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Andrew Reid

Blackmagic Video Assist Review

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

Blade is only a 720p screen and it doesn't do 1080/60p recording either.

Also it only takes SSDs. Doesn't record to your existing camera SDXC cards. So factor a few of them into the price.

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

Video Assist has a histogram and it does do record triggering over HDMI. It just isn't working on the 1DC and the NX1 right now.

But, to each his own :)

I like having tools. But none of them can replace having a reliable monitor and your eye to compose and expose a good shot. I've been screwed trusting tools over my eye in the past, missing focus marks and getting a bad exposure. I mean, I wish I had both... and it's a shame Blackmagic didn't include those features on this (maybe a firmware update down the line?). But if I have to pick between the two, I'm going 60p and a reliable screen. Nice to have the 4K downscaling and HMDI pass through too. 

This too:

Also it only takes SSDs. Doesn't record to your existing camera SDXC cards. So factor a few of them into the price.

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So if I understand correctly the VA downscales 4K via HDMI to 1080p10 bit 422 prores on the GH4 making it perfect for V-Log L? 

No I repeat... that is via the 4K SDI input only. It does not accept a 4K signal via HDMI. I've tried on multiple cameras including GH4 and A7S II.

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Also it only takes SSDs. Doesn't record to your existing camera SDXC cards. So factor a few of them into the price.

But that is actually an advantage of the Blade. You can get faster SSDs with larger capacity much much cheaper than SDXC. 

For example a 128gb Sandisk Extreme Pro is $100.

A 120gb SSD is less than $50 ...

 

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Who should buy this? doesnt seem a very appealing product to me.

Is this the only 1080P 5" monitor that records to prores that inputs and outputs both SDI and HDMI and (I assume) cross converts between the two? I believe so. It won't surprise me at all if zebras, focus peaking, false color, etc are added eventually, though I wouldn't buy it with that assumption.

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I actually got my hands on one of these and an URSA Mini not long ago and knew right away how BMD has the potential, if they stay focused, to push the competition very hard in (affordable by the masses) digital cinema in the next 36 months.  Its not always how well developed a product is at release, but how it effects the market and this release is actually petty important in that way because it puts the competition on notice to stay competitive or loose out.

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Can the BMD Video Assist be calibrated like the Atomos Ninja Blade? Atomos advertises the Ninja Blade as a “Director Quality Monitor” that can be calibrated with the optional Spyder. I know the Video Assist is higher resolution than the Ninja Blade, but Is the screen also an IPS?

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So if I understand correctly the VA downscales 4K via HDMI to 1080p10 bit 422 prores on the GH4 making it perfect for V-Log L? 

You won't see any difference between 'UHD DownCovert' and scaling UHD to 1080 in post unless you look at it at around 400 to 800% ...and even than at most you will see the differences but you won't be able to tell wich is wich if someone shuffled the files, unless you do it for a living and know what to look for. The same way you won't see any difference between 'UHD DownCovert' and the VA downscaling via SDI (I take, it's up to par to what the GH4 can do).

So there is no need for a down scaling recorder when you own a GH4. The GH4 can do this for you. You can't load a preview LUT on the VA so that might be a reason not to buy one ...but I have the PIX-E5H which can load preview LUT's but never use it while recording as I don't like it. 

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