April 04, 2011

Fast Forward's sideKick recorder

The rise of the high-quality SDI solid-state on-camera recorder will continue at NAB 2011 with the launch of Fast Forward Video's new sideKick HD combined recorder/monitor.

The $2,495/£1,695 sideKick HD includes a 128GB solid-state 2.5-inch (laptop sized) drive. It joins: the recently-introduced AJA Ki Pro Mini (which uses CF cards and costs about £1,400); the new Atomos Ninja (SSD or HDD, and about £680, but HDMI only, although an SDI version, the Samurai will launch at NAB); the Convergent Design nanoFlash (CF cards, about £2,250) and its new Gemini 4:4:4 (SSDs, about £5,000); and a new SDI-based CF card recorder from Datavideo also expected at NAB.

Like the Ki Pro Mini and Ninja, the sideKick HD records Apple's 10-bit ProRes 422 codec (at 145Mbps to 220Mbps), which can be imported straight to the timeline in any non-linear editor running on a Mac (or on Windows with a QuickTime plug in).

Additional codec options are promised in future, in purchased firmware updates.

The sideKick includes a 480x272 pixel resolution 4.3-inch TFT display for live and playback monitoring (including scrub and jog).

It has both HD-SDI and mini HDMI inputs (so can be used with DSLRs and budget camcorders without SDI), and it has automatic recording and frame rate/resolution sensing functions. It can record: 1080p at 29.97, 25 or 23.98, 1080i at 59.94 or 50, and 720p at 59.94, 50, 29.9, /25 or 23.98. It can also record eight channels of embedded audio at 24 bits/48 KHz, and has an analogue mini-jack microphone input.

It measures about 16x10.5x5.3cm, and weighs about 285g without the drive. There is also a USB port, which FFV says is for future use.

The sideKick HD comes with an AC power adapter, has a Mini XLR power connector (9-16v DC), and requires 16-21W of power. It can also be fitted with an Anton/Bauer or V-Lock battery adapter cable or have an optional external battery with charger.

By David Fox

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