Atomos-samurai-hd-sdi-224x125Unless you're shooting with cameras like the Blackmagic Cinema Camera or the Arri Alexa, you're probably recording internally to a somewhat (or very highly) compressed format. Even though compression schemes have improved greatly since the humble beginnings of digital video, the image on many cameras can fall apart very easily if pushed too far in color grading or if serious noise reduction must be done. Matt Allard of DSLR News Shooter takes a look at an external recorder from Atomos called the Samurai, which features an HD-SDI input and ProRes recording (along with DNxHD with an optional upgrade).

One of the big advantages to using this recorder over something like the AJA Ki Pro Mini (which also records in ProRes) is the fact that it's also an external monitor. Not only does this help eliminate another device attached to your camera if you only need it for reference, but it gives you the piece of mind to know that what you're shooting is actually being recorded. The new metadata features from Atomos are extremely helpful, and the company is usually on top of the newest camera releases to ensure that the device can record the output correctly.

The only thing that's a bit annoying that Matt mentions is that it actually uses a Mini-BNC connector for the HD-SDI, so you won't be able to use standard cables, you'll have to use an adapter. Even though I would prefer using one of the 5.6" monitors in existence that have 1280 x 800 resolution, the Samurai's 800 x 480 resolution is good enough to get critical focus most of the time. I was able to try one out at NAB and while it's not as good as some higher-end monitors, it's a welcome addition to the process of external recording.

At $1,600, it's actually one of the cheaper external recorders out there capable of ProRes. While you could use an HDMI to HD-SDI converter like the Atomos Connect if your camera only has an HDMI output, you could also take a look at the lower-priced Atomos Ninja 2 ($1000) which has all of the same features except for an HDMI input instead of HD-SDI. If you choose to go the cheaper route, you could always get the opposite converter from Atomos which features HD-SDI to HDMI for cameras that only have the SDI output. Both of those external monitor/recorders are available now, and the converters should be available at the end of this month for $350 each.

What do you guys think about the Atomos recorders?


[via DSLR News Shooter]