So many of us will have used an external video recorder before and I’m sure everyone reading this has used a computer at some point. The Cinemartin NEXT is an interesting fusion of a highly portable video recorder with a super compact high end computer. Designed to go on the back of a camera the NEXT can record in beautiful uncompressed 4K 444 RGB in 10 bit at up to 30fps with an update/upgrade coming later that will allow 4K at up to 60fps via dual 6G HDSDI.
It can also record compressed and all the way down to SD resolution. But what makes the NEXT different is that it is also a very powerful PC. The sample unit I had was running windows but you can also install the majority of operating systems on it. There are some clever tools installed as standard including the capture applications and a very clever background renderer that will transcode whatever it is you are shooting to ProRes or H265. Internal storage goes all the way up to 1TB and it’s very, very fast. Memory up to 32GB.
With so much computing power on tap you can do all kinds of things. For a fast turn around job like news you can shoot directly on to the unit and then edit the footage as soon as you have finished shooting. There’s no need to transfer footage from the camera to the NEXT, it’s already on there. It can run pretty much any edit software, I used Premiere CC and editing on it was quick and easy. As it has a direct HDSDI output (as well as 4K ready HDMI outputs) you don’t even need to render out your finished edit to play it back. In most cases you could cut your news story and play it out directly from the timeline to the uplink truck. If you don’t have an uplink truck then being a computer you can render out your story as a file to upload over the internet.
There are 4 USB3 connectors and 2 ethernet connectors so you can connect to the internet either directly via ethernet or by using a wifi or 3G/4G wireless modem.
Power consumption is a very modest 15 to 29w so it will happily run of a D-Tap from your camera batteries for 3 or 4 hours. If your in a hotel room or studio you can plug in up to 2 external computer monitors (as well as an HDSDI/HDMI monitor) to expand your desktop beyond the built in high brightness touch screen display.
In the next installment I’ll take an even more in depth look at the NEXT from Cinemartin. Including some image quality comparisons.