NAB 2016: Blackmagic Design launches Video Assist 4K

Field recorders

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Blackmagic Design's new Video Assist 4K
Upgraded to 4K: Blackmagic Design's new Video Assist model

Blackmagic Design's new Video Assist 4K
Upgraded to 4K: Blackmagic Design’s new Video Assist model


Blackmagic Design has announced a new version of its Video Assist field monitor and recorder, capable for the first time of 4K recording.

The Video Assist 4K is based on a larger, 7-inch monitor, and includes both SDI and HDMI connections. Although the Video Assist 4K does not support RAW video, it captures uncompressed outputs from the camera and records them to either Apple ProRes or Avid DNx formats.

The recorder uses SD cards, with UHS-2 cards required for 4K recording; the two card slots allow non-stop recording even in UHD. All recordings are 10 bit, 4:2:2, with ProRes support for ProRes Proxy, ProRes LT, ProRes 422, and ProRes 422 HQ. In 4K, video is currently limited to UHD — 2160p30 — rather than cinema 4K.

On a single 256GB card, the Video Assist 4K can record 38 minutes in ProRes 422 HQ and 58 minutes in ProRes 422, making it an economical alternative to internal CFast card recording on cameras such as the C300 mark II or Blackmagic’s own URSA series.

For audio, the Video Assist 4K has two XLR mic inputs onboard, with phantom power, as well as a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a built-in speaker for playback. Blackmagic says that the Video Assist 4K has especially low-noise preamps, for high quality autio capture. This should allow film makers to use the Video Assist with professional mics, without the need to carry an additional audio recorder.

But the recorder also adds several professional monitoring features. These include 2x magnification, focus peaking and zebras, as well as timecode over HDMI. The Video Assist 4K also has a 2.5mm LANC connector for synchronising with compatible cameras.

The Video Assist 4K is now on sale, at a price of US$899 or £645.