Atomos Adds Firmware Support For HDR

Atomos Shogun in the field.Credit: Atomos
Despite the limits of their 400 nit screens, Atomos uses a firmware update to add HDR functionality to their Shogun and Ninja-Assassin.

While the full technical details of HDR are still being ironed out between standards groups and manufacturers (hybrid log-gamma vs. DolbyVision's Perceptual Quantizing, for instance), one thing that is pretty universal to the platform is a screen capable of a high level of brightness, generally 1000 nits or more. Atomos has come out with their Flame and Inferno lines of products, which have screens capable of 1500 nits, which offers the ability to preview the full brightness and contrast range of HDR imagery on the monitor.

However, Atomos still has a large number of their Shogun and Ninja Assassin recorder/monitors out in the field (while new Ninja Assassins appear to be off the shelves, you can still by new Shoguns at B&H).  While some companies are notorious for leaving early adopters out in the cold (Apple being the most egregious on this front), Atomos has brought limited HDR functionality to the Shogun and Ninja Assassin through a free firmware update. This update also brings beta support for CinemaDNG raw capture.

Shogun Marina Sunset
Just the type of high-contrast image that would be perfect for HDR capture and might present a tricky exposure if not evaluated properly.Credit: Atomos

To be clear, the screens themselves retain their 400 nit brightness limit: Atomos hasn't magically gone back and made the screens brighter, and thus better able to handle the wider brightness range of HDR.  But they have built tools into the firmware to enable directors, DPs and producers in the field to better monitor their HDR footage and make more accurate exposure decisions at the moment of capture.  Unfortunately, this doesn't magically make a camera that doesn't have a Log/Raw capture setting suddenly capable of HDR imagery, but if your chosen camera can capture wider latitude images (unlike the DSLR in the image above), this upgrade is a welcome improvement.     

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It would be lovely if the article actually stated what the 'tools' mentioned did, instead of pointing out that a firmware upgrade cannot increase the max nits of the screen...obviously...

I'm guessing its like a low-key/high-key function like i use with the Sony FS7, but this article leaves that comletely in the dark.

July 28, 2016 at 12:35AM, Edited July 28, 12:46AM

Jeroen Rommelaars
Animator - Videographer - Motion Tracking

It's on their site:

Ninja Assassin 6.6 release notes

FID: 060806600207

- AtomHDR is now available on Ninja Assassin
- HDR monitoring is supported on log cameras from Sony, Canon, Arri, Panasonic, JVC and RED.
- Improvements have been made to colour gamut accuracy.
- Improvements to accuracy and resolution in blacks when using AtomHDR mode.
- A visual improvement has been made to the AtomHDR slider for easier access.
- While in AtomHDR mode, a simplified HDR waveform line has been added to easily set the correct slider position for the dynamic range of the scene.
- AtomHDR includes options for WFM Auto which automatically sets the HDR level for the current scene’s max brightness and WFM HDR which scales the WFM to view the HDR range to the full height of the WFM.
- The waveform monitor will now display a percentage scale based on the input log mode.
- Slow motion is now available in playback mode. Pausing video playback will automatically display the slider above playback controls and give you access to forward and reverse speed adjustments.

Bug Fixes:
- Fixed an issue where some files exported from NLE's did not play audio.
- Fixed an issue where waveform monitor graticules were not visible with some menus on the screen.
- Fixed an issue where monitor would sometimes appear jerky when panning at 1080p60.

July 28, 2016 at 8:23AM