By Kevin Bradley
Before Atomos jumped into the uncompressed recorder market with the Ninja, there were only two portable products readily available in the market that could get RAW material out of your camera; the Convergent Design NanoFlash (nanoFlash | Convergent Design) and AJA’s Ki Pro Mini (Ki Pro Mini – AJA Video Systems).
I’ve used both devices and they’re great IF you’re willing to deal with some glaring issues such as the lack of built-in power options, for one. And of-course the biggest drawback of all….the price, with the devices costing $2850.00 and $1999.00, respectively.
Then along came the Ninja. When Atomos introduced the Ninja, they outclassed their competition right out of the gate with a far more attractive price point of $999.00. Not only was the price affordable, but it also included a better operating system, SSD recording, built-in powering options, etc. etc.
But, before I was tempted to be one of the first people to purchase the Atomos Ninja ProRES Recorder, there was only one thing holding me back: the fact that it was HDMI-In ONLY! HDMI is great on my home theater, but it’s a piece of crappola on a film set. HDMI has no locking function built into it, it’s 1080i without conversion, and its connectors are nowhere near up-to-snuff for the abuses of the film and video industry.
However, one little comment/promise from the Atomos people kept me interested in the Ninja, “future expandability to HD-SDI.” My first thought was: how?
And now I’ve got my answer! Announced at IBC, these new Connect converters will give you exactly what the Ninja has been lacking: connectivity to the 95% of cameras that do not feature HDMI out.
Here are specs, directly from Atomos’ Website:
- Physical compatibility with Marshal and Small HD Monitors, Atomos Samurai and Ninja field recorders and any device with a Sony NP Battery Mount
- Canon and Panasonic mounting compatibility with suitable battery-plate adaptors
- Data compatibility with any SDI, HD-SDI equipment from the past two decades!
- Rackmount adaptor available: ideal for studio or OB truck use
- Real-time conversion between HD-SDI and HDMI (S2H) and between HDMI and HD-SDI (H2S)
- In-line real-time pulldown removal (60i to 24p and 30p; 50i to 25p)
- Futureproof: 3G HD-SDI chipsets used throughout
- Dual battery system (one internal, one external) for continuous power
- Internal battery can power converter for two hours
- External battery (2-cell, NP-470-type) can power a converter for 15 hours (6-cell for up to 36 hours)
- Internal battery can be charged from an external battery
- Use external DC supply via D-Tap adaptor
- Cascadable – stack up to six converters together and power from a single source – AC or battery
- Torch light – Built-in LED torch for use in dark spaces – Eg. behind racks or at night
- Built-in test pattern generator
- LED Battery-level indicators
- Add HDMI inputs and outputs to Samurai
- Add HD SDI input to Ninja
And the best part of all….they’re only going to cost $350.00 per unit! At that price point, an independent guy like me can afford to have 3-4 of them in the gear bag. Atomos has said that both converters will be released before the end of the year. I can’t wait to get my hands on one!