Get: Really Useful Digital Video Recording Tools Vol. 1

(It’s just going to be the first volume. We all know it. We have too many tools we like to share and talk about when we love doing something, and work becomes playtime and they become toys.)

This post was inspired by what I thought was a quick post about some HDMI cables I like, but then I started talking about how I was using them and with what, and that’s where this list came from. I happily use all this stuff but may not have bought it from the exact store linked; you can research for yourself:

The Atomos store has a lot of cool things to help you get even higher quality digital video into your workflow. I like to go there and dream of big budgets and bank accounts: Atomos stuff on Amazon

A few months ago, I picked up this model of an Atomos Ninja Blade with an LCD screen.


The screen is larger than any of my camcorder’s (though lower resolution than some) and can be positioned anywhere, but now I can record 4.2.2 colorspace 1920P HD video with less compression straight to disk from my old HV20 camera compared to when it went to tape at 1440×1080 in 4.2.0 using HDV compression. There are other video formats too depending on your needs. Yeah, the camera’s HDMI out gives a straight feed of better quality, and now I don’t have to scrounge for mini-DV tapes or deal with dropouts from dirty heads and old reused tapes! (I do miss that my tapes were a backup; and I will need to buy more hard drives to keep copies, but quality takes a little extra room, right?)

Unfortunately, the price doesn’t include any hard drives but comes with two empty drive sleds. But that means you can finesse the drive budget in the beginning and grow into it.

There are a lot of pricey Solid State Drives and other fast Hard Disk Drives on the Recommended Drive list, but it seemed a little outdated when I pored over it in April so it was tricky. You can use a pricier SSD to make a shockproof system, or get more space on a cheaper HDD. I have another camera for running around with, so I like to shoot static on a tripod with it for now but can always swap out the drive (two hot swappable trays!). I picked this standard spinning 500GB hard disk drive for $50. There are others on the Atomos list and some that could be. like this one. I wasn’t sure it worked when I bought it, but it does! The model is:
Seagate 500GB HDD 7MM ST500LT025
in case you need to search Google or your favorite site for it. But that line turns up nothing in the Amazon search because some of the details are too specific even though there are numerous sellers. So sometimes if you can’t find it in Amazon, start at a search engine instead. Anyway I found one but cutting out some keywords:

Listed as Seagate 500GB Momentus Thin SATA 3Gb/s 16MB Cache 2.5-Inch Internal Notebook Hard Drive (ST500LT025).

So their search was screwed up by HDD and 7mm (the drive height)? Really stupid.

Oh, you don’t have an HV20? Then hook it up to your Canon Rebel whatever model, or any digital camera with an HDMI out! I even connected it to my TiVo DVR and while the cable and pay channels are sadly copy-protected and can’t be recorded, I could make copies of anything from broadcast television right off the DVR and download into my computer (Yeah, there’s a program for that too). Your DVR mileage may vary.

Compatible Cameras? Look Here. Depending on your camera you may need an HDMI adapter to micro or mini, or a cable (I prefer the adapters so you aren’t looking through a pike for the one cable you need; some may be afraid to misplaced the one adapter they need. Keep it in a ziplock in your camera bag’s most obvious pouch.) Here’s a good collection for a nice price
I just added it to my own wishlist while researching this very article.

You also need to research your camera to figure out how to keep from recording the display overlay on the HDMI out unless that’s the look you want, and set your camera to stay on if you aren’t recording to internal media (which can be a great backup, or make the Ninja into the backup). You can do it. Just read the fine manual. Or Google it.

Last, that 15-foot white Monoprice cable (I got it direct from ages ago but they do seem to be on Amazon as Monoprice). Like I said, it still works but now has a short due to pulling it at a bad angle. It’s long which is helpful and white so I know it’s mine at the end of the shoot. I wouldn’t use it in more rugged conditions, and it worked fine at home before I finally damaged it on that shoot.

Anyway, a few helpful toys. Tools!

— David

Note: I set up an Amazon store to share product links for items I am happy to own, to provide readers an honest recommendation and review from a real person. I get a percentage of any sale made through my Amazon affiliate link at no additional cost to customers, which I think is fantastic. I’ve just used my order history to link literally to the exact products I am happy I bought, when possible to the same company my order came through inside the Amazon umbrella.

Get: Really Useful Digital Video Recording Tools Vol. 1 was originally published on Creative Uploads