Blackmagic Pro Recorder v’s Canopus Box

photo (1)Last week I received my Blackmagic H.264 Pro Recorder, for anybody who hasn’t come across this device before it is a Video Encoder. Effectively it takes a camera feed converts it (in this case to H.264, currently one of the most commonly used formats for the recording, compression, and distribution of high definition video) and provides a connection to your laptop.

Why Do You Need It?

1) The old device – Canopus Box – used a Firewire connection into the laptop. Most PC’s no longer come with Firewire.

2) It has many more input types than the Canopus Box. The Canopus box takes an analogue signal in! Remember all that money you spent on a Digital Camera and then you run an analogue signal out of it convert that to a digital signal and put it back into your laptop. Now you no longer have to.

3) The Blackmagic takes digital inputs. Mainly HDMI, but there are other formats you can take in depending on your equipment.

4) It works on MAC and PC.

photo (3)5) The connection to your laptop is via USB – so there are no laptop compatibility issues.

6) It converts the footage. The Canopus box takes ‘raw’ video meaning the video files are large. The Blackmagic converts the footage so you get an easy to use file format and it’s not too big.

The downside is that it needs power, but if you can get around this it’s a great option. Price £369 on Amazon.

It is worth checking that your coding software can take the feed from this device. 

  • kickaha

    Nice review,

    This is a great solution also for laptop since the H.264 encoding is done by the box. The latest version of Dartfish support this device and it works great.

  • Chris Loxston

    Has anybody tried this with SportsCode V9 yet with a live OB feed from a TV Truck or the VF (view finder) output from a camera?

  • Tom Cash

    Hi all,

    The problem with this devices is you can only capture into the BlackMagic software live. The file size you get is brilliant and for games (80-90 mins) you can get a great quality file for around 5GB. Users of Sportscode are using this file post event and exporting the data from their live capture onto this file. It does save having to use Elgato or another compression post event and the file that the BM software created is SC compatible.


  • Tom Cash

    If you are looking at the other BlackMagic devices I would recommend either the Intensity Extreme or Shuttle if looking to capture HD. Both can also be used to capture component feeds as well so covered there.

  • Hoover

    Anyone tried it with focus? Thanks

  • Hugh Jenner

    Hi Rob

    I’m looking to upgrade from our canopus boxes to the blackmagic H.264. I was wondering whether these boxes are compatible with sports code yet? This blackmagic box (h.264) doesn’t have a thunderbolt out and Sportscode doesn’t recognise USB (?). One potential solution would be to use the Blackmagic mini recorder, but this doesn’t seem to have any option of getting sound in from a source other than the camera source (for instance a ref mic). Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

    Hugh Jenner (Sale Sharks)

    • Jim Dickin

      Hey Hugh- just checking whether you had any success with this? I have got the Blackmagic Intensity Shuttle which works via thunderbolt and is recognised in Sportscode, this also has sound inputs

  • Paul Mounter

    Hi Hugh and Jim,
    There is also the intensity extreme depending on the location you are going to be working in then the extreme is a little bit more expensive but its a lot more rugged. Aluminium body instead of plastic.