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Old November 1st, 2007, 05:42 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian Standing View Post
Any way to connect one of these to an SI-2K mini?
Brian-
As I understand, the SI-2K mini only has GBit Ethernet output, so there's no way to stream to the Flash XDR.

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Old November 1st, 2007, 05:51 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Mike Schell View Post
Brian-
As I understand, the SI-2K mini only has GBit Ethernet output, so there's no way to stream to the Flash XDR.

Mike
That's correct. I don't know if MPEG has a 2K frame size available either...

Keep in mind that the SI-2K Mini needs the computer to run as that's where the brains are...

:-)
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Old November 1st, 2007, 06:24 PM   #78
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Originally Posted by Tim Kolb View Post
That's correct. I don't know if MPEG has a 2K frame size available either...

Keep in mind that the SI-2K Mini needs the computer to run as that's where the brains are...

:-)
Thanks for the clarification Tim.

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Old November 4th, 2007, 10:22 PM   #79
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Originally Posted by Christopher Barry View Post
Mike, any info as to what Sony camera this is going to replace in the current line up?
I think Mike might be referring to the new 2/3" 4:2:2 XDCAM HD that Sony announced at IBC (PDW-700). Do a search on the net and you'll find the press release.
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Old January 12th, 2008, 12:07 PM   #80
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1rst Qtr '08 Delivery?

As we are now in the targeted delivery timeframe, is there any more info on availability?

We're chomping at the bit with our XLH1 and HHG1 ... can you see the drool coming off our chops?
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Old February 22nd, 2008, 11:31 PM   #81
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Footage comparing Mpeg2 25Mb or 35Mb to Flash XDR higher bit rates?

Hey Mike and the CD Team:
I'm sure there are others like me very interested in recording from the uncompressed HD-SDI spigot to an on-camera source via a great codec, but the proof or value of the XDR will be in the quality difference between your 4:2:2/higher bit rates versus the cameras native codec and bitrate.

For instance, Sony's new EX1 records 4:2:0 35Mb VBR to SxS cards at $500 a pop for 8GB, which equates to 20+minutes in this HQ mode. OR I will be able to go out the sdi to Flash XDR and record to the same Sony codec (??) but at 4:2:2 and much higher bit rates (100 or 160Mb) but at the cost of $5000, plus the nominal costs of CF cards.

So, the BIG question for me and others (I presume) is:
is 50Mb, 100Mb, 160 Mb, 4:2:2 going to be that much better that I will want to buy ONE XDR instead of 10 SxS cards (or less and save money).

Quality is everything to me, so if quality is there - I will purchase. But the only way to tell if the quality of the Flash XDR substantially surpasses the cameras native codec is to see some side by side footage. I know you fellows have thought this through, and I'm curious when you think you may have some comparison footage to show us. (Cineform does a nice job of a Quality Analysis on their site that you may wish to peruse...)

Thanks for your time,
Lonnie
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 08:40 AM   #82
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Lonnie,

mpeg2 based video has two major complaints against it.

1. 4:2:0 color space which is ok for true progressive but not so good for interlaced.
2. Bitrate starved with a 15 frame GOP. so video that rapidly changes a lot can get macro blocks.

What the Flash XDR does if get rid of both of these problems. There are many different flavors of mpeg2 which is why the format is so nice. The 4:2:2 color alone is going to be worth it for many people. The New high end XDCAMHD from SONY that is coming out will use 4:2:2 at 50 mbits/s. The only way to get this is going to be on $30,000 + cameras. For those who really want quality then 4:2:2 is really the way to go unless you shoot true progressive. If you shoot interlaced then in my opinion 4:2:2 is a must for high quality.

With the Flash XDR you get to either record in a higher bitrate for normal mpeg2 material or record in a I frame only format. I frame only means there is no 15 frame length GOP. All the video is encoded one frame at a time so complex motion will never have any macro blocks. This right here is a major deal for those who want high quality.

The max bitrate you can ever have for 15 frame GOP 4:2:0 mpeg2 is 80 mbits/s. At this bitrate we are talking almost perfect video when compared to raw uncompressed. The max for I frame only at 4:2:2 is 300 mbits/s which is even closer to raw uncompressed. The 160 mbits/s on the Flash XDR is lightyears beyond DVCPROHD or even HDCAM compression. Any range between 160 mbits and 300 mbits just gets rid of a tiny bit of mosquito noise for very complex scenes. I have encoded a lot of raw material using constant quality settings and it hardly ever goes beyond 160 mbits/s.

The EX1 at 35mbits/s still uses 4:2:0 and while 35 mbits/s is much better then HDV it can still run into problems. If you shoot a lot of simple scenes then you may find the 35 mbits/s works perfectly for you. If you ever shoot any stage productions with strobe lights and flares and stuff like that then you will insist on using either a much higher bitrate to deal with this or use a I frame only mode.

The beauty of the Flash XDR is that it gives you options. You are not locked into one form of mpeg2 recording but now have a choice based on the environment you are shooting in.

To be honest I could see a lot of people using this thing for 50 mbits/s 4:2:2 recording. It still gives decent record lengths but is a pretty good level of quality. I think a lot of people will find that 15 frame GOP at 80 or 100 mbits/s with 4:2:2 color is going to be pretty darn perfect even for complex scenes. This is a bitrate used by DVCPROHD but without the resolution reductions and a level of quality that could look like what DVCPROHD looked if it used 200 or 300 Mbits/s.

So in terms of quality this $5000.00 devices brings your current camera up to a recording format that is on par with much more expensive HD cameras. The camera itself may not be as good but the recording format will be. I have rendered a 160 mbit/s video and recorded it to HDCAM tape and the 160 mbit file blew away the HDCAM tape version when I recaptured it. So even using the Flash XDR on a HDCAM camera would be better then recording to HDCAM tape. HDCAM uses 1440x1080 with 3:1:1 color at 144 mbits/s. With the XDR you will get 1920x1080 4:2:2 color with a much better use of bitrates and quality.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 09:04 AM   #83
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With all of that great information said, I still think Lonnie has a point.

All of us who are involved in technology have come to learn to only trust what actually comes into reality.

Not to say the XDR is in any type of jeapordy, but we are in the stated "delivery" timeframe and the convergent designs website has hardly changed from last year.

At $5,000, I as well will need to see proof that the money will yield a noticeable difference in the final product.

Another factor for me is availability.

To me, the best time to buy this device is at the same time one buys a camera. That way one can skip buying thousands of dollars worth of camera memory.

The XDR would be permanently mounted to the camera and the CF cards would be the only memory used.

So for this to work, one would need to be confident about the XDR purchase decision before the camera purchase, meaning web examples are the only way to judge.

I am excited to see what this unit paired with an EX-1 can produce.

Hopefully we can get some info soon!
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 09:28 AM   #84
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Tom - thank you very much for your details. I have been educated and now stand armed with more questions to go research (the more you know the more you don't know kind of thing...) I really appreciate the time!

Tim - we are in utter agreement. Regardless of how the white papers or specs will tell me of one's quality superiority over the other... even Adam Wilt uses comments like, "looks better than it has any right to..."

And that's what I'm asking for - the "looks" part of the equation. ConvergentDesign will have plenty of big boys buying their gear. But I'd imagine that there is enough of a market share of customers like me where 5k is a substantial investment. BUT, they will gladly get my money if there is visual evidence that hey, this 5k buys me so much better quality plus now knowing what Tom said - It even will make big boys cameras look better too - then this purchase would also be a future proof investment which I'm always a fan of.

Again, thanks to you both and I look forward to hearing from the CD Team.
Lonnie
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 10:20 AM   #85
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet View Post

So in terms of quality this $5000.00 devices brings your current camera up to a recording format that is on par with much more expensive HD cameras. The camera itself may not be as good but the recording format will be. I have rendered a 160 mbit/s video and recorded it to HDCAM tape and the 160 mbit file blew away the HDCAM tape version when I recaptured it. So even using the Flash XDR on a HDCAM camera would be better then recording to HDCAM tape. HDCAM uses 1440x1080 with 3:1:1 color at 144 mbits/s. With the XDR you will get 1920x1080 4:2:2 color with a much better use of bitrates and quality.
Thomas-
Thanks for the very detailed explanation, I don't think we could have explained the benefits of Flash XDR better!

First, some quick updates on our development. We have the prototype boards on the bench with HD-SDI I/O working as well as HD encode through the Sony MPEG2 CODEC Module. We expect to stream out the 1394 port next week, followed shortly by reading and writing the stream to the Compact Flash cards (in MXF format). Given that we are only into the third week of actual hardware debug, we are making remarkable progress.

Next week, we will have an extensive update with new images of the box, which is now in black! We have a top notch mechanical engineer designing the box to ensure a rock-solid enclosure. Since Flash XDR will be used in Fighter Jets and NASCAR events, ruggedness, small size and weight are top priorities.

We are working double-time to complete the enclosure and the final PCB design. An NAB introduction still looks likely.

The creation of comparison video clips (at various bit-rates), remains a top priority. As soon as we can stream MPGE2 data out the 1394 port or write into a CF card, we plan to capture video at 25, 50 and 100 Mbps (Long-GOP) and 100 / 160 Mbps (I-Frame). We will be using a Canon XL-H1 as our source. We will post these clips on our website for download.

We certainly agree with Thomas, that most user will find the 50 Mbps 4:2:2 Full-Raster format to be more than adequate for many applications. This is the recording format of the $35K PDW700! We also agree that the 100Mbps Long-GOP rate is roughly equivalent to 300 Mbps DVCProHD, due the added efficiencies of the temporal and spacial compression found in Long-GOP. (More info coming in a white paper on this subject).

Flash XDR uses the same MPEG2 CODEC as the PDW700 (we buy the CODEC module directly from Sony). But because our recording media (CF cards) can accept much higher data-rates, we can re-program the module for the higher bit-rates. We understand that this is the 6th generation MPEG2 encoder/decoder from Sony. Due to advances in semiconductor technology and better compression algorithms, bit-rates have dropped approximately 50% in the last 10 years for the equivalent video quality. We are amazed at the size and power consumption of the Sony module, it is unquestionable the best of breed in MPEG2 encoder/decoders.

But, some applications demand even higher quality, so sometime this Fall, we will introduce a much much higher bit-rate 10-bit 4:2:2 recording option (not based on MPEG2). It will be available as an optional software upgrade. More info to follow.

On the recording media front, we have some very exciting news. High-speed (40/45 MByte/sec) CF cards will soon be available from Delkin (32 GB) and Pretec (24GB). Using four CF cards you will get 5 hours of recording time at 50 Mbps or 90 minutes at 160 Mbps. These cards are expected to be priced in the $400 to $500 range, initially. But prices should continue to drop, as they have over the last 3-4 years.

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Mike Schell and the Convergent Design Team
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:19 AM   #86
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Thanks for your update Mike!

If I could request, (which I am sure you have already thought about) that some the video samples be geared around showing dynamic range?

Like a properly exposed scene with a hot area like a lamp or outdoor light streaming in repeated with different bit rates so we can see how much the higher bit rates help or do not help with retaining image integrity.

To me, this is the area I hope the XDR will be able to transform mid-priced cameras to higher level devices.

Looking forward to the footage!
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 11:42 AM   #87
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Thanks Mike - look forward to the footage and future updates from
you and the CD Team - it all sounds very promising!

Lonnie
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 12:08 PM   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schell View Post
But, some applications demand even higher quality, so sometime this Fall, we will introduce a much much higher bit-rate 10-bit 4:2:2 recording option (not based on MPEG2). It will be available as an optional software upgrade.
Mike, this is the most exiting news. You're proving the Flash XDR will have a firmware upgrade path to newer, even better codecs! Wonderful news.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 01:27 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by Mike Schell View Post
.........sometime this Fall, we will introduce a much much higher bit-rate 10-bit 4:2:2 recording option (not based on MPEG2). It will be available as an optional software upgrade. More info to follow.
I second Christophers comments above, and also think Thomas did an excellent pull together a few posts back. But I did feel Thomas's post was missing one important issue - any comment on bitdepths, and if there was anything lacking in the XDR it was the fact it was still only making an 8 bit recording. Mike's comment above obviously changes all that, and I don't think it's significance can be understated - some may feel that 10 bit v 8 bit is more significant than 4:2:2 v 4:2:0, certainly in progressive mode.
Quote:
On the recording media front, we have some very exciting news. High-speed (40/45 MByte/sec) CF cards will soon be available from Delkin (32 GB) and Pretec (24GB). ......... These cards are expected to be priced in the $400 to $500 range, initially.
The speed of advance of solid state memory technology is remarkable. That's the sort of price/GB I'd expect to have been paying for 20MBs CF quite recently.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 01:48 PM   #90
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Editing 10 bit 4:2:2 HD video sounds great, but a computer as well as software upgrade would need to take place.

Do desktop NLEs edit 10 bit footage?
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