REVIEW: Blackmagic Designs Hyperdeck Shuttle 2
A lot of potential in a slab of aluminum
By Bruce A Johnson | March 12, 2013
(Music cue: Also Sprach Zarathustra)
(Lights come up on a monolith, perfectly rectangular and black as death)
OK, maybe I’m being a bit melodramatic. However, it is hard to have a first look at the Blackmagic Design Hyperdeck Shuttle and not instantly think of the Kubrick masterpiece “2001: A Space Odyssey. “ If you ignore the buttons on one long side and the HDMI, mini BNC, USB and power jacks on the other, what you have is a really nice desk –sized Monolith souvenir. Luckily, its classic looks aren’t the only things that the Shuttle brings to the party, although it’s not all a trip to the Moon on Pan Am. (OK, I’ll stop with the “2001” references now. Promise.)
The Hyperdeck Shuttle is a terrifically clever recording device, machined out of a block of solid aluminum and then fitted with controls and jacks. The Shuttle itself weighs only 18 ounces empty (including an internal battery), and only 22 ounces with the solid-state drive it is designed to carry as a recording medium. (Ironically, an optional solid-steel cheese-plate offers dozens of ¼" and 3/8” threaded holes as mounting options, and weighs as much by itself as the Shuttle does fully loaded.) Inputs and outputs include both SDI (via mini-BNC connectors) and full-sized HDMI jacks. A nice touch is that both the SDI and HDMI outputs are active no matter which input you use.
Buttons on the other side include Power, Record, Play, Stop, and Previous or Next Clip. Arrayed to the right side of the button panel are three small LEDs, offering information on whether you are connected to an acceptable video signal, whether the SSD you have inserted is properly formatted (and this light flashes when recording) and a four-segment battery level display. I noticed in my testing that the battery lights all tended to bleed into each other, so having a truly accurate sense of battery state can be a tad confusing. A button marked DISP teases you with the opportunity to see all kinds of data about your recording, but unfortunately, according to the manual:
I sure hope that update is on its way, because as cool as the Shuttle is, using it requires a huge leap of faith. But more on that later.
It is important to note that only specific SSDs will work with the Hyperdeck series (the list is available here) and that the SSD you use in the Shuttle MUST have a Mac-specific format to be operable. What this means for PC users is that having a copy of MacDrive or similar Mac disc-reading software is a must, which adds about $50 to the cost of the entire experience.
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