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.