Video monitors are essential accessories. What good is your footage if you can’t get a nice look at it while you are recording? Nowadays you can supplement your production by getting a monitor that also records video in a nice edit-ready format that might even be better than your camera’s built-in features.
There there is the option to pick up a wireless video transmitter that can eliminate some wires or get a view from a camera that simply isn’t in an easy-to-see location.
You can also just get all three of these features in a single device. Filmmaker Chris Brockhurst is checking out the Vaxis Atom A5, an HDMI monitor that can wirelessly transmit or receive a video signal as well as record.
Vaxis has been making video transmitters for a minute and they have been coming in at a price range that has made them a viable option for everyday filmmakers. Now, with the Atom A5 they are bringing that technology and more to a monitor.
This device is a monitor, a transmitter/receiver, and recorder all in one. It’ll even transmit to a mobile device like an iPad and allow that to record as well. All with audio and minimal latency.
Core specs are that this is a 5.5” touchscreen monitor with all the core video assist tools that you would expect.
It even has a 1000-nit max brightness (same as the Atomos Ninja V) for daytime viewing. There are then some wireless technology and HDMI in/out for video signal processing.
A great idea Chris has tried out is when you have a multi-camera shoot, say a wedding where you are operating the A camera handheld and have a B camera for the static shot, you can mount the monitor on your camera to be able to check the B camera at all times.
As for wireless reliability, Vaxis states this will work at up to 600’. These stated figures are usually in ideal conditions with perfect line-of-sight. Chris put that to the test. He was able to find a straightaway that should let it perform optimally. Setting up a camera he started to record with the monitor he was using as a receiver and started walking away from it. The distance he reached before the image froze? Over 800’.
One nitpick is that there isn’t a clear message when you lose signal, it just hangs on the last frame. So if the image isn’t that dynamic you might need to be more cautious. In good news the recording did close out properly when the signal is lost and was able to provide perfect playback up to that point.
It runs on Sony NP-F L-series batteries and has two slots. It only requires one at a time so you can hot swap them mid shoot without powering down. There are individual power indicators for each battery so you can tell which one is running low.
For recording, you aren’t getting the ideal with modern 4K cameras, so it isn’t going to replace a Ninja V as your main recording choice. The Atom A5 only records Full HD up to 60p in H.264 to a microSD card. It also doesn’t have the ability to bake in a LUT. It’s good for a backup but not your main recording.
The menu system is decent and easy to use. The display itself is nice and crisp and all your video assist tools are perfectly functional whether you are wired up or operating wirelessly. A few programmable custom buttons are available on the touch interface as well.
As for ports you have an HDMI in and out, a headphone jack, a DC power input, a DC output for powering accessories, a USB-C port for updates, and a microSD card slot. Only one 1/4”-20 thread on the bottom so mounting options are limited and right now there is no software option for flipping the image.
Overall this seems to be an incredibly versatile monitoring tool. Keep in mind that I mean monitoring as it won’t replace something like a Ninja V if you are planning to use it to get maximum image quality/formats out of your camera – no ProRes RAW here.
What do you think of the Atom A5? Seems like a useful device for independent productions.
[source: Chris Brockhurst]