Transitioning to Filmmaking Day 26: Connect & Configure Ultrastudio Monitor 3G to the Major NLE's
As I transition to film editing as my next full time career, there are some things I need to do to my studio to upgrade it. An important part of editing and color grading is having a monitor that is calibrated so that when your film or show goes to air, it doesn't break any of the "legal limits". Also, you want the film to look its best when it's being theatrically distributed.
To that effect, I purchased, as a first step the Blackmagic Design Ultrastudio Monitor 3G, which allows me to connect a TV (currently not a callibrated one) to my MacBook Pro computer while keeping my other 2 monitors for actual editing.
In this entry, I wanted to cover how to connect and configure it for each of the major NLE's, including Adobe Premiere Pro, DaVinci Resolve and Avid Media Composer.
As you can see from the image above, connecting it to your computer is simple. On one end, you need to connect a Thunderbolt 4 (make sure it's Thunderbolt at least 3) from the UltraStudio to your Mac's or PC's thunderbolt port. On the other end of the UltraStudio, you either connect your TV via HDMI or SDI.
Next, you will need to download and install the Desktop Video Setup app from Blackmagic Design via their support page. After installation, run it and you should see your UltraStudio Monitor 3G. Click on the icon in the middle to configure the output you want for both the SDI and the HDMI.
Once that is done, you are set. Now it's time to configure your favorite NLE so that the timeline plays out to the UltraStudio.
I would consider DaVinci Resolve to be the easiest to configure, probably because they are both made by the same company, Blackmagic Design. Once you start Resolve, click on the preferences for Resolve (not your project) ( 1 ).
Next click on "System" ( 2 ), Video and Audio I/O ( 3 ) and then under the "Monitor Device" ( 4 ), you should see the UltraStudio Monitor 3G. Click on Save. That's it. After that, every time you play your timeline, it should also play on your monitor and/or TV. If you want to also hear the audio from the timeline, make sure you check the "Mirror audio I/O engine output" checkbox.
Adobe Premiere Pro
Premiere Pro is just as easy as DaVinci Resolve when it comes to configuring the playback output. Once you start Premiere Pro and select your project, click on the preferences for Premiere Pro (not your project) ( 1 ).
Next click on "Playback" ( 2 ), Blackmagic Playback ( 3 ) and then Ok. ( 5 ). You can also configure how to handle output that is larger or smaller then the output your TV can handle by clicking on the configuration gearbox ( 4 ). Once you click on it, you'll get a pop up configuration screen.
In this screen, you can configure your Color Space and how you want unsupported frame sizes (by your monitor) to be handled.
Avid Media Composer
With Avid, at least on the MacBook Pro, I had the hardest time installing it. I had to do a bit of research and ask some great people on the "Ask an Editor" Facebook group for help. But I got it to work (kind of... I'll tell you at the end what I mean by that).
After you run Avid Media Composer and selected your project, bring up the Command Palette (CMD+3) and in the search box search for "hw" ( 1 ).
Make sure you have the "Button to Button" reassignment selected ( 2 ). Drag that button (if you already don't have it) to your timeline toolbar ( 3 ). Then close the Command Palette.
Now right click on that button you just added to your toolbar ( 1 ). You should get the following pop-up.
Click on "UltraStudio Monitor 3G" ( 2 ) click on "Select" ( 3 ) and that's it. It's now selected and configured. You can tell because the icon changed from the "Crossed Out Monitor" to the "Monitor with an arrow pointing out". But it's still not enable. To enable the output, click on the button again and it should light "red". Now you should see the timeline output.
Just a quick warning but Avid will crash multiple times after you enable the output (at least on a Mac). Not sure why, but it seems to be a known issue that I hope they fix soon!
That's it. Now I can check my color corrections and grading on a TV to make sure they will look as intended.
Until the next entry!