New VDMX Update Adds Support for Blackmagic Design Output Ports and Improved Performance HD Capture

Over the last few years a number of VDMX compatible HD video capture and output options have been released, at first on desktops in PCI cards, and later for MacBook Pros using Thunderbolt connections, making it possible to mix and apply FX to live cameras or output video feeds over higher end video connections like HD-SDI. Combined with the flexibility of VDMX, this makes it possible to turn a new laptop or Mac Pro desktop into a powerful alternative to a traditional dedicated multichannel HD video mixer, complete with its own built-in media server.

Among the most popular manufactures of these hardware devices is Blackmagic Design who in addition to including drivers that work "out of the box" with any Quicktime capable video application on the Mac, also provides an SDK for developers who want to write their own code to get the best performance when by talking to the capture and output hardware directly.

By natively working with the Blackmagic SDK in VDMX, we've both added the ability to output additional feeds using HDMI / HD-SDI connections and greatly reduced the overhead needed for capture of HD signals, making it possible to work with more live cameras at once.

The newest VDMX update can be downloaded from our homepage: http://vidvox.net

For a quick introduction to using the new Blackmagic input / output features, watch the video to the right which explains the changes to VDMX and how to configure capture / monitoring settings for each device.

One of the great side benefits of having more efficient real-time HD capture on the Mac for VJing is that it frees up the CPU to also mix video files, particularly when they are encoded in the Hap format for hardware accelerated playback.

To get a sense of the difference in performance, here are some stats comparing the CPU usage used for 1x and 2x HD capture on different Blackmagic test hardware on a Retina MacBook Pro before and after the change to using their native SDK in VDMX.

CPU Usage for Video Input From UltraStudio MiniRecorder
1x HD-SDI 1080i 60 fps 2x HDMI 1080i 60 fps
Before
20%
43%
After
4%
7%

Measured on a dual-core 2.6 GHz i7 Retina MacBook Pro (shorter bars are better)

This update also includes other noteworthy additions and bug fixes.

Note that Blackmagic boxes that come with matching input and output ports such as the Intensity Extreme can only operate in send OR receive mode, not both at the same time. When an input signal is being received the matching output becomes an automatic hardware pass-thru.