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Atomos: Towards making HDMI a professional video standard

SDI has ruled the professional video space for more than 25 years, built on a backbone of dependability and control, but HDMI, the main consumer connection, is increasingly important for professional use, particularly for DSLRs.

However, many of SDI’s advantages have been missing from HDMI, such as auto triggering and timecode communication between cameras and external devices like monitors and recorders. Atomos has implemented these functions in conjunction with camera manufacturers, and now wants to make it an open, free and available standard.

“We love HDMI, but as it gets more popular on the camera side we need to help make it work in the pro world,” said Jeromy Young, CEO and founder of Atomos, “Historically this has only been achieved in the tech industry by creating an open standard… which is what we’ve done.”

Atomos initially developed auto HDMI start/stop and timecode communication with Sony’s FS100 in 2011, then Canon’s 5D Mark III, 1DC and C100 last year. Currently, almost all professional Sony and Canon HDMI cameras employ this protocol. Now it is open to all camera manufacturers.

Another SDI advantage has been a firmer connection, as HDMI is easily pulled out. To counter this, Atomos developed its own HDMI cables with tight fitting connections and coiled cable to lessen clutter and reduce pulling at the HDMI connection.

“Initially we developed these cables purely to support the Ninja Star, our lightweight, pocket-size ProRes recorder,” said Young, “but after consulting with our user base we soon discovered no one had yet developed a complete range of HDMI cables purely for ProVideo users in our space.”

Its cables include a right-angled HDMI micro-to-micro/mini and fully coiled cables in lengths of 30cm (45cm extended). HDMI mini-to-full and full HDMI-to-full HDMI connections in lengths of 30-50cm (65cm extended), priced $19.95- $29.95.