Setting Up The Canon C100 & Atomos Ninja 2

July 6, 201320 Comments

The Atomos Ninja 2 is a perfect fit for the C100. In fact Canon worked with Atomos to get it to work as well as it does. I wish the monitor was a little better but for the price it works very well. One of the best features is the C100 will trigger the recorder on the Ninja 2 which is a real plus. It also deals with 24P 3:2 pulldown.
If you’ve ever used an external recorder and you want to record on both internal and external then you have to duel trigger both and that’s s a pain. Unless you dont want to use the cameras internal recorder then it’s not so bad. I rather have the back up because you never know. The recorder could have an issue and you’ll have a back up.

Setting up the Atomos Ninja 2 seems straight forward but I found a few gotchas along the way. Lets set this baby up right the first time!

Change the C100-Menu TIMECODE Settings

Change the C100-Menu TIMECODE Settings

Make sure the Ninja 2 isn’t connected yet. First thing you want to do is go into the C100 menu.  If it is connected you cant change the settings. They will be greyed out. Navigate to “OTHER FUNCTIONS” and scroll down to HDMI – TIME CODE.  Default settings is OFF. Turn it on. Now you have another option available that wasn’t present. REC COMMAND. Turn this function ON. Make sure you also turn the Character Display off by going to Video Setup.  Character Display. Then Ext. Out. Enable HD Onscreen Display. Now the HDMI will send a clean feed. Your now ready to plug the HDMI into the C100.

Now plug in the Atomos Ninja 2 into the HDMI input on the C100 and power on the Ninja 2.

Pick your codec. It's set to ProRes 422 but you have four options.

Pick your codec. It’s set to ProRes 422 but you have four options.

To pick your recording codec you need to be on the main menu screen.  On the top of the screen you will see the codec that is set. If you want to change it just tap on the name of the current codec and new choices will appear. You now have four choices. As of today three ProRes and one DNxHD. Select one and tap the return button to get back to the main menu.

Select the Canon and HDMI

Select the Canon and HDMI

Next tap on menu then time code Here is where the record trigger setting live. The first one to set is CAMERA TRIGGER. Tap on the names until Canon appears. Now lets change the SOURCE to HDMI. The Nija 2 should now be showing the C100 time code. I had mine set to free run and I saw it kick in fast.

Some menu functions are grey out but they wont be for long

Some menu functions are grey out but they wont be for long

Wave to the camera!

Wave to the camera!

If your shooting in 24P on the C100 you have to wave your hand in front of the lens for a few seconds or pan the camera back and forth. This gets the Atomos Ninja 2 to properly record the 24P signal. You will know when it it’s done setting up when the all four buttons are available and monitoring is now engaged. You can also pan the camera but I found the wave works faster.

Setup and recording!

Setup and recording!

That’s it. Your ready to go!

Here is a video I shot using the C100 with the Ninja 2 recording to ProRes.

Secret Language – C100 Ninja 2 ProRes 422 Canon CN-E Primes from Erik Naso on Vimeo.

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About the Author ()

I'm a broadcast DP In San Diego. I enjoy sharing what I'm working on and testing new equipment. This blog is also part of giving back. I've learned so much from so many people.

Comments (20)

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  1. Helpful as usual. Thanks Erik. I hadn’t heard about the “hand waving” step.
    BTW, if you’re using the Zacuto C-shooter (no cage) as a rig for the camera and recorder, are you powering the cam and recorder separately? Would there be a way to add an Anton Bauer bracket on the back of the C-shooter weights and power the Ninja, etc. from D-tap?

    Also, I’m thinking the new C100 software might be a big deal if Canon comes out with high quality, responsive continuous autofocus lenses. Even with the GH-2 and the 12-35 I was having pretty reliable results when I wanted to hand-fly the camera around and not worry about focus…

  2. Colin Nusbaum says:

    This is incredibly helpful Erik, as I have a Ninja 2 arriving shipping soon for my C100.

    I have one more logistical question, and one about use in the field…
    First, do you have to do the hand wave to coordinate the 3:2 pulldown each time you connect the Ninja 2, or is that just the first time in order to establish the settings?
    Also, I will ideally be using the Ninja 2 as a monitor, mounted on an arm from the top handle, for when I mount the camera on my shoulder. Do you find that Ninja 2 is adequate for finding focus? judging exposure? Namely, I am wondering if I ought to forego external recording (stick with the internal avchd), and consider something like a smallhd ac7 monitor instead of the ninja 2. Any thoughts on that?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Erik Naso says:

      Hi Collin. The Ninja 2 is a very good recorder especially with the C100 but the monitor is hard to work with outside. It’s not color accurate but you can focus with it. It has some nice tools built in as well. Tough to pick one over the other. You need to figure out whats more important for the situation you’re shooting in. Most of the time AVCHD cosec is good enough but using the ninja 2 with the C100 gives you a higher quality image than C300 internal cdec. I say get both!

      As for the 3:2 pulldown. Every time you power the camera off and on you need to wave or pan the camera to engage the pulldown.

  3. Pete Vandall says:

    Hi Erik,

    Have you recorded content for broadcast television without using the atmos? My concern is that the C100 isn’t ready for broadcast out of the box.

    Thanks you are great!

  4. itsjohnny says:

    Awesome tutorial. I just got my Ninja 2 today and updated the firmware. Does your LCD screen on the Ninja have line flicker while going into the menu, recording while monitor is on, and playing back footage?

    • James says:

      I am having that issue right now Johnny, I don’t know why but its giving me lines during playback like it is interlaced or something. I updated the firmware and it still does it. Some of my footages are a waste

      • Erik Naso says:

        Hi James I’m having this issue too and next week will be contacting Atomos for help. Several other people have contacted me with the same interlacing and others have seen artifacts in the ProRes HQ files. Please contact Atomos with your issues so they are aware of this and hopefully get it resolved. Thanks

  5. Chris Gronau says:

    Hi Erik,

    Do you think the ninja 2 is worth getting if I only do light color grades. Is there a visable difference or it is just easier to edit natively and more color data.

  6. Hi. I shot with ninja 2 today on 23.98 and got jaggy edges! Fortunately the in camera footage looks OK…any ideas? Strangely, I didn’t have to wave my hand in front of the lens to kick it in, so maybe there was something weird going on with that setting…db

    • Erik Naso says:

      Sorry to hear that happened. Good to always have a back up rolling in the camera!
      Never skip the cadence sync. That’s what happens. Power the Ninja off and make sure it needs to be performed after restart. This happened to me as well but with the Panasonic AF-100.


  7. Daniel Ford says:


    I purchase Atomos Samurai Blade for may Canon XF100 based on a desperate review. Upon seeing your review of the Canon C100 I sold decided to buy one and was wondering if the procedure you described for the Ninja would be the same for the Samurai.

    Also, any advice on the best cinematic setting for the C100 24P, 30PF?

    • Erik Naso says:

      I believe it will be the same. I haven’t tried the Samurai so I’m not 100% sure. Try using 24P. Looks great. Also set your shutter to 180 degree angle. Avoid 30PF. I don’t get that frame rate.

  8. Miriam says:

    Thanks for this helpful article, Erik! I’m rather technically inept, and just wanted to make sure of something about my settings: I’m shooting on the C100 in 50 Hz (PAL) and PF25.
    When I connect the Ninja, it gives me two options: 1080i50 or 1080p25
    Do both of these options record at 50Mbps? What is the difference?
    Many thanks!

  9. Dear Eric, thank you for all your posts. They are really helpfull for me.
    I just read the post from Miriam and i have the same question : “…I’m shooting on the C100 in 50 Hz (PAL) and PF25.
    When I connect the Ninja, it gives me two options: 1080i50 or 1080p25
    Do both of these options record at 50Mbps? What is the difference?”
    Looking forward to your respons, kind regards, Ilya

  10. James says:

    Hey Eric. Thanks for the tips. I know this video is old but I hope you could still help someone out. I just got the canon c100 and the ninja 2. For some reason the record and play are both grayed out. and I can’t set the canon trigger to Canon, Only HDMI or None/Off.

    Is there a certain step in the Ninja I am missing?

  11. James S says:

    I would love it if someone could help me out. I can record to the Atomos Ninja 2 in ProRes422 just fine, but when I try to record to ProRes422HQ, it only records for about 4 seconds before stopping or skipping frames. I am using a Sandisk Ultra II SSD 480GB which is listed on Atomos’ website as compatible. I have tried different HDMI cables with no luck, but as I say, it works fine for non-HQ ProRes 422, so the HDMI connection is stable. The timecode also syncs just fine. Any help would be appreciated hugely.

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