Jump to content
Andrew Reid

Blackmagic Video Assist Review

Recommended Posts

8.thumb.jpg.3a497f1ecc4e6afffd915fe5ed18

Out of the blue Blackmagic sent me the new Video Assist, which isn't quite yet shipping at B&H (pre-orders are available) or CVP but will be soon.

Here is an early look at the device and what it can do.

Read the full article

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Thanks for the early look. It is great that it does down-scaling. 

Can you check/post the histogram and see whether it does some kind of dithering for the 8-->10 bit conversion? A proper method should not have distinct picks every 4 pixel values. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"The fact it takes a 4K Ultra HD signal and down-convertsit to beautiful oversampled clean 10bit 1080p ProRes is fantastic."

Is this 100% confirmed? Does it really downsample the 8bit 4k signal of, for example, an A7s to full 10bit, and not just 8bit + two zeros? And does it use a good oversampling algorithm?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Andrew,

do you mean we can record downsampled 4k from our a7s?

I thought it was just monitoring ?!

No, that's only via SDI not HDMI.

why would zebras, false color and peaking be distracting? You can turn in on or off...out of the three I would miss peaking the least, but zebras should be there, no excuses.

It's $495. There's your excuse. Or were you expecting the Odyssey 7Q+!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've yet to test my NX1 with my Ninja Blade, but have you tried a 4k output downscaled to 1080p with the NX1? I'm sure it does 8bit 4:2:2 out of its HDMI port, so just wondering how good the downscaled 4K would look. Would be a potential reason for me to pick this up as my NX1 runs B cam to my C100 and I've been following the video assist for sometime. Dont know if they changed it, but when I originally contacted them, Blackmagic were saying that there was no rec trigger for the C100 with the device.

Edit: Just noticed you said the 4K downsample is only SDI, apologies!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've yet to test my NX1 with my Ninja Blade, but have you tried a 4k output downscaled to 1080p with the NX1? I'm sure it does 8bit 4:2:2 out of its HDMI port, so just wondering how good the downscaled 4K would look. Would be a potential reason for me to pick this up as my NX1 runs B cam to my C100 and I've been following the video assist for sometime. Dont know if they changed it, but when I originally contacted them, Blackmagic were saying that there was no rec trigger for the C100 with the device.

Edit: Just noticed you said the 4K downsample is only SDI, apologies!

Actually the NX1 nicely downscales the 4K internally to 1080p for the HDMI output. I've tried recording that with the Video Assist and it is pretty decent quality. Better than the internal 1080p!

So get the Video Assist if you need better quality 1080p from your NX1 and can't be bothered with 4K or H.265.

Also the 1D C's 4K downscaled in-camera to feed the clean HDMI output is rather lovely.

1.3x crop of sensor like the 4K, but without the massive file sizes or MJPEG to contend with

Video Assist good for capturing that. It is VERY sharp and clean with very little weirdness going on. Gradients are very smooth too. Looks like 10bit luma.

I also have a Nikon D5500 at the moment but not sure about that, it may have to go back because the HDMI seems stuck at 29.97p or needs pulldown from interlaced signal. Can't get native 24p or 25p out of it.

Review of the D5500 is in the works by the way, aside from that issue it is rather nice for a cheap 1080p camera. Very small and light for a DSLR.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, that's only via SDI not HDMI.

It's $495. There's your excuse. Or were you expecting the Odyssey 7Q+!

Well that's very limiting. I know this is a budget device but why wouldn't they allow down scaling 4K from the HDMI?

Right now even at double the money, the PIX-E5H looks like a better investment. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Little bit off-topic. But you mentioned the Nikon D5500.

Does this camera now respect the framerates for video output?

The D5300 disappointingly always outputs 30p or 60i over HDMI, regardless of recording framerate. I don't know how this is even technically working to pull 30 and 25 images per second from the same sensor at the same time.

Oh, just saw your comment above, mentioning the same issue. Please rant about this in your review. I bought a Ninja Blade, only to see that it's useless for recording with that camera. Nikon support didn't even understand what the issue is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You forgot to mention how you can also put movies on your SD Card and use the Video Assist as a media device lol. At least that's what the guy at BMD told me.

Either way, looks like I'll pick this up once they start shipping 'em. This and the Micro Cinema.

Bonus!

It has a very nice playback mode with touch screen scrub controls.

Little bit off-topic. But you mentioned the Nikon D5500.

Does this camera now respect the framerates for video output?

The D5300 disappointingly always outputs 30p or 60i over HDMI, regardless of recording framerate. I don't know how this is even technically working to pull 30 and 25 images per second from the same sensor at the same time.

Oh, just saw your comment above, mentioning the same issue. Please rant about this in your review. I bought a Ninja Blade, only to see that it's useless for recording with that camera. Nikon support didn't even understand what the issue is.

Yep D5500 same as D5300 for HDMI. A shame they have not fixed this yet.

Well that's very limiting. I know this is a budget device but why wouldn't they allow down scaling 4K from the HDMI?

Right now even at double the money, the PIX-E5H looks like a better investment. 

The PIX looks nice but it is $1200!! What if you don't need the 4K recording but still want 1080p ProRes and a great screen to monitor off? Video Assist it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Its a bit of a shame this didn't come out earlier. Theres been pretty aggressive reductions from Atomos in the UK, I deliberated on the Blade for ages and then picked it up last month for 400 quid from CVP. The inc vat price of the assist is £361 and thats considerably cheaper than what the Ninja Blade was listed for at the time. 

Still its nice to see that theres choice for the consumer, so we definitely benefit.

Actually the NX1 nicely downscales the 4K internally to 1080p for the HDMI output. I've tried recording that with the Video Assist and it is pretty decent quality. Better than the internal 1080p!

So get the Video Assist if you need better quality 1080p from your NX1 and can't be bothered with 4K or H.265.

So set the HDMI output to 1080P and just leave the camera in 4K? Cheers mate I'll try that with my Atomos, if it pans out I'll probably pick up the assist for my NX1.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Then the Ninja Blade offers way more functionality for the same price.

The screen on the Ninja Blade isn't very good. I find it really hard to get critical focus with, especially without punching in. And it only captures 1080p30.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The screen on the Ninja Blade isn't very good. I find it really hard to get critical focus with, especially without punching in. And it only captures 1080p30.

But it offers waveform, peaking, false color, zebras, histogam, punch in, and record triggering. None of which the Video Assist offers. I'd take that over 60p any day.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bonus!

Andrew, I know you're getting a bunch of requests but here goes a couple more. 1) Does it take a signal from the BMCC via SDI? Would be weird if it didn't but the BMCC's SDI is qwerky. 2) Does the video assist take an SDI signal and output HDMI? In other words, input from BMCC and output to flatscreen TV or monitor. 3) Does the VA downscale from the URSA Mini 4.6K while shooting RAW.... kidding.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 2) Does the video assist take an SDI signal and output HDMI? In other words, input from BMCC and output to flatscreen TV or monitor. 

I'm sure I read that someone had tested it and it preformed SDI to HDMI cross conversion. But don't quote me on that with the little quote button, probably best to wait for someone that has one...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, that's only via SDI not HDMI.

It's $495. There's your excuse. Or were you expecting the Odyssey 7Q+!

No, I don`t expect the 7Q+. I expect it to have the essentials that a 200€ monitor has. It`s not like they have to make that kind of firmware, It`s stock on every BMC camera I have used. I think it`s really ment for the the BMC micro cameras that probably have those features onboard, but this will cost them half the customers they would othervise get. If it had those feature it would be a no brainer over the atomos products, now it˙s not.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Restore formatting

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...