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Old February 1st, 2008, 02:53 AM   #286
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Originally Posted by Mike McCarthy View Post
As far as that FocusEnhancement box goes, it would be useful if you had an SDI Cineform Solid, but with HDLinks available, there are few reasons to create an SDI version in the first place. HDMI is the way to go. And component can be converted to HDMI as well, via a cheaper box.
I'm kind of tired of this idea. Its been mentioned here a few times.

Short story: Both have their place.

Having HDMI does not obviate the need for SDI, although it might for some users. There are plenty of users who can't be restrained by HDMI.

Why? I'll give 8 reasons.

One: HDMI has relatively short cable runs.

This one matters the most to me.

I might like to run my cable 65 feet from the camera to the monitor where the director is sitting.

I can't do that with HDMI. 49 feet is the limit.

The cable with the longest HD SDI run I could find was Belden 7731A RG11 cable. The cable could run 540 feet in HD SDI. If you were using the same cable for SD SDI it can run 2730 feet.

I did see a 98ft HDMI with a built in repeater listed for $219. I'll believe that works when I see it, but they sell it. I'd want to see their HDMI certification first though. A stand alone HDMI repeater is about $60.

Or you could buy an RG179 100ft cable for about $70. About $49 if you make it yourself. (RG179 cables are limited to about 110 feet for HD SDI use, or 500 feet as SD SDI. Most RG59 cables can run HD SDI over 200 feet)

You can get an SDI repeater as well, but they are ridiculous. B&H has one for $1200. I have to admit however that I am not likely to run over 200 feet often. In the few instances I must, I can certainly use fiber. Past fiber I think I can just use broadcast.

Two HDMI isn't designed to be routable.

In fact HDMI has special features to make it UNroutable. I'm sure you've heard the HDCP horror stories.

So much for the idea of passing my HDMI signal through my SOLID on its way to my Monitor. Or through the monitor to the Cineform AND a separate DDR. Not a separate test unit because...

Three: there aren't test devices for HDMI.

Please point me at a waveform or vectorscope that has HDMI i/o. I can point you at a ton with SDI.

Four: 4K or 2K
HDMI is limited to 1080p

Although to be fair I doubt we'll see a 4K SOLID anytime soon, a 2K SOLID isn't much of a stretch. I could use a SOLID in a 4K pipeline as a 2K or 1080p recorder.

Five: I can make an SDI cable if needed in the field.

While that isn't impossible with HDMI it isn't even close to easy. HDMI has 19 or 29 connectors. The cable lengths have to be within 2/10000 of an inch tolerances, and the connectors have to be soldered.

I'm pretty sure most of us know how to make a BNC co-axial cable, and if you don't I can teach you how in ten minutes. 500 ft of RG59 suited for the task is $168 right now. (RG179 is more expensive at $205, but 500ft of that weights about 10lbs! That's why I use it wherever I can.)

Six: SDI to HDMI boxes are inconvenient.

Seriously, we'd be going from one external box to two in the simplest set ups.

After all, if adding a box is such a wonderful solution why not use one to convert HDMI to SDI? This argument is just as silly in both directions.

Its a tool to be used in odd situations, not as normal operation.

Seven: 16 audio Channels.

HDMI offers just 8.

On the up side for HDMI, its channels could be 24 bit 192KHz. SDI is limited to 24 bit 48KHz AES3 channels. I'd actually use 96KHz, but 192KHz is presently overkill. Of course most of us are recording audio on cameras with 48KHz systems anyway... so its not really a practical advantage yet.

Eight: 32 audio channels

What's that? Dual link, 2 x 16 AES3 channels per cable.

Nine: Positive locking connectors

I get frustrated enough with loose RCA connectors. HDMI connectors slip out VERY easily.

XLR and BNC connectors for my work please.

There is nothing more infuriating than shooting a show, then finding out your recorder wasn't getting your signals because a cable came loose.

************
HDMI is perfectly fine, and I am glad Cineform is undertaking an HDMI version of the SOLID. I even think its a good idea for them to make it first.

SDI has its advantages, and I am glad Cineform plans to make a version with that capability.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 10:10 AM   #287
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Well said.

I think Cineform knows and understands all this and will still have an SDI box for us in the future.

Can't wait to place my order.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 02:22 PM   #288
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The "loose connectors" item is the only issue I can totally agree with you on. Need to find a way to lock HDMI cables in. All of the other "problems" are based on the idea that an SDI-HDMI convertor is "inconvienient." If Cineform includes a power output, it should be reasonable. You are probably going to need an external battery power source anyway, plus a hard drive in most cases. It is still a way better than the current solution of dragging a Xena based capture workstation around. (Or a smaller Intensity based system.)

SOLID is a low budget product, there are many "more convienient" products in a higher price range. SOLID's advantage is in its price class. I am not saying Cineform shouldn't make an SDI version, I am just saying they shouldn't "need" to. SDI is limited to 1080p as well for all practical purposes, so that is not an issue. HDMI 1.3's deep color option is supported, they wouldn't even be limited to 8bit, but all budget cameras are 8bit anyway. And the original idea is to increase the record quality of lower budget cameras. One could argue that this would increase the record quality of an F900, but it would be a much smaller gain than you get from an HV20.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 02:17 PM   #289
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I think the quest for SDI is funny on this product.

Sure SDI has its place and CineForm may decide to cater to that market, but just looking at this device, that doesn't seem to be the focus at all, and would change the target group completely.

The HDMI option is a must and why I think they started this project anyway to cater to the explosion of camcorders that limit the user to M2T or whatever else. They have the most to gain and would buy this product price withstanding. Adding SDI would not benefit them. for most people that want SDI they usually wouldn't need HDMI.

So we either have a hybrid product or two different products. I only care about HDMI.

I just wished we would get professional XLR inputs than RCA... Being forced to route through the camera is just silly considering that audio is just as important as the video and we would all agree that most camcorders have lack luster amps.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 07:47 PM   #290
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Originally Posted by Michael Young View Post
I think the quest for SDI is funny on this product.
Oh really? Funny you say.

I think its serious business, but hey, that's just me.

Quote:
Sure SDI has its place and CineForm may decide to cater to that market, but just looking at this device, that doesn't seem to be the focus at all, and would change the target group completely.
Why do you say that? It makes no sense whatsoever.

Replace the two HDMI ports with SDI ports and you have a device suited to a lot of pro cameras.

That's clearly what Cineform intends, since you need two HD SDI ports for dual link.

Of course if they want to do simultaneous output of dual link then they need 4 HD SDI connectors. Of course they could just support simultaneous input and output in single link mode, that would be an acceptable compromise.

Oh, and for audio we could just use 2 AES connectors instead of RCA.

Quote:
The HDMI option is a must
Why do you say that? I mean I could argue, with merit, that you improve the results of low end cameras much more by replacing them with higher end cameras.

I mean, lets say you stick a SOLID on an HV20. You still have awful sensors, and a crummy lens. If you stick a 35mm adaptor on there then you still have crummy sensors.

So, for about $2000 and the resale value of your camera, you could buy a bunch of nicer cameras like an XH A1, which has much better sensors and will let you do more. Stick a 35mm rig on there and you start to get some pretty pictures, far exceeding a SOLID on a HV20. That's a rig the SOLID can do wonders for.

Oddly enough, an SDI SOLID would do wonders for an XH G1 in exactly the same fashion.

Quote:
and why I think they started this project anyway to cater to the explosion of camcorders that limit the user to M2T or whatever else.
You strike on it without realizing.

"Whatever else" includes DVCPRO HD, AVC Intra, XDCAM and even HDCAM recording. Cineform is an impressive codec- although it certainly isn't flawless. If nothing else moving from 8 bit to 10 bit would be an immense benefit.

Quote:
They have the most to gain and would buy this product price withstanding. Adding SDI would not benefit them. for most people that want SDI they usually wouldn't need HDMI.
Wrong again. SDI cameras have a lot to gain from improved recording codecs. I do agree with the notion that SDI users don't need HDMI though.

An HV20 or comparable camera has an 8 bit signal path. HDMI is there, but the camera is 8 bit. As I already pointed out the sensors suck- in great part because they are built around this 8 bit design. The sensor exceeds 4:2:0 well enough to benefit from 4:2:2 recording, but it won't saturate the 4:2:2 color space.

Step up to a camera like the EX1, and you get a 10 bit HD SDI output. The camera's built in recorder is XDCAM HD at 35Mbps... its just a modernized step above HDV, and its 8 bit. It has a real 4:2:2 sensor- and it can saturate the color space.

As we step up the line of cameras we have the upcoming XDCAM 4:2:2 camera, which is pretty amazing as a camera, but is fairly hobbled by its proposed recorder- which is XDCAM professional disc at 50Mbps. A Cineform SOLID will make that camera competitive with a Sony F950 or F23.

The F900 would even benefit. The F900 is a very very impressive camera, probably the best unit I've had the privilege of using, but its recorder hobbles it.

In other words in direct contravention of Mike MNcCarthy's comment... there is way more data for the SOLID to "save" on a high end camera than on an HV20 or other low end camera.

Also... data saved on a higher end camera is more likely to be usable by people with higher end facilities.

I mean you don't have the ability to monitor 10 bit video even if you could record it right? I mean there is a good chance your monitor doesn't fully support 8 bit video. So how could you use 10 bit in your DI suite? You might get some benefit because the software would work in 10 bit even though you can't see it... but you couldn't intentionally take advantage of it.

So why do you even want a SOLID?

Quote:
So we either have a hybrid product or two different products. I only care about HDMI.
So what? No really. That is great for you- you only want HDMI, fine.

From a business perspective though it sounds like you are a small time operator. You might buy one or possibly two SOLID's.

An outfit that uses HD SDI for live performances might buy 10 HD SDI solids. Even a relatively small operator like me will buy 2-4 units. Large productions with lots of VFX might snap up dozens of them. (Think of the studios that do those awful "SciFi Saturday" movies, of which they have 3-6 in production all the time. Then again, Cineform might refuse to sell them units for the sake of the art of film making.)

Its easy business decision when I consider that I have to buy an HDCAM SR recorder to match Cineform quality.

Quote:
I just wished we would get professional XLR inputs than RCA... Being forced to route through the camera is just silly considering that audio is just as important as the video and we would all agree that most camcorders have lack luster amps.
M
I agree with you on something at least, but even if the SOLID has XLR inputs we can't expect much in the way of quality mic pre-amps. Its just too tiny to get the kind of clean power needed.

So... what I'd do is run the mics off a mixing board, then feed the mixed audio to the camera. Set the camera up to perform 0dB gain at line level, not mic level- in other words not to alter the signal. That should give decent results if the pre-amp is properly designed.

(It doesn't have to be a good quality pre-amp, just correct. A lot of cameras that ship with XLR meet that low standard.)

Of course if you have an HD SDI SOLID, you can run discreet audio channels from your mixer to an SDI audio embedder. Then you can take up to 16 channels right into the SOLID over its SDI inputs. (32 if you use dual link input, which Cineform plans to support.) That neatly bypasses the camera.

But why would anyone want to do something so funny ?

I am kind of cranky about this... a lot of people who clearly don't understand SDI keep coming on here and bad mouthing those of us who need, want and can use SDI i/o.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 10:25 PM   #291
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Originally Posted by Alexander Ibrahim View Post
I am kind of cranky about this... a lot of people who clearly don't understand SDI keep coming on here and bad mouthing those of us who need, want and can use SDI i/o.
No disrespect..to you...but this product is not marketed for users like you. I include myself among these "small-time' users who want a product like this for more reasons that I can jot down. No need for you to be cranky. There are much more options out there for individuals like yourself to choose from... but for the majority of users (and I am talking strictly consumers with prosumer aspirations) this product is the ticket for bypassing the typical compression that we get so aggravated with.

The cool thing about a product like this is..when we outgrow our cams....we will still have this to capture to....until something similar or better comes along. You shouldnt be upset because they (Cineform) are not gearing this product for a more professional crowd....... I say more power to them.... anything to keep the price down so the average joe can get quality (and I know that's subjective) pictures..with their cheap cams....cheap lens and all. You should probably advocate for a more professional higher end unit than this...but...I'll definately take what they are currently dishing out.
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 10:38 PM   #292
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I agree

I totally agree with Ian. So you are a potential power user of the SOLID, so what. Even if you buy 2-4 or more SOLIDs, I can guarantee you that for everyone in your class of operation there are 5 or more average-joe consumers with Canon HV20's (et al) that will want this. This means we have more buying potential/power. You are not the sweet spot for this product's target market.

While we are speculating about the SOLID and future workflows......

Does anybody have a solution for software-based monitoring/scoping through the HDMI signal? So far, On Location is only compatible with a firewire signal. I have found a company that has monitoing software that can use the Blackmagic Intensity Card to scope an HDMI signal, but the software (Scopebox) only works on a Mac. I am on a PC. I am looking for a solution that will work with the SOLID's HDMI out port so that I can do more than just the rough monitoring that may be available through the SOLID's dispay. Thanks
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Old February 2nd, 2008, 11:38 PM   #293
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Originally Posted by Alexander Ibrahim View Post
...I am kind of cranky about this... a lot of people who clearly don't understand SDI keep coming on here and bad mouthing those of us who need, want and can use SDI i/o.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian G. Thompson View Post
There are much more options out there for individuals like (Alexander) to choose from... but for the majority of users (and I am talking strictly consumers with prosumer aspirations) this product is the ticket for bypassing the typical compression that we get so aggravated with...
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Originally Posted by Michael Panfeld View Post
I totally agree with Ian. So you are a potential power user of the SOLID, so what. Even if you buy 2-4 or more SOLIDs, I can guarantee you that for everyone in your class of operation there are 5 or more average-joe consumers with Canon HV20's (et al) that will want this. This means we have more buying potential/power. You are not the sweet spot for this product's target market...
Well, this is certainly interesting - who wants Solid more, consumers with prosumer aspirations or professionals dipping down into prosumer land?

No, no, no! ME! I want it more!!!

Owning a Sony V1, probably to be replaced by an EX1 in the future, I'd want HDMI now and HDSDI in the future... and XLR input, but no need for preamps, line-level is fine and I'll use a mixer, thank you very much. And, a fully featured timecode generator. So, I guess I'm with Alexander in my preferred usage. And there are many pros who would love to spend less and get equivalent usage to HDCAM, or DVCPRO-HD.

Frankly, I just wasn't aware of the strong HV20 following who are looking for an HDMI recorder. But that's pretty cool.

It's really fascinating that a proposed $2500 HD recorder (with Cineform quality) excites interest from both low-market/hobbiest and high-end users, we just care about it connecting to our respective uncompressed camera outputs.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 03:48 AM   #294
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Maybe Cineform have already answered this thread:

"We anticipate developing multiple members in the recorder product family - each targeting different recording needs. This first device targets HDV camcorder users and offers the ability to bypass the highly-compressed MPEG format. The features specification is below. We imagine a sister device that supports single-link and dual-link HD-SDI recording."

http://www.cineform.com/products/CineFormRecorder.htm

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Old February 3rd, 2008, 05:01 AM   #295
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Originally Posted by Ian G. Thompson View Post
No disrespect..to you...but this product is not marketed for users like you.
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Originally Posted by Michael Panfeld View Post
I totally agree with Ian.
Fortunately, Cineform disagrees with you and Ian. They are after all making a SOLID HD-SDI dual link. As pointed out now by at least four people in the thread, it says so on their page for the product.

I think Cineform should make BOTH versions. There is plenty of need for BOTH.

I can't understand why you and your ilk want to argue against them making an SDI unit. I need it, there are tons of people like me. What purpose does it serve for you to complain about what I might need, and what Cineform wants to sell me to fill that need? How does it hurt you for me and Cineform to do that bit of business?

So- if you don't want an SDI version, don't buy one. Enough already.

FWIW I may get an HDMI version too- because I can use an HV20 as a disposable camera. Stick it out at the end of a long HDMI cable and run a car right over it. Beat it with a bat - or any number of shots that require breaking a camera.

Of course- those shots often get done as CG, so maybe not.

Quote:
Does anybody have a solution for software-based monitoring/scoping through the HDMI signal?
No, nobody does real picture or technical monitoring over HDMI.

It seems that once again another member of the "NO SDI" crowd needs another feature provided for by SDI. There are tons of waveform/vectorscope combos out there, both hardware and software, for SDI.

Not only that, but I really doubt you'll see anyone spend the R&D dollars to make a HDMI scope or a production monitor. HDMI users aren't likely to spend $4K on a monitor or $7K on a scope if they don't want to spend $6K on the camera.

The Intensity/Scopebox combo is the best you are going to get for a while. I predict there will be competitors, and a Windows software solution.

You won't see a laptop HDMI i/o card until a version of Expresscard comes out that supports uncompressed HD data rates. The Expresscard standard supports a peak bandwidth of 2.5Gbps... but I don't think any real laptop machines can sustain HD bandwidth to the interface yet. Peak TOTAL bandwidth of laptops is ~8.5Gbps, with that they have to handle all disk, USB, firewire, Expresscard and graphics i/o. The same goes for HD-SDI for the same reasons. Maybe 2009.

Of course if you are going to have an Intensity on set with a desktop computer to do monitoring, well it seems like a very small step to just do your capture using a Cineform codec on the Intensity/Scopebox machine. That would obviate the need for a SOLID.

If you need a more mobile solution for technical monitoring of HDMI, then AJA's ioHD has HDMI inputs. You can monitor using Final Cut's scopes while capturing to ProRes. Again this would obviate the need for a SOLID. The bad news there is that you'll be monitoring the ProRes signal not the raw HDMI feed. Its also going to run you at least ~$6K

The two cheapest HD scopes I could find are the Compuvideo 1100HD for $3500. It is analog i/o only and has no outputs, so its the end of your video path. The Compuvideo 1700HDSDP which is $5500, but offers composite and component analog and SDI i/o for both SD and HD. It also offers both analog and SDI output for post monitoring.

The bad news is that while Compuvideo is by far the cheapest hardware scope maker they have a certain reputation. Leader's HD scopes start at $7500. I know Harris makes some HD scopes around there too, but prices for both makes race off into the mid teens pretty fast. I suppose Tektronix is competitively priced, but I haven't shopped them.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 05:07 AM   #296
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For high quality sound, a $600 Core-sound Mic2496 "battery powered 24-bit/96 kiloSamples-per-second two-channel mic pre-amp/A-to-D converter" might be a good match for the Cineform recorder. Digital outputs are: coaxial (RCA jack), optical (Toslink), Output data format: S/PDIF.

http://www.core-sound.com/Mic2496/1.php

Could the Cineform have a digital S/PDIF input?

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Old February 3rd, 2008, 01:04 PM   #297
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CineForm's 444 format at the FilmScan2 resolution actually *outperforms* Sony's high-end HDCAM-SR format . . . that makes it not only a candidate for users who want to get away from the compression of M2T files, but also for those in very high-end scenarios who would have traditionally used a SR-1 recorder, and will now have other alternatives (that won't require re-digitizing from another $100K deck, and also allow for a tapeless workflow without having to resort to DPX files).

So both HDMI for the low-end and dual-link HD-SDI for the high-end are smart moves, and there is no point in omitting either. Both sets of users can benefit greatly by the workflow improvements that CineForm can provide.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 02:21 PM   #298
 
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Here's an interesting comparison of framegrabs taken from EX1 footage in HQ mode. This is a Photoshop CS3 file, with layers. The only "processing" done was to convert 32 bit mode to studio RGB in Vegas 8 Pro.

Layer 1: Vegas 8 bit native mxf
Layer 2: vegas 8 bit CFHD avi converted with filmscan1
Layer 3: Vegas 32 bit native mxf
Layer 4: Vegas 32 bit CFHD avi converted with filmscan1

I think the results are fairly conclusive, however, I'll withhold my judgment until others have a chance to look at these frame grabs.
EDIT: hmmm, apparently I can't upload .PSD files. No difference between 32 bit and 8 bit. The CFHD avi is noticeably softer than the native mxf file.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 04:05 PM   #299
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Audio Interface

I don't care what type of audio inputs are used, just as long as they are very high quality, they don't have a problem with disconnecting themselves, and they are easily compatible with all the high-quality pre-amps and mixers.

Is there any way possible to have an audio-only recording mode? When I have a SOLID, I would like to use it to do some "in-the-field" recording just for audio sometimes.
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Old February 3rd, 2008, 05:12 PM   #300
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The CFHD avi is noticeably softer than the native mxf file.
Bill, what version of Cineform did you use?
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