Recording computer presentation Live Capture with Atomos Ninja 2 HDMI to SSD recorder – Lessons Learned

Recording HDMI from Computer

Successes

  • Verified okay with Macbook Pro HDMI port, using normal applications like viewing videos and surfing the internet, no issues.
  • Verified okay in live use with a Microsoft Surface with mini-displayport.

Failures

  • Presenter running virtual machines (parallels or such) on Mac. Whenever switching to the virtual environment, HDMI recording and pass-through freezed. Unplugging Atomos unit and connecting Mac directly to the projector, everything worked well.
  • Presenter with an old and torn Mac experienced some temporary screen glitches. Considering the physical state of the the machine, the fault could have been with the HDMI port of that computer and not the Atomos recorder.
  • Presenter with a Mac experienced a HDMI blackout followed by Powerpoint for Mac hanging. So eh, may or may not have been related to the Atomos. Being paranoid, I decided to continue without the Atomos NINJA 2 connected.
  • Presenter with an exotic variant of Linux could detect the Atomos NINJA 2, but was unable to output signal to it. Perhaps it would have worked with other variants of Linux or with more advanced settings.
  • A low cost Delcato Prime VGA-to-HDMI converter did not seem to work at all together with the Atomos. So with this combination, no VGA recordings succeeded.
  • Multiple presenters who had said they had HDMI actually had full sized Display Port. Presenters are not necessarily aware of which cable is named what.

Retrospective / Lessons learned

  • Atomos Ninja 2 is considerably worse than a normal TV/Receiver/Projector at handling ”strange” signals. Lack of supported resolutions, lack of re-scalers, etc (your guess is as good as mine) makes it not able to handle misbehaving or odd computers. But geeks heavily hacked computers will not work.
  • Atomos Ninja 2 works pretty well for ”normal computers with normal HDMI”.  If all you do is to show presentations on a computer you can test and verify in advance, things will probably be okay.
  • You probably need an advanced and well behaving HDMI switch which can do splitting/rescaling etc to reliably use Atomos NINJA2 with geeks hacked computers. Don’t have the Ninja 2 inline with untested presenter computers.
  • Don’t expect a cheap VGA-to-HDMI device to work with this.
  • Get all passive adapters known to man before a presentation. Presenters don’t necessarily correctly identify their needs when asked.
  • You need a lot more time than we had (partly due to Atomos RMA issue) to prepare.

General issues (not computer related)

  • Atomos NINJA2 number one had a weird banding issues on the screen, that basically rendered it unusable with my main camera, had to be RMA’d. Getting a replacement Atomos NINJA2 took forever. So in my unfortunate experience, you cannot order a Atomos unit one month in advance and expect to have any learning experience with it.
  • Both Atomos NINJA2 have a tendency to get SSD stuck. This is apparently normal with new units and problem is reduced significantly after some use (wear and tear makes it better). Dealer showed me the very useful to know the best grip for easy removal:
    1. place unit on a flat table with screen up, ”NINJA 2” text up-side-down close to you.
    2. Use left hand to hold unit and move the eject button with one finger. At the same time, use your right hand thumb to press the closest edge of the Master Caddy.
    3. The drive should remove pretty easily
  • Getting Master Caddy II instead of the original Master Caddy is recommended, it lacks the hole that makes Master Caddy get stuck.
Annonser

3 Comments

    1. No. My thinking is that maybe a matrix box (duplicator) with built-in rescaler could be a solution. Then the Atomos would not be out of band, any bugs in it wouldn’t break live. And rescaler might solve the issues with weird resolutions. But not tested, so no guarantees this will actually work better.

      Svara

      1. I tried using a Hauppauge HD PVR Rocket. I had several successes, but it didn’t always work and I often had to bypass it. I recently tried to use the ATOMOS Ninja 2 and it would not even recognize my HDMI signal. I guess it is very focused on recording HDMI from DSLR cameras and not much else.
        I’m considering using a splitter and recording directly to a laptop using something like the Epiphan Video AV.io HD or similar product.
        I record lectures and the slides output from the speaker’s laptop. Different speaker and laptop every month, so need something that is able to accept a variety of HDMI and VGA signal formats and can be setup quickly.

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