By technical editor Matt Allard:
This is huge news for owners of the Sound Devices PIX 240. The new Aurora V3.0 firmware is now available to download from their website. Firmware releases are normally nothing to get excited about but this one is huge. Aurora now enables 4:4:4 RGB recording over a single 3G-SDI input. This is fantastic news for owners of the Arri Alexa, Sony F3 and Canon C500. With the new firmware the PIX 240 can record ProRes 4444 12 bit at 330Mb/s. If you own the F3 and have the RGB 4:4:4 upgrade then you can now output RGB 4:4:4 10bit to the PIX 240 over a single 3G-SDI connector. The PIX240 with the C500 will be able to record 1080P 4:4:4 12bit over its 3G-SDI connector.
Recording in 4:4:4 offers multiple advantages when it comes to green screen, effects work, and colour grading. According to Sound Devices 4:4:4 is perceptually indistinguishable from the source material. Many major TV series are recorded in 4:4:4 so this gives PIX 240 owners a major upgrade.
The PIX 240 now has the ability to record ProRes in all flavours including 4444 12 bit as well as all flavours of DNxHD. As far as I’m aware this now makes it the cheapest option for recording 1080P 4444 on the market. The PIX 240 costs $2795 US. The Convergent design Gemini 4:4:4 recorder can only record 10bit and retails for $5995 US.
The other exciting addition with the Aurora firmware is the ability to be able to output time code to an external monitor over either SDI or HDMI. You can display record, playback and standby time code. This is very useful for on set monitoring. When using an EVF or monitor connected via the Pix you will now be able to confirm your Pix recorder is actually rolling – a great bonus.
Owners of the PIX240 can download the latest firmware here.
About Matthew Allard, Aljazeera Team Leader Cameras, Kuala Lumpur:
Matt has been a Camera/Editor in TV news for more 22 years, previously working for both Channel 9 and Channel 10 in Australia. Twice Network Ten Australia’s cameraman of the year as well as being a Walkley Finalist for outstanding camerawork in 2006 (for coverage of the Cronulla Race Riots) and a Logie Finalist for outstanding news coverage 2006 (Bali 9). He has won 14 ACS (Australian Cinematographers Society) awards. His Sword Maker story that was shot on a 7D won the prestigious Neil Davis International News Golden Tripod at the 2011 ACS Awards. He has covered news events in more than 35 countries, from major sporting events to terrorist bombings. Based out of the Kuala Lumpur broadcast centre in Malaysia he is an avid user and follower of new technology, shooting stories on HD broadcast cameras, the Sony FS700 and F3 as well as Canon DSLRs.