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.