UWE creativity flows with Blackmagic Design

The University of the West of England (UWE) is a modern, growing university in the thriving city of Bristol – one of the top three media production centres in Britain and one of Britain’s largest and most popular universities with more than 30,000 students. Some of our graduates have gone on to work at the BBC, Aardman Animation, Channel 4, BBC Radio, Hewlett-Packard, and Films@59. For the past 15 years, UWE has offered a Media Practice that is a cross platform, integrated media production course. Students can specialise in many areas of media from film and TV to audio, animation and interactive. UWE’s Best Supporting Technology! Nearly two years ago, we purchased our first Blackmagic Design DeckLink HD Extreme card because it offers far more features than other companies’ cards and fits nicely into our budget. Because UWE have productions shooting on many different standards from high definition using solid state media (720p and 1080i) to uncompressed 10 bit SD, we need edit suites that can cope with a variety of formats with no problems. The DeckLink HD Extreme card has been fantastic and has really stood out for its stability and ability to instantly switch between SD and HD video. I have many years of experience working in post-production on both broadcast programmes and feature films and I have lost years of my life worrying about video cards letting me down! From the moment it was installed, the DeckLink card has been ‘flawlessly reliable’. I have not had to touch a thing and it has proven itself to be completely “student proof”. We installed another DeckLink HD Extreme card in a MacPro Intel Pro Quad core – Ram 4Gb – 3 x internal Intel drives (Raid 0 striped – 2 terabytes total) with a JVC 24inch DT-V24L1U 1920×1080 HD video monitor using HD-SDI, with two 20” Apple Cinema displays. This edit suite has been, by far, the most popular edit suite out of about 40 FCP systems on the campus, with students treating it as an online suite for both Final Cut Pro and Apple’s Colour. With the University recently becoming an Apple Authorized Training Centre for Education, we will increase our capabilities with additional higher end machines, all fitted with DeckLink HD Extreme cards, thereby further increasing opportunities for our students. We have been so impressed with the card that we recently added four cards to go into our newest editing systems, significantly expanding our film instructional and production capabilities. Our new DeckLink HD Extreme cards come with HDMI input/output, so they offer even greater flexibility to students who want to go in straight from a low budget camcorder or out to monitor on a plasma screen. We have been using SDI and component for input, monitoring and play-out, but the addition of HDMI will definitely enhance our choices for hardware that we use in our new production pipeline. The new cards have been installed in new Mac Pros (8 core, 8Gb Ram, 2.5 terabyte video drive, 500 Gb main drive) and will be used by our third-year students. UWE students shoot tapelessly using Panasonic P2 cameras. We’ve had a few longer documentaries produced using HDV and injested using Apple ProResHQ, which has worked great playing out through the Blackmagic Design DeckLink cards. Our Media Practice degree course, which leans towards short film and documentary making, relies heavily on solid post-production solutions for up to 100 films produced by about 170 students each year. ‘Isabella’ Wins Awards in 2007 and 2008 The film “Isabella”, directed by UWE Media Practice graduate Geoffrey Taylor and produced using the DeckLink HD Extreme card, has won several awards: in 2008, it won the Pinewood/Vividas prize and, in 2007, it was the first film ever to win both the Creativity Prize and the Cinematography Prize of the NAHEMI/Kodak Award at the Encounters Short Film Festival, as well as the first time that a piece shot on video has won the Kodak Cinematography Prize. We are proud of the higher quality education our students receive and the first hand practical experience they gain in preparation for a successful career in the film production industry. Not only are we teaching them how to transfer their creativity onto the screen, whether large screen or small, we’re also teaching them to make smart business decisions about utilizing the best tools for the best price; something that is becoming more crucial to the bottom line of production costs. Utilizing the best professional video products, such as Blackmagic Design DeckLink cards, gives our students superior tools that allow their creativity to flow, producing visually stimulating films that will make a difference. ASIAIMAGE

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