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Blackmagic Video Assist is now shipping!


IronFilm

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What's up with these "now shipping" and still no one gets anything... First the Ursa Mini 4k, which I haven't seen anything on the internet about anyone actually receiving/has had it's copy shipped, except the person who tested it out for those wedding scenes. Now the video assist, and it still says "ships in 7-14 days" on some sites and B&H doesn't say anything else than October 7th because they're closed for the holidays until then. If it was shipping, someone must have received either of them already. Or maybe "Now Shipping" has a new meaning?

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Best news I've read all day! The BMD Video Assist is shipping now. Very keen to see a head to head comparison vs the Atomos Samurai Blade which is also US$495 (am using a Ninja 2 right now on a music

I asked about something on the BM forum - if you have an SDI input, can you get a converted output from the HDMI of the Assist?  The answer was yes - good news to those who have a lot of HDMI gear but

Underneath the PL mount there is the Sony FZ mount. Think of it kinda like the Sony E mount, giving you the freedom to adapt ANYTHING to it!! :-D Except, think of FZ as the grownup big brother profes

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Wow. Good to know, as most of my glass is Nikon.

Sweet, you're in the same boat as me then! ;-) 

I think I might have told you this already in another forum somewhere.... but another tip is get SxS / SD adapters, as SxS cards are very very pricey! But the adapters are dirt cheap, and we all have a few SD cards lying about already :-D Presto, cheap recording in the F3! :-D

All I need now is an Atomos Samurai Blade to complete it :-D 
(I think.... holding my breath to see these BMD Video Assist reviews first)

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...I'll pick up an Atomos Ninja 2 today from a store down the street instead of waiting 6 months for a product with no clear feature set or willingness to help the buyer find out. Good luck... 

The big deal breaker for me too was no false color, as V-Log really forces you to nail your exposure, so I just ordered one from Amazon and it will be here on Thursday. 10-bit 4:2:2 here I come!

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

so what's the verdict? :d


Sorry I forgot this thread for some reason, it got washed away to second page. Got the ninja blade in a 5 minute drive vs a 6 month wait I had on the VA (which still hasn't arrived, leaving the Preorder just for giggles when I get confirmation). 

Verdict on triggering, the D5300 doesn't trigger it. Weird, I remember it did with the small Ninja 2. I can confirm it doesn't trigger the Ninja Blade, the D5500 might very likely be different. It does work beautifully with it though, I mean pressing record in the Ninja is easier than on the body anyway. You can choose frame rates, clean signal with finer noise and slightly less colour pixelation, and for my surprise the HDMI stream carries Audio, so it's recorded in the ProRes file, and you can use the Headphone jack on the Blade finally to monitor the Nikons audio. It's a very cool combination to shoot with both usability and coming back with ProRes files. 

Gh4 triggers it, A7s triggers it, 5DIII triggers it. 

So far the Ninja Blade is simply gorgeous, and the box/case is ridiculously high quality/precision. Side by side it's much more elegantly built than the Shogun, this surprised me, the Shogun is SO plasticky in real life, so glossy and finger smudging, even the outer body on the Shogun is of less plastic quality, and the panel is also way less reflective on the blade, it's a very accurate monitor, showing exactly the HDMI signal colour and exposure I see on the recorded file, no any weird shifts. Perhaps this due to Atomos expertise in monitor calibration hardware.

The software/UI is Canon/Apple like, fluid, forward and clear. Battery life is stupidly high, will outrun any camera you have 3-4x working time. 

Lots of features (even false colour) but I'll only be keeping the waveform and peaking on (these two simple features would have satisfied many customers with BMVA). The waveform is perfect, realltime and 100% accurate/clear, but the peaking isn't. The best peaking I've ever seen on any camera is ironically ML on the Canon DSLRs - (but ML + internal LCD is harder to nail focus of course, just talking about the implementation of the peaking algorithm, hard to explain how it's not great but there's just something off. My old SmallHD has better peaking)

I am loving it so far. At least I got it in a day vs 6 months.

My only complaint so far, the antro-posterior dimension is large, larger than you think. ''chunk thickness'' it's called maybe, or ''fat'', yet all the other dimensions are tiny and light.   

It does annoy me I lose the 4K resolution of the GH4 and a7s, but the a7s isn't mine anyway, so just the GH4 4K loss (which again is probably going for sale soon since the V-Log disaster) so not a big loss. I hope companies (Canon/Nikon) don't bring more good cameras with only 4K output and HD inside, then we'd need the annoying assassin/shogun pohemous.

For anyone waiting for the VA, I advice getting the Ninja Blade (not Ninja 2) if you don't need 60p. It's an overall better package. Media is so cheap and long. 

Now, Atomos, the market is practically screaming for a 4K version of it, HDMI only, exactly the same, no fancy add-ons, at 500-700$-ish

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

you can get a very cheap 4k to 2k downscaler for cameras that have 4k hdmi out only. works great, most of them you can power with a cheap cell phone battery bank for hours and hours. I used this setup with a gh4 and ninja blade.

I am still waiting to know from BM if the VA has this feature built-in. No real responses other than ''read our site''. On the site it says ''it even supports UHD signals for monitoring!'' So we'll have to see if it downsamples -> records in realtime or just ''monitoring''. Would be a big plus over the Blade which needs another box. 

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As mentioned previously, I have seen various BM representatives mention in several online videos that it will perform a downscale from 4K. So I guess we shall see soon enough. It would be nice if focus peaking/assist or false color could be implemented later via firmware, but at least it will handle 1080p 60fps. It doesn't seem to offer everything, but it seems a good value on paper at least, so hopefully it proves itself to be so.

This is one video were the BM rep mentions the 4K downscale ability....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eU84vSsutE

 

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Thanks for the info Ebrahim.

BTW I spoke to CVP today (big equipment seller in the UK) and they said they received their first shipment yesterday. It included 10 units, which is apparently a lot more than they usually receive in a first shipment from BM. They expect exponentially more units to be shipped to them over the coming weeks. There were 140 preorders. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

As mentioned previously, I have seen various BM representatives mention in several online videos that it will perform a downscale from 4K. So I guess we shall see soon enough. It would be nice if focus peaking/assist or false color could be implemented later via firmware, but at least it will handle 1080p 60fps. It doesn't seem to offer everything, but it seems a good value on paper at least, so hopefully it proves itself to be so.

This is one video were the BM rep mentions the 4K downscale ability....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2eU84vSsutE

 

They all say the same thing that's on the websire, takes a UHD for monitoring. They might have just forgot mentioning it can record it. I hope so. 

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Read the manual for the VA on their website and like said before, no focus peaking. This is kind of an insane move, how do they think people are going to focus on let's say the Micro CC? I mean, if people wanted an all BMD set up. Crazy, I think I'm ending up with a smallHD 501 actually...

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Yeah,

'Turn your remote Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera into a full blown studio rig that you can operate manually simply by adding a Video Assist! [..] for checking focus [..] monitor audio levels, see the histogram and more!'

tumblr_inline_nmsz8kgcAU1rj3z3j_400.jpg

 Lol, whut. Then in what ways will it assist me, exactly?

'professional monitoring', 'ensure perfect focus', 'you need to make sure your images are perfectly sharp', 'helps you make sure every shot is in focus', 'you don’t have to carry extra on set monitors and scopes', 'semi transparent overlay that let’s you change recording formats or view the current input frame rate, histogram, audio meters, timecode, and more', 'gives you everything you need to properly frame, focus and capture your shots', 'focus with greater accuracy', 'Portable Field Monitor', 'Video Assist combines several pieces of production gear', 'a live on set monitor', 'perfectly focused', 'The Video Assist shows intelligent, automatic overlays from the camera so you can see clip name, timecode, lens settings and other', 'jam packed with features', 'monitor for clearly evaluating every shot', 'perfect for shooting indoors or out', 'settings, histogram, audio meters, timecode display and much more

 But... but... then where's the peaking? Where's the 'much more'?! Come on guys! You're saying that with the Video Assist I don't need extra monitors and scopes! Another deception, it's like the Olympus press release for the E-M5II all over again for me... Especially if the actual screen and usability really lets down as well. Then you really need to be appealed by its recording functionality and price...

The 502 doesn't do it for me. It's not a recorder. The PIX-E5H would do it for me, but eh... ($_$) , probably worth it, but for that price it doesn't quite do it for me personally either.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Read the manual for the VA on their website and like said before, no focus peaking. This is kind of an insane move, how do they think people are going to focus on let's say the Micro CC? I mean, if people wanted an all BMD set up. Crazy, I think I'm ending up with a smallHD 501 actually...

The VA in itself has no peaking/zebras, but it's designed to handshake all Blackmagic Cameras giving peaking/zebras on the VA Panel. So with the Micro Cinema Camera it's not going to be an issue. In fact the VA touch panel can navigate through BM cameras menus/functions too, as if it were a built-in touch panel.

I don't use BMs so no peaking/zebras for me, no waveform either which I find the most valuable addition to my workflow in getting the Blade. Sometimes I forget how liberating it is to have a large real-time visual representation of the full exposure range on any camera you plug in. Just lovely. I am getting 100% nailed exposure rate while I was always 80-90% (get a bad exposure each shoot in a clip or to), not anymore. 

Peaking? well, I find a 1:1 sensor punch-in to be a MUCH better focus aid than peaking. 

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

Of course the focus-aid just work with electronic lenses??

Which focus aid type? Focus aids like peaking/digital punch-in/global sharpening/chroma draw/ don't require electronic lenses, they work on everyhing with a focus ring. 

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Actually yes it is. 4.6k resolution at raw do you have any idea how much space it takes up? And count all of the prices that go with it. However I also have found out that there has been a solution to it and that is using SSD drives attached to the camera.

I saw the guys Kickstarter earlier this year for using SSD to Cfast adapter. But as everything new it's pricey when first released, nothing surprising about that. Of course 4.6k raw will be eating memory, nothing surprising about that either. Some things just cause money and that's that, you're being aggressive in the wrong market.

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

1:1 sensor punch-in

No it's just a digital crop so works with any lens or even without a lens. With Video lenses that are parfocal we used to zoom the lens optically to get focus then zoom back, but of course that doesn't work with most of our lenses (they shift focus whilst zooming requiring a focus adjustment after each zoom-in/out, therefore, we went to digital magnification.

The ninja blade doesn't have a crop function to check focus by the way (neither does the VA, but it'd be pretty useless anyway to magnify the 1080p image) but Nikons (and even better Canons) output a 1:1 sensor crop to the HDMI. A Canon DSLR punch-in connected to a monitor (ninja) is hands down the best focus assist tool I've ever used on any cameras up to Reds/alexa and even C300, that's probably due to the large pixel count of the Canon SLR sensors which makes a super 5x clean punch-in a possibility. I am experimenting with actually recording that super sharp HD 1:1 image to the blade and it's looking gorgeous for super tele needs. Kind of a hidden feature no one knows about.

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