At NAB 2011, the hot topic around hardware in the South Hall was definitely Intel’s Thunderbolt port technology. Maybe you’ve read about Thunderbolt or had co-worker try and explain it, but the simplest way to understand it is to just find a demo running on the showfloor and take it for a spin.
In the Adobe booth, we put together a complete system running on Apple’s new Macbook Pro 15″ connected to a Promise Pegasus Thunderbolt raid array connected to a BlackMagic Design Ultra Studio 3D with SDI output to an iKan portable SDI display. From the description above it sounds like a lot of cables and wiring, but in fact, it’s quite simple. Each Thunderbolt device has 2 ports and are linked together in a daisy chain configuration with very small but sturdy cable. The result was 800MBs throughput of shear madness.
For a quick test, we threw down some 422 1920×1080 Uncompressed footage in Premiere Pro CS 5.5 with data rates between 126 – 158 MBs and started playing the timeline with ease. Next we tested fast and slow scrub and it was silky smooth to the touch- It was like we were playing DV. I’ve never seen anything like it running off a laptop.
We continued putting it through the paces stacking on 3 and 4 layers of video throughout the day and inviting customers to feel the power of this new level of editing. After Effects CS 5.5 also had no problem playing the uncompressed footage in realtime. The Adobe booth appeared to be the only place where you could actually see the full workflow of editing with Thunderbolt.
BlackMagic Design has done an incredible job in being the first to show off this next generation editing platform running on Premiere Pro CS 5.5 and After Effects CS 5.5. I had the opportunity to talk to Pro Video Coalition about it. View the interview here.