*** Update ***
The new 2.2 firmware for the Blackmagic 4K Video Assist is available for download. You can download the software here. We now have these features added to the 4K Video Assist, which I’ve been testing for the last couple weeks. It is very well paired with any of Blackmagic’s cameras.
- Add MXF wrapper to DNxHD and DNxHR for the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K
- Add DNx different bit-rates – DNxHD 220,145 and 45. DNxHR HQ,SQ and LB for the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K
- Add False Color monitoring to the Blackmagic Video Assist 4K
- Add expanded options for Focus Assist to include Red, Green, Blue and White as well as Peaking
**** Update ****
Blackmagic announces an update to the firmware for the Blackmagic 4K Video Assist Monitor / Recorder. The firmware 2.2 announcement means the Video Assist gains an important exposure tool, False Color. Other improvements are better support for DNxHD and DNxHR codecs, expanded focus options, and new screen rotation features. The Video Assist 2.2 firmware will be available soon and is a free download.
This announcement was the kind of firmware update Blackmagic needed to make for the 4K Video Assist. When the monitor/recorder first shipped it had bare bones functionality. Just like Blackmagic does with many of their products, they continued to improve the Video Assist throughout the life of the equipment. I am interested in seeing what else they add to the monitor / recorder. For me, anamorphic de-squeeze options like 1.3x 1.5x and 2.0x would be a great addition.
After the announcement earlier in the year that Windows computers may not have QuickTime support. We are to expect in the near future .mov files will have a problem being played or reviewed on non-Apple computers. What Blackmagic has done is add MXF containers for Avid DNxND and DNxHR. This also means shooters will be able to choose between DNxHD 220, 145, and 45-bit rates or between DNxHR HQ, SQ, and LB formats for recording. For those who do not understand Avid’s codec names here is a primer. The “HD” in DNxHD means High Definition or 1080. The “HR” in DNxHR means High Resolution or 4K and the many flavors of it above HD.
Blackmagic also added more focus assist options allowing a shooter or camera assistant to choose their preferred color for focus peaking indicators. How would one use the different colors which are: Red, Green, Blue, Black, and White. Let me give you an example, I was shooting the wind in the leaves yesterday and the standard green focus assist was lost in the green of the Tennessee vegetation. Red, or the complementary color, would have been preferred because there would have been zero mistaking focus peaking for green leaves.
One of the coolest features on the 4K Video Assist is the screen auto-rotation. When the monitor is flipped the image flips too. Now you’ll have the ability to control the screen orientation manually or to turn off the auto rotation.
The 4K Video Assist is a Blackmagic product announced at NAB 2016 and released not long after. The recorder is less than 6 or 7 months old and is already being updated by Blackmagic. This is relatively new pattern of behavior for the company and one I think is a wise strategy.