Home > Blackmagic Design, Video > Blackmagic Media Express Failure

Blackmagic Media Express Failure

About one month ago I posted that we are now using a Blackmagic Decklink SDI card to capture via SDI in some workflows at The Station. Unfortunately it became clear quite quickly that the Media Express 2.3.1 software we were using, for capturing and controlling the decks, had some shortcomings.

Apparently the Linux version of this software does not support capture of VITC information where present. This made creating valid IMX50 (D10) files harder than it needed to be. We would capture the SD content from tape into 10-bit uncompressed at 720×576, then when transcoding using FFmbc, we needed to pad the top of the file with 36 lines of blanking, to create a valid IMX50 at 720×608. This process caused a few problems with the resulting files’ aspect ratio information.

After speaking with the support staff ot Blackmagic Design, it became clear the the Windows and Mac versions of Media Express 2.3.1 do support capture of VITC, just not the Linux version. The relevant API calls are exposed in the freely available SDK, but we would need to build our own application to take advantage of this.

My next hope was that the new version of Media Express would include this additional functionality on Linux. On April 11th 2011, Blackmagic published a press release stating that Media Express 3.0 would be available for Windows, Mac and Linux. The software would be available for free download from their website in June.

Today I went searching for the software but could not find it. Looking on the Blackmagic software download page, the latest Desktop Video download for Linux is 8.0.1 from May 13th, 2011. Clearly this would not include the new 3.0 version, as this file is what I downloaded a month ago to obtain version 2.3.1.

I phoned Blackmagic support again to enquire about where to find Media Express 3.0. They informed me that a beta version of this software was available for Mac platforms, but that was all. They were also unable to speculate regarding a formal release date for the software, nor whether the Linux version would be available at the same time as the Windows and Mac version. All in all, not very helpful.

June finished 21 days ago. I want my Media Express 3.0 software for Linux!

  1. ddennedy
    July 22, 2011 at 04:11

    I am available under paid contract to add support for this special need within MLT. If you want a simple GUI frontend, we can throw something together using the example MLT/Qt4 application BuildOnMe.

  2. July 22, 2011 at 07:05

    Dan, as much as I might personally like to make this workflow viable on Linux, using open source tools where possible, if it came to paying for bespoke application development commercial realities would dictate that we just revert to using Windows for the capture. Sad but true.

    Nonetheless, let’s at least talk about it. Drop me an email with some idea of costs and a further outline of your proposal. phill.clarke at the-station dotcom.

  3. January 21, 2012 at 14:23

    It’d be interesting to read an update on this, Phil.

  4. March 15, 2012 at 13:53

    Sorry if I’m a little bit intrusive but I was wondering if you know where i can get some useful documentation about publishing a stream to fms (not wowza) using 2 blackmagic cards on a linux server (ubuntu 11.10 server). I’ve tried to find some useful info on the net but with no success. It seems that streaming on linux is far less documented and supported as on mac/windows. Sorry once again for asking this here but you seem to be someone who has some experience with this and all I need to know is where to look actually see some documentation about doing this from command line.

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