Intensity review

  • Expert Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

  • Price When Reviewed: 129

  • Pros: Works perfectly. Inexpensive.

  • Cons: Capture over HDMI is of limited use.

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Blackmagic Design’s Intensity is an unusual bit of kit. Most video capture cards try to offer as many different connection types as possible, but the tiny Intensity has two HDMI ports only.

Also, although it works perfectly, it has limited appeal as a capture card – but much for allowing you to monitor your video on an HDTV.

The Intensity will work inside most workstations that have a PCI Express slot, including Apple’s Mac Pro but not the Power Mac G5 – although drivers are expected soon. It works with all of Apple and Adobe’s video-production tools on Mac and Windows – including Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, and After Effects.

You can use the card to capture uncompressed HD from one of Sony’s camcorders that have an HDMI output, circumventing HDV compression for higher quality input – assuming you have a fast-enough RAID storage system. This is an impressive function on a technical level – and in our tests with a Sony HC7E, capture was painless and produced high-grade footage.

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However, if you want to capture uncompressed HD, the Intensity can only capture live from the camcorder. Unless you capture directly to your workstation in the studio – and work with live events – this is a severe restriction.
More impressive is Intensity’s ability in monitoring HD (including HDV) on a high-end TV set over HDMI, which offers higher quality than analog component cables. We edited HDV on Premiere Pro with a Samsung 32-inch HDTV connected to our Dell Precision 670 workstation via HDMI and found it to be an efficient workflow. The Intensity doesn’t assist with HDV real-time effects in Premerie Pro as it does under Final Cut Pro, but it does in DV, M-JPEG and uncompressed modes.
Intensity provides an inexpensive way to use a large HDTV to monitor HD – compressed or uncompressed – instead of a 23-24-inch LCD display.
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