Earlier this year I bought the BlackMagic Intensity Extreme to connect my HDMI camera to the computer. I use this configuration a lot for my weekly Geek Smack! podcast to live events that I need to use 2-3 cameras.
Connecting is easy – Camera to BlackMagic to Macbook Pro. The Thunderbolt port allows for seamless capture right into Wirecast. Additional breakout cables can even allow me to connect other devices.
The Pros of BlackMagic Intensity Extreme
Best part is I can connect an HD camera to Wirecast using the Thunderbolt technology. With this connection, I can utilize the zoom features of the camera to get close up shots and even the stabilization of the camera if the person is moving around a lot. The Intensity Extreme does not need external power so I don’t have an extra cable or power concern.
The BlackMagic Intensity Extreme also has a break-out cable which will allow me to get other external non-HD sources such as an older camera, video from a VCR or other older source with component out.
This BlackMagic device is compatible not only with WireCast, but also can be used with Adobe After Effects, Nuke, DaVinci Resolve, Premier Pro, Avid Media Composer and more.
The Cons of BlackMagic Intensity Extreme
Cabling – You are limited to the HDMI length and the Thunderbolt cable – which is an extra $50 for 6.6′. There are 9.8 feet Thunderbolt cables out there but there are no cables longer. The HDMI cable comes in longer segments. The longer the cable, the more possibility of issue like lag or data loss.
The Intensity Extreme only has Mac drivers. There are PC drivers being made but not as of yet. The Extreme also takes up your Thunderbolt port. Not a big issue right now – Apple does look like their removing items like Ethernet jacks and giving you converter cables for the Thunderbolt. Newer Macbook Pros have 2 Thunderbolt ports so you can connect the Extreme to one and a land-ethernet line to the other.
One other issue – I tried to connect an external monitor in the HDMI out but got a blank screen. I am not sure if I configured it right. It’s not a big concern since I don’t use the Extreme in the way to need an external monitor.
Overall: BlackMagic Intensity Extreme
It is a great addition to my video rig. The Intensity Extreme is $299 and well worth the price. If you are running PC or need a second camera, the Intensity Shuttle is for Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 for $199 (USB) or $239 (Thunderbolt).
Just recently they introduced the Ultra Studio ($395) and Ultra Studio 3D ($995) which include SDI capture and playback ports. You may not have any cameras that connect via SDI so the Intensity Extreme will do very well.