March 21, 2016

Atomos Shogun Flame & Ninja Flame Are the First 7" HDR 4K Recording Monitors

Atomos Ninja Flame Shogun Flame HERO
Atomos has introduced the first ever 10-bit HDR panel in a portable 7" 1920 x 1200 monitor. 

With the newest Atomos Shogun Flame (SDI/HDMI) and Ninja Flame (HDMI-only), the company has improved upon both build quality and image quality, and is giving us one of the more advanced monitors we've seen yet. So what is HDR? High Dynamic Range, or HDR, allows for far more details in highlights and shadows, those that would generally be clipped when looking at a traditional Rec709 image. HDR theoretically gives you the best of both worlds between viewing an image in a traditional flat-looking Log, or viewing in a much crunchier Rec709 color space. Rather than constantly switching between Log and Rec709, the AtomHDR image will let you look at an image that has richer colors, but more dynamic range — up to 10 stops of luminance detail. At the moment, we have support for most Sony, Canon, Panasonic, and ARRI cameras capable of shooting a true log image. 

Check out the intro video: 

Not only are these some of the most technologically advanced monitors on the market, but they are also some of the least expensive 4K recording monitors at $1,700 for the Shogun Flame and $1,300 for the Ninja Flame. Both of these will come with everything you see here:

In addition to the HDR tech, Atomos is giving us a monitor that is far brighter than any we've seen from them. At 1500 nits, it's easier to see in bright environments, and for this kind of HDR technology, this brightness is necessary for getting the full image as it's meant to be seen.

Though the monitor is still a plastic ABS Polycarbonate, it is far more rugged than before. This is something you feel comfortable taking on set, and having played with it for a few days now, it feels much sturdier than the previous model. Atomos started incorporating a rubber shell around their newer monitors, but the Flame series doesn't really need this, as it's not only tougher, but it has bumpers in the corners. 

Atomos Shogun Flame 1

Power is improved from the previous models. Not only is the power button way better and easier to use (thankfully), but the locking power input has been moved to the rear, and there is a new D-tap to DC accessory that's included as standard, instead of using the dummy battery with D-tap. We also have dual battery slots, which means that we can hot-swap when one battery is getting low (either battery can be pulled). Atomos is also including a brand new charger that should get juice to your batteries up to three times faster. 

Here's a look at the rear of the new Shogun versus the old, where you can see the battery slots and the DC moved to the rear:

Not much else has changed from the previous models in terms of exposure tools, focus aids, and recording. You're still getting the same 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes and DNxHD recording in 4K or 1080p, and they still use the same non-proprietary media (SSD/HDD) from the previous Shogun and Ninja monitors. 

Here are the main specs (Shogun and Flame are differentiated by yellow and red bumpers, respectively):

  • 7" 1920 x 1200 10-bit 325 PPI Monitor with HDR Technology
  • Brightness: 1500 nits 
  • More rugged design
  • Records 4K up to 30p, 1080p up to 120fps
  • 10-bit DNxHD (from LB to HQX) and ProRes Codecs (LT to HQ)
  • Uses non-proprietary media, can take SSDs or HDDs using Atomos custom housing
  • Record RAW with Sony FS700/FS7 and Canon C500/C300MKII (coming in a firmware update)
  • Audio: 2ch balanced XLR analog in/out, 48V Phantom Mic Power
  • Power input moved to rear, New D-Tap to DC cable
  • Dual battery design allows hot-swapping, NP series batteries, 10 - 24W operating power
  • Battery Life: 5200mAh - up to 1.5hrs (monitor & record 4K), 7800mAh - up to 2.2hrs (monitor & record 4K) 
  • 10-bit processing — 1.07 billion colors vs. 16.7 million of traditional 8-bit panels
  • 1 x 3G/6G/12G SDI Input and 1 x 3G/6G/12G SDI Output (Shogun only)
  • 1 x HDMI 1.4b Input and 1 x HDMI 1.4b Output (Both models)
  • 1 x Genlock
  • Weight with batteries and media: 1094g / 38.6oz 
  • Price: Shogun - $1,700 and Flame - $1,300

AtomHDR

There are essentially four viewing/recording color modes with the new Flame series: Native, AtomHDR, Log to Video, and Custom Look. All of these modes are easily switchable, and can be set to view both on the monitor outputs, as well as in a split screen mode:

With Native, you've getting exactly the image that's coming out of the camera. Log to Video is a traditional Log to Rec709 image, the way its always been done, and Custom Look is exactly how it sounds. With Custom you can load on any LUTs you want, and can either record the image with the LUT applied, or just view with the LUT. For example, if you wanted to shoot with a LUT that more closely resembled film, you can do that with Custom Look, and even record it to the SSD.

AtomHDR is where all the magic happens, and there are a number of different viewing modes. If you're in a bright environment, choosing the Sun icon gives you the brightest image, but HDR benefits greatly from a darker environment, so if you're inside, it doesn't have to be turned all the way up, and in fact, looks better when it's not. 

With AtomHDR tech and these monitors, you'll also be prepared for viewing HDR images in post, and should be able to edit/view HDR images assuming you have the right computer setup. 

Hands On

I'm told that these monitors are going to be replacing the previous models, but it's unclear right now what will happen to the old stock when these go on sale later this month. We're going to have much more with the Shogun series, including a hands-on review, so stay tuned.

Your Comment

16 Comments

Still waiting on FS-RAW to CDNG capability on the original Shogun. They have a little more of a week before Q1 ends and they miss another promised release window...

March 21, 2016 at 10:50AM

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Andrew W
DP/Director/Idiot
199

I really hope they go with rec2020 for HDR, and not some made up gamma.

March 21, 2016 at 10:54AM

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Alex Enman
Filmist/Colormaker
325

Would an HDR LUT not result in false readings in your highlights and shadows, making it harder to judge when you're either over or under exposed? I'm confused as to what application this would have to exposing for log footage. If I'm experienced with exposing for log, would I not want to see log on my monitor?

Please enlighten me.

March 21, 2016 at 11:51AM

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Taylor Aikins
Doc DOP, Producer
74

If you're used to exposing by looking at log and want to continue going about it that way then you won't really get a lot from this, other than a daylight-useable monitor.

Most people don't tend to look at a log-image when exposing though. This monitor allows for a less flat image because it shows up to 10 stops, as opposed to the 6-7 of most monitors and TV's.

Also, this isn't an HDR LUT. It's higher brightness and hopefully deeper blacks, and as such HDR. Not HDR in camera-terms but HDR in monitoring-terms.

March 21, 2016 at 2:48PM, Edited March 21, 2:49PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
1130

Firstly, I'm speaking more about what actual color space they are choosing to use as a gamma, built in to the actual technology of the display - rec2020 is a standard, "HDR" is whatever they want that's wider than rec709 or sRGB displays. That being said, you could use a rec2020 LUT on top of LOG footage being shot in that color space, most people don't view LOG when shooting. Having a LUT helps with exposure, among other things. But that's neither here nor there - really, what we need to figure out is what kind of standard they are making this panel to - what the hell is "HDR" really, according to Atomos?

March 21, 2016 at 4:37PM

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Alex Enman
Filmist/Colormaker
325

I do understand if Atomos is trying to get in there early and make their standard THE standard (sort of like how they've done with their HDMI trigger stuff) but I'm with you—rec2020 is already a thing. Let's embrace it before stuff gets messy.

I have a feeling that if they don't now, they will eventually in an update to the recorder.

March 22, 2016 at 7:45PM

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David S.
2923

Sorry if this is a dumb question... So AtomosHDR is just for viewing on the 10 bit screen, but doesnt actually record as you're seeing it? So you have to do the work in post to get it to match? That's what I'm seeing from other sites and these videos and articles don't really specifically mention how it affects workflow, just that it's "proprietary image processing". If that's the case, I don't see how it'd be better than just working with LUTs. Even if it looks better on the screen, if it's not what you're actually recording it's not really saving much time.

March 21, 2016 at 12:24PM

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matthew s torres
DP, Equipment and Studio Manager
81

What I have understood so far:

You see your (10 bit) LOG signal as provided by your camera,
and it is also displayed in 10 bit over the (hopefully) entire dynamic range.
So you should be able to adjust exposure very well.
But the monitor records the LOG signal from your camera without changes, or applying LUTs or sth. like that. Just the pure signal.

I guess most other monitors are only 8 bit and do clipping/banding on the screen
while recording in LOG (with loaded LUT on display). You do not see
the information that may be still recorded, and so maybe you change your exposure
not correct.

And it is bright. Another benefit.

March 21, 2016 at 2:18PM, Edited March 21, 2:51PM

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JeffreyWalther
Steadicam Operator/Owner
1471

You'll see more of what you're recording than what's possible with current monitors of this kind. Most cinema cameras are far beyond the 10 stops this monitor can display so your recording will still be far better than what you're seeing. But 10 stops is better than 6-7 stops.

March 21, 2016 at 2:52PM

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Oscar Stegland
DP/Steadicam
1130

Is it finally real 4K as in 4K DCI 4096? And will it record a real RAW CDNG file (not RAW to ProRes)?

March 21, 2016 at 3:12PM

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Ron Marvin
Director of Photography
255

Newbie here so apologies in advance. Can someone point me to a good resource on what video HDR is and how I can turn my Sony SLOG3 footage into HDR (and I suppose make it look like the AtomHDR footage I would see on this Flame)? Thank you!

March 21, 2016 at 5:52PM

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March 21, 2016 at 9:59PM

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Ron Marvin
Director of Photography
255

March 22, 2016 at 9:47AM

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David S.
2923

1500 nits?
That is brighter than the SmallHD 702 Bright, right?
Screens are getting better and better :-)

March 21, 2016 at 7:25PM, Edited March 21, 7:25PM

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WalterBrokx
Director, DOP, Writer, Editor, Producer
8994

Shame on Atomos for having little regard for film crew safety. At 2:34 on the main (first) video, 2 guys shooting a car out of the back of a mini-van, on a highway. Wow! Not cool. Nothing could possibly go wrong there...

March 25, 2016 at 12:33AM

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Martin C
Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor
81

I watched the video with the Atomos' CEO explaining the Ninja Flame. I have the same question as was posted earlier but maybe slightly different. This monitor is absolutely fantastic for viewing exactly what you see, but how does it help you in post? The CEO eluded to using the Ninja as secondary monitor in post but again, I don't understand how just seeing what is possible assists in getting it in post. If not, then why not buy the new Black Magic 4k assist for 400 dollars less? Thanks

May 7, 2016 at 1:53PM

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Will
74