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NAB 2023: Atomos Talks NDI and Shogun Connect

Atomos dropped 5 announcements in the weeks preceding NAB 2023: Sony CI Cloud integration, the release of a new cloud-based editor, a deal with Streamonix for a new streaming pilot project, the debut of Atomos Cloud Studio, and--perhaps most importantly--NDI support in its CONNECT monitor-recorders, including the popular Shogun Connect. Streaming Media Contributing Editor Shawn Lam of SLV Live caught up with Atomos SVP Product Paul Scurrell at the Atomos booth to get the inside scoop on what's new at Atomos and what the new developments will mean to streaming producers.

NDI Support

"Let's start by talking about NDI," Shawn says. "That's one of the technologies that you are embracing, and you have a new product that works with some of your existing products and some of the new ones. So let's go into that." 

"That's a really exciting innovation for us," Scurrell says. "We've got a whole bunch of new connected products and here, we're talking about the Shogun CONNECT, which is fully integrated seven-inch monitor-recorder with the connected features. And we've got the Ninja 5 and the Ninja 5+ with the Atomos CONNECT module on the back. Both of those products can connect to Atomos Cloud Studio for a whole host of different services, which we can talk about separately. But also because they have the network connectivity, they can also go into NDI mode, so they can be an NDI transmit source with NDI|HX two. So it's fantastic that you can effectively record, and have a source coming in that you can record locally, and then you can have that as an NDI TX source into any NDI-compatible device."

Atomos Shogun CONNECT 7

"So we're essentially taking in standard copper like HD-SDI and HDMI sources like we traditionally have been able to do in these products," Lam replies, "but now we can output them across the network, via NDI, into other workflows. And there's so many of them out there, right?"

"There's so many," Scurrell agrees. "And we are quite unique in this category because we are a highly accomplished, standalone monitor-recorder that people are using anyway. And we are mobile--it can be battery-operated a lot of the time it's on mobile rigs. We have best-of-breed Ethernet and best-of-breed Wi-Fi with Wi-Fi 6. So for the first time we can be really a mobile NDI I device to any HDMI and, as you say, SDI source. It's really quite powerful."

"And this is an NDI transmitter, but not a recorder at this point?" Lam asks.

"Not at this point as, as a recorder. But that is coming down the path. But the first one, we want to NDI I transmit because then we can be a video source into so many different devices--hundreds of thousands of devices now."

"And so adding in that NDI I capability," Lam asks, "is just simply a matter of adding in an add-on module at the back, right? Just kind of a dummy battery adapter type of thing--is that how it works?"

"It's even more simple than that," Scurrell explains. "The Shogun CONNECT already has all the connectivity built in, so this is actually a firmware software upgrade. It's $99, but the product is already connected. And of course, same with the Ninja. If you have the Ninja with our cost-effective CONNECT module on the back, it then becomes connected and no other hardware is needed. You just activate it with a one-off activation fee and you're good to go."

New Cloud Services

As mentioned, Atomos has also been expanding its cloud offerings. "We've talked a bit about ethernet connectivity, about copper wire connectivity," Lam says. "Let's go into the cloud. What's the CONNECT part of this? What other capabilities do you have? What is your cloud?"

"We originally launched the cloud and our connected products one year ago at NAB [2022]," Scurrell recalls. "They've come on so much this year and we are launching a whole load of new services. So just to give you a complete overview, we have what's called Atomos Cloud Studio, which is almost the umbrella term for our cloud offering that our connected products talk to. We have a product called the Zato Connect. We have the Shogun and Ninja. Those three products can connect to Atomos Cloud Studio. Then you can then decide what you want tp do with it. Once you've paired it and you are in Atomos Cloud Studio with those devices, you could then stream straight to a social channel. You could stream to YouTube or Twitch straight from the device. You could decide to be in part of a camera-to-cloud workflow."

Another product Atomos launched last year in conjunction with Adobe is a firmware update to CONNECT devices to enable Frame.io Camera to Cloud workflows. This created a direct pipeline for DSLR, digital cinema, and mirrorless cameras to deliver captured media directly to post.

"That's been super successful," Scurrell says. "That's been rolling out for the last few months and has many, many different use cases. People are using the same equipment, but in a different use case for camera to cloud. And we've just announced a partnership with Sony CI Media Cloud, which again provides the same way of getting content directly from a camera straight into the cloud, and people can then use that in whichever platform they want. The demo we've got here is for live production. So now we're just using this Atomos Cloud Studio gateway as a way into live production."

What this means for connected cameras, Scurrell continues, is that they can be "a live camera input with fully featured talkback, intercom, tally, video--everything you would expect from broadcast is built in to the same piece of hardware that you've bought, the same Atomos piece of connected hardware. So you can now see how it all starts to build out and gets incredibly powerful."

Cloud-based Editing

Gesturing to the other side of the Atomos booth, Scurrell goes on to say that the cloud-connected workflow now extends directly into post and cloud-based editing.

"We've expanded the offering from streaming from camera to cloud through to live production. With Cloud Edit, we can now use our connected equipment to come straight through Atomos Cloud Studio into Atomos Edit, our new cloud-based, web browser-based edit system where you can bring the content straight to the timeline and you can edit that content. You can clip that content, you can do some really nice editing on it, and you can publish direct to social, like to YouTube or Vimeo directly from that, or even export it to another NLE of your choice, whether it could be Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, whatever.

"So we've now got this huge rounded offering, and all these things you can do in the end coming back to NDI as well as a completely separate way of using our connected products."

"That's excellent," Lam replies. "I have to say, over the years, it's been really neat watching you develop technologies and solutions that play well with others. You're not just developing things in your own ecosystem. Every time there's a new press release, a new product, it's always works with these other popular vendors, these other products that you're using, and I appreciate that." 

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