hdd video recorder with dvi

Mar 15, 2011 at 7:36pm

hdd video recorder with dvi


like many of you, i’m on a mbp unibody running the latest max/jitter setup.

i’m developing a lot of useful patches to use live and thought this would be the place to thus ask what people thought of the way to record a vj set live.

i’ll be pretty much exclusively be running max/msp/jitter in a live context including scratching video content, add effects, shaders etc and jit.qt.movie’s record function doesn’t do justice to what i’m aiming at acheiving.

i’m looking at a small, portable, preferably slimline external hardware device which i can plumb into my live setup to maybe take the dvi out from the unibody and record what audio *and* video comes out of my laptop to the audience bearing in mind obviously i’ll already be running that very same dvi out to the projector(s). i’ve obviously seen a few things, but i’m interested in garnering opinion from like-minded jitterists. i guess a small video mixer with this function might even be better as i’ll need one to interface the projectors, and provide feedback/monitoring.

big the proverbial.

Mar 15, 2011 at 11:29pm

Stand-alone recorders:

AJA Ki Pro Mini is theoretically a good fit, but it’s pricey. Nanoflash, or Atomos Ninja are other contenders in this space. I don’t know if the Ninja supports HMDI 1.3 (which will pass computer RGB signals), so you might need a converter… but out of the box it’s the cheapest. I like the Ki Pro Mini as it has balanced audio and meters, and mirrors in both HMDI and SDI.

Host-based solutions:

People have had good luck with the Intensity card from Blackmagic. I’ve used the Matrox MX02 Mini with good results. The AJA HD Express also should work, but I don’t know anyone using this. Theoretically the video products from MOTU should also work, but again no data.

Mar 16, 2011 at 3:09am

+1 for Matrox MXO2 Mini. Works well for me and plays nicely with Max.

Mar 16, 2011 at 9:03am

I’m also looking for a way to record VJ set. But I need to keep the budget low.
I found this:
It’s not DVI or HDMI but it claims to be able to record 1280×960.
And the price is very good.
I didn’t get one yet. But probably soon.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:05am

Thanks for the responses.

Jesse, when you say host-based solutions i presume you mean controlled from the computer rather than having it’s own buttons, screen etc. Both solutions have external hdmi connectors/recording devices so appear in the same league in that respect.

The MX02 is about 15% of the price of the stand alones at this time of writing so gets my vote, particularly with what jonathonb then said.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:11am

Jesse, I’ve just realised what you meant. For anyone else still in the dark:

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:25am

Yes, the MX02 is cheaper, but you need a host computer with a PCIe or Expresscard slot to run it. If you have an extra machine already then this is a good fit. If not, the price goes up considerably.

I personally would rather have a dedicated stand-alone video recorder than having to bring a second computer to a VJ gig. But it’s all what your budget allows…

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:41am

I’m with you on that score. Do you know of any stand-alone video recorders under £500 ($650) or so? I’d rather not spend £1200 on something just to record my sets. I see even the Ninja is £840 + cost of a disk which is still at the top end of my price range.

I’ve got 850×480 output from jitter so i’m not even going to be testing the unit the way it is designed – for Apple ProRes, direct camera out usage.

Mar 17, 2011 at 1:00am

There’s nothing I’m aware of at that price range that records DVI. There are a number of composite/component recorders that record some flavor of H.264, but they’re generally consumer level products and you’ll have to get a scan converter to go from DVI/VGA to video, which degrades quality. You’d also have to transcode your recorded footage into an editable codec like ProRes, which takes time.

AFAIK nothing will support that resolution for recording – better to choose something more standard. You might be able to find a scaler than can format convert it for you in realtime, but that’s more $$.

BTW, anyone getting a Ninja should check to be sure that the HDMI input does in fact support HDMI 1.3, which permits passing of computer RGB signals. Many of these devices (like the Mini’s big brother, the Ki Pro) do not support this, and only are built to connect to “baseband video” sources i.e. cameras.

Mar 17, 2011 at 1:36am

wicked – thanks for the advice.

Mar 17, 2011 at 3:06am

If you have an HD camera with an HDMI (or mini-HDMI) input, you can take the HDMI from the MXO2 mini straight to the input of the camera.

Jul 29, 2011 at 12:47am

Wanted to update everyone on the Ninja – I purchased one a month ago and have been testing recording Jitter output. As of today’s 2.01 firmware update I am able to record 720p60 and 1080p24 directly from the output of my Mac Pro’s Radeon HD 5870 graphics card via a DVI->HDMI cable. The footage looks great and is immediately editable in FCP.

The Ninja records onto solid state media (SATA or SSD drives) in 10bit ProRes 422 HQ, as well as other flavors of ProRes. At $1,000 plus the cost of drives it’s a pretty nice package.

Other options have emerged (Sound Devices Pix220 & 240 have a lot of promise) but the Ninja is by far the lowest price in this class – and it works, at least with my graphics card.

Testing with my older MacBook Pro reveals that other graphics cards may not work as well. I can get 720p to record, but 1080p is not an option.

Jul 29, 2011 at 2:15am

Oh, the Pix devices look nice, as they act as a passthrough. I wonder if it adds any latency. Thats actually a really nice feature that has kept me from buying the Ninja. That and not having disposable income right now. Thanks for the heads up about it.

Jul 29, 2011 at 3:44am

Yes, the Pix are the premium device of the lot. They appear to have built-in scalers on both input and output, excellent metering and SD’s high-end preamps. They can also do inline pulldown for converting 24p embedded into 60i to 24PsF, something that the Ninja can’t do.

Unfortunately when I looked into purchasing a Pix it became clear that all of the accessories required to actually use the thing added another $1K to the already steep purchase price. Plus they’re not even shipping yet… The Ninja comes with everything: charger, two HDD sleds, dock, two batteries, carrying case.

I’m splitting the HDMI signal before it gets to the Ninja using a cheap unit from Monoprice – no problems so far. Haven’t tested for added latency but it feels negligible.

Aug 14, 2011 at 9:36pm

have you tried to record other resolutions than the standard hd formats from your computer, like xga or uxga using the ninja? Is this possible? I very seldom use HD format for my output and still haven´t found a reliable way to record my output at a good quality.


Aug 15, 2011 at 12:14am

No, this isn’t possible – HD resolution only. The only products I’m aware of that can do this are made by Epiphan, but I haven’t tested them, and they require a host computer.

On a separate note, I’m having some issues with the Ninja that people should know about. As of firmware 2.01 there are problems recording analog audio along with video – there are audio dropouts that make the recording fairly useless. I haven’t tested this with embedded audio in the HDMI stream, but I will report back if I do.

I’ve alerted Atomos to the issue and have yet to hear back from them with a fix.

Aug 15, 2011 at 8:16am

ok, thanks for the quick answer.
I have a epiphan dvi usb solo, and I guess the bottleneck there is the usb connection, but maybe also the capture software on mac could be an issue.

I do wish someone could make a standalone box for this type of capture.

Aug 20, 2011 at 10:42pm

Audio issue resolved – apparently the Ninja slaves to the audio sample rate of the HDMI input, even if you’re only recording analog audio. For some reason my HDMI connection with embedded USB audio was set in OSX to 44.1kHz, so the Ninja was recording that at 48kHz, and thus the sync issues. Resetting the USB audio connection to 48kHz in Audio MIDI Setup results in perfect Ninja recordings.

For anyone interested, here’s the mini-Displayport –> HDMI adapter I’m using:



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