Atomos firmware update brings HDR support to non-HDR displays

Written by Patrick Jong Taylor

Atomos / RedShark NewsAtomos Shogun and Ninja Assassin get HDR-support

A recent firmware update for Shogun and Ninja Assassin display/recorders by Atomos improves these products' ability to monitor HDR footage, even though they are not technically HDR units.

Over the last couple of years, we have highlighted the growing importance of high dynamic range (HDR) recording and display, hearkening back to our initial, glowing coverage of Dolby Vision to Atomos' release of the Flame series of display/recorders, which brought HDR monitoring to the film production masses at a budget-friendly price point. The Flame series features 1500 nit brightness, suitable contrast levels and supporting features to smooth any hiccups in that portion of the HDR workflow.

Of course, even though Atomos Flame products stand as a go-to option for productions seeking to leverage HDR, the company still has other non-HDR products in its product line that top out at 400 nits, including the Shogun and Ninja Assassin series of display/recorders. While the company is likely hopeful that the owners of the Shogun and Ninja Assassin products will eventually upgrade to its HDR-capable products, these products, which are only a couple of years old, still have a lot of life in them, which is something of a conundrum for all involved. However, a recent firmware update may have alleviated this dilemma, while extending the usefulness and lifespan of non-Flame display/recorders.

Firmware Update 6.6 for Shogun and Ninja Assassin products incorporates AtomHDR, the identical processing engine used for the Flame, albeit sans I/O support for SMPTE2084 PQ. According to the company, even though these devices top out at the aforementioned 400 nits, perceptually speaking, with the advent of Update 6.6, they can now resolve up to 3 stops above Rec. 709. Users can toggle between viewing native log, log to Rec 709 LUT, a custom LUT or a present for "natural looking colours and expanded dynamic range." In addition, there are waveform clipping tools to assist exposure and clipping management, as well as slow motion playback functionality.

Bonus: CinemaDNG public beta

For the Shogun, CinemaDNG support has been added in the for of a 6.6 public beta, up to 4K30p at 12-bit. This public beta is exclusive to the Sony FS-series cameras, in particular the FS700 with the 4K firmware update, FS5 with the CBKZ-FS5RIF update option and the FS7 with the XDCA-FS7 extension unit.

Here are further details about Firmware Update 6.6 for the Shogun and Ninja Assassin display/recorders:

Shogun 6.6 release notes

Features:

- Add support for log video from Sony, Canon, Arri, Panasonic, JVC and RED cameras.
- Improved colour gamut mapping accuracy.
- Improved accuracy and resolution in blacks for HDR mode.
- HDR slider has been added to the monitor screen for easy access.
- Added a yellow line to the waveform monitor which shows the HDR viewing level.
- New button added which automatically sets the HDR level for the current scene's max brightness.
- Added "WFM HDR" button. This scales the WFM so that the selected HDR range is zoomed to the full WFM height.
- Waveform monitor graticule lines are matched to input log mode.
- Added slow motion to playback - pause video to activate slider which allows forward and reverse speed adjustment.

Bug Fixes:

- Fixed an issue where some files exported from NLE's did not play audio.
- Fixed an issue where monitor would sometimes appear jerky when panning at 60fps.

Ninja Assassin 6.6 release notes

Features:

- Add support for log video from Sony, Canon, Arri, Panasonic, JVC and RED cameras.
- Improved colour gamut mapping accuracy.
- Improved accuracy and resolution in blacks for HDR mode.
- HDR slider has been added to the monitor screen for easy access.
- Added a yellow line to the waveform monitor which shows the HDR viewing level.
- New button added which automatically sets the HDR level for the current scene's max brightness.
- Added "WFM HDR" button. This scales the WFM so that the selected HDR range is zoomed to the full WFM height.
- Waveform monitor graticule lines are matched to input log mode.
- Added slow motion to playback - pause video to activate slider which allows forward and reverse speed adjustment.

Bug Fixes:

- Fixed an issue where some files exported from NLE's did not play audio.
- Fixed an issue where monitor would sometimes appear jerky when panning at 60fps.

As usual, firmware updates can be downloaded directly from the Atomos support page.

We think that this is an important update for the affected Atomos products and, in general, for film professionals, as it's yet another reminder that HDR is an increasingly vital consideration for productions, even for those that rely on non-HDR equipment for monitoring. We'll likely have more to say on this topic in the coming weeks, so check back with us!

Tags: Production

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