June 24, 2011

Blackmagic HyperDeck Shuttle ships

[UPDATED with SSD info] Blackmagic Design's new HyperDeck Shuttle, its low-cost uncompressed on-camera recorder, started shipping today, apparently to high demand. 

[See our review of the HyperDeck Shuttle]

The $345/€235/£215 unit can capture uncompressed 10-bit video onto laptop-sized (2.5-inch) Solid State Disks, and offers i/o at up to 3Gbps SDI or via HDMI 1.4a. The compact deck is battery powered for location use, or it an be powered via included 12v power adapter or external camera batteries. It can also be used with live production switchers.

"There are a lot of pre-orders to fulfil. It was probably the most popular product we launched at NAB," said Blackmagic's Director EMEA, Stuart Ashton (pictured above with the Shuttle at last night's FCPUG London SuperMeet).

Instead of having to use whatever compression system is used by the camera, or by other external recorders, the Shuttle bypasses the camera's compression and records from SDI and HDMI directly into the highest quality uncompressed video. "It takes the most perfect image from the camera and delivers it to the editing system so that you can make your choices there," he added.

Although SSDs can be expensive, and recording uncompressed uses a lot of disk space, they are cheaper per gigabyte than other solid-state media and fast enough that users can edit directly from them by plugging the SSD into an eSATA dock. As SSDs get cheaper and capacities increase, Ashton believes that camera crews will naturally gravitate to using less compression. Blackmagic has tested various SSDs with the device and will provide a list of all that it has found suitable on its website (and has now sent us the list, with some additional info, which is posted below).

A 128GB SSD will capture about 12.5 minutes in HD, while a 512GB SSD can store about 50 minutes (10.24GB disk space per minute). SD video is generally four times as much as you get compared to HD.

The Shuttle captures uncompressed QuickTime files that can be used with all popular software packages, such as Final Cut Pro, Premiere Pro, After Effects, and DaVinci Resolve.

Tested and Certified SSDs: 
  • OCZ 240GB Vertex 3 
  • Crucial 256GB C300 
  • Kingston 64GB SSDNow V+ 
  • Kingston 128GB SSDNow V+ 
Blackmagic Design is currently certifying further SSD drives for use with HyperDeck. It is likely that other drives in the same range from the same manufacturer will also work.

SSDs for HyperDeck use the Mac OS X HFS file system. These drives can still be read on a PC, but this requires third party software such as MacDrive by Mediafour. "This is a great and inexpensive tool for any Mac to PC workflow," they said.

There is a time limited demo version of this software available. http://www.mediafour.com/products/macdrive 

The first version of HyperDeck Shuttle is shipping as a stand-alone product, with no utility software required or needed. In the near future there will be a release of a software utility for the Shuttle that will provide further configuration or upgrade options.

"We are also in the process of updating the support section of our website for HyperDeck Shuttle, with the quick start manual and FAQs."

Related post: Low-cost recording spells Blackmagic

By David Fox

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