Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

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Brian Brennan

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Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 4:31 pm

Hey guys,

I'm looking to use 2 Macbook Pros with the BLACKMAGIC DESIGN ATEM PRODUCTION STUDIO 4K. I'd like to use one to have a Powerpoint slideshow or videos and basically have it act as a media PC and use the other to switch for live streaming. I've been reading a lot of nightmare posts that the Macbook Pros frame rate fluctuates and causes a decent amount of issues while trying to connect a camera input.

1. Is there a device or some type of software that forces the Macbook Pro to output 1080i 60FPS?
2. If not, is there another type of workaround to get a macbook pro to connect as an input without issues?
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Brian Brennan

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 8:37 pm

Hey guys,

So I found some info. on my questions. Could anyone else confirm this?

Seems like there's two options, software or hardware. The software option I found is called SwitchResX. You can switch the resolution and the hertz of the HDMI output (Mac). The other option I'm seeing is a converter called Decimator. This gives you the ability to change the FPS, Resolution and hertz. This is to get a macbook pro to work with for the Blackmagic Design ATEM 1 M/E Production Studio 4K as a camera input for slideshows and video content. Does anyone have any experience with this?


DECIMATOR MD-HX Miniature HDMI/SDI Cross Converter with Scaling & Frame Rate Conversion

Jim Brown

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostMon Mar 20, 2017 11:22 pm

The Decimator is a winner. Works very well doing exactly what you describe. You do not need one to run the Control Software on the Mac. The connection in that case is ethernet. The powerpoint PC HDMI output will function just like it was a camera whether you are running your ATEM as 1080P or 1080i. Just configure the Decimator appropriately.

Jim Brown

M&M Productions USA
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Fred Rodrigues

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostTue Mar 21, 2017 7:14 am

SwitchresX allows you to force available output modes on your mac video card (as apple took all the control away). Generally I have found that once you get a setting working (without switch resx) the mac remembers it. If it is always your won gear it is easy to manage.

You can also use an EDID manager, this is something that plugs into the HDMI port, your mac will then only see one possible resolution and framerate (what you program into the EDID manager) and then you pass this signal on to the ATEM.

Both these methods mean you are sending the correct signal from your mac with no conversion of refresh rates or other processing.

The decimator method means taking pretty much any signal from your mac and performing a conversion in real time to the frame rate and size of the ATEM.

Personally I am a much bigger fan of the first method, just getting the signal right without conversion. It is possible and works perfectly.

Brett Casadonte

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostSat Mar 25, 2017 12:30 pm

I've used both SwitchResX and Decimators with MacBook Pros and have had success using both. However, I will say that I have more consistently had success using the Decimators... they are quicker to setup and pretty much bulletproof in their conversion (at least in my experience).

I own 5 Decimators that come in handy all the time for shows, not just to connect MacBook Pro computers but also to integrate a variety of video sources or destinations. They provide a lot of versatility, and in my opinion, are a required piece of kit for anyone doing live productions. I highly recommend them.

I wish Blackmagic would make these types of standards converters...
Brett Casadonte
Founder and Techinical Director - GlobeStream Media
Live Production: on-location and REMI using LiveU
ATEM 2 M/E, 1 M/E, TV Studio Pro 4k, BM URSA Broadcast, & Studio/Micro Studio Cameras
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Jack Fairley

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostSun Mar 26, 2017 12:58 am

I've said many times the Decimator MD-CROSS is probably the single most useful individual item in our studio. We also have 5 and they always end up being used for something.
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Brian Hancock

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 2:05 am

+1 for decimator

i've used switch res x as well and its works "most of the time"

as has been said here the issue is actually with mac and their "it just works" removal of software functionality ... you can run windows on that same mac and that same video card will work just fine with any hdmi to sdi converter once set to 59.94

that said has anyone actually spoken to apple about this ? to see what their official stance is?
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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostMon Mar 27, 2017 5:13 pm

Brian Hancock wrote:
that said has anyone actually spoken to apple about this ? to see what their official stance is?

That sums up apple's approach to professional issues
if it was easy it wouldn't be called engineering

Lance Lewis

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostTue Mar 28, 2017 2:45 pm

I +1 the decimator. I have 3 and they are always with me and often used. With that said, I would like to note that I have no problem running the atem 1 4k or original atem 1 or the PS4k in 1080 60i or 720 60p and having my mac be seen by the any of the atems I have listed above.
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Jamie Freeman

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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostThu Mar 30, 2017 8:51 pm

you have to do this from terminal.

$ cscreen -h
Usage: cscreen [-d <depth>] [-x <width>] [-y <height>] [-r <refresh>] [-s <display>] [-v] [-m] [-f] [-l] [-h]

[-d <depth>] : specifies the bit depth (bits per pixel)
[-x <width>] : specifies the width in pixels
[-y <height>] : specifies the height in pixels
[-r <refresh>] : specifies the refresh rate in Hz
[-s <display>] : specifies which display to use (defaults to main display)
use a as the option to -s to specify the action on all displays
[-i <displayID>]: picks a display based on CGDirectDisplayID (permanent per display)
continue to use '-s a' for "all displays"
[-v] : display valid modes (use -s to specify display or nothing for the default)
[-m] : require an exact match
[-f] : forces settings (ignores safety mechanisms; USE AT YOUR OWN RISK)
[-l] : lists the current displays and modes
[-p] : sets the requested display to have the menu bar
[-h] : displays the usage

Note: Using -p will change the display index so you will likely want to use -l again to show the current displays if you wish to use -p a second time.

First, use this to get a list of displays. Type in the command and hit the return key:

cscreen -i

this should change the refresh rate of the external display:

cscreen -r whatever you want "displayID"

Also note opening the display monitor and holding down option before hitting scaled will give you the gui version of that where you can also pick the refresh rate.


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Re: Force 60fps Out HDMI Macbook Pro

PostThu Feb 07, 2019 7:51 am

Just want to throw some other hardware solutions out there for easily getting OSX to speak in compatible frame rates to the ATEMs...

I have a ATEM Production Studio 4k, and use a 1 M/E 4k at work a lot too.

For 1080p... Decimator MD-HX or MD-CROSS is definitely a handy thing to have in your kit. Decimators are bombproof! I've had one running at home for 2 years, the LCD is gonna give out before the unit does. The AJA ROI's also do the trick. Both of those are relatively high ticket items, but cheaper than ImagePros or Extron USPs.

But I just stumbled onto an interesting MEGA CHEAP hardware solution for 1080p59.94 while testing my rack that is about to go out on a rental. I picked up a handful of VGA->HDMI (semi-generic) converters on ebay a while back, I thought I'd give one a shot. Voila!

MiniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt/USB-C -> VGA -> El Cheapo VGA/HDMI Box -> HDMI Input on ATEM
This test case was High Sierra outputting via mini-DP (generic mono-price adapter).

By El Cheapo I am referring to this one, although you may have luck with other's in the same price range or re-brands of this one:

Etekcity VGA+Audio to HDMI converter/scaler
Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 12.37.27 AM.png
Etekcity VGA+Audio to HDMI Converter
Screen Shot 2019-02-07 at 12.37.27 AM.png (241.71 KiB) Viewed 2371 times longer available on amazon, but there are on ebay for 25$ or less. I got 16 of them for 34$ last year! By no means a robust or elegant solution, but budget might be your constraint? Hobby streamer maybe?
Also might have the side benefit of avoiding HDCP issues, (have not tested this).

For Mac uses cases, those HDMI inputs are useful again without having to fight with SwitchResX, which is never an option on a client laptop! (Decimators also let you do this, if you scale HDMI->HDMI, but at the 300$ price point).


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