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External Recorders/monitors


MaverickTRD
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Greetings! I typically lurk as I’m more of a hobbyist/prosumer user than some…however I do spend a good bit of time reading through the large amounts of knowledge passed on here as well as work on shoots with my camera do gain experience  
I am currently shopping for an external monitor/recorder and seem to be stuck between a couple of options. 
i shoot with a fujifilm XT3 (typically on a gimbal but am building a handheld rig currently) in 4k30 all-i for most situations. Being that the form factor is fairly small, even rigged up I’m focusing mainly on 5” displays. 
I know that Atomos Ninja V is wildly popular however the BMD video assist 12g HDR looks intriguing. 
 

2500nit vs 1000nit display. 
DCI P3 color space vs Rec. 709. 
metal housing vs plastic housing  
SDI inputs on the black magic without additional cost or adapter
2 internal SD slots on the BMD and external SSD via USB-C. 
same Sony batteries on both however BMD uses 2. 
it seems as the ninja allows for fairly in depth color calibration and potentially more accurate colors in general. The ninja has anamorphic de squeeze, focus peaking, and zebra which are not listed on the BMD. The BMD shows only histogram, vectorscope, waveform, and rgb parade 

the ninja has a mic input and the BMD does not. I’m curious on the BMD side if this will cause more time in post on timelines if there’s an audio delay due to camera latency 
overall it looks like the ninja V may be a bit cheaper initially if purchasing one of the bundles that includes a 1TB drive and 2 L batteries with charger 

I’m entirely novice on this front and am hoping some could provide some feedback if they have experience with both, or just simple insight if I’ve seemed to overlook something glaring. or even other suggestions
I just want a larger monitor to view while filming and I’d like to have a workaround for the internal recording limit. 
my PC hasn’t had any hiccups in Resolve with H265 files so I’m hoping that if I record to a different format such as ProRes I won’t run into additional issues 

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Color calibration wise - I'm not sure either will be very good considering the terrible track record of Atomos screens and BMD's QC (latest is the 6K pro screen tint saga).

Just look up atomos color cast or the reveiws on the $100 calibration cable... which can still leave two of the same units looking quite different.

Having an SSD caddy might be more convenient than a USB-c drive seeing as how you now have to yet another thing up, connected by cable. If I was doing a lot of external recording I'd figure out the usb-c and monitor mounting situation first... No idea why they didn't go with SSD or NVME slots, would make life so much easier.

Atomos is popular because quite frankly they had no competition for a while. I guess it's a niche space so that's why the cost to quality ratio isn't really there, there's just no reason to make a better product if you're the only game in town. I'm not saying they're terrible, I have a Ninja Inferno for monitoring and it's fine, it just could be better (like everything else in life).  The $100 calibration cable really grinds everyone's gears though, so infuriating, especially when you buy a unit and it has an orange cast you can't adjust.

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I run Ninja Vs on my T3 and 4, as I've commented frequently. Haven't played with the new BMD 12G, but I have used the older BMD unit on one occasion. I definitely liked the feel and interface of the Ninja even though it's plastic. And unless you have a ton of high capacity SD cards sitting around, the Ninja's use of SSDs is a huge win. Why would you want to include ANOTHER cable to your monitoring situation and have to mount a usb-c drive somewhere on your camera. Also, if the 12G doesn't have focus peaking and zebras, it's hugely crippled for a monitor.

As for recording/working with ProRes, as long as you can deal with the large file sizes, it's way nicer to work with than H.265. 

There is a slight audio delay issue if you record audio direct to the ninja. It makes more sense to run audio into the camera and monitor from the Ninja. If you need to record two different audio sources and aren't using an externa recorder or pre-amp, having a second input on the monitor comes in handy, but you will need to re-sync in post to fix the delay issue. It's a small price to pay for the benefit of multiple audio sources if you need it. Again, a win for the Ninja.

One of my units did have it's screen go black on a job, which totally sucked. Luckily it was just inside the warranty period and Atomos took care of it with relatively little hassle. Maybe worth buying an extended warranty. Because there are not a lot of people complaining about over all Ninja QC, as opposed to BMD's Pocket 4K and 6K, I wouldn't worry about it to much. If I got one with a weird color cast, I'd definitely warrantee it. 

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I'd lean to say it is overkill to use an external recorder with an XT3, you've already got yourself good 10bit from it internally, save yourself the money and get a lighter (both in terms of weight and in terms of power consumption!) monitor instead of a monitor/recorder combo. 

My perspective is about being practical, vs squeezing every last 1% out. 

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5 hours ago, IronFilm said:

I'd lean to say it is overkill to use an external recorder with an XT3, you've already got yourself good 10bit from it internally, save yourself the money and get a lighter (both in terms of weight and in terms of power consumption!) monitor instead of a monitor/recorder combo. 

My perspective is about being practical, vs squeezing every last 1% out. 

And that's a good perspective.

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I just picked up the Desview R6 for 5'' gimbal monitor and the Feelworld Lut7 pro for client monitor.

FW Lut7 has pretty bad color rendering when compared to my ninja inferno, and the contrast is jacked and not adjustable.  I regret this purchase, but at least I can use it in sunlight. Not to mention all the ports are in stupid places. 

Desview is passable but still not as good as the Atomos.

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On 5/9/2021 at 3:12 AM, IronFilm said:

I'd lean to say it is overkill to use an external recorder with an XT3, you've already got yourself good 10bit from it internally, save yourself the money and get a lighter (both in terms of weight and in terms of power consumption!) monitor instead of a monitor/recorder combo. 

My perspective is about being practical, vs squeezing every last 1% out. 

While I tend to agree and may seriously consider going the route of just monitor, I figure having a recorder will enable me to bypass the 30min recording limit. 
however I haven’t had a single instance where one take was longer than 30 minutes either so I may be looking for a solution to a problem I don’t have 

 

thank you all who replied with their feedback! 

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24 minutes ago, MaverickTRD said:

While I tend to agree and may seriously consider going the route of just monitor, I figure having a recorder will enable me to bypass the 30min recording limit. 
however I haven’t had a single instance where one take was longer than 30 minutes either so I may be looking for a solution to a problem I don’t have 

You make a good point here. Getting a recording monitor is more than about whether you want 422 instead of 420 10-bit. The recording limit is another advantage, though you haven't run up against it yet. You may in the future, if you ever need to shoot a live event or performance. The recording media is another advantage, as I mentioned further up. The codec is another big one for some folks; H.265 is a PITA to edit for a lot of folks. And, depending on your camera buying future, having a versatile unit that gives raw recording capabilities to many different cameras could be a bonus.

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To the OP...Methinks the whole camera-manufacturer crowd are missing the mark on what the consumer market wants and needs right now, internal RAW recording. Having just traveled down the path you're on looking for the same RAW recording solutions for my Panasonic S1's I've walked away from the whole idea for the time-being as the market choices for recording RAW are extremely limited at this moment in time...as you yourself have discovered, Ninja V or VideoAssist 12G and, then, all the attachment/mounting gadgetry and compatible SSDs and cables, ad nauseam. Wish I had better news to report.

Ideally, if internal RAW is just too difficult a problem for the camera manufacturers to solve, then I'd like to see an outright ditching of the current HDMI mindset and an embracing of USB-C/TB4 ports on cameras which would allow external recording of RAW directly to smartphones and tablets and directly into one's mobile NLE...screw all of this extraneous gear and drives and doodads just to accommodate the unnecessarily-expensive and overly-complicated HDMI workflow! One could be shooting and streaming on-the-fly or immediately editing on-scene with a Camera>USB-C/TB4>smartdevice setup.

I'd be wet-my-pants-giddy and love to record ProRes RAW straight to a new 2TB XDR iPad Pro (or upcoming 1TB XDR iPhone 13)...heck, someone could market a camera cage with a swivel screen apparatus for mounting the smartphone-or-tablet/recorder for use as a fully-articulated display! (Patent pending, ;) ...Haw!) Stoopid easy and stoopid smart.

Anyhoo, best of luck on your search for answers, sorry I couldn't have been more helpful.

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38 minutes ago, Jimmy G said:

I'd be wet-my-pants-giddy and love to record ProRes RAW straight to a new 2TB XDR iPad Pro (or upcoming 1TB XDR iPhone 13)...heck, someone could market a camera cage with a swivel screen apparatus for mounting the smartphone-or-tablet/recorder for use as a fully-articulated display! (Patent pending, 😉 ...Haw!) Stoopid easy and stoopid smart.

So an external monitor/recorder with usbc instead of HDMI?

For what it's worth, I can record 4k braw to SD cards with a video assist and Sigma fp. 

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/11/2021 at 8:35 AM, Anaconda_ said:

So an external monitor/recorder with usbc instead of HDMI?

For what it's worth, I can record 4k braw to SD cards with a video assist and Sigma fp. 

USB-C/TB4 and ditch HDMI for those desiring/requiring/insisting for external recording options? Well, sure!

However, my "consumer" interest is for internal recording for RAW, etal, formats as the default standard for the industry. The competition has been iPhone, (now with Dolby Vision) and everything it's all-in-one "smart" solutions provide, for the past 10-years and the camera manufacturers can't seem to recognize this simple market truth. The resultant evisceration of the global camera markets has been testament to the intransigence of their combined "corporate thought" which has ultimately proved to be a disservice to their customers, a disservice to their companies and employees and a disservice to their shareholders. Smart ILC cameras needed to be hitting the market 10-years ago, this insistent pushing for what "Hollywood" wants has been a market-killing albatross around the necks of every one from makers to users. All, IMHO.

Mega-dongles for consumer cameras, ahahahah! Life vests can be found on the rack. 🙂

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