Atomos Ninja (1 of 2)

The Atomos Ninja 2 showed up yesterday and I had a little bit of time to play around with it last night. The Canon 5d mark III firmware upgrade won’t be released until next week, but having the Ninja 2 early gives me a chance to dig through the menus and get used to it’s controls.

Although batteries are included in the kit, they needed to be charged right out of the box. Luckily the NP-F975 7200 mAh batteries I use on the torchled bolt also happen to fit the Ninja 2. According to the specs a 7200 mAh battery should actually run the Ninja 2 for up to 20 hours. Of course adding a battery that big to the unit also doubles the weight so I suppose that’s the trade off.

Atomos Ninja (2 of 2)

The only thing I really had time to test was the 4 track recording mode. If you click on the audio level meters on the bottom left hand side of the screen you get this menu. Orange indicates that the tracks are armed and ready to record. Inputs on the left hand side come from the hdmi source while inputs on the right hand side come from the 3.5mm input jack on the left hand side of the screen.

From this menu you can choose to record 2 tracks, 4 tracks, or no tracks. You can also adjust the gain applied to the 3.5mm jack and select what audio is fed to the headphone output as well as make adjustments to headphone levels.

For the test, I recorded a couple of 30 second clips in both Prores 422 and DNxHD 220x. On a side note, you have to activate the DNxHD codec on the Ninja 2 before you can use it. The process is free, but you do have to plug a few numbers into Atomos’s site in order to get the activation code. Also, you’ll want to download and install the codec for DNxHD, you can find that here.

Ninja timeline

I haven’t spent a lot of time working with Avid DNxHD files, so i’m not sure if there is really any advantage to the codec over Prores. I’ll have to spend a little more time doing research and testing things out. A number of people I spoke with at NAB thought that Prores LT and DNxHD 145 were both the best choice for most things and only recommended Prores HQ and DNxHD 220x for heavy grading or green screen work.

The nice thing about the files generated by the Ninja 2 is that when you pull the files off the hard drive both formats are wrapped in a .mov container. No separate audio tracks to sort through. When you drop the files into your premiere pro timeline you get 4 individual mono audio tracks instead of two stereo tracks. This saves you the hassle of having to split out audio tracks or use fill left/fill right functions to get the channel you need.

I haven’t had a chance to hook up an audio adapter to the Ninja 2 and test the 3.5mm input jack, but that’s next on my list of things to do. Right now i’m still working on the full review of that Sony CLM-V55 clone monitor. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to this sometime next week.

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