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Blackmagic Video Assist - FullHD 5" monitor with ProRes and DNxHD recorder, $395 now
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  • Maybe in the firmware update in 2017.....

  • Are they making a sun hood yet?

  • As well as being quite minimalist and simplicity itself, which I like, the Blackmagic Video Assist is the best value for money on the market. It’s a superb recorder built into a first rate 5″ monitor. There are specific areas where it goes over and above what is expected for $495. The twin 6G SDIs are one example. The fact it takes a 4K Ultra HD signal and down-convertsit to beautiful oversampled clean 10bit 1080p ProRes is great. The quality of the 1920x1080p display and touch screen user interface are other areas it goes beyond. As a species it seems the affordable field monitor/recorder has reached its zenith with the BMD Video Assist.

  • Does it downres and record 2k DCI from a 4K DCI signal?

  • New firmware v1.1

    • Adds Focus Peaking indication
    • Adds Zebra indication for setting iris
    • Adds central Zoom to aid focus
    • Adds timecode over HDMI
    • Improved battery information
    • Performance and stability updates

  • And just like that.. This monitor became awesome (v1.1)

  • Now I want one Dam them :)

  • Very good update. But, does it take 4k and internally convert to 1080 over HDMI yet?

  • Would buy in an instant if it had waveforms, even as a paid update. Awesome monitor/recorder.

  • I bought one of this monitor to use with a GH4. First impression, it's pretty solid and well built. It's pretty sharp and you can easily pull focus with. I did the firmware v1.1 and all the updates work. Works pretty well so far with GH4 but I haven't had enough time yet to do a comprehensive test. I am also waiting for a faster sdxc card to use with it as it was droping frames because of my card.

  • I can't connect my GH4, whilst in PAL mode, to the Video Assist. Latest firmware for the VA now shows NTSC at the top left, which can't be changed. Hope this gets looked into.

  • Blackmagic Video Assist 1.2 firmware

    • Adds DNxHD codec
    • Adds extended Zebra range
    • Adds SD card record time remaining on status overlays
    • Adds clip playback information panel
    • Adds HDMI record trigger

  • Does anyone know what the color gamut is for Blackmagic Video Assist?

  • Has anyone tested GH4 and VA in PAL mode an 50p so far? I would like to know if the issue was fixed with the latest firmware upgrade

  • @Stiffla I've read elsewhere that it has been fixed, I tried to buy one yesterday but my usual stockists had no stock.

  • Hey guys, and gals. Just wondering if anyone is using this recorder with C100 MK1 or 2, and what you're doing to record 24p video over the cam's 59.94i hdmi. A workflow explanation would be very appreciated. (editing in PPCC and AECC). Thanks in advance..

  • and for the c100 is it a better recorder monitor than the ninja 2?

  • PR

    November 18, 2016 - Blackmagic Design today announced Video Assist 2.3, a major new update for Blackmagic Video Assist customers that adds 3D LUTs to both models. This update also adds features to the 5” Blackmagic Video Assist including improved DNxHD and DNxHR support, false color monitoring, expanded focus options and new screen rotation features. The Video Assist 2.3 update is available for download now from the Blackmagic Design website and is free of charge for all Blackmagic Video Assist customers.

    Video Assist 2.3 Update is being demonstrated at InterBEE on the Blackmagic Design booth 8216.

    Customers using the Video Assist 2.3 update can now load up to six 3D LUTs when monitoring video on set with their 5” or 7” Blackmagic Video Assist. 3D LUTs have become an important part of digital filmmaking because they transform the camera images into a look that closely approximates the final look the director wants. The benefit of monitoring with 3D LUTs is that the crew can see the footage as the director intends it, and it’s completely non destructive because the original camera footage remains untouched. The six x 3D LUTs can be stored and recalled at any time by the user and this new feature is available on both the 5” Blackmagic Video Assist model and the 7” Blackmagic Video Assist 4K model.

    For customers using the 5” Blackmagic Video Assist model, this update adds new features that were previously released only on the 7” Blackmagic Video Assist 4K model.

    These new features include the ability to record to DNxHD and DNxHR files in MXF format which improves compatibility with Avid systems running on Windows. In addition, customers can now choose between DNxHD 220, 145 and 45 bit rates, or between DNxHR HQ, SQ and LB formats when recording.

    The Video Assist 2.3 update also adds false color monitoring exposure tools to the 5” Blackmagic Video Assist model. False color exposure tools make it easier to properly set exposure in different parts of the image by highlighting specific color ranges of luminance with a solid color overlay. For example, green indicates neutral grey, while pink tones are good references for skin, which is typically one stop over neutral grey. Using false color helps camera operators keep exposure consistent from shot to shot. In addition, Video Assist 2.3 update also expands the options for focus assist so customers can now choose whether they want to see red, green, blue, black, white or traditional focus peaking indicators. This makes it easier for customers to accurately adjust focus in a wider range of scenes and under a variety of different lighting conditions. Customers will now also have the ability to manually control the screen orientation and turn off the auto rotate feature which makes it easier for customers to use the 5” Blackmagic Video Assist model with handheld gimbals and other equipment designed to move the camera and rig simultaneously.

    “Blackmagic Video Assist is perfect for customers that need better monitoring and higher quality recording,” said Grant Petty, CEO, Blackmagic Design. “This new update adds incredible LUT monitoring to both models, and brings some of the same powerful high end features from the 7” Blackmagic Video Assist 4K model to customers that have the 5 inch Blackmagic Video Assist model. We think the massive number of features on the 5 inch Video Assist model is amazing when you consider it only costs $495! Thats why Blackmagic Video Assist has become an essential part of every filmmakers toolkit because they help customers shoot and capture higher quality video with everything from DSLRs to older tape based camcorders, and even the latest digital film cameras!”

  • Price drop

    Fremont, California - June 27, 2017 - Blackmagic Design today announced a new summer special promotion for Blackmagic Video Assist and Blackmagic Video Assist 4K. During this promotion, customers can save US$100 on the purchase of a Blackmagic Video Assist, and US $300 on the purchase of a Blackmagic Video Assist 4K. That means Blackmagic Video Assist can now be purchased for only US $395 and Blackmagic Video Assist 4K can be purchased for US$595 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide while stocks last.

    The Video Assist summer special makes it easier than ever for customers to add professional monitoring and broadcast quality recording to any SDI or HDMI camera. With the new summer special pricing for limited stock, customers will be able to buy a Video Assist for each of their cameras.

    The Blackmagic Video Assist family of products gives customers better monitoring and higher quality recording than is available on many cameras. Older cameras often feature custom and hard to use file or tape formats, while lower cost consumer cameras often have poor quality file formats and small screens, limiting their professional use. Blackmagic Video Assist solves this problem because it works with every type of camera from DSLRs to older tape based camcorders, and even the latest digital film cameras. Customers get a large professional on set monitor, along with 10-bit broadcast quality ProRes and DNxHR recording.

    In addition to professional monitoring and recording, the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K model will also support powerful built in scopes such as a waveform monitor, RGB parade, vectorscope and histogram in the upcoming Video Assist 2.5 Update, along with extremely high fidelity audio recording and microphone inputs.

    “Video Assist is an incredibly versatile tool and has become an indispensable part of everyone’s production kit,” said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. “It’s the perfect portable field monitor and recorder, and now customers can get them at an even lower price so they can add them to all of their cameras while stocks last!”

    Blackmagic Video Assist 4K Key Features

    • 7 inch LCD touch screen with 1920 x 1200 high resolution monitor.
    • Professional 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes or DNxHD recording up to Ultra HD 3840 x 2160p30
    • Dual high speed UHS-II SDHC card recorders use readily available, inexpensive SD card media.
    • Dual recorders allow non-stop recording and provide a backup if one fails.
    • 2 mini XLR connectors with 48V phantom power for connecting microphones.
    • -128dBV electrical noise floor for high quality audio recording.
    • LANC connection for remote control.
    • Auto start/stop recording using HDMI or SDI triggers.
    • Includes slots for 2 hot pluggable batteries as well as 12V DC power input.
    • Full compatibility with editing software such as DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro X, Avid and Premier Pro.
    • All in one design, mount to cameras, hold in your hand or set up on a table with the included kickstand.
    • Includes 6G-SDI input allowing it to be used as an Ultra HD monitor.

    Blackmagic Video Assist Key Features

    • 5 inch LCD touch screen with1080p high resolution monitor.
    • Professional 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes and DNxHD recording in HD.
    • Includes slots for 2 hot pluggable batteries as well as 12V DC power input.
    • Full compatibility with editing software such as DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro X, Avid and Premiere Pro.
    • All in one design, mount to cameras, hold in your hand or set up on a table with the included kickstand.
    • Includes 6G-SDI input with downconverter allowing it to be used as an Ultra HD monitor.

    Availability and Price

    Blackmagic Video Assist is available for US$395 and Blackmagic Video Assist 4K is available for US$595 during the Summer Special promotion, with limited stock now available from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.

  • Before you bite, check carefully what you need!

    I tested the Video Assist and the Shogun Flame (I personally own the older Shogun). My main points are:

    Blackmagic Video Assist 4K pros

    • cheaper
    • sturdy, whole frame is metal while the Shogun has a protective rubber frame
    • same size and pixel count
    • recording to SD cards, two slots for continuous recording
    • option for ProRes and DNxHD/HR (not yet available in Blackmagic Ursa Mini Pro)
    • both .mov and .mxf containers
    • two battery slots for continuous supply
    • large connectors for HDMI and SDI built in
    • multi-language GUI

    VA 4K cons

    • no RAW recording, only up to 30p in UHD
    • no transfer of file names, only TC (can be a problem for matching to RAW footage in some NLEs)
    • only 350 nit
    • no option for recording with a LUT, only display
    • no option for recording proxies or a backup on the second card
    • mini XLR jacks instead of standard size
    • less precise colors than the Neway CK550S (see my other report)
    • no option for calibration other than LUTs generated externally

    Atomos Shogun Flame

    • RAW recording up to 4K DCI RAW with some cameras by Canon, Panasonic and Sony
    • 1500 nit (not really HDR according to emerging standards, but over 2 stops more than VA)
    • recording on large and cheap regular SSDs (but be careful with SSD models)
    • filenames transferred from Red cameras
    • contrast ratio better than 1:1000
    • can be calibrated with a Spyder (meh) or X-Rite probe
    • LUTs can be baked in if needed
    • two battery slots for continous recording
    • very intuitive GUI (but only in English)
    • tagging and subclips per XML
    • lots of options for a limited support of HDR
    • log correction for many current cameras offered
    • external power between 6.2 and 16.8 V

    Shogun cons

    • audio connections only by breakout cable (another thing dangling around)
    • plastic box, lettering tends to come off
    • more expensive (quite a bit now, but who knows if Atomos will react)
    • no .mxf container

    My verdict

    The VA is a nice offer for owners of BM cameras, but the Shogun can be used in many other configurations up to full DCI in RAW and already offers limited HDR functionality. If you need to deliver a color-corrected recording immediately while doing RAW in camera it's the better choice too.

  • Blackmagic Video Assist 2.5 update adds

    • Vectorscope,
    • Waveform monitor
    • RGB parade
    • Histogram
    • Add Anamorphic Desqueeze to the Video Assist 4K
    • Add Blue (only to the Video Assist 4K)
    • General performance and stability updates to both models