It’s been almost a year now with the BlackMagic Video Assist 5″ HD 1920×1080 monitor / recorder. For me it’s primary use has been for a lighter and more compact camera setup with my F55. I have a 7″ LCD which is great but there are times when I don’t need such a large monitor on my camera, nor require the use of the Sony OLED VF. It’s also been a great way to record using the ProRes codec since I don’t have the internal upgrade codec board for the F55.
The BMVA is an absolutely excellent buy at only $495. It’s razor sharp. I could easily work off it to pull focus and it has a 1:1 zoom which is great. I couldn’t find any way to “pan around” and not sure if you can. I need to read the manual.
I had no coloured tint on my image compared to Sony OLED VF or playing back the ProRes file later on my computer. T/C Run trigger works flawlessly for triggering, and I typically record using ProRes 422 HQ to a 64GB SanDisk 95/Mbs Class 3 cards.
The monitor does tends to be a little on the “hot” side of things. To match my Sony OLED VF and the BMVA monitor together I used the following monitor settings on the BMVA: Brightness 50%, Contrast 10%, Saturation 50%. If you don’t lower your contrast the monitor blows highlights really fast and too early!
Between my monitor zebra stripes and my F55 zebra stripes there was a discrepancy between 6-10% IRE. I matched the stripes on both by setting the camera to stripe at 90% IRE, and the BMVA to stripe at 80%. This essentially means that if you used the BMVA stripes to set your exposure, your actual recording will be about 1 stop brighter. When I brought the footage into Davinci Resolve, my white target was in fact hitting 90% IRE on the waveform monitor. This is something you should test in advance of using this unit.
Recently I’ve been using the BMVA mounted to the top handle of a full sized DJI Ronin. Again, it’s lightweight and compact design makes it the perfect monitor for this purpose. You can power the monitor from any external power source but I use Canon LP-E6 batteries since I have many of them. It takes two on the back (but can run off one) so that you can change a battery while it remains powered on, a very nice to have feature. If you have other brand batteries you can source battery brand adapters so you can use Sony, Panasonic, etc..
While the 5″ BMVA only records in HD max resolution there is now a 4K recorder version but it is 7″. So if you prefer a smaller sized monitor like I do you might have to stick with HD which is usually enough for most projects.