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Old August 6th, 2010, 12:05 PM   #1
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Help comparing Sony EX-1R Cineformed frames

Could someone with an EX-1R and NanoFlash, please help us and put up a half dozen frames of video from their highest quality NanoFlash capture (converted to CF) here for us to download and analyze?

Also, if you don't mind posting the same frames in regular high quality EX-1R HD (35 Mbps, converted to CF HD also), we'd really appreciate it.

We bought a new EX-1R, but won't receive it down here until early Oct., but are wanting to weigh the possible benefits of adding a NanoFlash to the order. We have a good deal of chroma work ahead, (some with detailed miniatures and field work), so would love to be able to analyze the cost/benefits of a NanoFlash addition. We have a BM Intensity Pro capture board in a mini-PC for use in the studio, but might add the NanoFlash for field work as well.

Thanks for any help!
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Old August 7th, 2010, 10:45 AM   #2
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Wow, I'm going to have to take a bath more often...must be the smell or something...
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Old August 7th, 2010, 05:26 PM   #3
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Hey Stephen...

I don't smell anything...

I think the issue will be finding someone who actually has footage laying around in all those forms...

I have an EX1...not an "R"...I have a NanoFlash... I've actually shot 100 Mbit/s Long GOP on the Nano that was good enough to green screen...and this from a FCP editor.

Converting to CineForm will allow more aggressive color correction before the image starts to fall apart as 10 bit precision advantages have been discussed ad nauseum across the web of course...

If you convert to CineForm, acquiring 4:2:2 on the Nano will give you a better starting image than the 4:2:0 footage inside the camera will, though I think CineForm may still be finalizing the ability to read Convergent's MXF files to convert them.

The Nano can also just add a longer load if that makes a difference...you can run some very large CF cards that could extend your single-load media duration...and even at 50 Mbit/s, it's 4:2:2.

I would have to actually go out and set up a shot to do the image comparison you desire. It's probably a worthwhile test, but it will be several weeks before I have time to set something like that up...
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Old August 7th, 2010, 05:41 PM   #4
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Thanks for answering Tim! Wow, what a relief, I was thinking of changing toothpaste or maybe brushing more often...

I should have said "EX1", as there is no dif, except that someone might capture to a HDMI box of something from the 1R.

I guess I figured someone might have tested this out already, or might have a link to the such, but looks like you might be the man of the hour! We've got a few weeks yet on this, so if you do get the time, would sure love to hear a comparison by someone actually doing chroma stuff with this particular setup or able to give some kind of input. Our BM board here would give us some idea, but that would be far too late for us, since we'd miss our ride to bring a Nano down by then. And legally getting things here is no joke!

Thanks for any info you could give that would help us to have a better idea if the Nano is worth it for this purpose. That direct 4:2:2 input would surely be a step up for our end results, but....things are not always as they appear on paper...
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Old August 7th, 2010, 08:07 PM   #5
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Guys, the only PROBLEM is that HDLink does not recognize ANY nanoFlash files over 50 Mb/s. Within the last 2-3 months, David from Cineform said that getting HDLink to read nano files is not on any list of things to do.

There are only a few ways to convert a nano file to Cineform (none of which I have tested since I don't own a nano).
Import into NLE and export as Cineform or export uncompressed and then use HDLink to convert to Cineform.

If you really want to use Cineform, look into the Cinedeck. The most expensive version was just released 'Cinedeck Extreme' and lower end models will follow. I think someone said that the base model will cost around $4000 which is still a great deal as it is basically a mini-PC with a great LCD and Cineform capture all bundled into a single device.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 08:30 PM   #6
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Steve, for sure the Cinedeck has been in our sights since the day they announced them a while back. I had worked with a good friend in Canada to develop a "RIO" portable box that was exactly like their rig, but since both of us had full time occupations, we just didn't have the time or resources to make it happen. Our current RIO is a one kind only tiny PC-box, using the BM Intensity Pro, but fell far short of where CInedeck took their unit.

I would LOVE to have a Cinedeck, but our non-profit budget is stretched as is and the Nano could fill the bill...if it can shake hands nicely with CF. If not, it'll be a sad day for us. That would seem to counter productive to CF's interests, however.

Sigh. That was not real good news, but maybe it could happen still. If you hear anything better, please keep us posted. For chroma, both the high bit rate out of SDI or HDMI from the cam would be welcome and even more so with CF.

Thanks for the info.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 08:35 PM   #7
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Like I said, you still can convert to Cineform but its a PITA.

As far as Cineform making nano files work, just look at how long its taken Adobe and they still aren't 100% ready.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 09:07 AM   #8
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Workflow/cost/benefit wise, it doesn't seem worth the additional expense at this point, especially since we could use our little custom-built "RIO" unit in the field if pushed. Since the majority of our chroma stuff ahead is in studio settings, we'll just keep things as they are until something changes that makes it seriously worthwhile. We need a new Steadicam Zephyr to fly that EX-1R on, so there is now little chance for a NanoFlash to be added to that order.

I'd still like to see some comparison frames of HDMI/SDI output, high bitrate, Cineformed EX1 footage, to compare with the EX1's CF'ed 35Mbps output if we can get some. Maybe Tim can still stick a few up here from what he gets? I can guess as to what we'd probably see, but it's always is good to actually know what you'll be dealing with beforehand.

Tnx again for your info, you helped push my thoughts back to where they were before Nano-dreaming set in.
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Old August 8th, 2010, 01:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen Armour View Post
...you helped push my thoughts back to where they were before Nano-dreaming set in.
This exact same thing happened to me about 6 months ago, and I have since gotten over it. Now that my 'crush' on the nanoFlash has passed, I don't see any reason at all for my current workflow, especially since Adobe doesn't work with it yet. For now, my 'crush' is on the EX-350. However, we will add a green screen soon and then I will want the nanoFlash again but I might end up just capturing live via a Kona to Cineform.

Stephen, does your RIO capture to Cineform? Have you run into any problems with live capture via the BM Intensity?
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Old August 9th, 2010, 05:11 AM   #10
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Yes, it's actually a tiny little quad PC (built by a friend in Canada, that does industrial/gov/military stuff). It has a RAID0 with two small, fast laptop-sized HDD's, a single PCIe slot (actually can be split into two slots), two internal fans, and 2 GB of RAM. It has no keyboard, no mouse, and no screen, all of which are a royal pain. We wanted to build something exactly like the Cinedeck two and a half yrs ago, but just didn't have the time or resources. He took the concept into the industrial realm, and now custom builds some screaming video ingest machines with high speed SSD's on the chassis' he designed. All uncompressed, and at up to 1 Gb/s ingest speeds for multicams!

The BM Intensity Pro is somewhat flaky, but once it's going, it works exactly like it does in any PC. We capture through either HDMI or component (which works fine) and simultaneously convert input to the CF Neo HD codec. David T. graciously allowed us to consider it like a laptop (which is what it is somewhat like for field use), so we have a legal copy of NEO 4HD on it. It's fine for use with greenscreen in the studio, but is a royal pain in the field, since it's just not portable, needing the screen, keyboard, and mouse. We have a "production box" to put it in, with inverter and battery and large monitor, but find it all pretty wieldy, and end up not using it much for field work. It is power hungry on top of everything else and just not usually worth the hassle.

The Cinedeck is exactly what we wanted at the time, but now at twice the price we estimated...which I think I can understand. Great idea if it works as advertised! It has exactly every single feature we listed on this forum (which I'm sure is pure coincidence... ;) ) Chris took the posted list off here for being "fishing for business" at the time, since I wasn't a paying sponsor...

As to the PMW-350, I was initially really impressed, but after analyzing it more coldly for our workflow, budget and needs, ended up deciding that the cost/benefit was not worth it. Two loaded EX-1R's with all their accessories cost the same as a basic 350! That's hard to justify! I'm sure it's wonderful for productions, but the slight bump up to 2/3" from the X1's 1/2" sensors, just really doesn't quite make it for us. I'd rather do DSLR + EX-1R, or wait for the new 4/3" cams from Panasonic or Sony. Then you get the best of both worlds.
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