Australian moviemaking hardware success story Atomos has announced the immediate availability of its latest monitor/recorder, the Ninja Assassin. The once diminutive Ninja has now grown up and assumed the mantle of its elder, the Shogun, as it were. And like the Shogun, it works in 4K (or HD if you need it).
Atomos has created a device that, for this moviemaking and sometimes stills shooting individual, combines affordability with versatility encased in a silicon bumper-enclosed ABS polycarbonate frame without the projecting hardware and connectors that aren’t needed for the mirrorless hybrid cameras, DSLRs – do people still use those? – and camcorders I own and use now and into the future.
The Ninja Assassin is lightweight, at 430g aka 15oz, records onto increasingly affordable SSD media, records as Apple ProRes or Avid DNxHR 4K at 10-bit 4:2:2, and does sophisticated video time-lapse ands Pre-Roll cache recording.
Atomos’ latest unleashes, as they say “your camera’s HDMI” by “recording pristine footage directly from the camera's sensor to visually lossless” video formats.
With a 7-inch screen the Ninja Assassin is more than large enough to take over from, for example, my GH4’s great but let’s face it, small, fully-articulated monitor. The Assassin accepts 2 or 8 channels of 24-bit audio via HDMI and has 3.5mm line-in and headphone out.
It also has many of the great features that have made the Shogun such a hit so fast: editing, monitoring via a big set of pro-quality software tools like focus-peaking and entering your view via LUTs, and my favorite, false color, to ensure your skin tone exposure is spot-on.
The biggest difference between recording with the Ninja Assassin and natively in your 4K-recording-capable camera is 8-bit 4:2:0 versus 10-bit 4:2:2. This may become crucial, not just optional, to your GH4 V-Log L future if there’s substance in Adam Wilt’s observations about noise in V-Log L footage.
Without XLR In, How Do We Input Multiple Audio?
The Shogun is a real connection machine, with its 12G SDI and XLR audio in via an included Lemo cable for balanced XLR cable, line/mic, phantom power and 2-channel balanced input. That is cost and size overkill for most independent moviemakers so the Ninja Assassin represents a real, viable alternative so long as you can do without that connectability and the ability to record raw and not only ProRes and DNxHR.
So, I made contact with Atomos and Beachtek to find out some possible multiple audio input solutions. The Atomos post-production guy recommends the Zoom H5 audio recorder system. I don’t have one – yet – but the H5 has some real advantages as a field recorder and more.
I recently read about the Zoom H5 at Sol March’s website, Suggestion of Motion. The H5 is as much a system as a recorder, with detachable microphone units that can swapped for the perfect mic for any given situation, or a two-XLR/two-TRS input device, or it can be used headless.
Another virtue of using the Zoom H5 besides is its preamps, phantom power and XLR inputs that can be used in combo with the Ninja Assassin is recording backup audio onto SD cards. Two is always better than one, especially when audio is concerned.
Other devices with preamps, phantom power and XLR inputs that can be used by the Ninja Assassin are audio adapters made by Beachtek and JuicedLink. Beachtek’s DXA-CONNECT can sit on your camera’s hotshoe or a cage while JuicedLink’s RM333 Riggy Micro can screw into your camera’s tripped socket. There may be other alternatives out there too, by brands I have not come across yet.
It is early days yet with Panasonic’s GH4 firmware update 2.3 containing the long-awaited V-Log L log gamma-cum-photo style given it hasn’t yet been released to customers, but there is evidence that one downside may be noisy low values, according to the estimable Adam Wilt in ‘Before you rush out to buy V-Log L for your GH4…’ at ProVideo Coalition.
Mr Wilt speculates the problem may be solved by recording into a Ninja Assassin at 10-bit 4:2:2 instead of internally at 8-bit 4:2:0. Time and tests will tell.Goodbye Shogun? Does Ninja Assassin mean Shogun’s demise for mirrorless & DSLR filmmakers? Click To Tweet
Ninja Assassin official launch trailer
ASSASSINATE MPEG LIMITATIONS
Bypass the highly compressed internal MPEG / h.264 compression from the camera increasing color accuracy (with 4:2:2 color sampling) and color resolution with 10-bit color (1 Billion Colors). The edit ready Apple ProRes or AVID DNxHR video files created by Ninja Assassin are visually lossless with each frame being captured in full resolution (I frame recording) just like film.
- Go back in time with Pre-Roll cache recording, up to 8 seconds of HD or 2-3 seconds of 4K-UHD so you’ll never miss that shot.
- Video Time-lapse gives enormous creative license with up to 10 different sequences, speed ramp and scheduled start and end times over 24 hrs.
Ninja your 4K/HD Camera, Assassinate Limitations
Via Atomos Press:
Ninja Assassin delivers 325ppi monitoring functionality and the 7″ size needed to truly master 4K, it's the only true 10-bit 4:2:2 professional recording solution for Apple, AVID & Adobe workflows and all with a price & weight amongst the lowest on the market – Ninja Assassin is available today from Atomos' extensive reseller network.
Melbourne, Australia – 1st September 2015: In 2014, Atomos revolutionised the HD to 4K transition with the announcement of Shogun. Now, with their commitment to delivering powerful creativity weapons for professionals, they bring you the Ninja Assassin.
The Ninja Assassin extends the legacy of the Atomos Ninja line up in to the realms of 4K UHD and 1080 60p. Combining professional 4K/HD recording, 7″ 1920×1080 monitoring, advanced playback and editing in a compact, lightweight, affordable add-on to existing DSLR, Mirrorless and Video, Cinema cameras.
The Ninja Assassin boasts the screen size, screen resolution, advanced recording capability and scopes of the premium Shogun model, but forgoes the 12G/6G/3G-SDI connectivity, RAW recording functionality, in-built conversion, Genlock and balanced XLR audio connections. The main benefit – a 10% weight reduction to an incredible 430g and an incredible
$1295 price point including Soft Case, SSD Caddy and AC Adaptor. This firmly targets 4K DSLM cameras such as the Sony a7s and a7RII, Canon XC-
10 and Panasonic GH4 bypassing their known limitations such as compressed MPEG/h.264 recording, 4:2:0 color compression, 30-minute time limits and the disadvantage of monitoring on a small 3″ screen.
“The Ninja Assassin eliminates creative barriers and unleashes the true power of the worlds best sensors into the hands of creative pro's over one single HDMI cable. We are truly proud to deliver professional monitoring, video production tools and recording capabilities to assassinate camera limitations,” said Jeromy Young, CEO and co-founder of Atomos. “Seeing an image on the Assassin's 7″ screen and feeling the low weight is when you truly believe it's the only choice for 4K high- res production.” added Young.
The Ninja Assassin has HDMI focused audio/video connections and ships with a brand new vibrant red Armor Bumper for increased protection. The Shogun of course is still the flagship product for high-end production that require SDI Raw, Balanced XLR, Phantom 48V and HDMI/SDI conversion.
Ninja Assassin Key Features:
- Record more accurate, higher resolution colors (4:2:2, 10-bit) direct to visually lossless editing formats (the only brand to do both ProRes and DNxHR).
- No Record time limits – Recording externally to the camera puts an end to the traditional 30-minute recording barrier and allows larger media capacity.
- Professional shot setup you can trust on a calibrated high resolution 7″ monitor with over 320 pixels per inch.
- Anamorphic de-squeeze, the perfect companion for Panasonic's GH4 and affordable Anamorphic lenses/adaptors.
- Easy to use professional monitoring tools including Focus Peaking Assist, 1:1 & 2:1 Zoom with silky smooth image pan & scan, False Color (skin tones), Zebra and Waveform/Vector Scopes for in-depth image analysis.
- Go back in time with Pre-Roll cache recording, up to 8 seconds of HD or 2-3 seconds of 4K so you'll never miss that shot
- Video Time-lapse with up to 10 different sequences, speed ramp and scheduled start and end times over 24 hrs.
- 3D LUT's allow you to create a specific signature look or even recreate classic film stock instantly, with 50:50 split / LUT on / LUT off view, you can compare effects and make creative decisions on the fly.
- Playback for instant review and editing on the fly with a choice of 10 tags in both record and playback mode. Our NLE support means that whether you are Mac, PC, Apple, Avid or Adobe we support you.
A Ninja Assassin Product Sheet for the full range of specs and features will be available soon.
The Ninja Assassin is available in stores now (September 1) for a MSRP of:
US: $ 1295 ex. TAX
EU: € 1295 ex. VAT
GBP: £ 899 ex. VAT
AUD: $ 1899 Inc. GST
Atomos exist to help creative professionals cut through technology barriers by creating easy to use, cutting edge products including 4K & HD Monitor-recorders, a pocket size ProRes recorder, signal converters & power management solutions. Each product serves a different need but all share the common benefit of enabling a faster, higher quality and more affordable production schedule for video professionals.
(cover photo credit: snap from Atomos)