The Atomos Ninja Phone First look at NAB 2024

Atomos At NAB 2024 showed the new Ninja Phone, a 10-bit video co-processor for the iPhone 15 that lets you record from professional HDMI cameras. 

The Ninja Phone is designed for iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. It allows you to use it as a professional monitor-recorder that can capture 10-bit ProRes or H.265 from any professional camera with an HDMI output.

You are limited to inputting and recording 1080p 60 / 59.94 / 50 / 30 / 29.97 / 25 / 24 / 23.98fps and 720p 60 / 59.94 / 50fps. You cannot input or record 4K material due to hardware limitations and USB-C. Video can be recorded in ProRes HQ / ProRes 422 / ProRes LT / ProRes Proxy / H.265 Main 10 / H.265 8b / H.264 8b.

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The encoded video is sent via Ninja Phone’s USB-C output to the iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max’s USB-C port. The iPhone’s A17 system-on-a-chip decodes the camera sensor image to display on the iPhone screen. The Ninja Phone is designed on AtomIC 5, the next generation of Atomos silicon that allows for low power, silent operation while encoding 10-bit ProRes and H.265 with USB-C connectivity. It draws just 2.4W.

According to Atomos, the camera’s output appears on the iPhone screen with zero latency thanks to Atomos’ ProRes pipeline, encoding on the Ninja Phone and decoding via Apple’s iPhone.

The ProRes-encoded video can be stored on the phone as a .mov file and/or simultaneously transcoded by the iPhone to 10-bit H.265 for workflows like camera to cloud, or live streaming via the iPhone’s built-in 5G and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity. 

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The iPhone displays are very good and bright, much better than most built-in screens on cameras. The latest iPhone screens have a 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio and support Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HLG. They can also display a claimed 11 stops of dynamic range with a peak brightness of 1600 nits. Because of this, it makes a lot of sense to utilize an iPhone as a monitoring screen for your camera.

The Ninja Phone iPhone app, downloadable from the App Store, controls the operation of both the Ninja Phone and the iPhone.

The Ninja Phone app adjusts to horizontal or vertical video modes for social media creators who need to shoot in 9:16 portrait mode. It will run on iOS and iPadOS and be downloadable when it ships.

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Ninja Phone weighs in at 95g, and 335g when coupled to an iPhone 15 Pro. Ninja Phone is designed in two parts: the Ninja Phone video co-processor and the Atomos iPhone Case. The case provides a secure mount to attach the Ninja Phone to your iPhone 15 Pro or Pro Max, and enables the locking USB-C connector. Having a separate case also means that if future iPhones change in physical specification, you can just change the case and keep using the Ninja Phone.

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The Ninja Phone accommodates external iPhone accessories by integrating a separate USB-C hub to allow necessary professional add-ons, like wireless USB-C microphones for perfectly synchronizing video and audio. Third-party accessories are supported via the Ninja Phone, with more added over time.

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The Ninja Phone can be powered by standard NP series batteries, a battery eliminator, or a USB-C 5V/3A input. The Ninja Phone charges the iPhone while in use with any of these power sources.

Atomos has developed a locking ecosystem for connected HDMI and USB-C cables. Atomos’ new cables for Ninja Phone lock firmly into place so there’s no chance of unwanted disconnection. You can also still use conventional, non-locking cables too. Now, there is a slight catch. Ninja Phone users will also need to purchase an additional case for iPhone 15 Pro or iPhone 15 Pro Max to ensure that the locking cable system can be used.

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The iPhone 15 Pro’s connectivity allows Ninja Phone users to make full use of Atomos’ Cloud Services (ACS). These include Camera to Cloud workflows, remote live production, and cloud editing. With ACS, content creators can publish video to social media within minutes, and filmmakers can send their footage to their postproduction team via the cloud for the fastest possible production workflow.

Price & Availability

The Ninja Phone will cost $399 and is expected to begin shipping in June 2024. The cases will be available separately for $59.

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