Hello! I’m Samantha Stocks.

I’m a writer based in Bristol, UK.

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Stunning Visuals Are Blackmagic

Blackmagic Design products are integral to Space Digital’s workflow

Manchester based VFX post-house Space Digital produce high quality visuals for major film, television drama, comedy and commercials in the UK. Artists at Space Digital have contributed to a number of prestigious BAFTA and RTS award winning productions, including three BAFTA award winners, and have even collected an RTS award directly for Best Visual Effects.

Projects have included popular UK dramas such as Ashes to Ashes, Survivors, Paradox and Small Island. In order to produce such high quality visuals for these high-profile television dramas, Space Digital have opted for equipment from Blackmagic Design.

“Blackmagic Design products are an integral part of our workflow here,” explains Gary Kelly, VFX artist at Space Digital. “Blackmagic are clearly a forward-thinking company, and one of only a few that truly excel in bringing products and solutions to a market that were previously out of reach for smaller studios like ours.”

All compositing stations at Space Digital have Intensity Pro cards, which allow them to monitor their work on a shared, full HD screen using the video out modes in Nuke. Prior to this set up, all compositing stations at the facility required a second monitor to view, but the Intensity Pro has eliminated this need.

Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink HD Extreme card is used in the finishing suite to monitor on a 50-inch plasma screen for client viewing via the card’s HDMI output. “We love our DeckLink HD Extreme because of all the options that it provides us with; a high level of connectivity, audio, and deck control.” Kelly describes. “One great feature is its ability to down-convert to various video sizes via the built-in down converter, so we can monitor in SD and HD for viewing on our external client monitor during offline editing.”

Space Digital make the most of the card’s ability to capture and playback DPX sequences using Blackmagic Design’s Media Express 2.0 straight onto external monitors without needing to convert. “We also take full advantage of the DeckLink’s ability to play out realtime 4:4:4 to our external display, which is vital in compositing work and grading processes,” says Kelly. “All of our Blackmagic cards have been extremely reliable and we have never had a card fail on us.”

The setup in the finishing suite at Space Digital consists of a Mac running Nuke and Final Cut Studio with DeckLink HD Extreme and is connected to the Blackmagic UltraScope in the finishing suite via the card’s SDI output. The setup is used for online and colour grading via Apple Color to monitor and maintain picture quality. “This is not only essential for broadcast standards,” explains Kelly, “but also for our own self-enforced in-house standards.”

Workstations at Space Digital run from Final Cut Studio to Nuke. With Nuke’s new ability to view work via Blackmagic Design capture cards, Space Digital artists now have the ability to monitor with the UltraScope from start to finish.

Simon Blackledge, Head of Post Production at Space Digital, said, “The UltraScope really is an important addition to our setup here at Space. It enables us to monitor exactly what we are producing, from TV commercials using Final Cut Studio to high end VFX, so we can be confident in our images without needing to hire more expensive options.”

“Most importantly,” explains Blackledge, “the UltraScope is far less expensive than other scopes available on the market, which means we can have one permanently in-house; so where previously we’d rent scopes externally for our bigger jobs, we now use it on every single job, no matter what the size or the budget of the project.”

Space Digital continues to work with the biggest indies and broadcasters in the UK today and are currently working on a new UK drama and two new feature films.