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Atomos Ninja / Samurai / Shogun
HD-SDI field recorders supporting a variety of codecs.

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Old December 2nd, 2013, 05:55 AM   #1
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colchester, UK
Posts: 36
Ninja 2 Firmware problem?

The Ninja has been acting up recently just when I’ve been having the busiest period of work for years.

I've been using firmware 4.2 and it started by a series of tiny files being created before the main file. The small file would be in the 200 -300 kb range and would look like an attempt to record the first frame. This was just annoying but didn’t actually affect filming.

Then on the next shoot the first three recordings had audio problems. The first one had no audio at all, and the next two were out by 02.44 frames (I was recording 50p). Fortunately, we were recording a drama and all these takes were rehearsals, before the main event.

But when I really had to sit up and take notice was on a CEO shoot when the Ninja decided not to record the first 9 seconds. I confirmed this by looking at the camera recording on the card and by now the Ninja was consistently missing the first 9 seconds of any take. Because of our belt and braces approach of recording on two media we got away with it but this could have a disaster.

Back at the ranch I settled down to test the Ninja. Pointed the camera at a clock and recorded a series of twenty-second takes on camera and on the Ninja.

It was failing to record the first nine seconds pretty consistently and the ghost frame was showing up.
I sent Atomos a support ticket and they replied that the ghost frame was normally seen on a suspect hard drive and could I try it again with a trusted drive.

On my return I took out some old drives that had worked perfectly in the past. I also monitored recording on the front page of the Ninja – not the monitor page and for the first time I saw the skippy icon. It didn’t show when I started recording but several seconds in. The 9 second gap was now consistent on any drive I put in.

Atomos wanted to send me an RMA but I wanted to try one last thing. I wanted to go back to a firmware that had always worked for me. So I downloaded 4.11 which was the previous firmware that I had used (4.12 had no significant additions for me so I didn’t bother with it).

Immediately everything was now working as I would expect it. No skippy on any drive, no audio gap.

If you are having problems perhaps you should try going back as well.

Last edited by Duncan Say; December 2nd, 2013 at 11:41 AM.
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Old December 3rd, 2013, 01:22 PM   #2
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Join Date: May 2007
Location: Alpharetta, Georgia, USA
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Re: Ninja 2 Firmware problem?

I - and I'm sure Atomos - are very curious as to exactly what hard drives you are using, Duncan.
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Old December 4th, 2013, 03:55 AM   #3
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Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colchester, UK
Posts: 36
Re: Ninja 2 Firmware problem?

Seagate Barracuda Momentus 500 Gb & 750 Gb and Western Digital Black Scorpion 500 Gb. Atomos have already asked these questions and since I told them that I went back to firmware 4.11 they have gone very quiet.

November has been extraordinarily busy for me, so getting down-time to test what is going on as been difficult but I think this has opened up a clue. (Warning, speculation!) This seems to be a cumulative problem of errors in the firmware. By going back to a firmware that worked for me which was version 4.11 which is still available on the website (version 4.12 had nothing that I was interested in), I have stopped the problems occurring. However I don't have all that fancy audio metering but I would rather have a working recorder.
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