November 17, 2015

Blackmagic Video Assist Firmware 1.1 Adds Center Zoom, Zebras, Peaking, & HDMI Timecode

Blackmagic Video Assist Firmware 1.1 Peaking
Blackmagic's Video Assist monitor/recorder hasn't been out for all that long (it's only just starting to ship), but they've already added some much-needed features.

The newest 1.1 firmware for the 5" 1080p Video Assist gives essential monitoring features like zebras, peaking, and a punch-in zoom (though it's only in the middle). Here's what's been added:

  • Adds Focus Peaking indication
  • Adds Zebra indication for setting iris
  • Adds central Zoom to aid focus
  • Adds timecode over HDMI
  • Improved battery information
  • Performance and stability updates

I'm currently in the middle of a review with the Video Assist, and it's a good thing this firmware came out now, because it addressed a number of the features that were bothering me about the recorder. If you're going to be using a monitor/recorder on a camera, focus/exposure tools are pretty necessary, and it's great to see Blackmagic adding them in this update. Peaking is similar to how it is on all of Blackmagic's other cameras, so don't expect anything different or life-changing there. It would be nice to control the placement of the punch-in (rather than just the center), but it's a step in the right direction for now. 

I haven't had a chance to test anything with the timecode over HDMI. Theoretically you should be able to trigger the recording once it sees timecode coming from the HDMI port, but I'm going to experiment more with this over the coming days. 

Considering this is a $500 1080p monitor, Blackmagic just added a ton of value. As a secondary monitor just for recording it's almost a no-brainer based on the price alone, but if this is going to be your only one, there may be some issues you'll have to deal with.

Either way if you've got one, head on over to the Blackmagic Support page to download. As for the review, stay tuned for the in-depth hands on coming up in the next week, which will include thoughts on these new features.      

Your Comment

25 Comments

We all knew this was going to come, and barely a month after they started shipping... They should have just waited and included these features in the initial release. I wish black magic wouldn't use us as beta testers for all their products.

November 17, 2015 at 5:46PM

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Mark Austin Heim
Producer
85

I think that's one of the reasons why they can make (relatively) cheap products.
More R&D means more costs.

November 18, 2015 at 4:46AM

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Stacey de Graaff
Cinematographer | Editor
113

Am I reading right that the windows package can't install on windows 7?!

November 17, 2015 at 5:46PM

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Wisse Stolk
Director
81

When will this officially be released?? BH still says pre order.

November 17, 2015 at 8:50PM

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Caleb Price
Director
446

I have mine. I ordered my VA from Adorama at NAB in April. I've had it for almost 2 weeks now. Check other smaller resellers. EVERYONE shops at B&H. They are most likely backordered. And their pre-order lines for most new hot camera tech tend to be very long.

November 18, 2015 at 5:13AM

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FUGKING FINALLY I KNEW . WAS THINKGINA BUOT THIS
I DIDNT EVEN READ THE ARTICLE I JUST READ THE TITLE
BUT
NOW
MAYBE ILL BUY THIS MONITOR

November 17, 2015 at 11:04PM

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Yea trigger record should be up there in priorities...hopefully it's been fixed.

Also I'm hoping the Lexar 633x SD cards are supported, some reviews say the 1000x one isn't even supported? The new SmallHD D-Tap to Canon LP-E6 looks like a good accessory.

November 18, 2015 at 1:39AM, Edited November 18, 1:40AM

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Matthew Emmanuel
Camera Operator
550

Agreed - missing HDMI rec trigger seems nuts to me :) Curious, why would you use the d-tap -> LP-E6 instead of d-tap -> 12v input? Is it for the built-in regulation?

November 18, 2015 at 9:02AM

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Ivan Verlaan
Director / Cinematographer / Colourist
177

This sounds great. I'm really interested in the focus peaking. Will this work with any camera or only certain models? I have a Nikon that doesn't have fp on it, so is it only going to work on models that already have fp on them?

November 18, 2015 at 2:45AM

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Jeremy Gadd
Cameraman & Video Editor
8

Over at newsshooter I read that battery performance is pretty poor. How is that on the ninja blade? Anyone know more about that?
They have the same price now. So a comparison would be good.

November 18, 2015 at 2:58AM, Edited November 18, 2:59AM

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Gilles van Leeuwen
Filmmaker
377

The battery life isn't awesome, but there's a lot of work being done by a little LP-E6 battery :) I am seeing just over 1 hour of usage per battery (and it takes 2 at a time, so 2 hrs use total) when shooting indoors. Shooting cold exterior yesterday, that dropped to about 40 mins/battery.

Comparing to the Blade, that's less runtime before swapping... but the Blades I've rented always come with Sony battery plates, so it's not an even comparison. Those are much larger batteries. I'm not super familiar with the Blade, but maybe someone else has used it with Canon batteries?

In terms of real-world usage, I'm happy with getting 1.5 - 2 hours before swapping batteries. I'm stopping to swap cards before then anyways. I'm also happy that it uses LP-E6s, since I already had a ton of them :)

If you're considering both, consider that the VA will do 60p and the Blade will not. The screen & interface on the VA is also much nicer. If you can put up with glitchy software for the first while, the VA seems much more capable in the long-run. It is working for me right now as a "dumb" recorder, despite a HUGE amount of software bugs (formatting cards, timecode display, changing recording formats, no record trigger, etc) that will get worked out in time.

November 18, 2015 at 8:56AM

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Ivan Verlaan
Director / Cinematographer / Colourist
177

Thanks for your thorough answer. :) I'm going to use it with a C100 so maybe the pulldown of the ninja will be one of the more important point.

November 18, 2015 at 2:37PM

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Gilles van Leeuwen
Filmmaker
377

Now if it could only do 4K...............

November 18, 2015 at 5:34AM

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Jerry Roe
Indie filmmaker
1031

Well, that took them a while, since most comments at time of NAB were about zebras and peaking to make it a useful monitor as well.

November 18, 2015 at 7:51AM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
9086

I'll buy one next year when they work out the kinks. Never been an early adopter of any new camera tech.

November 18, 2015 at 9:18AM

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Don Way
Writer/Director of Photography
1123

Include Waveforms and you got an instant buyer. Even as a paid firmware update.

November 18, 2015 at 10:45AM

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I'd get it, but mini-SDI is a bummer.

November 18, 2015 at 2:17PM

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If it's anything like the screen on the back of the BMCC4K, it's not worth it.

November 18, 2015 at 5:18PM

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Nicholas Bradford-Ewart
Director/Producer/DP
67

Will this recorder work with the Canon C100 mk1?

Any limitations?

November 19, 2015 at 7:32AM

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Ollie
81

And the Ursa Mini?
*crickets*

November 19, 2015 at 3:11PM

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Jerald Roberts II
Filmmaker
356

I have this monitor/recorder, and it was painfully limited when I first got it as it was still on firmware 1.0 (no peaking, zebras, rec trigger, DNxHD, and had support for ONE type of SD card above 32 GB).
Since update 1.1 some of these problems were addressed, but not all. Thankfully our 1000x Lexar 128 GB cards work perfectly, that was my biggest gripe as we bought them specifically for this unit as recommended by B&H.
Focus peaking is ok, but not nearly as good as the Ninja Blade or higher. Zebras are fine. Timecode trigger over HDMI still does not work over our Canon C100 mk2. Yes the camera is set to trigger over HDMI... Still must be some glitches to work out.
Also there is still no DNxHD format option, small bummer but not a huge problem.
Beware: The 80 MB/S Sandisk Extreme Plus cards (gold ones) will still drop frames at 1080p60 on ProRes. The Lexar 150 MB/S (1000x) cards are beautiful now that they are supported as we have had no dropped frames at 1080p60 on ProRes HQ.

November 19, 2015 at 5:14PM

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Hope they start mass shipments soon. I get emails everyday saying mine is still on backorder. After almost a month of this it is getting tiresome.

November 21, 2015 at 5:05PM, Edited November 21, 5:05PM

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Robert W.
109

I would pay money to have waveforms on this unit all damn day!

November 25, 2015 at 4:31PM

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Filmmaker Dude
Film stuff
189

When is the review coming?

November 27, 2015 at 4:48PM

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They totally need to get Waveform on there. I talked to a BMD guy at the NAB booth and he assured me the update was in the works. I went ahead and bought one, still playing the waiting game.

June 29, 2016 at 4:36PM

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Alex Richard
Cinematography
8