Atomos Samurai Blade and Connect Converter TSG


Kevin Owen TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
by Kevin Owen
Issue 90 - June 2014

Kevin Owen has worked in live television broadcast industry for the past 10 years, specializing in fiber optic systems integration and video engineering. Troubleshooting problems on the fly, often at remote locations away from the production truck has become an integral part of his job. Kevin is most often found working on entertainment shows such as The Emmys, American Music Awards and The Oscars but has also spent time in sports production at places such as the US Open, Nascar and the Super Bowl. Portable test equipment in these environments greatly improves efficiency and response time, especially when there isnt any time to waste so Kevin took time out to put down his thoughts about Atomos solutions.

I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Samurai Blade from Atomos and was quite impressed with all of the features that the design team managed to pack into such a small package. I stumbled onto the product almost by accident - I had just purchased one of their Connect signal converters (because it also doubles and a HD-SDI test generator) and was browsing the website to see what else they offered. The stunning display of the Samurai caught my eye at first, shortly followed by the fact that it could natively handle HD-SDI signals and was battery powered, what more could you want? I spend a lot of time working in the live television broadcast environment and am always looking for a good portable test monitor. It didnt take long for me to add this guy to my collection. The unit arrived in late December and three days later I was on a plane to New York to start setting up for New Years Eve in Times Square.

It didnt take me long to appreciate all that the Blade has to offer. Startup time is fast at about 6 seconds and the 5 touchscreen is phenomenal with a native resolution of 1280x720. This is the first test monitor that looks every bit as good as the monitors back in the production truck if not better. I was on another show a few weeks after the Times Square gig and ended up sending a 16 window multiviewer output into the Blade. I was actually able to read the under monitor displays on each window! The other test monitors I have cant even come close to that level of resolution. Couple the high resolution with the focus-assist mode and you can now set up POV cameras accurately in the field. Moving on from the screen, this unit is packed with features. It includes a waveform monitor (with RGB parade), vectorscope, and embedded audio monitoring, all selectable as overlays on top of the picture or as full screen. Incidentally, having the embedded audio metering as a standard component of the default screen makes for very fast assessment of signal presence and channel assignment. This feature is fairly standard on the traditional rack-mount scopes and makes a great addition to a portable test set, no one else seems to be doing this as of yet. While the unit doesnt have a built in speaker, it does have a headphone jack for monitoring embedded audio and even lets you select which pairs of channels you monitor. Currently monitoring is only available for the first 12 channels of embedded audio, but I am told that the last 4 channels will be available in a future release.

Battery life on this device is great, the design team engineered the Blade with power conservation in mind. There are two battery slots on the back of the unit for rechargeable batteries (or a power connector) so you can always have a spare battery with you. There is internal power monitoring of the battery level as well as seamless automatic or manual changeover from one pack to the other, a feature especially handy when using this device as a recorder. All of their units use the same battery, so if you have a Connect Converter/TSG, the batteries are interchangeable. Incidentally, the Connect converter will slide into the battery slot on the back of the Blade and actually power it for a short time with the small battery inside - thats how low the power consumption is!

I mentioned that this unit also doubles as a recorder, all you need is a 2.5 drive. You can use a standard HDD, but a SSD will give you longer battery life. The record feature can be handy in a QC situation as it makes it very easy to snapshot a problem out in the field and then refer back to it later for analysis. If you record test signals onto the drive then the unit can double as a signal generator. Currently it isnt possible to output from the drive and simultaneously monitor an incoming signal, but I am told that the developers are looking into that functionality. If you prefer having a separate test generator, stick with one of their Connect units that easily docks on the back of the Blade for travel.

All in all, I am quite impressed with the versatility and usefulness of the Blade in a field engineering environment. During an event recently I was helping another broadcaster troubleshoot one of their signals and I grabbed the Blade before leaving the truck. We followed his cable path and traced the problem down to the last barrel in the line. Relieved to find the problem, he thanked me and asked if he could keep the Blade. (I had to decline.) I have used the Blade on several shows over the past two months and it has all of the features that I look for in a test monitor. Add either a hard drive or a Connect Converter/TSG (or both) and you have a comprehensive field test set. The product can only get better with the design team at Atomos always looking for ways to make improvements to an already solid platform.

www.atomos.com


Tags: iss090 | Atomos | Samurai Blade | Connect Converter | TSG | Kevin Owen
Contributing Author Kevin Owen

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos with the Samurai Blade on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos with the Samurai Blade on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013

    Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Samurai Blade demonstration at NAB 2013

    Atomos Samurai Blade demonstration at NAB 2013

  • Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

    Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

    Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

  • Atomos at NAB 2014

    Atomos at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Shogun Inferno at BVE 2017

    Atomos Shogun Inferno at BVE 2017

  • Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos talking 4K on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Atomos with the Ronin on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos with the Ronin on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Atomos with the Datacolor Spyder on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos with the Datacolor Spyder on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Datacolor Spyder on the Atomos stand at IBC 2013

    Datacolor Spyder on the Atomos stand at IBC 2013

  • Atomos at BVE 2013

    Atomos at BVE 2013

  • ATOMOS at BVE North 2012

    ATOMOS at BVE North 2012

  • Atomos at IBC 2012

    Atomos at IBC 2012

  • Atomos Samurai at NAB 2012

    Atomos Samurai at NAB 2012

  • Atomos Ninja at NAB 2012

    Atomos Ninja at NAB 2012

  • Atomos at ProVideo2011

    Atomos at ProVideo2011

  • Atomos at IBC2011

    Atomos at IBC2011

  • KitPlus filming rig used at NAB 2017

    KitPlus filming rig used at NAB 2017

  • Kit Overview from IBC 2015

    Kit Overview from IBC 2015

  • Philip Blooms recommendations at IBC 2014

    Philip Blooms recommendations at IBC 2014

  • Global Distribution at BVE 2012

    Global Distribution at BVE 2012

  • Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

    Jonathan Harrison at BVE North 2011

  • Hireacamera at BVE North 2011

    Hireacamera at BVE North 2011

  • Global Distribution at IBC2011

    Global Distribution at IBC2011

  • KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014

    KITPLUS rig setup at IBC 2014


Related Shows
  • Den Lennie meets Atomos at BVE

    Den Lennie meets Atomos at BVE


Articles
Increasing Diversity in the UK Indie Market
Sam Addo

London director Sam Addo tells us more about how he aims to change the status quo when it comes to onscreen diversity with his new feature, Cards on the Table.

“Over the past thirty years, filmmakers have made movies telling a wide range of stories, however, in my humble opinion, those with disabilities, from the LGBTQ+ community and or those from ethnic minorities remain underrepresented on screen. For example, it is rare to find a film where the lead character has a disabil ity, and that underrepresentation is worrying.”

Tags: iss139 | cards on the table | feature | diversity | blackmagic | ursa mini pro 4.6k | lut | davinci resolve | Sam Addo
Contributing Author Sam Addo Click to read or download PDF
The Making of Zero
Keith and David Lynch

The Brothers Lynch explain how they created the sinister atmospheric world for their new sci-fi short

In a post-apocalyptic world where humankind has emerged victorious in a war against artificial intelligent machines, a young girl dares to venture into the unknown. This is Zero, the new sci-fi short film from acclaimed British writer-director duo The Brothers Lynch which has premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Tags: iss139 | blackmagic design | davinci resolve | editing | grading | grade | mk2 zeiss | superspeeds | cinema 4d | molinaire | Keith and David Lynch
Contributing Author Keith and David Lynch Click to read or download PDF
Keeping Pace with the Content Revolution
Kevin Fitzgerald These are uniquely challenging times for broadcasters and their technical teams. Not only are they having to negotiate the move to IP-based infrastructures and the introduction of new formats and techniques such as 4K and HDR, they are also having to generate more content than ever before to support OTT and web services as well as traditional linear broadcast.
Tags: iss139 | streamstar | streaming | case 800 | ipx | ipx-3g | Kevin Fitzgerald
Contributing Author Kevin Fitzgerald Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation - Getting Connected
Dick Hobbs - new We are all familiar with statistics about the growth of the internet. Cisco’s latest report, for instance, says that global IP traffic is increasing at 26% a year, and will reach 4.8 zetabytes a year by 2022. The number of connected devices will be three times the world’s population by the same date.
Tags: iss139 | cisco | kth | clickclean | ibc | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF
Original KVM or KVM over IP
Jochen Bauer Will the technology used in broadcasting solely consist of IP devices? For years, IP has been entering all areas of life. Especially control room applications as they are typically deployed in broadcasting benefit from the IP revolution in many ways. But an “IP-only broadcast world” is not yet here. Nevertheless, the trend clearly moves towards IP transmission, even though a large part of content production still uses traditional transmission paths. And therefore we continue to live in a hybrid world, using both original and IP-based technology. KVM experts Guntermann und Drunck still rely on both original KVM and KVM-over-IP™ to be able to offer their customers the best of both worlds.
Tags: iss139 | kvm | gdsys | guntermann and drunck | kvm-over-ip | Jochen Bauer
Contributing Author Jochen Bauer Click to read or download PDF