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10-bit Aerial Video Recording: Atomos’ Ninja Star

The Atomos Ninja Star is more than just a simple recorder and playback deck; it's a way to bypass the highly compressed codec of your camera and record straight to 10-bit 4:2:2 Apple ProRes, all on a device roughly the size of an iPhone and weighing in at just under 300 grams including the up-to-5 hr battery.

I’m always interested in ways to obtain higher-quality video and, sadly, this typically translates to heavier and more expensive cameras. There’s a really cool device that has just been released by Atomos known as the Ninja Star.

The Ninja Star is more than just a simple recorder and playback deck; it’s a way to bypass the highly compressed codec of your camera and record straight to 10-bit 4:2:2 Apple ProRes, all on a device roughly the size of an iPhone and weighing in at just under 300 grams including the up-to-5 hr battery.

Atomos Ninja Star

With that kind of power-to-weight ratio, the Ninja Star is tailor-made for the aerial world. You simply connect the Ninja Star to the HDMI output on your camera, and your video is stored on familiar CFfast media. Because of the sheer size of ProRes files, you would be well advised to use 64GB CFfast cards or larger.

I found the normal HDMI cable to be a bit bulky and interfering with the smaller gimbal movements. A quick substitute of a lightweight cable made all the difference, and the gimbal was once again free to move as required. Because of its light weight and high-quality, edit-ready codec, the Ninja Star is well suited for aerial video operations.

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