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REVIEW Atomos Samurai Blade & Connect Converter/TSG The first high-definition HD-SDI test set that fits in your hand and is gentle on batteries by Kevin Owen K evin Owen has worked in live tel- evision broadcast industry for the past 10 years, specializing in fiber optic systems integration and video engineering. Troubleshooting prob- lems on the fly, often at remote loca- tions away from the production truck has become an integral part of his job. Kevin is most often found working on entertainment shows such as The Emmys, American Music Awards and The Oscars but has also spent time in sports production at places such as the US Open, Nascar and the Super Bowl. Portable test equipment in these environments greatly improves efficien- cy and response time, especially when there isn’t any time to waste so Kevin took time out to put down his thoughts about Atomos solutions. “I recently had the opportunity to try out the new Samurai Blade from Atomos and was quite impressed with all of the features that the design team managed to pack into such a small package. I stumbled onto the product almost by accident - I had just purchased one of their Connect signal converters (because it also doubles and a HD-SDI test generator) and was browsing the website to see what else they offered. The stunning display of the Samurai caught my eye at first, shortly followed by the fact that it could natively handle HD-SDI signals 64 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE: ISSUE 90 JUNE 2014 and was battery powered, what more could you want? I spend a lot of time working in the live television broadcast environment and am always looking for a good portable test monitor. It didn’t take long for me to add this guy to my collection. The unit arrived in late December and three days later I was on a plane to New York to start setting up for New Year’s Eve in Times Square. It didn’t take me long to appreciate all that the Blade has to offer. Startup time is fast at about 6 seconds and the 5” touchscreen is phenomenal with a native resolution of 1280x720. This is the first test monitor that looks every bit as good as the monitors back in the production truck if not better. I was on another show a few weeks after the Times Square gig and ended up sending a 16 window multiviewer output into the Blade. I was actually able to read the under monitor displays on each window! The other test monitors I have can’t even come close to that level of resolution. Couple the high resolution with the focus-assist mode and you can now set up POV cameras accurately in the field. Moving on from the screen, this unit is packed with features. It includes a waveform monitor (with RGB parade), vectorscope, and embedded audio monitoring, all selectable as overlays on top of the picture or as full screen. Incidentally, having the embedded audio metering as a standard component of the default screen makes for very fast assessment of signal presence and channel assignment. This feature is fairly standard on the traditional rack-mount scopes and makes a great addition to a portable test set, no one else seems to be doing this as of yet. While the unit doesn’t have a built in speaker, it does have a headphone jack for