Atomos Ninja records uncompressed HDMI video to ProRes format in real-time
By Darren Quick
April 18, 2011
Converting captured high quality video to edit-ready format can be a time consuming business, but the new Ninja Recorder from Atomos is a little box that takes care of this task by bypassing in-camera video compression and recording uncompressed 10-bit video directly to a 2.5-inch removable SSD or HDD in Apple ProRes format (HQ, 422 or LT) in real-time. The self-contained portable device connects to a DSLR or camcorder's HDMI connector and allows incoming video to be monitored or recorded video to be played back on its 4.3-inch 480 x 270 touchscreen.
The Ninja kit comes with two Master Caddies ready to house your choice of 2.5-inch SSD or HDD's that slot easily into the unit and can be easily swapped out on the fly to provide practically limitless storage capacity. Once video has been captured and it's time for editing it's just a matter of removing the Master Caddy and slotting it into the included Master Caddy Dock that connects to a computer via FireWire 800 or USB 2.0/3.0.
The Ninja is continuously powered by hot-swappable dual batteries and utilizes battery-looping technology that allows one battery to be swapped out while the other is powering the device. The two included 2600 mAH batteries should provide between five and seven hours of recording time, while shelling out for a couple of 7800 mAH batteries will increase recording time to between 15 and 18 hours. A dual battery charger is also included with the kit that comes packed in a durable, padded carry case.
Atomos plans to regularly add functionality to the device through the release of firmware upgrades and asks users to submit their suggestions for extra features.
The Ninja Recorder is available now for US$995, with a list of retailers available on the Atomos website. The company is also releasing a unit called the Samurai that works that same uncompressed video recording magic as the Ninja, but from an HD-SDI input instead of HDMI. The Samurai also boasts a larger 5-inch 800 x 480 resolution touchscreen and will retail for US$1,495 when it is released later this year.