Has anyone successfully used 3 or more Blackmagic Ultra Studio Mini Recorders via separate thunderbolt ports on a Mac Pro?

I'm looking for a way to connect 3 or more pro HD SDI or HDMI cameras into Wirecast. 

Option 1:

BM ATEM Production Studio 4 to BM mini recorder into Macbook Pro

Option 2:

3 or 4 BM Ultra Studio Mini Recorders (thunderbolt) into Mac Pro

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  • One user reported using 6 into a Mac Pro.

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  • Hi Matthew,

    Hoping I'm not too late, we are using 5 BM Ultra Studio Mini Recorders (thunderbolt) into Mac Pro and a second monitor out of the 6th TB port. Have been using this setup reliably in both Windows and Mac environments. When using Windows we are also using a 6th USB3 capture device, so yes, it can certainly be done

    Good luck!

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  • George T thanks for that confirmation. 

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  • Thanks  George T 
    What version of wire cast do you run, is there any latency issues when all the cameras are connected and are you also able to record your program on the same machine?

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  • Hi Matthew Skurow 
    That setup is Windows based, as we're running Windows on a Mac Pro (: Some say "BLASPHEMY" others say "Why not?" In any case, there haven't been noticeable latency issues (haven't done any professional measurements to see whether there are delays, so I can't give a definite answer) and we're using another video switching software, so I also can't comment on the setup working the same way in Wirecast. Recording and also streaming to 2 or 3 destinations is achievable.

    We are looking at upgrading to Wirecast 7.x in the coming weeks, so I will post back when that happens. 

    Sorry if that is not the answer you're after, but at least from a technical point of view/resources, the Mac Pro will make it.

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  • I often run 5 but have found my Mac Pro with 64g ram starting to lag if I'm running instant replay while recording a 720 MP4  copy. 

    Hey Craig. Can you post an itemized list of 7.2 bug fixes?

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  • It's up now. Posted it yesterday but apparently it went away. Check the top of this product forum.

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  • I don't know if it helps, but just in case you were considering the Macbook Pro option with Ultrastudios, maybe don't.

    I've got a Macbook Pro (touch bar version with the annoying usb-c thunderbolt 3 ports that need expensive adaptors to work).  We have bought 2 UltraStudio Recorders and 1 UltraStudio Monitor so that we can bring in 2 hd cameras, and the Monitor is for outputting over SDI to a LiveU box so we get a good solid connection to facebook live.  Anyway, that was the bright idea, and where we threw all our money (just the 50cm thunderbolt cables and dongles were £180!!!!).  

    It looks like it's not going to work. No matter where we plug them in, only the first two plugged in will work. The system won't even recognise the third, no matter which one it is and where it's plugged in. We have 2 thunderbolt buses on the macbook pro (one on each side of the laptop I think?), both capable of 40 Gb/s, and the devices are 10 Gb/s each - so there's no reason it shouldn't work!  Blackmagic support has said "it should work, try contacting Telestream and Apple". Telestream said "contact Blackmagic and Apple".  Apple has said "It should work, try asking Blackmagic".  I've managed to get onto a more senior support person at Apple and they're going to get back to me in a few days after they speak to engineers.   

    I'm wishing we just spent a bit extra now an got an AJA Io 4k box. And actually with all this annoying Dongle stuff and the problems we've had with the graphics card, I'm also thinking we should have moved to the dark side and bought a Windows Machine :(

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  • Ben Forder I have had great success with the MAC PRO with 6 thunderbolt ports. It's unique compact cylinder shape makes it easy to transport. I do have to lug around a monitor but I have created a foam box container for the six cameras I use and the monitor fits nicely on the top. And once I set it up it's nice to have the big screen to display all my boxes.  

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  • Larry Johansen The issue may be specific to Thunderbolt 3 ports.

    Ben Forder  you should test with Blackmagic driver 10.8.4 (which is current) and setup using the Desktop Video (the driver controller) with all 3 devices connected. If that can't see all three devices that wouldn't be a Wirecast issue. The next test would be in Blackmagic Media Express with all three devices connected. If that can't see all three that wouldn't be a Wirecast issue. In other words test, leaving Wirecast out of the equation. If you're still having issues than it's either Blackmagic or Apple at issue.

    I'd also note there's a difference between the late 2016" 13" and 15" MBP in that the 13" has reduced bandwidth on the right side TB3 ports. I assume you're using the 15" though?

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  • Larry Johansen thanks, it's good to know that a Mac Pro would do it, if we decide to go that way!

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  • CraigS yes, we're using the 15", latest drivers. It's definitely an Apple/black magic issue. I'll update here when the engineers get back to me in case anyone else is hoping to use this setup! 

    Matthew Skurow Did you end up going with the ATEM? I'm looking at that as an option too!

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  • Ben Forder I've inquired on the Blackmagic forum to see if any of their users have attempted to do this and to what effect.

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  • CraigS Hi Craig, thanks for all your help, and sorry for hijacking this thread slightly! Apple hasn't got back to me about the 3-thunderbolt-ports-at-once problem - and we have a big facebook live on Monday - so I'm looking for another solution.  I can't seem to find any moderately priced usb3 output devices, so I'm considering using 1 UltraStudio Recorder for the SDI camera input, and using the UltraStudio Monitor for the SDI output to the live box (and leaving the second UltraStudio Recorder we bought gathering dust on a shelf somewhere). This would mean buying a USB Intensity Shuttle for the second HDMI camera input, but I'm desparate now. I've noticed that Blackmagic says it works on mac OS X, and there are drivers but Wirecast's supported devices says only the thunderbolt version is supported. Is this out of date info from back when blackmagic devices didn't work on usb on mac, or is this still true?

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  • I can confirm that we've used the USB shuttle successfully with a late 2012 MBP retina. However due to power consumption issues, when also using more thunderbolt devices, we had to put the shuttle into a powered Anker USB3 hub. Without the hub, it was more miss than hit... With the hub, we had 3 cameras going in wirecast without issues. 2  intensity extreme thunderbolt and one intensity shuttle USB 3.

    I hope that answers your question... 

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  • George T Thank you! That's a relief.

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  • You might want to check the chords you are using. I have found that the shorter thunderbolt cables or knockoff thunderbolt cables (Belkan) do not work with the recorder. 

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  • Ben Forder an alternative to the USB Shuttle could be the Magewell HDMI (or SDI) to USB3 and then test with an adaptor cable. Uncharted territory with the Late 2016 15" MBP.

    Magewell did mention to me last year that they'll have a single slot PCIe chassis to Thunderbolt 3 which can hold either their four input HDMI or SDI card.  I haven't seen it on their site but they already have Mac drivers for their new cards.

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  • Hi there,

    I just ran into this same issue today. I've been testing with 2 UltraStudio Mini Recorders, thunderbolt with tb2 to tb3 converters, and a late 2016 macbook pro (Skylake chip). Today I tried hooking up all three devices for the first time. The first two devices plugged in get power and work, but the third does not (you can quickly see that this the third is not powering up as the light doesn't come on at all on the mini recorder box). If one of the first two devices are unplugged, then the third suddenly powers on and appears to be functioning. If anyone else has seen this or similar behavior please do let me know if you come up with a solution.

    Joe

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  • Joe Nudi There's a thread about it in the Blackmagic Live Production forum as well.
    At this point my personal guess is it's related to bus power. Apple's specs aren't clear about it though. You may want to contact Blackmagic and even Apple about this.

    Blackmagic's driver (now at 10.8.5) certainly supports several units (reports of all 6 on Mac Pro) and Wirecast doesn't have a limit either.

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  • Thanks Craig. I'm waiting on Blackmagic to approve my post on their forums. Their tech support was back in the office today and mentioned that it may be that although there are 4 USB-C ports on the Macbook Pro now, maybe there are only options for thunderbolt bus 0 and bus 1 as in older macbooks behind the scenes.

    I already have a ticket open with Apple and hope to hear back by the end of the week. However, other folks looking to do this on the new Macbook Pros with 4 USB-C connections please note that at this time you do seem to be limited to 2 Mini Recorders due to some kind of restriction on thunderbolt ports/buses/devices.

    As Craig notes above, this does not seem to be a problem for devices with more than 2 thunderbolt ports like the Mac Pro.

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  • Joe Nudi I can't help but wonder if people use externally powered Thunderbolt devices (such as a RAID) are impacted by this. There are many situation where one might need more than two devices but in some of those cases some devices are externally powered.

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  • We've had Blackmagic support pretty much give up on us about this, but Apple support has put their engineers on it, and they are wanting to set up a time to remotely access my laptop with all 3 devices plugged in to see what's going on, I've just got to find time to do it. Hopefully something will come of it, i'll update here if it does!  In the meantime we are using 2 mini recorders on thunderbolt 2-3 adaptors, 1 intensity shuttle on a usb dongle to capture another camera over HDMI, and then another intensity shuttle on a usb dongle (the one from apple that lets you charge the macbook pro at the same time) to play out over HDMI from wirecast to our encoder/cellular bonding device to go to facebook.  We did an hour long stream on Friday and it seemed to be solid. Just expensive, but we didn't have much choice, we had a lot of facebook live streams we had to do!

     

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  • Ben Forder Very interested to see what Apple says.

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  • Ben, do you have a link or description to the USB dongle in question that allows you to charge your macbook pro at the same time as powering a USB device?

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  • Thank you. I'll likely pick one up as I just grabbed a Magewell USB Capture to handle the third input. Hoping to try it out with two of the mini recorders and see if this is a power issue vs a Thunderbolt bus issue, but if this is a longterm solution this will fix the problem of not being able to connect my external drive. So thank you again.

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  • Joe Nudi It may be possible to put a multi input video capture card in a Thunderbolt 3 PCIe expansion chassis. Magewell hinted to me about that possibility some months back. I've noted they now have Mac drivers for their cards. They have 4 input HDMI and SDI cards.

    I believe using two MiniRecorders and one Magewell USB3 device should work but certainly post back your experience.

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  • Apple came back with their response and, as some others had noted, they are pointing to the wattage as the likely culprit.

    MacBook Pro (15-inch, 2016) and MacBook (13-inch, 2016, Four Thunderbolt 3 Ports) can power two devices that use up to 15 watts, and two more devices that use up to 7.5 watts. It doesn’t matter which side of your MacBook Pro that they're connected to—power is delivered on a first-come, first-served basis. We were unable to find the wattage requirements for the black magic device. The black magic website had no details about wattage requirements. Please contact BlackMagic for details about the wattage requirements. You will most likely need to purchase a powered hub.

    On a side note, using a USB Magewell in tandem with the two UltraStudio Mini Recorders seemed to work just fine.

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  • Joe Nudi   Great to hear about the Magewell working as a third device. Thanks for that report from Apple.

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  • Joe Nudi  It's good to hear some more solid info about this finally. I'll look in to powered thunderbolt hubs.  A side note from us - We're using two UltraStudio Mini Recorders and for our third device we've got an Intensity Shuttle (USB) and it seems to be working fine too, no problems (YET)!!

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  • Ben Forder Good to hear about another working combination.

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