August 12, 2016 at 4:01PM

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Again, Atomos Ninja Blade or Blackmagic Video Assist?

This has become an intriguing decision, the stakes of which are really hard to figure out. So, while it's been asked a lot, the Blackmagic Video Assist (BMVA) firmware updates (http://nofilmschool.com/2016/02/blackmagic-video-assist-update-1-2-adds-...) continue to narrow the gaps between these monitors/recorders.
If people have solid comparative experiences or are happy using the BMVA I (and hopefully some others) would love to know.
I shoot and screen documentary and art projects while traveling overseas alone, using a Canon C100 mk1.
Saving space in my backpack is a major concern, so recording to SD cards and not having to pack an SSD card reader (required for the Ninja Blade) sounds great.
The Ninja Blade, especially when loaded up with batteries, is bulkier and heavier than the BMVA.
The monitor function of the BMVA seems way superior (1080, and now with all the firmware update focus/exposure assist features--although people really talk a lot about a green image). But still, it seems a far superior monitor to the Ninja Blade.
It has been noted by many commenters elsewhere that Blackmagic has a bad reputation when it comes to taking user experience into consideration. However, those comments often refer to experience with BM cameras. When I've talked to a lot of different people in camera shops (I'm in NYC for the month so I've got plenty to talk to) about Blackmagic products, people have very different experiences with their cameras, as opposed to their other products. So I'm not sure how important a bad experience with a BM camera is for deciding between the Ninja Blade and the BMVA.
The only thing that seems to make the BMVA the bad move in this decision is the lack of 2:3 pulldown, which, as far as I understand, as long as you're handling you're own post-shoot workflow (which I am), can be fixed in Apple's Compressor or another free software option (http://blog.abelcine.com/2011/08/19/simple-workflow-for-removing-23-pull...). Apart from the time taken to do this (in the background while you do something else), is there going to be a quality difference between the Atomos removing the pulldown versus removing the pulldown using Compressor, having outputted to the BMVA? It seems this is the crux of the matter, and I promise I've spent a lot of time trying to find an answer.
Thanks for any help or info.

6 Comments

>> "Apart from the time taken to do this (in the background while you do something else), is there going to be a quality difference between the Atomos removing the pulldown versus removing the pulldown using Compressor, having outputted to the BMVA? "

There should not be, as long as the footage is really 24p wrapped in 60i then the reverse pulldown should be perfect. Depending on the software this will happen automatically. For instance in Premiere if you create a 24p timeline first and then add 24p footage wrapped in 60i Premiere automatically converts. Not sure about other NLEs.

August 12, 2016 at 4:10PM

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Cary Knoop
Member
2405

Thank you so much for clarifying that! I'm being swayed towards the Ninja Blade but it's been amazing to see so many people on forums saying the no pull down on the BMVA is a dealbreaker.

Joseph Livesey

August 13, 2016 at 10:58AM

As someone who owns a Blackmagic Video Assist, I would advise you not to buy one. The green tint is very noticeable, I have only used my Video Assist a handful of times because the tint is so distracting. Blackmagic is well aware of the issue, but so far they have not bothered to attempt a fix for it. Now that the 7 inch model has come out, it seems as though they don't really care about the 5 inch model anymore. I am currently in the process of arranging a refund for my Video Assist, when that happens I plan to buy a Ninja Blade. From what I understand, the Ninja Blade has a higher quality IPS screen and you should hardly notice any difference between 720p and 1080p at 5 inches. Atomos customer service is 10 times that of Blackmagic. Blackmagic has a bit of a reputation for poor quality control and problems, especially with their cameras, as you mentioned. Before I bought the Video Assist I thought; surely BM can't stuff up a monitor... I was wrong. I never would have bought the Video Assist if I'd known about the green tint beforehand.

August 13, 2016 at 1:04AM, Edited August 13, 1:07AM

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Thanks for sharing your experience. Yours is the most damning comment on the green tint I've read so far. Appreciate the feedback.

Joseph Livesey

August 13, 2016 at 10:59AM

Never tried the Blackmagic monitor, but I have owned a Ninja Blade for a while now using with a c100 and it has never had any issues at all. Now that they've added the atomHDR function it is even better as you can get a much more accurate image to judge exposure whilst shooting C-Log, very valuable indeed. To give it a negative I find e screen is a bit warm in terms of colour, but that is much easier to live with than a green cast.

Have a look on the atomos website about atomHDR there's a video you can watch. Even if you buy second hand it's just a free firmware update, it has definitely extended the life of my ninja blade so I take my hat off to Atomos for that.

August 13, 2016 at 5:50AM, Edited August 13, 5:50AM

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Liam Martin
DP, editor, part time director
708

Awesome info about the HDR. Did not see this in other debates about the two recorders. I'm getting into shooting C-Log so this is huge. Thanks!

Joseph Livesey

August 13, 2016 at 11:04AM

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