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Old October 21st, 2007, 12:21 PM   #1
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Workflow Design Fun!

Hey guys....

I'm planning for the future whilst trying to pick up a network contract, and need to know I can deliver HD as beautifully as possible...

My current setup:

Adobe Production Studio CS2
Cineform AspectHD
No capture card
Z1U main camera.

I would like to bypass the HDV compression, and record direct to disk in some way, shape, or form.

I've been looking at the Wafian, but it's rather expensive/bulky for my current needs. Is there a more portable alternative for recording in a format other than HDV using firewire or component? The final result will be bringing it into Premiere as Cineform FS1, more than likely, and then possibly for finishing on Final Cut, by use of EDLs and repackaging the Cineform files as mov from avi (god, that's the handiest advancement ever).

Also, this brings me to another question... if I get a nice spiffy new contract, I haven't decided between investing in XDCam or something along those lines, a new A camera, and move the Z back to a B camera. Or... an FX for a B camera. Decisions! :)

But, it all hinges on building a solid workflow, and I really would like to skip the HDV step. Whatever I decide to do, I will keep a tape copy as well as hard disk copy, so it would need to be a setup that could capture both to disk and to tape for emergency backup purposes. :)

Any thoughts, my friends and colleagues?

Carl
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Old October 21st, 2007, 12:41 PM   #2
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A lot of customers are build solutions around the Intensity Pro and a small PC running NEO, Aspect or Prospect as a capture station.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 12:48 PM   #3
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My main concern is that most of my work tends to end up being rather adventurous, involving rainforests, offshore locations, etc. For the most part, I'm trying to build something that could be a viable recording setup, without weighing me down too much. Possibly something that will fit into a backpack, and leave enough room for audio gear and misc stuff needed on location.

Here is my current physical setup :
Left hand - misc case
Across my left shoulder - my bogen in a bag
Right hand - my pelican with the Z :)

I can probably fit another backpack in the mix, but the more connections inside that backpack, such as firewire external capture card into a laptop, is a lot of connections to wiggle loose, and that scares me...

Am I right in assuming that any firewire solution with a laptop would require a fast external drive, and therefore a power supply?

C
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Old October 21st, 2007, 01:20 PM   #4
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You can rule out FireWire solution if you want to avoid HDV compression, as FireWire isn't fast enough for uncompressed. On the laptop you need a port to handle uncompressed data rates, then use the laptop CPU for CineForm compression. We are still need a faster input module for laptops unfortunately.

What you really want is a FireStore like device with 1920x1080 10-bit CineForm compression that takes HMDI, HDSDI or component feeds, records to flash or notebook drive and runs on cheap Li-on batteries with couple hours of record time--correct? Interested in pre-ordering? ;)
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Old October 21st, 2007, 01:37 PM   #5
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Oh god yes.

But with many spare batteries, as I would expect for anything that can do that. :)

Is there any very, very rough guesstimation on delivery date? :P

I've got a meeting Monday to discuss a future workflow for Discovery. My previous experience is broadcast quality for latin america, with HD delivery mainly for futureproofing. For this job, I need to prove I can build a reliable workflow to quickly edit and deliver the sort of quality they would expect....

But in the meantime, I'll be saving now for that. =D


Is there anything you would recommend in the meantime suggest for capturing via component that is somewhat portable? If the quality difference is high enough, I'll lug around a backpack with power supplies, HDDs, and a capture module of some sort. Or, it's probably Firestore or something for the time being, until that beauty that you described (which required pulling out the mop bucket for my drool) is made manifest. :D

C
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Old October 21st, 2007, 02:37 PM   #6
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Given the rigorous environment and portability requirements, your XDCam comment earlier will be the best solution. (Until a Cineform Firestore drive is available) While more expensive, XDCam is much more portable than dragging around a whole PC, justa few disks. Only one set of batteries, all-in-one handheld unit. The workflow involves no other hardware, as the camera can be connected to your edit system as an external DVD-RW type device toinput the disc data to your system when you are ready to edit. I believe HDLink will even allow you to convert XDCam MXF files to Cineform AVI in a single batch processing step.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 03:03 PM   #7
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Wow, that sounds like an excellent point. I'm reading up on your webpage now. :D

The only scary thing about XDCam in my opinion is redundancy, a big reason for an external capture solution is also the ability to capture redundant copies, on tape and hdd.... With the last project I worked on for broadcast, the producer supplied the B camera, a Sony A1... The dropped frames that thing loved to give were the bane of my existence in the editing room.

I'll do some research on the file format for the XDCam on the other forum, as I haven't really researched it as thoroughly as I would like, and also drool over the Wafian a bit longer. :)

All I would need for the Wafian to work for me would be 1920x1080 over component, and a way to power it in a backpack. The 18 hours would be plenty, with raid1 redundancy. Possibly a total of 4 for 2 cameramen on location for extended periods. Oh, and to know how well it handles being jostled around in a backpack. :)

Carl
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Old October 21st, 2007, 05:15 PM   #8
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The luggable Wafian HR-F1 is a good option, http://www.wafian.com/HR-F1.htm, it support the analog components you need and is battery operated. Plus the benefits of touch screen control on set monitoring. We still desire and are working towards even smaller form-factor, that why I drop the above hints, but that is a way off.
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Old October 21st, 2007, 11:42 PM   #9
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The luggable Wafian HR-F1 is a good option.....

We still desire and are working towards even smaller form-factor, that why I drop the above hints, but that is a way off.
Considering the new PCMIA sized solid-state esata hard drives, that would be doable. (Did I miss anything else :)

Face it, the current HDD's are the reason we have big and heavy boxes with large heat sinks, noisy fans and fat power supplies. Just switching to solid state drives would make the capture card itself the determining size factor. A shoebox PC would litterally be the size of a shoebox. Fit in your backpack, and power off a battery belt.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 10:09 AM   #10
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Aye Peter, the Wafian F1 is darn near what I want :)

I really don't want to lug a RAID setup in a backpack with a power supply capable of spinning up 4 drives at once, that sounds like a back breaker... Flash memory is where it's going to be here soon, very soon! *drools*

I'm very glad that I'm designing a workflow around getting new (better) network contracts here in the future. Hopefully I'll need the solution before the hinted new one comes out (a good problem to have) but if I can buy a Cineform based solution, the workflow rocks, and if I can buy from Cineform I will. David here has made a customer for life out of me. I scrapped my possible plans to buy a mac, mainly because of Cineform's support. They make me feel like a rock star when I have problems. =D
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 03:45 PM   #11
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Just stopped in to the local studio for a dub, and the owner proudly showed me an 8gig eSATA solid state drive he ordered for another customer. He mentioned 128gigs are not far off. He sells video toasters and we joked about folks customers wanting them small enough to wear on their backs.

There was another customer there whom chimed in that he was dead serious about doing this so he be free of a tethered cable.

Yes, having cineform greatly increases your options, and for me, it solves the mac/pc file sharing issues.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 05:25 PM   #12
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I was working a storage industry trade show in Dallas last week and talked to a couple of companies that are selling SSD packaged in HDD compatible form factors.

They said that at retail they would expect $30/GB more or less - or 10 to 15 times the price of a hard drive. They were showing 120GB units at the show, but still very expensive.

I think the price differential will fall, but for the next few years there will probably be roughly a 5 or 10 to 1 price advantage for HDD vs SDD.

10Gb Ethernet seems to be alive and well and NAS boxes that run at that speed aren't too far away, at which point I think they start getting more useful for video. Big issue is how to deal with the Ethernet standard that requires a hanshake every 1500 btes or so. There are a few jumbo frame schemes out there that address this, but I don't think they are universal yet.
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 06:50 PM   #13
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I love this site just because we get to see what's being pushed out there on the edge of that envelope...... Cool stuff coming....
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Old October 22nd, 2007, 10:08 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Jim Andrada View Post
I think the price differential will fall, but for the next few years there will probably be roughly a 5 or 10 to 1 price advantage for HDD vs SDD.
Why do you think the price differential will fall? Is HDD going to stop getting cheaper?
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Old October 23rd, 2007, 01:58 AM   #15
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As far as duplicate recording copies, XD is not quite solid state like P2, but I have never heard of getting dropped frames. We have an F350 that we use on every shoot, and it works great.

The Flash to spindle price differencial will drop, because while HDD have not reached a "limit" the size increases are fewer and farther between these days. The limitations are mechanical, not in the interface or electronics. Plus the whole 2TB software limit will slow it down a bit too.

I don't think Flash will catchup any time soon, but it will become a much more economically feasible option than it is now. $30 a gigabyte is 150 times the price of HDD (500GB for $100 = $.20/GB) I see that 150 becoming 10 times more expensive within two years, which is a BIG difference.
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Last edited by Mike McCarthy; October 23rd, 2007 at 11:25 AM.
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