We finally got our hands on Atomos Samurai Blade to work in conjunction with my Panasonic AF100.

Atomos create easy to use, cutting edge products for creative professionals that merge recording, monitoring, playback & editing into a single touchscreen device to enable faster, higher quality and more affordable video production.
— www.atomos.com

With a professional connection via SDI cable I was set to give the unit a test drive. I was amazed by the 5” monitor which acts as a good field monitor. I was using a 250 gb SSHD for data capture with the Avid DNxHD codec (2Hours and 40 minutes of capture time), which is easily recognised via Premier Pro CS6.  However was a little disappointed that the flag option to select segments of good video and reject poor footage will only work with Final Cut Pro XML files. The other let down was that there is no option for variable frame rate i.e. 5OFPS, so would have to still record slow-motion via the camera.

 

The quality that the Atomos gives you is amazing, I shot 5 types of file formats – Clean, Cine V, Flat, Cannon and Contrast there was a dramatic increase in control during post production.

I filmed the same subject for each file format the results you will see below

My opinion after playing around with all the various options is as follows:

For long video capture, large edit work such as weddings I would be inclined to shoot with the clean setting as this minimises the amount of colour correction required in post-production. The Atomos with its focus and exposure control ensures perfect footage, so no need to redo in post. However it was a close call between the Cine V and the Clean option.

 

If you can control the individual RGB inputs then the Cine V is slightly more filmic, however if you want better control and a sharp image then it’s got to be the Clean format.

 For high profile TV commercials and Film projects then I would choose the flat option. When I dropped the RGB curves on to the Flat shot, the control I had was superb and the various looks you can achieve was endless.

Ok now for the SFX test, the Atomos records at 10-bit that same as motion graphics, and with the increase in bit rate there is better control for AE such as camera tracking. I deliberately shot the thermometer in the clip below very shaky. I then tracked the footage and applied a null object it did not move a single pixel. I would have definitely been unable to track this pre Atomos. 

We are now looking forward to using this equipment in our next short film “No Mans Land” which we will blog about in the near future.

If you would like the various setting I used with the AF100 please let me know and I will post them for you.

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