Musings by Snehal aka Fearless, a filmmaker with a hankering for technology and science.  

Why the BlackMagic HDMI to SDI converter won't work for the 5D

So you're like me and end up working a lot on set with the Canon 5D and need to have multiple outputs to monitor the image.  One for on-board the camera and another for the director.  One of the best solutions out there is the Black Magic Design mini-converter that takes in an HDMI input and give you two SDI outputs.   The best part about converting the signal is that SDI can be run over long lengths and can be daisy-chained to many monitors.

The problem is that if you've recently purchased this cool box, you find that it doesn't work correctly with the 5D.  It displays a converted HD image on your monitors just fine but as soon as you start to roll (and the signal from the 5D goes to SD 480i), the monitors cut out.  This is because of a firmware update in the converter box.  The new BlackMagic 1.5 firmware does not allow and SD output from the rolling 5D to be displayed.  To make the box work correctly, you should downgrade the firmware to 1.4 and everything will work like normal.  BlackMagic will address this bug in future updates.

For the firmware downgrade, you need a USB cable.  Download the Mac version here and the PC version here.  It only takes a few minutes to install and update.  Stay tuned for a video on how to do this downgrade. 

Thanks to the Abel Cine Blog for the info!

Snehal Patel