Atomos, the Melbourne, Austraila - based company, has finally shipped their Connect converters. These are small, battery-powered gadgets for converting HDMI to HDSDI and vice-versa - with a few extra tricks hidden inside their compact packaging.
The non-bidrectional devices incorporate 3G technology for 50p/60p modes, and an LED torchlight for those times when you're lost in the dark armed only with a digital format converter.
The converters slot into the battery connections on the company's Samurai and Ninja field recorders, but can be used independently, as they have their own onboard power. This also means that you can actually swap batteries without losing power, thanks to Atomos's "Continuous Power", technology - the same as is used on their field recorders.
The idea of using battery slots as accessory mounts is a good one and makes for an impressively versatile system. Multiple converters can be stacked, and Samurai and Ninja recorders can be powered though the batteries attached to connect converters.
Adding the ability to cross-convert between HDMI and HDSDI provides a very convenient bridge between the world of consumer and professional equipment.
Where the converters really shine (apart from that LED light) is that they have onboard processing. Specifically, they come equipped with an FPGA that allows them to be extremely flexible. An FPGA is hardware that is reprogrammable by software. And apart from the conversion, it's been put to very good use in the Connect devices by allowing 3:2 and 2:2 pulldown removal - an essential if you want to get real 24p from HDMI-equipped DSLRs.
Finally, the converters include a video test pattern and audio test-tone generators.
Announcing the availability of the connect converters, Jeromy Young, CEO of Atomos said, in his usual, understated manner:
"This pocket-sized dynamo just rocks".
Connect Converters are priced at $349 USD / €249 / £219 and ¥34,800.