Blackmagic Design Announces eGPU Pro, Professional Version of Its Blackmagic eGPU, 22x Faster Performance Than Previous Model

Blackmagic Design has announced the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, a GPU power-boosted pro-level version of its recently released Blackmagic eGPU, with a Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor instead of the earlier model’s Radeon Pro 580 graphics card. 

As a result Blackmagic Design is claiming an up-to 22 times speed boost for graphics-intensive tasks such as photography and video editing with non-linear editing suites such as Blackmagic Design’s own DaVinci Resolve in both versions and Apple’s Final Cut Pro X. 

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro requires either a Thunderbolt 3-equipped MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, new Mac mini or an iMac or, presumably, an iMac Pro, all running macOS 10.14 Mojave for its updated support for external graphics processing units. 

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro provides two Thunderbolt 3 ports, four USB 3 ports, 85 watt power delivery and an HDMI 2.0 port as well as a DisplayPort 1.4 port to support up to two 5K monitors.

I began looking into eGPUs some time before the previous version of macOS supported it due to the demands on my late 2014 iMac Retina 5K 27-inch being made by increasingly larger stills and video files produced by ever-larger sensors and ever-growing quality capabilities of video files in particular.

Later today I will be attending a preview of Fujifilm’s GFX 50R rangefinder-style medium format camera and the 100 megapixel version of Fujifilm’s GFX 50S DSLR-style camera will be released in 2019.

A reasonable rule of thumb is that an average raw file from a 50 megapixel camera will weigh in at 100 megabytes before processing and an average raw file from a 100 megapixel camera will weigh in at 200 megabytes before raw conversion and image editing involving extra layers.

Blackmagic eGPU Pro

Such files not only add to demands on storage space; they also increase the draw on your computer’s internal graphics processing unit compared to, say, the 16 megapixel and 20 megapixel image files of my Panasonic Micro Four Thirds cameras and the 24 megapixel image files of my Fujifilm APS-C camera.

Medium format is attractive due to its larger sensors producing image quality that enlarges well to gallery exhibition print dimensions.

Then there is the question of the superb video footage produced by cameras like the Fujifilm X-T3, using settings like DCI 4K, 10-bit-4:2:2, All-Intra, 400 megabits per second and HEVC H.265.

Our iMac does not have native Thunderbolt 3 output but it may be able to make use of eGPUs with some sort of software hack and a Thunderbolt 2 to Thunderbolt adapter.

The ‘Untitled’ home studio is well overdue for an upgrade to its portable computer capabilities, though, and a maxed-out version of the coming internal GPU-boosted MacBook Pro 15-inch series may be just the ticket.

If ever-bigger video and stills files continue to make serious demands on such machines’ internal GPUs, then eGPUs like the Blackmagic eGPU Pro are worth serious consideration.

I have yet to try out any eGPU, given none of our local Apple stores have one out of the box and set up in a working configuration, but the numbers in Blackmagic Design’s product page look encouraging.

Highlights, Blackmagic eGPU Pro

blackmagic_egpu_pro_08_1024px_60pc
Blackmagic Design Blackmagic eGPU Pro, I/O connectivity and power.
  • Compatible with any Thunderbolt 3–enabled Mac
  • Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor with 8GB of HBM2 memory
  • Two Thunderbolt 3 ports
  • Four USB 3 ports
  • HDMI 2.0 port
  • DisplayPort 1.4 port
  • 85W power delivery

Press Release

BLACKMAGIC DESIGNANNOUNCES BLACKMAGIC EGPU PRO

New model features blazingly fast AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 for up to 22x faster performance!

Fremont, CA – October 30, 2018 – Blackmagic Design today announced the Blackmagic eGPU Pro, an external graphics processor featuring the blazingly fast AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics processor. Designed to accelerate pro creative software such as DaVinci Resolve, 3D games and VR, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro delivers nearly twice the performance of the original Blackmagic eGPU model and up to 22x faster performance than the built-in graphics on a 13-inch MacBook Pro.

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro features a built-in AMD Radeon RX Vega 56, two Thunderbolt 3 ports, a new DisplayPort for connecting 5K displays, HDMI 2.0, 85W of charging power and four USB 3.1 connections. Designed in collaboration with Apple, the integrated design brings cutting-edge workstation-class graphics processing and computational acceleration to customers working in professional video, playing 3D games or using the latest virtual reality software.

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro will be available in November for only US$1,199 from apple.com.

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro features 8GB of HBM2 RAM, a massive 2048-bit memory interface with 410 gigabyte per second bandwidth, and 56 discreet compute units for up to 10.5 teraflops of processing power. The AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 can fill 94 billion textured pixels per second. In addition, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro supports Metal graphics technology from Apple, which provides near-direct access to the GPU for maximizing graphics and compute performance with games and applications.

With nearly 2x faster performance than the previous eGPU model, customers running DaVinci Resolve will get more realtime effects and color correction than ever before. That means they can spend more time exploring creative options and less time waiting. Customers running DaVinci Resolve on a 13-inch MacBook Pro will find that GPU-intensive operations, such as noise reduction, are up to 22x faster with the Blackmagic eGPU Pro. DaVinci Resolve 15 also supports multiple GPUs as well as Metal, so it’s the best way to get the full benefit of the Blackmagic eGPU Pro. Customers can download DaVinci Resolve 15 now free of charge from the Blackmagic Design website for the best editing, color correction, audio post and visual effects solution available.

For gamers and customers using VR software and headsets, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro delivers higher resolution images, higher frame rate gameplay, better lighting and more detailed textures for truly immersive experiences, even on a laptop computer. Plus, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro features a DisplayPort connection that can drive a 5K display.

The elegant, textured finish of the Blackmagic eGPU Pro is extruded from a single piece of aluminum and features a unique thermal cooling system that’s been designed to perfectly balance the airflow and dissipate heat more efficiently. The cooling system also enables extremely quiet operation, which is vital for those working in video production and audio engineering environments.

In addition to graphics and computational acceleration, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro is also the perfect docking hub for connecting devices such as keyboards, mice, Thunderbolt monitors, big screen HDMI televisions, 5K displays, VR headsets, high speed storage and more. It features two 40Gb/s Thunderbolt 3 connections, a built-in 4 port USB hub, DisplayPort and HDMI. Plus, the connections are ergonomically spaced, making it easy to connect and disconnect peripherals.

When it comes to power, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro has a built-in power supply that powers the GPU while also providing 85W of downstream power via Thunderbolt 3 for charging laptop computers and powering peripherals. The power supply works from 100V to 240V and features a standard IEC power connector so it can be used anywhere in the world.

“The new Blackmagic eGPU Pro is exciting because it delivers nearly twice the performance of the original model of the Blackmagic eGPU,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Whether you’re editing and color grading professional video with DaVinci Resolve, playing 3D games or working in VR, the Blackmagic eGPU Pro gives you the latest cutting edge graphics performance and computational acceleration available. It simply makes everything faster and makes everything look better!”

AVAILABILITY AND PRICE

The Blackmagic eGPU Pro will be available in Novemeber for only US$1,199 from apple.com.

Links

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time in pixels: False Color Plugin 3

https://timeinpixels.com/false-color-plugin/

“One of the most useful tools for exposure monitoring and shot matching. Bring your camera tool to the post-processing environment!

Available for various platforms including OpenFX hosts: DaVinci Resolve, Scratch, Nuke, Sony Vegas Pro as well as Adobe CC: Premiere Pro and After Effects…..”

Link

Blackmagic Design: Blackmagic Design Announces
 DaVinci Resolve 14 is Now Shipping

https://www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/release/20170907-02

“… DaVinci Resolve 14 is the biggest release in the history of the product, and has been designed to be a complete revolution in post production. DaVinci Resolve 14 is the world’s only fully integrated professional editing, color correction and audio solution. It scales from a single user all the way up to the largest collaborative studio workflows.

New features include up to 10 times performance improvement, a whole new audio post production suite with Fairlight audio built in, and multi user collaboration tools that let multiple people edit, color and mix audio from multiple systems, all in the same project at the same time. In addition, DaVinci Resolve 14 includes hundreds of new features for editors and colorists, including over 20 new effects such as automatic facial recognition and tracking so customers can quickly refine and enhance faces in their shots.

DaVinci Resolve 14 is like 3 high end applications in one. Customers get professional editing, color correction and new Fairlight audio tools. All it takes is a single click to switch between editing, color and audio. For multi user studios, DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio features bin and timeline locking, secure chat, a graphical timeline comparison tool for accepting and merging changes, and more. These features dramatically change post production from a linear to a parallel workflow. Customers no longer have to import, export, translate or conform projects. Everyone can work on the same project at the same time….”

Grading Panasonic Lumix GH5 Footage? This List of LUT Plug-Ins and Color Grading Utilities for Final Cut Pro X May Be Useful – UPDATED

A number of Panasonic Lumix GH5 owners using Final Cut Pro X with LUT loading plug-ins have reported varying LUT interpretation results with 8-bit and 10-bit footage. The problem involves clamping or lowering the footage superwhites after LUTs have been applied. 

High whites are well-preserved in GH5 V-Log 10-bit 4:2:2 footage with Leeming LUT One applied in Premiere Pro, before and after

The most common problem reportedly does not appear in Adobe’s Premiere Pro NLE using the Lumetri Color panel, but seems to be centred on Apple’s Final Cut Pro X or more specifically some current versions of third party LUT-loading plug-ins.

So far the specific causes of this problem, and its permanent solution, have not been 100% identified, but it may be useful to share a list of the free and paid-for LUT plug-ins and related software that are currently available. If the cause resides in one or more specific LUT plug-ins, then it may be wise to try out others on the list below.

Meanwhile Premiere Pro itself has some problems with correctly supporting 8-bit and 10-bit GH5 footage and Blackmagic’s DaVinci Resolve colour grading software-cum-NLE also seems to incorrectly clamp super whites after LUTs have been applied.

LUT and colour grading plug-ins, and applications

  • Chromatic – currently undergoing development, CoreMelt’s Chromatic color grading plug-in is their “all in one color grading plugin that combines curves, color wheels, tracked masks, inside-outside mask grades, selective color correction, LUT loading and management and degrain, regrain all in one tool.”
  • Color Finale and Color Finale Pro – colour grading plug-in suite with LUT loading capability, made by Denver Riddle of Color Grading Central.
  • Epicolor – intriguing new product by Lemke Software, available through FxFactory, includes a post production LUT application feature.
  • FxFactory – retails a catalog of plug-ins and effects for Final Cut Pro X and other NLEs including colour grading plug-ins.
  • FCPX LUT Loader – free plug-in for Macs running macOS Sierra and later, made by FCPX plug-ins specialist Pixel Film Studios, which offers a number of LUT looks packs for purchase.
  • LUT Buddy – free LUT loader plug-in by Red Giant, formerly available as a separate download but now included in Red Giant’s Magic Bullet Suite 13, available in a trial version.
  • LUT Gallery – according to maker Denver Riddle of Color Grading Central, the “most powerful way to do color grading with LUTs! Includes Auto WB Color Picker”.
  • LUT Utility – by Color Grading Central, also maker of Color Finale.
  • LUTx – FCPX plug-ins maker CoreMelt states that LUTx is “the most powerful LUT solution for Final Cut Pro X” and retails a number of looks LUT collections.
  • mLUT – free LUT loading plug-in by motionVFX, retailer of a range of looks LUT packages.
  • ScopeBox – professional scopes application for macOS computers, that allows feeding video from a range of DIT tools and Adobe video software as well as Final Cut Pro X into ScopeBox via ScopeLink. ScopeBox maker divergent media says that “the scopes found in most desktop editing applications leave a lot to be desired – they’re not accurate, they’re slow, and they’re not configurable”.

The crux of the problem and a workaround

Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One describes the problem as follows. The LUTs from his unified, corrective LUT system are “designed to maximize dynamic range, fix skin tones, remove unwanted colour casts and provide an accurate Rec. 709 starting point for further creative colour grading”.

The Leeming LUT One system provides “the best possible settings to maximise dynamic range and image quality for that camera, while minimising noise and other unwanted artefacts”. Thus the system’s LUTs are “designed to work with the full float levels of the video clips as they come out of camera”.

“Some cameras stop at 100 IRE, but others such as Panasonic and Sony retain superwhite up to 109 IRE (usually), so my LUTs are designed around that limit, not the 100 IRE limit,” Mr Leeming says.

He offers one potential workaround, until LUT plug-ins are updated to support float space. “The easiest temporary solution is to adjust IRE for clips to fall within 0-100 IRE, then apply the LUT, as in theory the distribution of values in float space should be the same. That should avoid clipping”.

Mr Leeming notes that he designs Leeming LUT One in Premiere Pro which “handles superwhites with the LUT directly” and “no need to pull down exposure” and was “not aware that there were programs which didn’t pull down superwhites or lift superblacks”.

A more permanent solution

Roger Bolton of CoreMelt, developer of Chromatic and LUTx, has further insights into the problem and its solution:

A LUT is defined in the color ranges 0-1 in float with 1 being defined as the highest legal level (100 IRE). You can stretch the LUT out to handle the additional levels but that’s changing the look of the LUT if it was designed on legal levels. There’s not really a “correct” solution that I’m aware of, so how a LUT loader should handle this is something that needs flexibility.

As Chromatic is currently under development, Mr Bolton says that “we plan to allow a few different ways of dealing with the issue” and has asked users to send him their requests. He states that LUTx will be updated to handle superwhites and Chromatic will also handle them when released.

Update

CoreMelt has released Chromatic and its is available as a 14-day free trial or as a special launch offer for one week only, closing at Pacific Standard Time (PST) 7th August 2017. The special offer contains Chromatic and over 150 LUTs.

Links

Image Credits

Still-frame from footage shot by Paul Leeming with Panasonic Lumix GH5 using V-LogL and Leeming LUT One GH5 settings then processed in Premiere Pro with Leeming LUT One for GH5.

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Camera, Kits, Battery Grip and V-Log L

  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera (Body Only)B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 8-18mm Lens KitB&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-35mm Lens Kit – B&H
  • Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Mirrorless Micro Four Thirds Digital Camera with 12-60mm LensB&H
  • Panasonic DMW-BGGH5 Battery Grip – B&H
  • Panasonic V-Log L Function Activation Code for DMC-GH4, DC-GH5, and DMC-FZ2500B&H

SDXC V90 cards

  • Angelbird 64GB AV Pro UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Angelbird 128GB AV Pro UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory CardB&H
  • Panasonic 128GB UHS-II V90 SDXC Memory CardB&H

L-Plates

  • Really Right Stuff L-Plate Set for Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 Camera Body  – B&H

Camera Cages

  • Movcam Cage for Panasonic GH5B&H
  • Movcam Cage Kit for Panasonic GH5B&H
  • Seercam GH5 CageB&H
  • Seercam Cage for GH5 with Classic HandleB&H
  • Seercam Extension Kit for CUBE GH5 CageB&H

Blackmagic Design Releases DaVinci Resolve 14, Most Massive Update Yet, Adds Fairlight Audio Page, Radically Drops Studio Price

The words “gamechanging” and “revolutionary” are well overused in the realm of digital media production and writers are always warned to avoid them. But what other words best describe Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 in its free and paid-for Studio versions?

The Fairlight audio page of Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 non-linear editing, colour grading and audio production software suite.

Signs were Blackmagic was up to something radical when it bought pioneering computer musical and video instruments maker Fairlight and the fruits of that move are now here in Resolve 14’s Fairlight audio page.

The first beta of DaVinci Resolve 14 and DaVinci Resolve Studio 14 is now available to download in your choice of three computer platforms, macOS, Windows and two flavours of Linux, Red Hat and CentOS.

The latter option is particularly exciting, as Blackmagic Design’s press release says, “Customers running Red Hat or CentOS Linux can even build their own workstations using low cost motherboards, extremely fast processors, massive amounts of RAM and up to 8 GPUs for incredible real time performance.”

Looks like I will have a good use for the Mac Pro tower sitting next to my workstation when it finally gives up the ghost. Strip it, build a Linux workstation into the case and run DaVinci Resolve 14 in it along with other open source production software.

Blackmagic Design Press DaVinci Resolve 14 Images

From the Blackmagic Design press release for DaVinci Resolve 14 public beta:

The free version of DaVinci Resolve is also available with the same powerful new editing and audio post production features. The $299 DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio version adds the new collaborative multi user tools, over 20 new Resolve FX including the advanced face enhancement tools, 4K and 120fps project support, stereoscopic 3D, optical quality blur and mist effects, film grain, de-noise tools and much more. Best of all, DaVinci Resolve 14 Studio does not require a connection to the internet or a cloud subscription to work.

Free or Studio version?

That is your decision but it is made easier by looking at the features for each of the current five different versions of DaVinci Resolve 14 in the Compare page. If you have a dongle for a previous version of DaVinci Resolve Studio than you can download the version 14 beta. If you don’t then choose the appropriate free version of DaVinci Resolve.

For the most part each version has feature parity with the exception of the more sophisticated creative and production tools and effects. If you are a proud new owner of a Panasonic Lumix DC-GH5 camera and will be working in 10-bit 4:2:2 high bitrate modes, or DCI 4K rather than UHD 4K, shoot video in 6K Photo mode using H.265 HEVC (though Divergent Media’s EditReady transcoder can help there), will be recording to HDR or value Camera LUTs in colour grading nodes, then you will need to consider purchasing a Studio license.

Screenshot from the Compare page, still missing from the linked pages line-up at Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve 14 webpages. I am informed that HEVC decoding and High 10 Profile H.264 decoding are required to work with some types of footage from Panasonic’s Lumix DC-GH5 camera.

Given that DaVinci Resolve Studio 14’s price has dropped to less than a third of version 12.5’s, comparing it to the combined price of another brand non-linear editing software plus third party colour grading plug-ins plus an audio editing suite, whether paid-for on a monthly subscription or once-off basis, DaVinci Resolve Studio 14’s once-only USD299.00 is starting to look like a bargain.

Don’t forget that we are only seeing the first beta version. Blackmagic Design may make radical changes to each version’s feature set by the time the release versions appear some months hence.

The one thing that DaVinci Resolve 14 in all its versions is currently missing is motion graphics and VFX capabilities, but your needs may be taken care of with Blackmagic Design’s Fusion 8 or Fusion 8 Studio software.

I have not had the time to try DaVinci Resolve 14 out yet so the best thing I can do is link below to an overview of some of its most exciting new features and improvements, written by colourist Joey D’Anna for colour grading website and online training providers Mixing Light.

Consider Time in Pixels’s False Color Plug-in for use in DaVinci Resolve

Cinematographer/photographer Tomasz Huczek makes what is, to my knowledge, the only false colour plug-in for any editing or colour grading platform. False Color Plugin by Time in Pixels is available in two versions, the free evaluation version without time limit, and the full professional version.

Time in Pixels' False Color Plug-in includes industry standard presets and presets for skin tones, highlights and shadows.
Time in Pixels’ False Color Plug-in includes industry standard presets and presets for skin tones, highlights and shadows.

Both come in macOS or Windows versions, and both work in Adobe’s After Effects CC and Premiere Pro as well as OpenFX plug-in hosts such as DaVinci Resolve, Nuke, Sony Vegas Pro and more.

Time in Pixels' False Color Plugin appears in the Scopes section of DaVinci Resolve's Color page, at upper right.
Time in Pixels’ False Color Plugin appears in the Scopes section of DaVinci Resolve’s Color page, at upper right.

If you are familiar with false colour in monitors/recorders such as those made by Atomos, then using False Color Plugin within DaVinci Resolve, After Effects or Premiere Pro should be a doddle, as it were. A Final Cut Pro X version of False Colour Plugin is on its way, according to Tomasz Huczek who informed me that “I am planning to start working on the FCPX version once v3.0 of the plugin is out”.

Links:

3D LUT Maker Rocket Rooster is Offering 30% Off Huge Film Looks 3D LUT Bundle

Specialist looks LUT specialist Rocket Rooster creates some impressive collections of analog film-inspired 3D LUTs for quickly and easily achieving cinematic colour grades in your preferred non-liner editing software (NLE) or colour grading suite.

Right now, the company is offering its largest film stock emulation LUT bundle, combining all previous Analog Cinema packs with the Cinema Colour II (Extended Edition) pack, comprising hundreds of top quality cinematic 3D LUTs.

Rocket Rooster’s 30%-off special offer extends until the end of this weekend, until the end of February 19, and then the Rocket Rooster Film Bundle reverts to its usual price.

Link: