I know, it sounds like marketing speak, but bear with me. This NAB has seen a myriad of camera announcements, all of them very exciting because the choice and quality of the cameras in the marketplace for every budget and shooting style is getting wider and more dynamic (pun intended).
Looking at large sensor alone, we have the new boys in the market – URSA Mini, C300 Mk II. We have the IBC cameras – FS7, C100 Mk II, GY-LS300 and the new AJA CION, which is getting a lot of buzz from DOPs for its colour reproduction. Then we have the tried and tested stalwart cameras that have been in the marketplace for a while, like the C300 and FS700.
Recently, the most pressing question has been how to get the most from your camera’s sensor and how, with increasingly complex compression algorithms, you decrease the processing strain on your edit suite.
A couple of years ago, the C100 became the camera of choice for many shooters because of the fantastic sensor, which, when combined with the Atomos Ninja, gave footage that did that sensor justice. Post-NAB, we have a load of brand new 4K cameras on the scene, all with varying degrees of complexity of codec, from ProRes shooters to XAVC and XF-AVC H.264 variants.
Combating the rising cost of media
Now there’s another issue to consider: with the increased data rate of the video files moving from 24-50Mbps up to in excess of 400Mbps, the cards used need a far faster write speed, and because of this the cost of the recording media has sky-rocketed. We have a new raft of CFast cards, SxS cards, XQD cards and Pak media, all of which may not actually be the best way of recording from your camera any longer or, oddly, the most cost-effective.
Take the FS7 with XQD media, a beautiful camera. You will spend roughly £350 for every 128GB and you will be capped to the internal QFHD XAVC 600Mbps codec, eating up a whole card every 22 minutes. An hour’s high quality recording time is going require 384GB of XQD cards and will set you back in the region of £1050 (ex VAT). This story persists across many of the new native 4K cameras using CFast and Pak media: your quality is capped and media is expensive.
This is where the Atomos Shogun can really democratise your shooting, and more so after NAB 2015 than ever before. Atomos have been meeting with Sony and AJA quietly in the background to find a way to meet these needs, and have realised timelines for FS-RAW updates and AJA RAW support at up to 60fps.
Calculating the total cost of your rig
With many cameras, you will want a standalone reference monitor as, let’s face it, the ones that come on the camera are often not quite up to scratch, and some new cameras are shipping without one at all. For an average quality monitor, you’ll need to spend in the region of £500. Then you’ll need to budget for all the new media you will need, as in many cases your old media won’t work with your new camera.
For an Atomos Shogun, you’re looking at spending £1150 for the unit and then around £200 for £480GB of Sandisk SSD, which, when you look at what you can get for your money with the FS7 alone, means that for the cost of a reference monitor and enough media to go on a shoot, the Shogun gives you a crisp OLED display and more recording media, plus the ability to shoot RAW if you want to.
Further to that, every 480GB SSD you buy to go with your Shogun will be cheaper than 128GB of XQD media. This even applies to the CION, where without any view finder and with expensive Pak media it makes sense to invest in a Shogun in order to open up the options available in CION to include 60p RAW, not to mention that you’ll then be able to monitor your images.
The Atomos Shogun may not be the right solution for everyone, but now more than ever, Post NAB 2015, for me at least, having a Shogun in the bag makes more sense than not.
Want to know more about the Atomos Shogun? Get in touch with our team on 03332 409 306 or email broadcast@Jigsaw24.com. For all the latest news, follow @Jigsaw24Video on Twitter or ‘Like’ us on Facebook.