April 18, 2012

Atomos Ninja 2 + AtomOS 3.0 launch

NAB 2012: Atomos has unveiled a new version of its Ninja HDMI recorder. The Ninja 2 should be available next month, and new features include: HDMI output; a higher quality screen; and the ability to run the new AtomOS 3.0 firmware that brings a range of desirable features, such as focus peaking, zebra stripes, the ability to record on multiple recorders at once, and do logging and edit selection on the device.

The new operating system will be the same on both the Ninja 2 and the Samurai, but won’t work on existing Ninja devices, although company CEO, Jeromy Young, has promised a low-cost upgrade for Ninja users to the Ninja 2, costing “probably around $500,” compared to a stand-alone cost for the Ninja 2 of £695, €795 or $995.

The Ninja 2 touchscreen is an 800x480-pixel display, with a viewing angle of 170ยบ, both horizontally and vertically, and much improved visibility in direct sunlight. There is also upgraded support for HDMI timecode and HDMI triggering (from the camera), and the recorder should now be able to record from any HDMI device, including iPhone or iPad.

AtomOS 3.0 is promised as a free upgrade for Samurai users from April 30, and addresses several requests users have demanded most.

By adding such monitoring aides such as focus peaking, adjustable zebra, false colour and blue only (exposure check), there's no need for an external monitor. “We're responding to customer feedback by giving even more functionality, but at no extra cost,” said Young.

SmartLog allows you to select favourite clips, and mark in and out points using XML metadata. This means you can effectively do a pre-edit on the Ninja 2 or Samurai before you get to the edit suite and plug it into Final Cut Pro.

SmartControl allows control of any deck, even legacy video equipment, from the Samurai and control of the Samurai from any PC or Mac, which is useful if you need to control recording remotely or are setting up a custom video installation. It was added specifically for James Cameron's Deep Sea Challenge, which used 30 Samurai recorders, and allows start/stop/pause to be triggered on any number of recorders interconnected via their LANC port.

Other enhancements included in this update are: automatic file recovery in the event of power failure; auto-record when an input is detected; Loop Playback; and iPhone/iPad/Mac/PC recording support, which Atomos suggests is “a great feature for gaming and app software companies to record and demonstrate in superb quality how their app or game works”.

The Ninja and Samurai currently record using 10-bit Apple ProRes, but will also add various Avid 8-bit and 10-bit DNxHD codecs.

[[Update: AtomOS 4.0 - including Avid DNxHD support - now available]]

[[UPDATE: Atomos has introduced new Samurai Blade with a sharper monitor and upgraded operating system (AtomOS5) – it has also cut the price of both the Samurai and Ninja-2]]

Related posts: Atomos Ninja Review + Atomos makes the Connection

By David Fox

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