Tag Archives: HDMI recorder

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Any Sony A7s owner knows there are a few things this camera needs to get the best possible quality out of it. If you want 4K footage, you simply can't record to internal media, so you'll be adapting a recorder like the Atomos Shogun. The battery life is also terrible, so a decent external power option might be the IndiProtools Power Pods (found here).

With these accessories, you'll need a solid way to mount it to the Sony A7s. There's a number of rigs i've shown in the past, and this is just another great option to consider for your A7s. The CAME-TV Sony A7s Cage is available in a variety of bundles if you need extra items such as a Mattebox, Shoulder Pad, Handles, etc.

Cametv sony a7s rig cagesony a7s hdmi lock rig cage came-tv hdmi
find-price-button CAMETV Sony A7s Cage Kits

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I still love the look coming out of the BlackMagic Design Pocket Cinema Cameras, but I'll admit that i'm pretty lazy to take the cameras out as much as I could. The batteries have incredibly short run times, the large camera files eat through SDXC cards, the tiny low resolution screen makes it hard to set focus and practically disappears under bright lights.

For me to solve this, I use an external battery, Atomos Ninja HDMI Recorder, and a better EVF screen. This adds up to a lot of parts that I still need to find a way to mount as ergonomically as possible. Throwing a few pieces together, here's what I ended up with.

Blackmagic pocket cinema camera small rig tilta cage spectrahd evf

Even though the system was relatively small, it was still somewhat awkward. After shooting for a full day, I realized the style of shooting on one particular project did not require the camera operator to move around within a few feet. So I decided a better way would be to split up the equipment, which makes the camera setup smaller, and now offers the benefit of a remote Director's monitor. Here's a video look on my new setup.

blackmagic pocket cinema camera rig

For the camera i'm using a Tilta BMPCC Cage with a Top Handle, mounted on PVGear.com 8" 15mm Carbon Fiber Rails with some short handles.

pvgear 30 percent off sale
find-price-button PVGear.com 15mm Carbon Fiber Rails


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find-price-button Tilta BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC Cage

For better focus and viewing, we're using the new F&V SpectraHD EVF Monitor mounted to an adjustable EVF Mounting Bracket.

fvlight spectra loupe evf 4 inch monitorspectrahd 4 evf monitor fvlightspectra HD 4 spectrahd
find-price-button SpectraHD 4 Monitor EVF

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find-price-button SmallRig EVF Holder

The shoulder pad is the flexible PNCGear.com Hybrid Pad which can be folded up to use against the chest, or folded down to use over the shoulder.

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find-price-button PNCGear Hybrid folding Shoulder Chest Pad 15mm Clamp

I'm using the HDMI output from the F&V SpectraHD EVF with a 6 foot HDMI cable over to the Atomos Ninja2 Recorder. This now serves both as a directors monitor and an external recorder which is both cheaper and larger than any SD Cards I can afford.

With the Atomos mounted in a CMR Monitor Yoke, I have room to add a 14V Sony BPU battery to power up the BMPCC for hours and hours.

Sony BMCC BP-U30 BP-U60 battery adapter wall charger BlackMagic CInema CameraBlackMagic Cinema Camera 14V Battery Sony BP-U60 adapter
find-price-button Sony BP-U60 BP-U30 Battery Plate 14V for BlackMagic Cinema Camera

Sony BP-U30 batteries BlackMagic Cinema CameramVp2MjLn2FYklJnCLkpFYVg
find-price-button Sony BP-U30 / BPU60 Batteries

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find-price-button Atomos Ninja2 HDMI Recorder

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find-price-button Camera Motion Research Monitor Yoke

I find this setup to be perfect for the type of shooting I do with this camera, but still easy enough to disconnect if I want to run the BMPCC on it's internal battery and record to internal SDXC cards.

You can see in this BTS photo sometimes space is too limited for a tripod, and it's also nice to move the camera around instead of having it completely static. The photo shows the old rig, but I feel my reconfigured setup will now be easier for this type of workflow and shooting style.

bts-dego-satostudios

Here's a few first day tests using the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera with @satostudios. The samples may not make sense, but I was sampling different MFT lenses, Canon FD Lenses, and ND Filters for sharpness. Also testing out different ProRes LT vs HQ settings to see how much exposure and color difference there was when I threw a slight color grade on it. There is also a Film Grain Scan thrown over the graded footage so it will purposely appear 'grainy'. I decided that we just have to suck up all the large data and shoot ProRes HQ all the way for the rest of the project.

So while a dual operator setup may not be ideal for live events where you are constantly on the move, this setup can be beneficial when you have time to plan your shots with a crew. It keeps the camera rig small so that it can easily go from handheld, to slider, to tripod, etc. It allows you to work in very confined spaces and fairly ergonomic to switch between low angles or off the shoulder. It may also be easier to pack up your gear into two separate cases without having to break anything down.

Hopefully this may inspire some of you guys to rethink your rigs as well. Remember that this is not limited to the BMPCC. The GH4 can output 4K 10bit from HDMI, Sony A7s requires an external HDMI Recorder for 4K, and even cameras like the Canon 5D Mark III can benefit using recorders that capture to ProRes HQ. Instead of throwing everything on one rig which can quickly get heavy, oversized, and awkward to work with, it may be easier to split up your HDMI recorders, power solutions, second display, and even Audio Recorders off camera.

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Amazon appears to have a line of Crucial Solid State drives discounted. Solid State Drives (SSD) are required recording media when working with tools like the Atomos Ninja / Blade HDMI Recorder, or with cameras like the BlackMagic Cinema / Production 4K.

I'm working wit a bunch of Sandisk SSD drives, and haven't worked directly with the crucial brand, but it seems to have decent reviews. Available Crucial solid state drive sizes discounted are the 120GB, 240GB, 480GB, and 960GB (found here)

crucial ssd drives cheesycam discount
find-price-button Crucial 120GB / 240GB / 480GB / 960GB Solid State Drives
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I know this very particular Pocket Cinema Camera I have in my hands may have some weird internal noise, but when using an external mic it actually sounds pretty darn good. Yesterday I had a few hours to play with the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera, but I decided to try something different.

I had a Rode VideoMic Pro connected to the Pocket Cinema Camera and BOTH Audio & VIDEO were captured from the HDMI output directly to the Atomos Ninja 2. I did not use an SDXC card in the camera. I also only wanted to use Micro Four Thirds lenses instead of adapting larger Canon/Nikon lenses.

BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera
(somewhere in this mess is a Pocket Cinema Camera)

First problem, I have no spare batteries for this camera. Any current Pocket Cinema Camera owner will tell you how poor a single battery is. You'll be lucky to get 20 minutes of run time out of it. So I DIY'd my own battery cable to connect to my Tekkeon Battery Pack as an external power source. I was able to run all day and my Tekkeon didn't even take a hit. So that's why I needed rails to mount my battery.

I didn't have enough SD card storage, so I decided to bring out the Atomos. With a 240GB Solid State Drive, I could capture hours of footage. Plus I was curious how capturing from the HDMI would turn out.

Rode VideoMic Pro Atomos Ninja Atomos Ninja HDMI Recorder 10 bit 422 BlackMagic Pocket cinema
It looks ugly I know. Believe me, I never want to use this camera in this configuration, but I am waiting for extra gear to use this camera.

Now that I had all of this extra weight, I added a Top Handle with an LCD Mount. The rig was heavy enough that I needed to bring out a heavier duty tripod. In the future, I simply plan on just stocking up on a dozen batteries so that I don't have to mount a power source to the camera. If I can get enough SDHC / SDXC media cards, then I can get rid of the Atomos Ninja.

Without all the extra junk, I can get rid of the rails, carry a smaller Tripod, and finally make it a truly pocketable Cinema Camera. Moral of this story - get a lot of batteries and SD cards if you want to stay pocketable.

Pocket Cinema Camera Pocket Cinema Camera BlackMagic Design Atomos Ninja Rode Videomic
Shooting Parrots with Panasonic 45-150mm

So here's some footage I shot yesterday while making plenty of mistakes. Focusing was difficult on the LCD Screen especially in bright daylight. I tried to rely on the built in Focus Peaking feature (green lines) but I can tell many of the shots were out of focus.

The on screen Zebra lines helped let me know what was blown out, but there was no indicator if the shadows were being clipped. At times I would use the false color feature on the Atomos to help judge, but even that screen in daylight was difficult to use. An LCD View Finder or external EVF will definitely help when working with this camera.

Panasonic 7-14mm Rokinon 8mm Fisheye
I couldn't use my ND Filters on these Lenses. Panasonic 7-14mm & Rokinon 7.5mm Fisheye

I carried two very wide lenses a Panasonic 7-14mm & Rokinon 7.5mm fisheye. These lenses are sharper at a wider aperture, but because these don't come with a threaded mount, I could not use an ND Filter. I tried stopping down the aperture to F/22 but in the end the footage was very soft. I guess to use these lenses, you'll need to carry around a Matte Box.

Micro Four Third Lenses for Pocket Cinema Camera

7-14mm Pocket Cinema Camera
7-14mm F/4
12-35 BlackMagic Pocket Lens
12-35mm F/2.8
35-100mm Panasonic Pocket Cinema Camera BlackMagic Lens
35-100mm F/2.8
Rokinon 8mm Pocket Cinema Camera
7.5mm Fisheye
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45-150mm

The Audio in this video was from a Rode VideoMic Pro (no preamp) directly into the BlackMagic Pocket Cinema Camera (set to 0). The audio was sent over the HDMI and recorded into the Atomos Ninja 2. I thought it sounded pretty darn good for no preamp. If you see closeup footage in the video that's typically from the Panasonic 35-100mm F/2.8, or Panasonic 45-150mm. The wider shots are on the Panasonic 7-14mm and Rokinon 8mm Fisheye. I definitely need more practice working with this camera.

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If you've been following the long wait for the Atomos Ninja HDMI recorder, then you'll know it should start shipping this week (hopefully). It's a sexy little unit that acts like a low res monitor, but is really a portable recorder to capture uncompressed Video goodness. Many times this is done by connecting a Video camera to a computer of some sort and a capture card. Above is a nice little example from Vimeo member UrbanFox.TV or what the Ninja is all about. It's already been delayed for several days and i'm waiting to see some examples.

DSLR shooters probably aren't going nuts for something like this because it's pretty rare to get clean HDMI out for recording. Sure the 7D outputs in 1080, but there's something not quite all there.. Other non DSLR camera shooters who use higher end Canon's, the fancy Sony's, and Panasonic are literally drooling for a portable solution to capture uncompressed HD output signals. Sony camera like the EX1 will need SDI input on a recorder, so soon another version 'the Samurai' will meet those requirements. [Note: Though your camera may output uncompressed signals, the Ninja saves the incoming signal to Apple ProRes]. Rumor mill is that only 250 units will touch US ground on this first shipment and who knows when the next batch arrives. If you weren't on the pre-order list and didn't get confirmation to receive one soon, it looks like someone is making one available via eBay.


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find-price-button Atomos Ninja Portable HDMI Recorder

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