DSLR Workflow


Atomos Ninja 2 mounted on a Sony NEX-VG20 DSLR video camera

Atomos is an Australian company offers the Ninja 2, their second generation video field recorder. At 670g / 23.5oz including onboard batteries and a hard drive it is light enough to sit on top of a camcorder DSLR, attached via a cold shoe or quarter/20 tripod thread and a short HDMI cable.

The front of the unit features a 5″ 800 x 480 pixel color touch­screen, while the rear holds two slots for Sony hot­-swappable batteries. The left side has a slot for a standard 2.25″ inch hard drive, either spinning or SSD. These go in plastic caddies, two of which are provided, and more are just a few dollars apiece. The whole thing, including charger, and USB 3 caddy for offloading files from the drive to your PC or Mac are included. The production can be done on the capture drive, so that you don’t need to wait for file transfer time. The hard drive or SSD media is not included with the Ninja 2 purchase.

A 500 GB drive can record about 5 hours using Apple ProRes 220mbps at 4:2:2, while a 1 TB drive records twice as long, up to ten hours. The reason that you might want to consider an SSD though is that they are less susceptible to vibration and drop damage. For event work I chose to go with a Crucial M500 960GB SSD, which allows up to ten hours of recording time. The second Atomos cartridge holds a 1 TB hard drive, and is the alternate recording choice.

Being able to record on the Sony internal SD memory card, and the Atomos recorder gives two simultaneous copies, which is great for the professional that just has to get the event recorded reliably.