With IBC only weeks out, the gear gods have already started whispering about fresh toys. Last year, HDR proclaimed its place, Sony gave us the FS5, NHK showcased 8K television, Micro Four Third drones starting taking flight, and hundreds of other companies announced new gear, updates, and accessories. It’s a terrific show that I highly recommend, as it has a much different vibe than NAB. (While you’re in Europe, stay and drop in on Poland's CAMERIMAGE, another stop every cinephile should experience.)

Also last year, Video Devices, from the peeps who bring us Sound Devices, introduced its PIX-E series of camera-mountable recording monitors with great response. We now have dozens of different flavors to choose from–Atomos, SmallHD, AJA, Convergent Design, and Blackmagic to name a few, all with different specs to fit your needs at the price you want to pay.


It was an update they teased at NAB and now Video Devices has officially released firmware version 3.01 which adds the H.264 codec to its arsenal, as well as the ability to simultaneously record 4K ProRes files and the smaller 1080p H.264 mp4. You probably already know a shit-ton about H.264–faster file uploads, great for web streaming, can be used a proxy file before 4K mastering, but my question is, when do you think HEVC/H.265 will become the new standard–if at all?  

Samsung recently tried pushing it further into the market with its NX1 and NX500 cameras, but the company has stopped future developments for the NX system. Both are solid cameras, but could it simply be the case that the majority of users, especially social media influencers, don’t want to spend time converting footage. Until sites like YouTube and Vimeo and boxes like Apple TV and Roku start fully supporting the codec, I don’t see it happening. Jon Tatooles of Video Devices mentions it’s something on the horizon for them, but H.264 workflow is fully supported in a lot of applications and hardware. And he’s right. It was only until recently with the release of Adobe Premiere Pro CC that an editor supports H.265 without a plugin or conversion.


Another new feature in addition to PIX-E’s dual recording: an applied LUT is baked into the H.264 file and saved to an SD card. The ProRes 4K master is saved to its portable SpeedDrive without the LUT, giving users who want to simultaneously record a full dynamic range, log-encoded ProRes master and a REC709 H.264 file for client viewing.  The device will automatically scale down video to 1080p, reducing its file size and adding up to eight channels of audio within ProRes and two channels for H.264.

The PIX-E series does come in three different versions. Their flagship is the E7, a 7-inch IPS touch screen which codecs up to Apple ProRes 4444 XQ, 12-bit and a multitude of inputs, 6G, 3G-SDI, and HDMI. The E5 is a 5” model with the E5H only supporting HDMI.  All the units share nearly identical specs in terms of build and capabilities–Gorilla Glass 2, die-cast metal chassis, 4K DCI (up to 30fps), 4K UHD (up to 30ps), HD at 1080i, 1080p, 720p (up to 120fps), downscaling, cross-conversion, monitoring tools and scopes with easy camera integration.

But since they’re also a sound company, you can consider adding the PIX-LR accessory which attaches to the bottom of recorder and provides high-performance audio preamps, metering, and dedicated controls that are as effective as their 7-series recorders.

Whichever route you take in terms of an external recording device, keep in mind the fundamental equalizer to all of them is your camera. Whatever it’s outputting, that’s the signal these recorders are using. So for example, if a camera doesn’t support HDR, a recorder is not going to change its output signal into HDR. You will always be limited to the camera’s capabilities.

Do you favorite recording monitor? Tell us in the comments. Or better yet, what are you hoping comes out of IBC this year?