When I heard of the HyperDeck Shuttle (HDS) at the price point of £263 it was a no brainer when I was asked to review one. To explain the HyperDeck Shuttle gives you the quality of uncompressed recording direct to common SSDs (Solid State Drive) in the smallest possible size! HyperDeck Shuttle bypasses your camera’s compression and records from SDI and HDMI direct into the highest quality uncompressed video.
Although the unit has a mini USB 2 socket you have to format your SSD drive in a SATA dock not supplied and it must be erased as Mac OS Extended (Journaled) if you don’t use a Mac you will have to buy software for the PC like MacDrive which will set you back $49.
On paper or should I say screen the Shuttle looks quite small but in reality it’s a lot bigger and as yet has nothing to mount it on a camera, though as you read on I think Black Magic have good reasons for this.
This in my opinion is a specialised piece of kit and it’s not a coincedence that “It feels like a VTR” …although it has a 1 hour built in battery this unit is more suited to studio work.
The data rate alone at 10Gb per minute is astounding and if I tell you my first shot lasted 40 seconds and that equated to 6 Gbs on my hard drive. The 240Gb Vortex SSD that came with the Shuttle (Optional) would only last for 24 minutes, one point is that due to the lack of a screen the HDS gives you no indication on how much space you have filled.
What about the results, there is no doubt that at 10bit uncompressed 4:2:2 you are getting every ounce from your Sony FS100 via it’s HDMI socket (8bit).
So just who is this relativly inexpensive SSD deck aimed at, well I have had a lot of soul searching as firstly with a 1 hour inbuilt battery you are not going to get far out in the field with the HDS, there is a 12V input on the side but it’s not the standard 4 pin canon power connector.
The second and strangest decision in my opinion was to put non standard SDI sockets on the shuttle, these are seemingly standard on computer boards but in my opinion this is not aimed at that marketplace and should have had BNC connectors. Black Magic tell me that they are now selling a lead which converts from the smaller SDI to a standard BNC SDI.
There is a “Display” button but no one could tell me what it was for as there is no display on the unit itself unless it’s for a future re designed unit. The other thing that is missing is the ability to start and stop the Shuttle from your camera, competitors units give you 422 or Lanc control.
If you are using the Sony FS100 you will need the up to date firmware which is 1.01 otherwise like my HDS it would not work till I updated the FW.
As far as who this unit is aimed at well firstly if you are doing green screen work this unit is right down your street, anything that needs 10bit uncompressed 4:2:2 fantastic picture quality and at a price that won’t break the bank but remember SSD drives are averaging about £1 per Gb and even at 600Gbs this only gives you one hour of footage.
My honest opinion is that the HyperDeck Shuttle is a great bit of kit as long as you can justify the need for uncompressed footage, one hour = 600Gb of space. A word of warning if you take this into Final Cut Pro under ProRes 422 you won’t see any difference in picture quality.
Q. Would I buy one…Certainly if I was doing green/blue screen work and my camera did not record 4:2:2 but I see the unit as a small recorder sat near by your camera so you can switch it on and off then transferring the footage is as simple as drag and drop , once again from the SATA dock (Not supplied).
1. The price…at £263 this is a must for anyone producing HI-End video productions, mainly in a studio e.g.. Green/Blue screen work.
2. The picture quality is the best I have seen and I thought my Sony FS100 was fantastic till I saw the uncompressed pictures from the HD Shuttle.
3. The first manufacturer to give us both HDMI (full size) and SDI (non standard) though a cable is now avaliable from Black Magic Design.
4. Using off the shelf SSD drives gives you a choice rather than a dedicated unit.
5. Build quality, the buttons feel very positive, the unit is simple in design.
1. No LCD screen, not being able to tell how much drive space you have used is very limiting.
2. The non standard SDI sockets
3. Not being able to format the SSD drive via the HD Shuttle is a pain.
4. One hour internal battery is very limiting though there is a 12v input that a 3rd party manufacturer could utilise.
5. Does not accept 1080 50p output from a Sony FS100 or a Sony NX70.