I recently purchased the UltraStudio Mini Monitor by Blackmagic Design. We’ve been longtime fans of AJA and their PCIe Kona cards, but as soon as DaVinci Resolve was released on the Mac we starting to migrate to Blackmagic solutions.
I guess you can think of Blackmagic monitoring hardware as the dongle for DaVinci Resolve. Regardless, after a month of working with the UltraStudio Mini Monitor we’re sold. Toss it in your bag and you’ve got proper RGB to YUV monitoring in the field. We’ve used it in hotel rooms using in-room HDMI displays and back at the studio via SDI gear.
The output is 422 and 10bit, the image looks identical to what is coming out of our Kona cards and it’s dirt cheap. I’m using it with Final Cut Pro X, Resolve, After Effects and Photoshop. The device also supports Avid, Premiere and Nuke for output. My typical projects are edited in 4k native with RED footage in FCP X, and with the UltraStudio Mini Monitor I get a nice 4k to 1920×1080 down-convert when monitoring in HD. If you need a 444 monitoring path you’ll need the UltraStudio 3D for Thunderbolt, or one of the DeckLink cards if you are using PCIe machines.
A quick note on Thunderbolt; it’s not the fasest I/O in the pro video space but you can’t deny the beauty of the one-cable convenience that T-bolt provides. Also the price / performance for the current crop of drives, like the Pegasus R6, is hard to beat. Even more true if you value the flexibility of the mobile edit suite like we do.
I’m now mastering the majority of our projects in 4k. I’ll continue to use the UltraStudio kit in the studio as a monitoring stop-gap until the Blackmagic UltraStudio 4K ships – as we continue to update our studio for 4k post and monitoring. For $140 the Blackmagic UltraStudio Mini Monitor is a no brainer purchase for anyone who needs broadcast monitoring via Thunderbold on the go, or in the studio.
Thanks for reading!