DeckLink Quad vs. DeckLink Duo

edited March 2015 in MAIN
I have been looking for a way to add inputs to Millumin without terminating the thunderbolt daisy chain. Has anyone tried the BlackMagic DeckLink Quad card in an expansion box? Most of the PCIe expansion boxes have 2 thunderbolt ports (eg. Sonnet Echo Express). This might add 4 inputs and possibly 4 outputs too.

Any thoughts Philippe?


  • Hello @PhilipHamilton,

    People successfully used a Magma 3T with a Blackmagic Intensity Pro, however I doubt you could get 4 inputs and 4 outputs through only 1 Thunderbolt.
    I think you should contact Blackmagic support : they are nice and much more able to give you the right answers.

    Best. Philippe
  • Thanks I have a thread established with BM and I will keep you posted.
  • Spoke to support at BlackMagic Design and they said it may work. There is a good chance that the DeckLink Quad will appear as 4 capture cards. If the DeckLink Quad only appears as one card they have a developers kit that facilitates activating the other 3 cards.

    I have two freinds that have a DeckLink Quad card so I could try it out by only investing in the expansion chassis. I will let you know how it goes.

    This could be very useful by adding 4 inputs in one shot.
  • Hello @PhilipHamilton,

    Just for your information : Millumin already uses the "developers kit" Blackmagic spoke about.
    So I see no problem to make it work.

    Best. Philippe
  • Has any Millumin user out there done this yet?
  • Has any Millumin user out there done this yet?
  • Hello @PhilipHamilton,

    As said in messages above, a setup with one Blackmagic Intensity Pro was tested in a Magma 3T, and it's working correctly.

    For a DeckLink Quad, Blackmagic told you it should also work : to me, it means that the Thunderbolt is fast enough to be used by this capture card. It's the only thing you should be concerned about.
    For the rest, Millumin already supports natively Blackmagic cards : it uses the "developer-kit", Blackmagic told you about. So you will see as many inputs as the card can get.

    Best. Philippe
  • Hi Philippe

    I recently get a DeckLink Quad and Millumin recognizes the 4 inputs, but I can get see any image, you know the right configuration of the card and the camera? 

    I connect the camera direct the SDI Camera to the card

  • Hello @Rich,

    Did you try to get input with Blackmagic Media Express ? Does it work ? If not, please contact Blackmagic support as your card could be broken.

    Best. Philippe
  • Dear all, and especially @Rich and @Millumin,

    Did you succeed to get something with the DeckLink? I'm sure I won't be the only one interested in such a solution ;-)

    Thanks in advance,

    Have a good day,

  • Hello @vbaudron,

    The DeckLink Quad works fine in Millumin.
    This topic is only about using such a card in a Thunderbolt expansion box.

    Best. Philippe
  • Dear @Millumin,

    Indeed, I read to fast, sorry ;-) , but this use of Thunderbolt expansion box is still very interesting, any feedback about it?

  • Hello @vbaudron,

    As said in my first post, people successfully used a Magma 3T with a Blackmagic Intensity Pro,
    however I doubt you could get 4 inputs and 4 outputs through only 1
    Thunderbolt. The bandwidth isn't big enough.

    Best. Philippe
  • I decided to go with a branched approach because of the traffic math on the thunderbolt cables.

    Instead of the DeckLink Quad I went with 2 DeckLink Duos. Each one is in it’s own mLink Thunderbolt PCIe Mac expansion chassis by mLogic. Each chassis is plugged into it’s own thunderbolt port on the MacBook Pro Retina.

    This provides 4 inputs (SDI HD-SDI with loop through on full size BNC connectors).

    My objective was to have two windows of PowerPoint or Keynote (bilingual) floating on a pan screen (3 screen blend 1:3 ratio). 

    For each language of the PPT/KN I have a Mac hooked to a Blackmagic DVI Extender. This converts to HD-SDI, which then plugs into the DeckLink Duo.

    So far I have only tested the input capability of the DeckLink Duo. Works wonderfully! I tested at 1080i 60hz, which is the max for the DVI Extender. Very little lag.

    Thing of beauty!

    More to come…. Still testing the output side…

    Ps. When Philippe says it will work, it does.

  • Thank you for this feedback @PhilipHamilton !
    I guess the latency should be around 120 milliseconds ...
  • Blackmagic DeckLink Duo video card in a mLink Thunderbolt PCIe Mac expansion chassis by mLogic
    More on my configuration after further testing:

    The SDI / HD-SDI output works well.
    The output of each of the two video cards on the DeckLink Duo appear in the Millumin Output Multiscreen Selector. They work just like any other display. Great for projectors with HD-SDI inputs. Less latency than I expected.

    More to come... My next test is to see how the inputs cascade. This will be important when reestablishing the patch at the show site.
  • Dear @PhilipHamilton,

    Thanks a lot for all your testings, which look very promising!
    I assume we're a lot waiting for the results of your further experimentations…

  • I have been using my system for over a year now.
    The BMD Decklink Duo cards are used mostly for inputs to the Millumin system (4 inputs).
    Outputs to the projectors are handled by end of Thunderbolt daisy chain MDP adapters (out via the second Thunderbolt connection on the M-Link chassis).
    The system has worked very well up till now.

    The only problem is managing which video card (4 of them) lands where in the order they appear in the system (and Millumin).
    Each time the system is put together and booted I have to experiment to see which input is which. It is like a mini lottery. This at worst case has me moving the input to the where it works so not so bad.

    My typical patch (see attache pic):
    -Two computers top Left: English and French PowerPoint
    - Computer in middle MBP Retina for projection screen control through Millumin
    - Computer at bottom controls the Presenter Comfort Monitor with one of the retinas outputs:
    PCM Has these features:
    1- View of the E or F PowerPoint (switched by the dashboard on the retina)
    2- Watermark of local time
    3- Countdown timer & progress bar
    4- Perfect-Cue diagram and instructions
    5- Interactive Agenda
      - and other features

    Patch pic is attached.

    At the present moment I am having problems outputting to the projectors.
    Right now I am out of commission as a Millumin user.
    imageMore to come after I track down the problem.
  • Problem found:
    After experimentation I found that my usual patch still works fine. The recent failure occurred when I added a different method of conveying the system output to the projectors. In situations where the projectors are more than 50' from the control table I usually use Kramer HDMI extenders (TP-580 over Cat6) for distances of up to 250' to replace the DVI cables (depicted in my patch) The Kramer units work reliably.

    I tried using 2 BlackMagic HDMI to SDI 4K mini converter units to convey the system output to the two projectors. Because the projectors have SDI HD inputs the assumptions was BNC SDI cabling could be used for the run to the projectors. At first this worked reasonably well. Over time this patch became totally unstable. By the forth day we had blinking. On the 5th day the video broke up catastrophically. After experimentation the patch had to be changed. This project was a two projector blend on Christie 20K machines.

    I have been in touch with BlackMagic Design support over this issue and they admit there are several bugs with the HDMI to SDI 4K mini converter units. There seems to be 3 different issues they will have to address in a future firmware update. More to come on this when I get answers back from BMD.

    >>>> !!!! For now I advise staying away from BlackMagic HDMI to SDI 4K mini converters!!!! <<<<

    Millumin was not the problem.
    I'm back to stable and predictable Millumin performances with my usual patch.

    I would like to edit the title of this discussion to include "Vs DeckLink Duo" (any chance of this Philippe?).
  • Hello @PhilipHamilton,

    thank you for sharing your experience.
    I renamed the discussion.

    Best. Philippe
  • Hi Philippe,

    Should have asked for "DeckLink Quad vs. DeckLink Duo".
  • Decklink Duo 2 in a Sonnet Echo Express SE 1

    My new system has the same capabilities as the system described above.
    Higher input resolutions are possible.

    This gives me 4 SDI inputs but on a single chase.

    The previous system could do 1080i 60
    The new system can do 1080p 60
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