Blackmagic breaks Thunderbolt price budget with US$299 Intensity Extreme

The US$299 Intensity Extreme is the first bus-powered a/v Thunderbolt interface, although not the first bus-powered device.


At IBC in Amsterdam, Blackmagic has just announced its second Thunderbolt audio/video i/o interface, the US$299 Intensity Extreme. For about 70% less in price than Blackmagic’s first Thunderbolt product, the Intensity Extreme is also the first bus-powered a/v Thunderbolt interface, although not the first bus-powered device (since Matrox’s Thunderbolt adapter is bus-powered, but it is not an audio/video interface itself, but the connection to one). When connected with a laptop (i.e. MacBook Air or MacBook Pro), the Intensity Extreme will be powered by the laptop’s internal battery via the Thunderbolt connection. This article will describe exactly what you’ll get -and what you won’t get- if you choose the US$299 Intensity Extreme interface from Blackmagic, and its availability.

Intensity Extreme features and specs

  • Compatible with Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro 7, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop and any QuickTime-based software application.
  • HDMI video and audio capture and playback.
  • Analog capture and playback in SD/HD component. In SD (NTSC/PAL), composite and Y/C (“S-Video”).
  • Stereo analog audio capture and playback.
  • Thunderbolt connection (end-point, so no loopability, but bus-powered, so no extra power required).
  • Capture and playback using the following códecs: DV25 (8-bit), DV100 (“DVCPRO HD”) (8-bit), HDV-compliant MPEG2 (8-bit), Online JPEG (8-bit), ProRes (10-bit) and uncompressed video.
  • HDMI and component analog switches between HD and SD.
  • Video capture and playback with Blackmagic Media Express 3 utility.
  • Compatible with Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard and Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.
  • Includes breakout cable with RCA type connectors for analog video and audio.

What you don’t get with this inexpensive model

  • No SDI
  • No balanced XLR audio
  • No onboard device control (Some editing software allows for device control via a serial port, USB, or even FireWire/IEEE-1394.)
  • No genlock
  • Less software compatibility
  • As of publication time, neither the UltraStudio 3D nor the Intensity Extreme offers digital RGB-over-HDMI output for the HP DreamColor monitor. If and when Blackmagic adds this feature to either product, I will amend this article and announce it.

Availability of the Intensity Extreme

Blackamagic says that the Intensity Extreme will be available in the 4th quarter of 2011.

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None of the manufacturers listed in this article is paying Allan T©pper or TecnoTur LLC specifically to write this article. Some of the manufacturers listed above have contracted T©pper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan T©pper review units. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs.


Allan Tépper

Born in Connecticut, United States, Allan Tépper is a bilingual consultant, multi-title author, tech journalist, translator, and language activist who has been working with professional video since the eighties. Since 1994, Tépper has been consulting both end-users and manufacturers through his Florida company. Via TecnoTur, Tépper has been giving video tech seminars in several South Florida’s universities and training centers, and in a half dozen Latin American countries, in their native language. Tépper has been a frequent radio/TV guest on several South Florida, Guatemalan, and Venezuelan radio and TV stations. As a certified ATA (American Translators Association) translator, Tépper has translated and localized dozens of advertisements, catalogs, software, and technical manuals for the Spanish and Latin American markets. He has also written many contracted white papers for tech manufacturers. Over the past 18 years, Tépper’s articles have been published or quoted in more than a dozen magazines, newspapers, and electronic media in Latin America. Since 2008, Allan Tépper’s articles have been published frequently –in English– in ProVideo Coalition magazine, and since 2014, he is is the director of Capicú His website is AllanTé

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