Summary / Final Round up of Video Capture for PRO use

edited May 2014 in MAIN

After going through the discussions and trying to figure out the best option for video capture I've put down a summary of options that can be used.
so i need your help to finalise on the best possible solution without much latency or lag.

Laptop with 2 thunderbolt ports (MacBook Pro Retina)
- 1st port for capture and 2nd port for video output (DVI/VGA/Triplehead/Datapath)

Video capture of 2 types of sources at any given point : Live camera and DVI/VGA output of a laptop or Switcher


1. Blackmagic Mini Recorder + DVI extender (1 input) 

2. Blackmagic Deckline Mini recorder / Duo / Quad PCIe cards (1 or 2 or 4 input)

pls suggest a expansion chassis from the following OR any other make / brand 
- Sonnet Echo Express SEL ( 1 slot) 
- Sonnet Echo Express II ( 2 slot )
- Sonnet Echo Express III-D ( 3 slot )
- Magma ExpressBox 1T ( 1 Slot )
- Magma ExpressBox 3T ( 3 slot )
mLogic Thunderbolt PCIe Mac expansion chassis (1 slot )
- any Datapath Capture cards that can be used or supported ?
- any Deltacast Capture cards that can be used or supported?

3. AJA IO XT or Ultrastudio  ( 1 input ) 

*note i already own a Ultrastudio Mini Recorder and DVI extender


  • Hello @Arveen,

    To get 2 inputs with a Blackmagic device, the best option is to use an expansion chassis : there is a thread about this topic (mLogic mLink + BMD DeckLink Duo).
    In our studio, we successfully tested the AJA Io XT and the Ultrastudio 4K with Millumin.

    Best. Philippe
  • AJA Io XT / Ultrstudio 4k Can do 2 simultaneous inputs ?

  • Hey Arveen,

    i asked BM what they think what the fastest solution is.

    they answered me this:

    Hi Kai,

    Thanks for getting in touch.

    As there are less interface conversions taking place, the UltraStudio 4K would be the most direct solution.

    We have not cross compared these, and generally speaking, I cannot recommend the use of external Thunderbolt chassis with a PCIe card.

    I hope this has helped.


    Paul Wilson
    Technical Support Consultant
    Blackmagic Design EMEA

    Maybe this helps you a bit. 

  • Hello @Arveen,

    You can daisy-chain an AJA Io XT or a BMD Ultrastudio 4k : so you can plug two models on the same Thunderbolt port.
    Be sure to contact AJA or BMD support, and get a confirmation that the Thunderbolt bandwidth is sufficient (but it should be).

    Best. Philippe
  • I have been using a sonnet echo expres II with 2x intensity pro  and it works perfectly stable and as expected.

  • just like when in a mac pro (pre 2013).
    I am a bit surprised if BMD doenst recommend it now. Their drivers are certified for thunderbolt use and their tech support back in the day confirmed compatibility using multiple pcie card inside one computer/TB box.
    Maybe they discovered something?
    I any case i haven't experienced any glitches with out without an external enclosure (with intensity pro)

  • edited May 2014

    tested the following configs with a MacPro 2013, OSX 10.9.2.

    Millumin with Sonnet Express SE II TB2 with two of the Blackmagic Decklink MiniRecorder inside works like a charm. Tested it with the HDMI Input with 720p 60. In my eyes the best solution for a cost effective solution. Runs stable.

    Millumin with Sonnet Express SE II TB2 works with two of the Epiphan DVI2PCI Pro. See the appropriate Thread here in the forum. Recognizes the right RGB color space. Keep hot function in Millumin. Unfortunately, some crashes with two cards simultaneously in Millumin.

    Millumin with the Ultrastudio 4k -> best performance with the HDMI or SDI Input with 1080p 60! Best solution when low latency is important. For example, in a camera input when it comes to lip sync. Doesn´t recognize the right RGB color space for computer in my eyes. Compared with the AJA IO XT. Easy to check with gray graduated color bar in the recorded signal. Runs stable.

    Millumin with AJA IO XT -> good performance, recognizes the right RGB color space for computers. Runs stable.


  • how is the latency on the Epiphan DVI2PCI / Pro cards?
  • edited May 2014
    Hi SorenBcn,

    unfortunately i cannot give you a detailed answer about the latency of the Epiphan DVI2PCI cards. As a rough estimate it is as fast as the AJA IO XT. I can bring them with capturing at 60 fps. This cards are great for the job with Millumin, but some problems with two cards together i´m mentioned above. I want to make another tests with these cards when I have time for this again. Since these cards are the best solution for Profesional solutions in my eyes and are fully OSX compatible about their Quicktime integration. The Ultrastudio 4k and the Decklink MiniRecorder are indeed more performant and snappy about Millumins native support of Blackmagic devices but do not supports real computer resolutions and rgb color spaces. It's also a little more complex since they come from the video area and thereby also only supporting video resolutions.

    If i have time in June, i will make measurements with the different configs and latency and i´m going to post it here in the forum for all. 

    I´m not able to provide it faster, because in the next two - three weeks I´m on different Jobs and I do not have time for this.


  • KaiKai
    edited June 2014
    Hey Arveen,

    my actual Setup is one Ultrastudio 4k V2 and one MiniRecorder. 
    They show up both in the system and you can use both on one Thunderbolt port. 

    I have actual 100 ms latency from Camera to Projector. 

    I tryed to use two Ultrastudio Cards but i can't use them together. Only one shows up in the BM Control Software... I will try to downgrade to Driver Version 9.xx but i don't think it is a problem from the 10.1 Driver.

  • under 9.9.3 i can use both us 4k v2 together! :)
  • edited June 2014

    now I did several measurements within my prospects.

    The configuration consists of a MacPro with the following momentary expansion -> 3,7 GHz 4-Core Intel Xeon E5 - AMD Fire Pro D700 GPUs; 512 GB PCIe Flash Memory; 16GB 1866MHz DDR3 RAM.

    In the respective two external enclosures (Echo Express SEII) are two DeckLink Mini Recorder and two Epiphan DVI2PCI Pro cards installed. The external enclosures are connected to two different Thunderbolt buses of the MacPro.

    A MacBook Pro with 720p 60 is connected to one of the Decklink cards. Another MacBook Pro with 1024x768 60Hz is connected to one of the Epiphan DVI2PCI cards. To represent a classical presentation environment in 4/3.

    In another configuration, a AJA IO XT and an UltraStudio 4k are connected. The AJA is connected in chain after the UltraStudio. The two MacBooks here are both connected with the same resolution 720p 60. I wanted to connect all the devices together. There existed recognition problems between the connected DeckLink-, Epiphan-, UltraStudio- and AJA IO XT cards. Millumin did not recognize all together. The best configuration I will definitely have to find out. Anyway.....

    Here are the results:

    Epiphan DVI2PCI Pro; it varies between 5 to 7 Frames latency; 166,67 - 233,33 ms; bad performance for the money :(

    AJA IO XT; uniform 5 Frames latency; 166,67 ms; nice but expensive

    DeckLink Mini Recorder; uniform 4 Frames latency; 133,33 ms; best performance for the money - great choice

    and the winner is.....

    Ultrastudio 4k; uniform 3 Frames latency; 100ms

    see for yourself at the images attached:
  • edited June 2014
    Hello @CitizenCaine,

    Thank you very much for the comparison. Very interesting.
    By the way your "recognition problems between the connected DeckLink-, Epiphan-, UltraStudio- and AJA IO XT cards" could come from a conflict between Blackmagic and AJA cards.
    In the AJA installer, you should have been prompted about such a conflict. However, I don't know exactly where this conflict occurs.
    We're working on AJA native integration in Millumin (via AJA SDK), I hope it would solve this conflict.

    Best. Philippe
  • edited June 2014
    Hi Philippe,

    my pleasure!

    One suggestion on my part would be a native integration of Epiphan cards.
    Since these Epiphan cards would offer proper computer and not only video resolutions.
    You can connect with these cards even analog RGBHV signals.
    When a customer arrives with an older computer then I or we would be able to also connect this computer without any converters.

    By the way, great is that "keep Hot" function for the Epiphan cards in Millumin, that the Blackmagic cards do not offer.

    The Blackmagic cards have already been the best performance in capturing of devices in video resolutions. So I would do the AJA integration hire back. Altough I own one of these cards myself. I do not know how other people´s opinions in this regard would be.

    Epiphan would also offer a free SDK on their website for download.
    I can not do it because my knowledge in this area is unfortunately poor. Otherwise I would give it a try

    Anyway.... Millumin is great!



  • Hello @CitizenCaine,

    Millumin already uses the SDK from Blackmagic : you should see an Epiphan icon in the library when connecting your device. If not, please contact us on

    Best. Philippe
  • Thanks for the latency tests @CitizenCaine ;

  • Hi Arveen, 

    We are using Epiphan DVI2PCIe Duo cards in a Sonnet Echo Express 111-R. This is to include 2TB of SSD's at the same time.

    Capturing at present it drops around 2.5 frames the average for most media servers is around 2 frames using native cards like Active Silicon or DataPath frame grabbers. 
    Since Philippe has introduced the native use we have had no issues.

    XL Video
  • edited October 2014
    I also tested the Ultrastudio Pro and Mini Recorder (Thunderbolt) today and got the same 3 & 4 frame latency. However, the Ultrastudio is 3 frames at 1080/60p, where the Mini Recorder is at 1080/30p (max). So, actual time delays are Ultrastudio Pro = 50ms and Mini Recorder = 133ms.

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