Over the past few weeks the folks over at Fast Forward Video have given me the opportunity to test out their sideKick HD. The sideKick HD allows you to capture the highest quality video, with a straight to edit workflow. The sideKick HD is capable of recording directly from the camera up to 10 bit precision, 220Mbit/s , 4:2:2 sampling using Apple ProRes 422 HQ.
The sideKick HD is a video recorder that has a vibrant 4.3” color TFT screen for monitoring your shot or playing back various recorded clips. The sideKick HD uses 2.5” solid state drives for fast and compact performance. The SSD can be swapped out for larger drives for increased capacity, for longer record times.
The sidekKick HD supports various inputs and outputs for maximum compatability. These include :
Video Inputs / Outputs
- HD-SDI / HDMI ( cross converted so both are always active )
- Standards : 1080p: 29.97/25/23.98, 1080i : 59.94/50, 720P: 59.94/50/29.97/25/23.98
- Connections BNC 75ohms HDMI Type C Mini
Audio Input / Outputs
- 8 channels embedded HD-SDI
- BNC or HDMI unbalanced
- resolution: 24bits
- Sample Rate : 48khz
- Analog Input / Mic : 2 line level
- Connections: 3.5mm
- Resolution: 16 bit
The first thing I noticed how wonderfully easy the menu is to navigate through. The large circular wheel, and menu buttons allows you to easily change your record formats, playback clips and quickly switch back to recording to grab that unexpected shot. It is incredibly intuitive and a joy to work with in the field.
Once setup the sideKick HD Monitor is vibrant and large enough to keep focus on the subject as recording begins. The LCD has great quality and is visible even in daylight. The screen is not a touch screen, and this is a good thing. I prefer using the wheel as it keeps grubby fingerprints off the monitor, and allows me to focus on the shot.
The SSD drive easily swaps in and out, and hardly adds any noticeable weight to the already light compact design. This unit came with the 128GB version, but can be upgraded to larger sizes. the 128GB version will give you approximately 70 mins of Apple ProRes HQ.
Transferring your footage to your edit suite just could not be any easier than drag and drop. It really is that simple. Fast Forward Video even provides you with a SATA to USB cable for those of you without the luxury of a docking station or other means. A great support for those on a tighter budget.
Many editors are also on Avid and you may be wondering is there and Avid support. Well I have been informed that there is an update coming later this year for Avid’s DNxHD codec. Thus making this a very powerful tool. No longer are we constrained by various codecs, wasting precious time converting and consolidating. The sideKick Hd does all that heavy lifting for you, so you can go straight to edit.
After using the sideKick HD for a few weeks I can happily say it really is a fantastic recorder. It mounts easily to either my Sony PMW 350k or even on my smaller DSLRs such as the Canon 5D and 7D. This means I can easily bypass the native codecs of the cameras, such as XDCAM and go straight to Apple ProRes or the upcoming Avid DNxHD. Plus add in it’s ability to record at 220 Mbit/s with 4:2:2 color sampling, and 10 bit precision via HD-SDI and you have a simple must have tool. The sideKick HD is incredibly intuitive and a joy to work with in either production, or post-production.