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Blackmagic Video Assist Review


Andrew Reid
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Hi

can anyone please advise me on a way to capture audio onto the black magic video assist from the 5D Mark iii. I am worried that if I can't I won't be able to sync any audio up either as there would be no track to sync it to. Any help would be good. 

Thanks

alex 

Audio is carried through hdmi. So your VA will receive both video and audio with your hdmi cable. 

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

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

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.

Do any of the Nikon cameras such as the D750 output 24/25p via HDMI? Or do they all have the same problems with the HDMI?

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Guest Ebrahim Saadawi

The 5D Mark III HDMI output does not carry an audio signal, just visual. The first Canon DSLR to embed audio into the HDMI output is the Canon 7D Mark II. Nikons did not output an audio signal either until the Nikon D5300, D8x0. 

This means, if you just connect your 5D to am external recorder via an HDMI cable, only image will be recorded on the recorder, while audio and image will be recorded simultaneously in-camera. So a solution is to take the audio track from the in-camera file and attach it to the externally recorded files.

-Another method is that since the 5D MKIII has a high quality headphone output signal, you can connect the 3.5mm headphone output to the microphone input on the external recorder. This way the recorder recieves visuals from the HDMI cable and receives audio from the 3.5mm jack. They stay in sync and all report no loss in audio quality on the 5D MKIII recording that way.

-Unfortunately, the Blackmagic Video Assist does not have a 3.5mm microphone input to recieve sound. It only receives sound via its HDMI/SDI inputs. So the 3.5mm connector trick will not be available. It only has a 3.5mm headphone output to monitor the audio coming-in via the HDMI/SDI cables, in cameras that support it (not the 5D Mark III, but the 7D II, D5300, D5500, D750, D810, GH4, etc)

-On the Atomos Ninja Blade, there is a 3.5mm microphone input and output, and the 3.5mm audio input signal is recorded in sync. Using the trick, you have an audio signal coming in while still having a monitoring 3.5mm headphone jack on the Recorder itself. This feature is designed for this but also for using for example an external audio recorder like a small Zoom H1/H6 and connect an XLR/3.5mm microphone to the audio recorder using its preamps, then connect the output signal coming out of the audio recorder via a simple 3.5mm jack, and retain a headphone jack for monitoring.

If you're using a 5D and bought a Video assist, your only options are syncing the in-camera audio files to the externally recorded files. You can use whatever audio set-up on the 5D (a 3.5mm mic, a recorder input to mic-in, etc) and syncing will not be required, they match. The other better and higher quality option is to just record audio to the external audio recorder separately and sync it in-post, bypassing the 5D audio downfalls. The disadvantage is the harder syncing process.

*On the frame rates of the Nikon DSLRs HDMI signal. The D3x00, D5x00, D7x00 only output a 30p signal or a 50i interlaced signal. Just checked the D7200 and setting to change that either. It's fine if you shoot 30p. The Canon DSLRs that have a clean HDMI output (5DIII, 7DII, 1Dx, 1Dc) offer all frame rate choices, up to 60p on the 7DII. The Sonys and Panasonic GH4 are also not locked to a fixed frame rate. I believe the Nikon D750, D810 and D4s offer all frame rate options Anyhow Nikons seem to have a huge problem in their HDMI output frame rate that needs an immediate fix)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Just received one of these. A few first impressions:

  • Did not work with Komputerbay Cards at first. A firmware update fixed that and added new features (zebra, peaking). 64gb Komputerbay will record ProRes HQ in short takes at 1080p24, will drop frames at 1080p60.
  • Feels well-built. It emits a high-pitched whine that is a bit annoying when powered on. Not sure if it is the fan, or a defective unit. I have sent a recording over to Blackmagic for review.
  • I also requested anamorphic de-squeeze for a firmware update.
  • GH4 carries audio signal over HDMI.
  • This thing really sucks up the batteries. This is the cable you need if you want to connect it to a power supply, which I will definitely be doing http://www.ebay.com/itm/New-5-5mm-2-5mm-Male-DC-Coiled-Extendable-Spring-Power-Cable-for-Photography-/281661609835
  • The biggest downside of this is the lack of OLED screen. Blacks are pretty washy, and the viewing angle isn't that great.

If a major OEM (Samsung, Apple) would ever add some cable that takes HDMI in, these $200-300 tablets we all have would blow every monitor/evf out of the water when it comes to screen size, quality, and battery life. Imagine being able to pull up your shot list, screen tests, location scout pics on your tablet/monitor and then swipe over for live view or even recording. But until then, it's a pretty nice monitor to have at the price point.

 

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  • 5 weeks later...

I got the Samsung NX1 (after getting the EOSHD guide of course), and I'm recording video to the Blackmagic Video Assist but the only frame rate it will output is 59.94. The VA still records this rate even with the camera set to output 1080p and any rate selected (i.e. 23.98, 24, etc.).

Anyone else run into this issue? BMD support says the issue has to be the camera, no reply from Samsung support yet...

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I got the Samsung NX1 (after getting the EOSHD guide of course), and I'm recording video to the Blackmagic Video Assist but the only frame rate it will output is 59.94. The VA still records this rate even with the camera set to output 1080p and any rate selected (i.e. 23.98, 24, etc.).

Anyone else run into this issue? BMD support says the issue has to be the camera, no reply from Samsung support yet...

Can you tell if the NX1 is outputting 24 but the VA is recording 60? Or does the camera switch itself to 60 to match the VA?

Also, can you record in the camera and to the VA simultaneously, like recording 4k internally and 1080 on the VA?

Can you see a big difference between the internal 1080 vs the VA 1080?

I know that's a lot of questions, but us NX1 people have to help each other out!

I've also got an NX1 and was thinking of getting the VA. I asked Black Magic and they didn't have any answers because they don't have access to an NX1.

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Can you tell if the NX1 is outputting 24 but the VA is recording 60? Or does the camera switch itself to 60 to match the VA?

Also, can you record in the camera and to the VA simultaneously, like recording 4k internally and 1080 on the VA?

Can you see a big difference between the internal 1080 vs the VA 1080?

I know that's a lot of questions, but us NX1 people have to help each other out!

I've also got an NX1 and was thinking of getting the VA. I asked Black Magic and they didn't have any answers because they don't have access to an NX1.

1. I can't tell what the NX1 is outputting, I've emailed BMD support and they said the VA cannot affect the frame rate, so it has to be what the camera is outputting. I'm still waiting to hear from Samsung support.

2. They can record simultaneously!

3. I'm not a professional by any means, but to me the 1080p on the VA looks remarkably clearer than the internal 1080p on the NX1.

I don't mind the questions since I'm trying to figure everything out as well; if you need me to test something, just let me know!

 

The 1080p output of the NX1 is not a clean HDMI out but has the GUI overlayed so it wouldn't make sense to output 1080p and record that. Does the VA downscale 4k or UHD when receiving via HDMI?

The NX1 does not have a 1080p "clean out" option, but you can set the display to clear the overlays (see attached image recorded on VA). The VA won't downscale video to 1080p via HDMI, but I've heard rumor that the NX1 can downscale internally and output as 1080p. I'm going to ask Samsung support if I ever hear from them...

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 6.02.13 PM.png

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1. I can't tell what the NX1 is outputting, I've emailed BMD support and they said the VA cannot affect the frame rate, so it has to be what the camera is outputting. I'm still waiting to hear from Samsung support.

That may be an eternal wait.

2. They can record simultaneously!

3. I'm not a professional by any means, but to me the 1080p on the VA looks remarkably clearer than the internal 1080p on the NX1.

I don't mind the questions since I'm trying to figure everything out as well; if you need me to test something, just let me know!

 

The NX1 does not have a 1080p "clean out" option, but you can set the display to clear the overlays (see attached image recorded on VA). The VA won't downscale video to 1080p via HDMI, but I've heard rumor that the NX1 can downscale internally and output as 1080p. I'm going to ask Samsung support if I ever hear from them...

Screen Shot 2016-01-11 at 6.02.13 PM.png

Good to know it can record internal and external simultaneously.

Earlier in this thread, Andrew said the NX1 downscales. He made it sound like you set the HDMI output to 1080 and the Movie mode to 4K. Is it as easy as that?

One more question: How accurate is the focus peaking on the VA? On lesser resolution monitors I found that the difference between the monitors and the 4k made the focus peaking on the monitor inaccurate. And just eye-balling it wasn't much better. These were both older 800x600 monitors.

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That may be an eternal wait.

Good to know it can record internal and external simultaneously.

Earlier in this thread, Andrew said the NX1 downscales. He made it sound like you set the HDMI output to 1080 and the Movie mode to 4K. Is it as easy as that?

One more question: How accurate is the focus peaking on the VA? On lesser resolution monitors I found that the difference between the monitors and the 4k made the focus peaking on the monitor inaccurate. And just eye-balling it wasn't much better. These were both older 800x600 monitors.

I'm not too sure how the downscaling works. I tried setting the output to 1080p, then recording to the VA with the NX1 internal setting at 1080p then UHD; I can't really see a difference. (See attached photos)

The focus peaking is sick. To see how well it would show up and test accuracy, I filmed the shots below using the green dot focus peaking.

1.jpg

2.jpg

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