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Apple ProRes Added to the Sub-$350 Blackmagic HyperDeck Shuttle 2 External Recorder

11.19.12 @ 10:26AM Tags : , ,

It was one of the most requested features for the Blackmagic HyperDeck Shuttle 2 external recorder that was released earlier this year, and now Apple’s ProRes HQ codec has finally been made available on the device in a free firmware update. Certainly it’s some good news from a company that hasn’t had too much of it in recent weeks, but the device that currently retails for about $328 is now a serious piece of filmmaking gear considering it takes any standard SSD drive and can record uncompressed Quicktime, Avid DNxHD, and Apple ProRes codecs.

Here is a little bit about the new update from their press release:

“Adding ProRes 422 (HQ) recording and playback to HyperDeck Shuttle 2 shows our continuing commitment to open systems and gives users the freedom to work in either compressed or uncompressed formats,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “Recording ProRes 422 (HQ) straight to disk now costs less per minute than recording to professional tape, plus it’s the most efficient workflow possible. A 64GB SSD is less than $70 and will record 50 minutes of the highest quality ProRes video. That’s broadcast quality recording for less than $2 a minute.”

This new update also includes full closed caption support for all HyperDeck models. Closed caption support works in 1080HD video formats and allows closed caption data to be read from the SDI input when recording and saved into .mcc type files, which are compatible with popular closed caption authoring software such as Maccaption. Then when playing back from HyperDeck, this .mcc file is read and closed caption data is embedded into the SDI output. This means customers can simply record and playback with full closed caption as well as using closed caption authoring software to generate the .mcc files for creating closed captioning for programs. With full closed caption support, HyperDeck Shuttle and HyperDeck Studio are the ideal solution for authoring closed captioning, as well as ensuring all closed caption is recorded and played back.

While the recorder has its issues, like the fact that there is no warning for running out of disk space and it uses mini-BNC connectors for the SDI in and out, there is no question this is an unbelievable deal, because the next cheapest recorder capable of 10-bit 4:2:2 is a little over $1,000 more — and you’ll have to spend at least $2,000 to get both HD-SDI and HDMI (with loop-through) in the same device. I think this is the perfect companion to many of the DSLRs that are offering a clean 8-bit 4:2:2 HDMI, like the Nikon D800 and the Sony A99 — and come April the Canon 5D Mark III. Magic Lantern has already made this possible on many Canon cameras, but the output is below 1920 x 1080 currently for any of the ML-capable DSLRs.

If you missed it, Blackmagic also recently added the exFAT file system to their HyperDeck Studio and HyperDeck Shuttle devices:

ExFAT is a Windows based operating file system that features state of the art technology, including large sized disk and file support, wide compatibility and high performance. All modern Windows computers include support for ExFAT and can format disks. In addition, Mac OS X also supports ExFAT disks, so ExFAT formatted disks can be plugged into both Windows and Mac OS X machines without any third party software required.

The recorder will automatically detect the file system that is being used on the drive, so the SSDs can be formatted in either ExFAT or HFS+, and they can be mixed and matched on the same Hyperdeck device without having to change any settings. If you’re a Windows user, this is an important update, because it means you won’t have to get special software to deal with the HFS+ file system that was previously the only way to format drives for the Hyperdeck devices. As many of you might be aware, the Blackmagic Cinema Camera will only work with HFS+ file systems on the SSD drives at the moment, but I have to believe that ExFAT support will be coming in a future firmware update.

If you already own a HyperDeck Shuttle 2, are these welcome updates? If you’ve been thinking about purchasing an external recorder, has the Shuttle 2 jumped up to the top of your list with ProRes support? For anyone who does own the Shuttle 2, what has been your experience using it?

You can download the firmware update by going to the Blackmagic support site using the link below and selecting your operating system and related hardware.



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Description image 51 COMMENTS

  • I have to laugh at calling ExFAT “state of the art”.

    • maybe you could “enlighten” us when you`ve finished laughing

      • It is a patent encumbered, weak extension to FAT (which is ancient), that was introduced for Windows XP. It is vastly inferior to the other Windows file system NTFS, and that is pretty old itself. You could conceivable call BTRFS or ZFS state-of-the-art, but a big-file bandaid on a (bad) 70s file system?

        • ok, thanks for clearing that up. I think they took exFat to allow windows/apple cross compatibility without having to install anything. better than nothing. I got a mac HD just recently and couldn`t make it connect to my system…

        • would be awesome if Microsoft and Apple just started supporting EXT

  • I’m happy enough with the Ninja 2 so far…more money, but a better overall product and something this critical I want to know it’s working. It’s nice for workflow to be able to set edit points and organize your footage in the field, and it comes with a convenient firewire dock and works flawlessly with the Mac.

    The Ninja 2 does 422HQ onto old-fashioned spinning 2.5″ drives as well as SSDs, meaning you can record for over 5 hours without switching drives and save money. The problem with spinning drives is they vibrate a bit, so you might want to ensure the lens/sensor isn’t being blurred by the drive spinning. SSDs are preferable due to that as well as the likely higher reliability especially in extreme bumpy situations.

    But the more the merrier and these BMDs should give a nice upgrade in IQ for C100/FS100 owners etc. at low cost. Also as a redundant safety.

  • The Hyperdeck paired with the GH3 would be an awesome lower cost/higher quality acquasition option if in fact it does 4:2:2 – a point still in debate.

    • It’s not in debate. It doesn’t do it.

    • Unless you’re doing chroma keying, 4:2:2 isn’t going to give you a lot over 4:2:0. Depending on how good the GH3′s internal codec is, an external recorder might still be useful (especially one as affordable as this).

      It’s also an HD-SDI->HDMI and HDMI-> HD-SDI converter too, which makes it useful for more than just recording footage.

  • This is nice, but are people really so psyched about pro res since the decline of final cut?? I know I’m not.

    plus, with all the gamma shifting that you have to deal with using pro res, it just seems like its time for everyone to move on.

    • …to…?

      • Time to switch to real media files, or better yet wmv

      • …anything that doesn’t gamma shift.

      • I’ll chime in. What options do you guys recommend if you’re not a fan of ProRes? Honest question, I’ve used ProRes whenever I’m not just using the raw, out of camera files. I’m interested in trying out different codecs. Right now I’m looking into Cineform, and several folks have recommended using image sequences. Thoughts?

    • Final cut lost alot of loyal customers due to lack luster replacement, but that replacement as of today with its updates have almost got it up to date and on par with the rest, also final cut newer version may have declined a little but PRO RES has not declined, when i need someone to color grade or do some nifty editing for a project 70% of the time they fool with PRO RES.

      • ok, but I hope your colorists are aware that anything exported (on a mac anyway) through the “quicktime” compression protocol is gamma shifting. as in, the image looks visibly more washed out than the edit as it exists in your timeline.

        if you’re using premere, compare the quicktime h264 (.mov container) with the standard h264 setting (mp4 container) and you’ll see. mp4 has no gamma shift. quicktime does. applies to anything exported via final cut as well.

        This is a 5 year old problem at least. Honestly, I cant really wrap my mind around why it isn’t solved or complained about more, considering the popularity of pro res.

        • Seriously, this. And the fact that Quicktime files in general don’t seem to compress nearly as well as standard h264.

    • Agree with dv. Not a fan of ProRes and have been bitten by gamma shift all too often. But what is the alternative? DNxHD? Level 5.1 or 5.2 h.264? Actually, level 5.1 and 5.2 h.264 allows for higher bitrates than ProRes HQ, so perhaps they should have deserve wider recognition.

  • Antoine Serviette on 11.19.12 @ 1:36PM

    It would be cool to have an article/roundup of all of the new external recorder capable DSLRs and tests and hands on stuff with them.

    • That would be interesting. Any idea what would be the cheapest camera with clean hdmi? together with this device that would be an interesting combination.

      • john jeffreys on 11.19.12 @ 10:25PM

        The GH3 I believe? or is that only 4:2:0? The D600 would be the next one, then. Although the 5D III, once it gets its firmware in April would technically be pretty cheap used, I’ve already seen one for around 2500

  • Peter Kelly on 11.19.12 @ 4:10PM

    Could anyone talk me through the practicalities of using something
    Like this on a 7D? Is it practical, how does it work and is it worthwhile? It’d r much appreciated!

    • The 7D doesn’t have uncompressed HDMI (officially, at least), so it won’t work. But if you used an FS100, 5D mkIII (come 2013), or a C100, it will give you a better codec plus more room to color correct in post.

      • Just to be clear, 4:2:2 doesn’t really offer any benefits over 4:2:0 as far as color correction and grading is concerned. (It does help with chroma keying)

        However, the elimination of compression artifacts *does* help tremendously. And some cameras (like the AF100A, and the F3 which is dropping in price) offer 10-bit HD-SDI, which is also hugely beneficial to CC and grading.

        Also, it’s worth noting that the Shuttle also serves as an HD-SDI->HDMI and HDMI->HD-SDI converter, which would be worth the cost alone.

  • SO BASICALLY if we are talking 5k and under range, this device would be targeted towards the FS100, which is a great camera with a lil banding issues here and there, but with this paired with FS100 and a CANON 6D in APRIL , if Canon really does what they claim they will do will be the best bang for buck with it comes to a cheap proper B, AND C cam setup for uncompressed

  • I`m a bit confused about the gamma shift issue – when does it occur? And does it happen on Mac and Win?

    • To the best of my knowledge, when you convert H.264 to pro res, you get a gamma shift (That is assuming you’re shooting with a camera that records H.264 like the 5D MK 2). I don’t know about the other formats though : )

  • I was really excited about the HDS2 until I read about it only recording 60i and not being able to record the 24p pulldown info from the fs100. Making the pulldown removal in post a nightmare. That and many reviews claiming external recorders generally don’t improve image quality, which I’m still perplexed by. Anybody with an external recorder experienced a general improvement in color and image quality? I have yet to hear about it…

    • The HDS2 records 24p fine, the problem in the case of the FS100 is that the FS100 only outputs 60i. The HDS2 doesn’t remove the 3:2 pulldown, while other recorders typically can.

      I question anyone who says there’s no advantage over low bitrate internal codecs…they must be doing very little with their footage. Besides being able to do more with the footage before it breaks, you can also get more detailed and cleaner images from noisy shots. By using less compression, you can preserve the noise and remove it more effectively in post (Neat Video!)…with low bitrate codecs, much of the data gets used trying to encode the noise and you end up with a blocky muddy image that you can’t clean up in post.

      • Thanks for the input! Have you heard of a reasonable workflow for the HDS2 and the FS100 shooting 24p?

        • I haven’t really had to work with 3:2 pulldowns since the DV days, but I know Premiere and After Effects can remove 3:2 pulldowns in real-time (no need to transcode). If you know most of your work is going to be with the FS100, you may want to look at how much you want to save money…a Ninja will remove the pulldown and also doubles as a monitor, but it costs 2-3 times as much and is exclusively HDMI.

    • I don`t know what kind of people these are, but they can`t be professionals – you just have to look 1:1 onto an AVCHD or H264 compressed camera file to see the awful compression artefacts. If someone can`t see the differences he`s either watching it downscaled, shooting stuff where compression etc. doesn`t show up that much or watching the wrong areas.
      The benefits can be seen at sharp edges, in high detail areas or in those situations Gabe was writing about.

  • This is a great update for me. I was looking into the Samurai but at £1199 before shipping and possible import tax it also ment that I couldn’t buy a dedicated monitor as well so would have to put all my eggs in one basket, if the screen Fails I’m screwed. Now the Hyperdeck has become an actual useful product at such a low cost I can now own a smallHD DP4-EVF mega bundle, the Hyperdeck, it’s mounting plate and a coupe SSDs and a dedicated dock for around £850-900. If the recorder is updated I can sell this on and upgrade, like wise with the DP4 without affecting the other product. Also any technical issues won’t take out another device and my rig can be very compact.

    I am an AF100 shooter and I know my broadcast and narrative client will be very happy about this as will the AF100A with its 10 bit output, I can also standardise my acquisition no matter what camera I’m hired to use, be that my own or a clients D800, FS100/700/F3 etc

  • Does anyone know if the Hyperdeck puts any kind of on-screen-display (record/play etc.) onto a connected monitor? I heard you`ve only got the button`s status (blinking or off) as visual feedback if the thing is running, that`s so far the only thing that bugs me about it if it is true…

    • That’s what I’ve heard too…I hope BM add this to the firmware, especially since they seem pretty good about adding features.

    • Daniel Mimura on 11.26.12 @ 7:44PM

      Yup, that’s it. And in direct light, you have to cup your hands around it every time to know that it’s on. It’s a terrible interface—as minimal as can be.

  • So I have looked on the Magic Lantern site and other places and I have gathered that with the Canon T2i you can’t get full 1080p through HDMI. Only 1620×1080 (3:2) while the camera is not recording. But are you able to still record this signal in ProRes? For those wondering why the T2i? It’s extremely light and portable and I only upload projects from the T2i to the web so I don’t really need 1080p for most stuff. I have other dedicated video cams for real projects that demand higher quality.

    • Yes you can record this signal, but it’s limited in use since you can’t record the full 1920 x 1080.

      • Thanks Joe that’s what I thought! I only need to output in 720p from the T2i so this will work just fine. Awesome!

  • Dunno about you guys but hooking this up to a RED scarlet, with the look around activated means you can record full frame field of view, in to 108024P. Set the RED to “REDLOGFILM” and you have a 13stop Log image in 108024P PRores or Uncompressed, for about $500… I cant understand why people are not jumping up and down….

    I just bought one.

  • You got it dude… And I’ll use my new rokinon manual lenses too!

  • Also, I confirmed from black magic that it will record the 23.98P from a red, directly into prores. The ninja for example will only record 60i, and does not perform a pull down.

  • Daniel Mimura on 11.26.12 @ 8:06PM

    I had a hyperdeck shuttle 2 for a couple weeks and then returned it. It failed by the 2nd day. (Those crappy mini-HD-SDI’s…)

    It is cheap in price, but in my opinion it’s cheap on quality…renting something better like a Ki Pro Mini, for the length of the shoot was the same cost, so I figured I buy…but that weak connector gave me control track breaks (or whatever you call it now)—basically I’d get little one or two frame interruptions and it was basically unusable…

    …and of course, because of the spartan interface, I had no way of knowing that. If the red light is solid, it’s recording…if it blinks, you’re getting interference, but if its an intermittent problem, you won’t see it. There is nothing to tell you after the fact (like how the red one has a dropped frame readout, for example), and the light is so dim that you can’t see it in daylight anyway…certainly not while its recording and you can’t cup your eye to it to check (this particular film was 100% steadicam).

    Prores is nice—I wish I had it in August when I was using it—since I only have FCP 7, I had to transcode everything into prores, so it meant having generational loss (to be fair DNxHD & proresHQ are both so good you don’t really notice)…

    …but looking at it another way, I only had to transcode only 1 day out of 7 because it failed so bad, I had to stick with the more highly compressed 420 footage of the AF100 SD card for the rest of the shoot.

  • The Shuttle already has a gamma shift issue when recording to DNxHD. (Well, the “shift” is really just a re-association of range from 0-255 to 16-235). I wonder if this firmware fixes it. I hope Prores doesn’t do the same thing…I’m going to test today and see.

    • Okay, did some tests. The DNxHD still has the gamma shift and the ProRes does NOT. But I also noticed that it seems to be recording 8bit ProRes. When doing comparison to DNxHD and shooting some gradients like the blue sky, I saw the typical 8bit banding in the ProRes when I added extreme contrast. DNxHD did not have the banding.

      • Still more tests…the ProRes is indeed 422 HQ 10bit. I made a mistake.

        The Prores looks a little smoother and a different noise structure than DNxHD…and that’s a stretch because they almost look identical even when pushed in grading and zoomed in. I’ll be using ProRes from now on since it doesn’t gamma shift. :)