atomos_ninjaSo here’s an interesting announcement…the Atomos Ninja is a self-contained recorder box that offers HDMI input and records to one of three ProRes codec flavors. This looks similar to the $3000-ish Convergent Design nanoFlash (which records XDCAM flavors to Compact Flash media), or the $4000-ish AJA Ki-PRO (which records ProRes to pretty much any media variety). The Ninja has some unique options, and the price is also very attractive, at €795 (currently $1011 USD).

The box is pretty small in size, with a 4.3″ color touchscreen for configuration and settings. Input is HDMI only (with audio) and an additional 2-channel audio line-in. HD input formats include 1080i59.94, 1080i50, 1080p24, 1080p23.98, 720p59.94, and 720p50. SD formats include 480i, and 576i. The unit comes with two batteries, and is hot-swappable on the fly. You can apparently pull one battery and replace it with a fresh one without powering down the unit. Storage is via 2.5″ hard drive in various capacities, or 2.5″ SSD drives.

The Atomos Ninja not shipping at this time, they anticipate a December ship timeframe and are now accepting pre-orders (caveat emptor as always). If HDMI recording works for your camera system, this could be a really interesting and relatively low-cost “lightly-compressed” recording solution. It’s also an interesting option to consider for Red shooters…one of the attractive features of the ARRI Alexa camera is it’s ProRes output options. TV production loves this, as they can quickly drop these ProRes files into the editing workflow without processing. Not to mention that Red has not announced any intention of creating a ProRes output module for Epic. Perhaps a recorder solution like the Ninja is just what Red shooters need to fill that gap and offer a direct-to-edit “baked” format like ProRes in addition to Redcode Raw recording.

8 Responses to “Atomos Ninja – ProRes HDMI Recorder in a tiny package”  

  1. 1 chris

    Sounds great, like something we’ve been needing for a while.
    My only question is, why no version with HD-SDI input? Or does that no matter?
    I mean, one of the main cameras who would want to use this is the new Panasonic AG-AF100, which sounds like a perfect camera for it’s price bracket except that it records AVCHD.
    It has an HD-SDI output, so can you use this recorder with that camera I wonder?

    Is there a quality downgrade of somekind if you use HDMI instead of HD-SDI?

  2. 2 Tzedekh

    The AF100 also has HDMI. Other than the fact that HDMI can be hinky (the connectors are unreliable) and doesn’t support timecode (unless that has changed with version 1.4), it supports high data rates just like HD-SDI. I’m sure Atomos chose HDMI to reduce costs.

  3. 3 Thomas

    Hey Matt, did you get to see the unit? I’m just curious cause right next to the HDMI port 4 other ports. I saw them on their site but they are unlabeled and curious what they are for.

  4. 4 Matthew Jeppsen

    Have not seen it in person yet, no. Looks like a very interesting option though, depending on if they hit ship dates and how well it works in actual use.

    -Matt Jeppsen

  5. 5 Marco

    I wonder: but the connection through the HDMI, bypass also the monitor display of your camera, doesn’t it? In the DSLRs does. Does the Ninja display the live view in place of the camera?

  6. 6 Jonathan

    What about users who want to use their HDMI out for an external monitor. Guess there is no solution for them?

  7. 7 Byron


    I’m a freelance cameraman in South Africa. Currently i have a V1E (i need to get an upgrade but that’s still some time away), i was wondering if i’d be able to record full HD via my hdmi output onto this device with little hassle?
    The specs seem right though i fear there might be something i’m overlooking. It would be a great short term solution as more and more people are requesting HD.

  8. 8 Sanford

    You can use an HDMI splitter, according to monitor maker HDSmall. The bigger problem for me is lack of 1080p30 which is my preferred format. This may be a stopper!

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