Over Five Years Thunderbolt™ Experience in Digital TV and Film

Posted on April 18th, 2017

By Gary Adcock, Digital Imaging Technician (DIT) for TV and Film Industry

Game Changing Cost Effectiveness and Career Enhancement

As one of the earliest adopters of Thunderbolt™, my work in digital TV and Film is constantly changing as my colleagues and I seek cutting edge productivity gains and breakthrough creative tools to drive cinematography.  In the beginning, it was all about blazing fast data to rapidly process and move uncompressed 4K video in production and post.  Thunderbolt performed brilliantly making this transformation seamless, cost effective and pervasive across every phase of workflow.

Now as the industry increasingly adopts capabilities like high dynamic range (HDR) imaging along with higher resolution of 4K and 8K video, Digital Imaging Technicians (DITs) depend more than ever on the speed and flexibility of Thunderbolt to capture never before attainable stunning visual expression beyond any legacy film stock.

So what’s next for DITs all of whom now critically depend on Thunderbolt?

Let’s start with Apple’s latest MacBook Pro.  Apple’s latest design includes four Thunderbolt 3 ports.  That’s it.  There are no other I/O ports on the machine, except for a 3.5mm headphone jack.

The significance of this is profound.  Thunderbolt has reached a major milestone in radically displacing a number of long established legacy I/O hardware ports.  How did this happen?  The latest generation Thunderbolt 3 delivers the fastest speed* (up to 40 Gbps bandwidth) of any PC interface along with the broadest array of capabilities (native USB 3.1 Gen 2, native Display Port 1.2, four lanes of PCIe Gen 3, and up to 100W power for laptop charging) all on the new USB-C interface.  The point is Thunderbolt 3 provides everything you need from delivering intensive workflow pipelines to seamless integration with the latest pallet of industry tools.

Applied to Apple’s latest MacBook Pro, Thunderbolt 3’s single cable connectivity enables unprecedented portability; it’s built-in flexibility allows users the ability to configure systems with up to two 5K HDR displays and up to two high performance SSD storage arrays, along with all the rest of your gear cart, ready for the next set, location or dailies review.

With comprehensive Thunderbolt 3 adoption across all major PC / Windows providers including Dell, HP and Lenovo, DITs now have more choice and a broader range of options to exactly match their workflow needs with the most efficient hardware configurations and sophisticated software tool sets.

However, cost savings do not just come from tailoring the right system for the job.  Far more important is a faster production schedule, often measured in hours of time being shaved off DITs’ daily routine within the overall project.  Simple tasks, like transferring large files or waiting for rendering tasks, very often place DITs in the hot seat gating production.  Think about it, how much more production (and new projects) can you take on when Thunderbolt 3 speeds allow you to backup and protect your digital assets much faster than expected.  That is what I call game-changing cost effectiveness at the production level, as well as career security and enhancement all at the same time.

We are living in exciting times, exploring totally new territory and tools in cinematography. Thunderbolt 3 has clearly established itself as the truly universal interface for DITs in digital TV and Film, enabling unprecedented portability with built-in flexibility along with enormous workflow time savings that make all the difference in delivering fast results and continued success in winning new projects.

Please join me at NAB in Las Vegas NV, April 22-27.  I will be sharing my latest workflow tips and perspective during my presentation at 10:45am on April 26th as part of NAB’s Post Production World Conference.

Also, check out the Thunderbolt 3 Trailer at NAB parked outside South Hall, as well as the latest Thunderbolt 3 products at this year’s NAB Thunderbolt Community Zone, booth # SL2424.

Learn more about Gary Adcock and how Thunderbolt technology has played an important role in improving his business workflow:

3 Questions for Gary Adcock on Accelerating Data Transfer with Thunderbolt

For more information:

*As compared to other PC I/O connection technologies including eSATA, USB, and IEEE 1394 FireWire.  Performance will vary depending on the specific hardware and software used.

Copyright © 2017 Intel Corporation.  All rights reserved.  Intel, the Intel logo, Thunderbolt, and the Thunderbolt logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and/or other Countries.  **Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.
Tags: 4K display, broadcast video, digital imaging, external graphics, film industry, Intel Thunderbolt, single-cable docking, Thunderbolt, Thunderbolt 3, Thunderbolt 3 devices, Thunderbolt 3 products, Thunderbolt networking, TV