I wasn't expecting to hear any more NAB product announcements until tomorrow morning, but was pleasantly surprised to learn of two important (and unrelated) announcements from AJA and Atomos.
Let's start with the Atomos Shogun – the 4K HDMI / SDI recorder / monitor
This 4K recorder is the next step in Atomos' already fantastic line of hybrid SSD recording / monitoring / deck systems. The new Shogun has a 7-inch monitor and accepts both SDI and HDMI inputs. It can record not only on ProRes / DNxHD, but also on uncompressed CinemaDNG RAW. It was inevitable that Atomos would have to bring out a 4K recording solution – especially since this year, we'll see a lot of new 4K DSLRs, but I didn't expect it to be as feature-rich as the Shogun appears to be at first glance. The most exciting feature for me (aside from the obvious 4K capability) is the fact that unlike many other Atomos devices, this can accept both SDI and HDMI inputs – not one or the other. This means that this is a perfect companion for shooters who have multiple cameras (such as the BMCC / 5D) and don't want to use converters to use them with multiple devices. It also seems to be the perfect companion for the recently announced Sony A7S that needs an external recorder to record 4K.
Next, let’s take a look at AJA’s new 4K cinema camera – The CION
This camera came completely from the left field and in a way reminds me a lot of the original announcement of the Blackmagic Cinema Camera a few years ago. I say this because AJA has never made a camera before (let alone a movie camera), but like Blackmagic, they have a really good grip on the end of post-production / workflow, making them an ideal addition to a new movie camera manufacturer .
We are still waiting for more information about the camera, but we know that it shoots 4K, has a global shutter, supports PL mount, supports high frame rates, shoots on prores (still unsure about RAW) and has a flash connection built in directly. We also know the price is in the $ 9000 range, which is very reasonable considering the technical data.
Unlike Blackmagic, who came out of the gate with a beautiful looking camera that didn't seem to be ergonomic, AJA did the opposite. From the photos it can be seen that this camera is ergonomically well built, but leaves something to be desired in terms of its physical appearance. That said, when great pictures are taken, that's all that matters!
Check back soon for more updates from NAB later in the week and after the show, for highlight summaries and thoughts on what the new announcements mean for the future.
Noam Kroll is an award-winning filmmaker from Los Angeles and founder of the boutique production house Creative Rebellion. His work can be seen at international film festivals, on network television and in various publications around the world. Follow Noam on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook for more content like this!