HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to replace H.264 Pro Recorder?

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Linden deCarmo

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HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to replace H.264 Pro Recorder?

PostFri Sep 24, 2021 12:28 pm

BlackMagic support indicate the H.264 Pro Recorder is in maintenance mode so I don't think there will be fixes to the audio delay/drift issues I've reported. I see on some other threads that people recommended using a Hyperdeck instead.

We have a Hyperdeck Studio 12G but I don't think it's a viable replacement for our use case because its only got a 10/100 connection and doesn't support ftp transfers so no way to get content off of it via IP. Was thinking about getting a HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro as a replacement. Couple of questions for people that have this unit or experience with the newer Hyperdecks:

  • Is the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro a complete superset of the H.264 Pro Recorder (i.e. will we lose any functionality)?
  • Do the new Hyperdecks still split up long recordings into multiple files like the Hyperdeck Studio 12G does? If so, at what size does that happen?
  • Are there any known audio delays in the new models?
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Raphaël Jacquot

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Re: HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to replace H.264 Pro Recorder?

PostFri Sep 24, 2021 12:50 pm

Linden deCarmo wrote:BlackMagic support indicate the H.264 Pro Recorder is in maintenance mode so I don't think there will be fixes to the audio delay/drift issues I've reported. I see on some other threads that people recommended using a Hyperdeck instead.

We have a Hyperdeck Studio 12G but I don't think it's a viable replacement for our use case because its only got a 10/100 connection and doesn't support ftp transfers so no way to get content off of it via IP. Was thinking about getting a HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro as a replacement. Couple of questions for people that have this unit or experience with the newer Hyperdecks:

  • Is the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro a complete superset of the H.264 Pro Recorder (i.e. will we lose any functionality)?
  • Do the new Hyperdecks still split up long recordings into multiple files like the Hyperdeck Studio 12G does? If so, at what size does that happen?
  • Are there any known audio delays in the new models?


the cheapest replacement for the H.264 recorder is the cheapest version of the hyperdecks, which will do 1080p60.
the plus and the pro do 2160p30, the 4k pro does 2160p60
it all depends on your budget I guess.
all of those will do H.264, a coming software upgrade promises h.265
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Dave Del Vecchio

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Re: HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to replace H.264 Pro Recorder?

PostTue Sep 28, 2021 10:33 am

The HyperDecks and H.264 Pro Recorder are somewhat different in terms of workflow as the HyperDecks were primarily designed as standalone recording decks while the H.264 Pro Recorder required a USB connection to a computer both for control purposes and as a recording destination.

But the current HyperDeck lineup (and the earlier HyperDeck Studio Mini) do support H.264 recording, so if that is the main objective, they could certainly be used as a replacement. And the current HyperDeck models even have a USB-C port so you can record directly to a USB hard drive, which you could later connect to a computer.

There are some differences in ports and connectivity, as the current HyperDeck models no longer have the component/composite video inputs or analog audio inputs that the H.264 Pro Recorder has. The smallest HyperDeck Studio HD Mini model also lacks an HDMI input (although the larger HyperDeck models have one). The HyperDecks also include some ports like timecode I/O that the H.264 Pro Recorder lacks.

Perhaps the biggest difference that could be an issue for some uses, is that the HyperDecks have a fixed set of bitrate and codec options. On the H.264 Pro Recorder, you could more or less set an arbitrary recording bitrate up to 20 Mbps. Which can be important if you are posting directly to the web, or have limited bandwidth/storage, or have specific target file sizes in mind.

With the HyperDeck models, you are limited to the following options in H.264, each of which has a fixed bitrate that depends on the resolution and frame rate (which is why there is a range specified):
  • H.264 High SDI
  • H.264 High (45 to 70 Mbps)
  • H.264 Medium (25 to 45 Mbps)
  • H.264 Low (12 to 20 Mbps)
The H.264 High SDI option is a 10-bit 4:2:2 format, but the bitrate range is not documented. The other options are 8-bit 4:2:0.

These bitrates are actually fairly high for direct web delivery applications, even the H.264 Low setting is 3 to 4 times the kind of data rate that YouTube might use for 1080p video. So they might be overkill if that is the intended destination. But they make more sense when you consider the HyperDeck's intended usage of higher quality recordings for archiving or editing.

And the HyperDeck models also support ProRes and DNxHD which have even higher data rates and quality options if you need them. Additionally, the HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro model supports the following H.265/HEVC codec options: H.265 High SDI, H.265 High, H.265 Medium, H.265 Low.

In terms of long file recording, in the announcement presentation for the new HyperDecks there was mention that you could do recordings of at least 3 hours in a single file, but I can't find any documentation about what the actual single file split duration is (it's possible that it varies somewhat depending on the resolution and codec selected).

For what it's worth in terms of personal experience with both the H.264 Pro Recorder and the H.264 recording on the original HyperDeck Studio Mini, I found the HyperDeck much more reliable and significantly preferred it's more standalone nature and not needing to rely on an easily disconnected USB cable to a computer as the recording medium.
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Linden deCarmo

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Re: HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to replace H.264 Pro Recorder?

PostTue Sep 28, 2021 12:55 pm

Thank you Dave, that was very informative especially regarding the bitrates. Hopefully, someone that gets the new Hyperdecks in can let us know what the max size of the recordings are with H.264 Low Bit rate selected.

Before I completely give up on the H.264 Pro Recorder, is there anything at all that can solve the audio latencies we're encountering?
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Dave Del Vecchio

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Re: HyperDeck Studio 4K Pro to replace H.264 Pro Recorder?

PostThu Sep 30, 2021 10:23 am

In terms of the HyperDeck bitrates I believe the low-end of the bitrate range is used for frame rates up to 30 fps and the upper-end of the range is used for 50 and 60 fps. So for 1080p video at 24 to 30 fps, the H.264 Low setting would be 12 Mbps; for 1080p video at 50 or 60 fps, the bitrate would be 20 Mbps (for the same quality setting).

I suppose that one other possibility to consider, if you did need the ability to set custom bitrates, is to use an ATEM Mini Pro, but just use the H.264 recording features. Pricing is the same as the HyperDeck HD Mini, although you are limited to HDMI for the input format (though you could use an SDI to HDMI converter if needed). And in terms of media, you would need to record to a USB drive with the ATEM Mini since it doesn't have dedicated media slots. But one advantage is that in addition to the HyperDeck quality settings, you also get the lower-bitrate streaming quality H.264 options on the ATEM Mini Pro. And by customizing the XML settings file on the ATEM, you can also set a custom bitrate, if needed.

Regarding the H.264 Pro Recorder, it has been a while since I last used it. You can try experimenting with different Desktop Video versions, but the only thing that I remember sometimes made a difference was that the Pro Recorder seemed to work better when connected to a USB 2.0 port rather than a USB 3.0 port. Not entirely sure why this was (it's possible this was a computer specific issue). But this may not be too helpful as it's probably difficult to find a modern computer with a USB 2.0 port (these were more common back when the H.264 Pro Recorder was first released).

One thing I can tell you is that the H.264 implementation on the newer products is totally different from the one on the H.264 Pro Recorder. The H.264 Pro Recorder had a dedicated fixed-function hardware H.264 encoding chip (this was also used by the original ATEM Television Studio model). In contrast, the H.264 encoder implementation in newer Blackmagic products I believe first showed up in the Duplicator 4K and was then added to the original HyperDeck Studio Mini. Given that the H.264 recording features were added via firmware update to both of these products, I'm guessing that this is an FPGA-based H.264 encoding implementation (rather than using a dedicated encoder chip).

And then more recently, they claimed to have improved the video encoding quality of this implementation when the ATEM Mini Pro ISO was released (in order to better handle the lower bitrates used for streaming, although these improvements carried over to the higher HyperDeck bitrates as well). The newest HyperDecks have 10-bit 4:2:2 and 8-bit 4:2:0 recording formats in H.264 and support both PCM and AAC audio, options that weren't available at all on the H.264 Pro Recorder.

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