For experienced videographers, external video monitors are the most important accessories, because they not only show the viewfinder image larger and more detailed but also offer alternative representations of the viewfinder image for the assessment of optimal exposure (e.g. waveform for brightness/luma level, vectorscope for color intensity) and more precisely sharpness and can show additional information.
External video recorders, which are connected via HDMI or a more professional SDI, enable most photo cameras and camcorders to record video in higher quality (less compressed, 10 bit, higher color sampling, or in some cases also as 12-bit raw video).
For several years, some manufacturers have been offering handy devices that combine both functions. Blackmagic Design has been working in this video assist field since 2015. The Blackmagic Video Assist 12G HDR has been available as a 5-inch and 7-inch device since September 2019. Black magic Design now brings the two slimmed-down and more affordable touchscreen monitor models called the Blackmagic Video Assist 3G. In contrast to the 12G-HDR series, the new 3G series touchscreen monitor models are limited to a maximum of 1080p / 60, do not have an HDR screen, and can not save to an external USB-C device.
The two new “Video Assist 3G” models were presented together with the new URSA Mini Pro 12K Blackmagic camera, which films in 12K or 80 Mpx. The new Blackmagic Video Assist 3G 5 inch and 7 inches are cheaper versions of the portable monitor and recorder solution. They have integrated scopes, more powerful batteries as well as 3G-SDI and HDMI connections for all SD and HD formats and, they support widely available SD cards.
All new Blackmagic Design touchscreen monitor models are equipped with a large screen that provides control elements for recording, playing clips, viewing scopes, and adjusting the focusing aids. The 7-inch models have analog audio inputs and two SD card slots so that users can continuously and automatically record onto a second card. All models have a rear tally light (red recording warning light), a front loudspeaker for clip playback, and a headphone jack. The Video Assist uses Sony L series batteries. Thanks to two battery slots, users can even replace the batteries without interrupting the recording.
With the large 5 or 7-inch touchscreen display, it is very easy to adjust and precisely focus settings. Important information such as timecode, transport control, audio level meter, and a histogram for the exposure are displayed on the touchscreen during shooting. Users can also show or hide overlays, for example with the current file name, focus zoom, focus peaking, zebras, histogram, false color, scopes, frame markers, frame guides, 3D LUTs and more. The support of 3D LUTs enables the monitoring of recordings with the desired color and the desired look. Users can even burn into files for use in editing when capturing Blackmagic RAW.
The Blackmagic Video Assist models use common SD cards and enable recording on these memory cards, which are available everywhere. The files are small enough to store long recordings on regular SD or UHS-II cards. The larger 7-inch model has two SD card slots. In this way, full cards can be exchanged while recording is in progress, making recordings possible over long periods. Due to their compactness, high speed and low costs, regular SD cards or UHS-II cards are ideal for many applications.
In addition, it offers professional Focus Assist functions and higher quality file formats. It is also a useful solution for professional cameras because as an upgrade to older broadcast cameras, it enables the use of modern file formats for the latest editing software. With recording options for Apple ProRes and Avid DNx, Video Assist models support all editing programs. It can be connected to any consumer cameras, broadcast cameras, or even DSLR cameras via the HDMI and SDI inputs.
The LCD touch surface offers a lot of control. The screen has a dedicated play, stop and record button, and a mini timeline for scrolling through recordings. Users can even jog through images with swipe gestures. The LCD also shows a head-up display for timecode, video standard, media status, and audio level meter. The scopes as well as the focus and exposure aids can be activated via the touchscreen. It can also be used to load and save 3D LUTs.
Pricing and availability
The new Blackmagic Video Assist 3G 5-inch monitor has been priced at $495 and it is now available to pre-order via the Bhphptovideo.com store.
The Blackmagic Video Assist 3G 7-inch monitor, on the other hand, will cost $695 and it has also been available to pre-order through the Bhphptovideo.com e-shop.