Blackmagic USB Intensity Shuttle Questions and Frustrations

Hi guys,

Long time lurker here. Just beginning to dabble in video synthesis, my main squeeze has been ‘video manipulation’ or whatever people tend to call it, using VCRs and various circuit bent jobbies. Been looking to upgrade my set up for years now, and try and reduce the amount of X to Y dongles and cables. So I bought a second hand USB Intensity Shuttle and i’m going out of my mind trying to get it to work as I’d understood it. Think I might have completely got the wrong end of the stick.

So… I know now that it can only send video in one direction. It also seemingly can’t convert analog to digital. Is this correct? Can it even output video? Or can it only either capture it, or allow it to pass through in the same definition? I had originally assumed I could go Mac > HDMI out > Shuttle > Analog out > GEAR and then back into a separate computer with a separate capture card, but that hasn’t worked.

Main question: Is it possible to use the shuttle to send video out from a computer to analog gear?

I’m confused as ive seen people on here saying they use these to send video out from a computer, into an analog modular system. I can’t for the life of me work out how…

I’m trying to send a signal from my PC out as composite or s-video into some glitch gear, then out from there into a TBC and another capture card, however I can’t get any signal out of the computer at all. Just a black screen. I can change the output and video conversion settings in the black magic app all day but nothing helps. It’ll flicker and show signs of life when I change the output settings, but that’s as good as it gets.

Perhaps this a stupid thing to say but I’m assuming that as I can’t send something directly through the ‘HDMI input’ and out of one of the ‘analog outputs’ that the shuttle would be sending the output data from the PC connected via USB 3 — so just to clarify i’m attempting this with nothing plugged into the inputs of the shuttle.

Perhaps I’m missing some sort of program that needs to specify what to output to the Shuttle, as Syphon seems to be able to do for Mac users. I don’t know, i’m truly stumped as to how people manage to send video out through it!

Sorry bit of a ramble, trying to sort this out this afternoon has fried my brain cells — any help would be appreciated!

As a side note/rant… the above troubles aside — i’m thoroughly underwhelmed with the Blackmagic shuttle so far. I know it’s end of life, discontinued… but it seemed to promise so much! I haven’t seen another capture device with such perfect input and output connections, at least for my needs, but sadly too good to be true.
— I’ve had mild success using it to capture video input, but the software you have to use to get it to work is absolutely horrible to work with.
— Video settings will randomly change and revert when you open up their Media Express capture software, which is necessary to get it to run, which was a real disappointment to discover.
— It seems to run better with OBS than their own native software, in fact it works a charm, sadly I don’t think OBS has enough settings for my liking.
— I tried for hours to get it to work with my preferred capture programs, Virtualdub and AmaRecTV, but it seems incompatible for some reason — just endless error messages and no visuals.
— And to add insult to injury, I had no idea that it wasn’t supported anymore and isn’t compatible with the latest Mac OS… so i can’t test it with Black Syphon unless I manage to find a thunderbolt version. Not quite ready to give up on it yet though!

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You are correct. Intensity Shuttle does not convert from HDMI to analog. It sends data out of your computer via the USB or thunderbolt connection (depending on which version one has) and then converts that into whichever output you specify in its preferences. Or, conversely, it will take input video and convert it into data which it sends to the computer via that same USB/thunderbolt connection. It will not do both at the same time.

And then, from what I understand, whether the USB version will work with a PC or not depends on the specific USB hardware of that machine. I have no experience with this, but it seems it is a bit of crapshoot. I am sure there are specifics listed somewhere that will tell you the requirements (most likely on a forum like this or maybe on Scanlines; good luck finding helpful information in Blackmagic help docs).

On a Mac, I am fairly certain you must use a thunderbolt version of Shuttle. Never heard of anyone making the USB version work with a Mac. And, for me, Black Syphon is indeed the only reliable way to get the Shuttle to talk to the outside world. The Blackmagic software never worked as expected.

And, yeah, Shuttles are no longer supported.

Honestly, they were always a bit of a frustrating device. But, when it does/did work, there was nothing comparable with the same quality & options at the same price point. That being said, you can get a (probably chain of) device(s) that either gets video in or out of a computer and into/out of the correct format for cheaper than a Shuttle (plenty of threads on here about conversion options if you search). It will just do that one thing, but since Shuttle only does one at a time anyway…


Thank you so much Sean for taking the time to write that up!

Unbelievably useful and it cleared up virtually everything for me. As you say, the official Blackmagic docs were god awful and didn’t help one bit.

I had no idea they were that fussy, but I think that must be it. There has to be be some sort of hardware incompatibility between the shuttle and my PC motherboard as at this point it’s clear it’s not possible to send out any video.

The thunderbolt versions are hard to come by now it seems but I might try and find one to use with Black Syphon. Looks like a brilliant program.

I’ll have a look through here for some other interface suggestions though. Seems like some of the other BM offerings are respected (though I’m a bit apprehensive now) or the Atomos products. Perhaps just some mini connectors would suffice as you suggest. Would just be nice to have some more connection options and upgrade from my generic brand HDMI to Composite converter. But honestly that thing has been damn solid and completely pain-free considering it was something like £15 new.

Thanks again!

One of the, let’s say, “ironies” of most pro, or semi-pro, gear is that it does tend to be more finicky than the cheap-o Amazon/Chinese stuff (don’t even get me started on how much of a useless doorstop the Matrox MXO2 LE ended up being for me, when I tried one of those years ago). And, really, for composite signals, the quality bump can at times be mild enough to hardly seem worth it.

But going from cheapo conversion of composite video signals to high quality conversion of component video signals is generally quite noticeable and significant.

…I will add that I have never had any problems with the Blackmagic mini or micro converters. They just do what they say they do. Only frustration there is that generally you have the extra step of converting into or out of SDI from/to HDMI.

It sends data out of your computer via the USB or thunderbolt connection (depending on which version one has) and then converts that into whichever output you specify in its preferences.

I’ve used Shotcut to output video from my intensity shuttle on windows. Try that. It detected the shuttle as a preview monitor. latest OBS version can be used as a virtual webcam, maybe you can bring the image into obs and record with another software thru virtual webcam routing. That’s how I managed to get intensity shuttle in to zoom, discord.

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