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We take a look at the Thunderbolt Hub from OWC that makes three Thunderbolt connections out of one. 

Moving from a 15 inch MacBook Pro to the smaller size was quite a revelation. The reduction in dimensions doesn't sound a lot, but when you carry a laptop around everyday it certainly makes a difference. The introduction of the Apple Silicon 13 inch models made the downsizing argument even stronger as processing power and daily battery life wasn't a problem.

Connectivity was however.

On location edits, I had taken my old 15 inch Intel MBP and connected that up to a RAID, card reader, HDMI out etc. All used to produce content sitting on location in a hotel room or similar.

But with the new 13" MacBook Pro, I only had two Thunderbolt/USB 4 ports. Yes, peripherals can be daisy-chained together, but a lot of the equipment I use for editing hasn't got a pass-through. An end of chain card reader is exactly that, it's at the end of the chain. Counting up what I needed to edit (even without unplugging card readers and plugging back in after ingesting media), two ports wasn't going to be enough. Why don't you use a USB hub I can hear you say? I would, but I need Thunderbolt connectivity for a separate monitor and an attached RAID.

So with a location editing job happening imminently, I purchased an OWC Thunderbolt Hub. Again, for full disclosure, I paid for this out of my own money without a discount! However, OWC do support this site with advertising & links and we are very grateful!

The OWC Thunderbolt HUB is a $149 unit that splits a single Thunderbolt connection into three. It's a small unit, about the same depth and length as a Magic Mouse, but slightly wider.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub 01 

 

On the front of the unit is the 'in' Thunderbolt connection to the hub. This can also charge a device up with 60W of power. Next to that is a single USB 3.2 10Gb/s port.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub 02 

 

On the back is the connector for the mains (more about that later), a Kensington Nano security slot, then three 'out' Thunderbolt connectors which all share the bandwidth of the input. Each output will support a bus powered device. Those little holes above the connectors are for OWC's 'ClingOns' which make the port connections more secure by holding the cable in. A 0.8 metre Thunderbolt cable is supplied, but Kirk's enemies are extra.

You can of course take one of the Thunderbolt outputs and then attach another dock to allow even further connectivity, although you will only be sharing the one Mac port's bandwidth.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub 03

 

It worked perfectly, allowing me to run a 4K edit screen, connect to a Thunderbolt RAID and leave the multiple card readers attached at all times. I also had a wired keyboard connected and a backup SSD for disk images from the camera cards. 

There is something I'm not that keen on though and maybe I should have twigged earlier when I first saw the shipping box. The power unit compared to the hub is huge! With an IEC mains cable in and a connecting lead out, it takes up a lot of space as well.

OWC Thunderbolt Hub 04

 

I contacted OWC and asked them why a small unit needed such a large and heavy companion. They answered that it was the best they could find that did the job of supplying the power needed, if you know of a better unit they are very keen to hear from you!

This is a perfect companion to expand the Thunderbolt connectivity of any Mac, but it is especially handy for those laptops with only one or two Thunderbolt connectors. It is even the same gunmetal colour.

However, just make sure you leave enough space for the mains adaptor when packing!

 

  


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

great house giveaway 2020

2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

Tour de france 2020
Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

amazon kindle BF

Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

Plugin Design & Development

I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

FCP.co

Now in its 10th year and 4th redesign, running FCP.co has given me knowledge on how to run a large CMS- you are currently reading my bio from the database! Although it sounds corny, I am pretty well up on social media trends & techniques, especially in the video sector. The recent Covid restrictions has enabled live FCP.co shows online. This involves managing a Zoom Webinar through Restream.io to YouTube and Facebook. 

The Future

I'm always open to new ideas and opportunities, so please get in touch at editor (at) fcp.co. I've judged film competitions, presented workflow techniques to international audiences and come up with ideas for TV shows and software programs!

 

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