Meet Blackmagic Design’s new 4K Disc Recorder and Monitor

by on April 18, 2016

Stephan Jukic – April 18, 2016

Blackmagic design has just introduced their new and first ever 4K disk recorder and monitor combo, with the apparent intent of challenging the Atomos Shogun recorders which currently dominate this niche market.

The new recorder/monitor offers a Full HD display of 1080p and SDI/HDMI connectivity for a pretty cool price of $895, continuing Blackmagic’s trend towards more affordable professional recording solutions.

Blackmagic is essentially following right behind Atomos with their new recorder/monitor. The new unit has been released right after Atomos delivered their Atomos Shogun Inferno HDR disk recorder. In the case of the Blackmagic device, it’s called the Video Assist 4K and while offering some very robust specs, costs more than $500 less than the Atomos model, which retails for a much heftier $1495.

Both recorders share the same SDI and HDMI connectivity specs along with the same 4K recording specs. However, unlike the Atomos Inferno model, the Video Assist 4K hasn’t yet passed through a whole year of firmware updates for even more refined enhancement and recording features. Thus, we can probably assume that the Blackmagic device is still the more basic machine and has a ways to develop for better usability.

In either case, for essential functionality, the Video Assist 4K has lots to offer, with direct recording to affordable compact UHS-II SDHC Media and the ability to simultaneously record into both for quick and easy backups of recordings. There is also automatic switchover in place for shifting to the next card as one becomes full.

On top of this, Blackmagic has given the Video Assist 4K 2 mini XLR connectors for audio and LANC control along with HDMI and SDI rec-trigger. This last feature is particularly useful for fast-paced field recording by a single user.

We also should mention that the SDI input of the Video Assist 4K can record with some of Blackmagic’s own new cameras at a higher data rate. Many other camera makers still offer 3G SDI and as a result native 4K footage can suffer from downgrading during external recording. In basic terms, the Video Assist 4K offers a pretty robust and compact professional 4K video recording tool.


Other key features of the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K include but are not limited to:

  • A 7 inch LCD Full HD touch screen/monitor
  • 10-bit 4:2:2 ProRes and DNxHD video capture
  • 128dBV electrical noise floor
  • LANC connectivity for a remote control
  • Auto start/stop features
  • Slots for 2 pluggable batteries and a 12V DC power input
  • Compatibility with editing software like DaVinci Resolve, Final Cut Pro X, Avid and Premier Pro.
  • All in one design for mounting to cameras handheld use or set up on a table with the included kickstand.
  • The already mentioned 6G SDI input, 2 mini XLR connectors with 48V phantom power and dual high speed card slots.

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