Issues with Blackmagic DeckLink Quad HDMI Recorder

Hello!

I just bought and installed the following hardware:

  • Blackmagic DeckLink Quad HDMI Recorder
  • Sonnet Echo Express SE III

I connected it to my MacBook Pro 13" (2020) with Mac OS X 10.15.7 installed. Then I installed Blackmagic Desktop Video 11.6 and opened mimoLive 5.8. Unfortunately, I noticed that both video and audio are not captured correctly. The video is not fluid, and the audio is distorted.

Example: https://youtu.be/W016agcyd6s

The video source is a Dell XPS 13" connected to the Blackmagic DeckLink Quad HDMI Recorder via a USB-C > HDMI cable. I also tried to use a different USB-C > HDMI cable, but the result did not change. Note: both cables I used work perfectly with an external display.

Thinking that the problem was software related, I downloaded and installed version 11.5.1 of Blackmagic Desktop Video. Using the latter, the audio recorded by mimoLive is correct, but the video is not fluid, and there are numerous frames dropped during recording. Indeed, the mimoLive “Render Performance Monitor” shows very high CPU usage.

Example: https://youtu.be/jXuWqL7PmYk

Then I made some tests with the Blackmagic Media Express application. With that application, both using version 11.5.1 and version 11.6 of Blackmagic Desktop Video, the audio is okay, and the video is almost okay (better than with mimoLive).

Example: https://youtu.be/tdulr4a5pnc

Nota bene: the same problems encountered with mimoLive are present with QuickTime Player.

Now the question is: should I return the Blackmagic DeckLink Quad HDMI Recorder card?

Thanks!

@Gabriele_LS Sorry to hear about the issues with the DeckLink card.

The problems with 11.6 are a known issue, but 11.5.1 should work fine.

Can you please look at the Source Performance Monitor and post a screenshot? I suspect the Dell might send you a very high resolution. You should set it to 1080p30.

Hi @Oliver_Boinx, thanks for the quick reply.

I guess the source resolution is 4K UHD (3840x2160) because that’s the resolution of the video I captured using the Blackmagic Media Express application. You can download it from the following link, if you like: https://we.tl/t-3G4t4CPqGK

Tomorrow, I can try to reduce that resolution to 1080p and see what happens.

P.S. Any thought about the gamma issue? It looks like the video captured with mimoLive is a way brighter that the one captured with Blackmagic Media Express.

Hi @Oliver_Boinx. As per your recommendation, I reduced the Dell XPS 13 resolution to 1080p. Now, it seems to me that my MacBook Pro 13 is handling the recording properly. I still didn’t have time to test that new setup extensively, but the 5 minutes I recorded are okay. Thanks for the hint.

Anyway, Isn’t it strange that Blackmagic Media Express is able to record 4K UHD while mimoLive is not?

Hi @Oliver_Boinx. As per your recommendation, I reduced the Dell XPS 13 resolution to 1080p. Now, it seems to me that my MacBook Pro 13 is handling the recording properly. I still didn’t have time to test that new setup extensively, but the 5 minutes I recorded are okay. Thanks for the hint.

Good to hear that it works.

Anyway, Isn’t it strange that Blackmagic Media Express is able to record 4K UHD while mimoLive is not?

The Blackmagic Media Express is simply writing the data to the disk. It’s not doing a lot of video processing while mimoLive is doing a lot of processing if you input a 4K signal and your document is in 1080.

Not sure how far you can get with 4K on the 13" MBP, but you should be able to ISO record the 4K source (which is then basically what Media Express is doing.)

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Hi Gabriele! I would also like to buy a DeckLink Quad HDMI for our mimo projects. But could you tell me how mimolive handles the 4 input channels? Is one board like the ATEM mini or it is possible to use the four HDMI input channels as separated devices?

Thx in advance for your feedback!

Greeting from Oldenburg, Germany

Hi! If you have the DeckLink Quad HDMI Recorder in an external PCIe box, mimoLive sees each one of the 4 HDMI inputs as a separate input and can use them at the same time.

Hello @daniel.kaszanics the DeckLink Quad HDMI works as @Oliver_Boinx described.

The only issue with that card is that you also need an external PCIe box if you are on a MacBook, a MacMini, or an iMac.

Depending on the way you are thinking of using it and on the equipment you already have, I guess it could worth evaluating the alternative consisting of HDMI > NDI converters. For instance, if you need just three inputs, 3 BirdDog converters cost almost the same (1.080 € ex VAT) as the PCIe box and the DeckLink Quad HDMI card (1.023 € ex VAT). Of course, the BirdDog converters would make sense only if you need maximum flexibility, you do not already have a PCIe box, and you already have a semi-professional gigabit ethernet switch.

Thx for the suggestion. It’s a good idea for future projects but for now is the deck link a good choice for our kind of projects :-).

Greetings, Daniel

What are the advantages of the DeckLink Quad HDMI and Sonnet PCIe box over the Atem? At €1,000 you are in the range of the new ATEM extreme. That’s a lot of power for €1,000.

They are two completely different products.

With the ATEM Mini Extreme, you mix video signals before they reach mimoLive. That means that you can produce a show even without a software solution like mimoLive, but you don’t have the flexibility and the almost endless possibilities offered by mimoLive. If you want, you can combine the ATEM Mini Extreme and mimoLive, but mimoLive will not receive all the 8 inputs connected to the ATEM Mini Extreme. It will receive a “pre-mixed” signal.

With the Blackmagic DeckLink Quad HDMI, mimoLive has access to 4 different clean HDMI signals. That means that you can use mimoLive to mix them the way you like. Of course, you need much more processing power to do so, but you are not limited to the features included in the ATEM Mini Extreme.

To me, the two workflows can be complementary: you can integrate them to achieve complex results. But you can achieve a lot more with 2x Blackmagic DeckLink Quad HDMI + a powerful Mac + mimoLive than with an ATEM Mini Extreme (assuming you are willing to spend 4-5 times more money).

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