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Old May 31st, 2008, 04:59 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piotr Wozniacki View Post
I might have missed something, Mike, but are any video samples (mainly of the 50 and 100 Mbps formats) available already?

With my EX1, I must say that after the initial enthusiasm towards Flash XDR (which resulted in ordering one and paying the deposit), I went through a period of doubts whether I really need it (especially after I saw how big the Flash XDR is going to be, actually). However, I have bought this 50" full HD plasma lately, and hung over my desktop; watching my EX1's stuff from some 1.5 m distance I can now see there are situations where a stiil better codec could really make difference (mainly with mosquito noise)! In other words, even though the EX1 quality is already great, there is place for improvement...

Please also tell me about you schedule for the nano thing. TIA!
Hi Piotr-
Thanks for the feedback. We are burning the midnight oil to bring out both Flash XDR and nanoFlash as fast as possible. Since nanoFlash reuses 95% of the Flash XDR design, it will follow closely behind the release of XDR.

Currently the nanoFlash schematics are 90% complete. It looks like the final dimensions will be 4" x 4" x 1.25" (without battery). We do plan to support a EX1 style battery with a fixture that can be attached to the nanoFlash box. We plan to release nanoFlash by September, but I am pushing to move this date up.

I'll post the full specs and pricing this week.

We also plan to upload 50 and 100 Mbps footage shortly. I am waiting for our engineers to finish the FAT32 and MXF code before making any more video tests.
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Old May 31st, 2008, 08:13 PM   #17
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Dan & Mike,

Just wanted to say I am truly behind your product development and hope my post did not sound condeming of the Flash XDR. It is a great product concept and has a real place in the market.

I have been doing a lot of research lately and have settled upon the Nano Flash XDR or small-form PC capture station for my two options of and HD upgrade.

Mainly for the reason Dan stated about the size of the XDR as I don't need audio, and the price I can feel comfortable with.

I have not seen the Flash XDR but I am basing my judgements upon a photo from NAB with a gentleman holding the XDR unit. The size of the unit was quite large in proportion to his features.

I don't know the ballpark pricing of the Nano, but I am hoping it is competitive with building a PC cature station (SDI capture card, hard drives ect...) because I would prefer to go with the Nano.

Looking forward to hearing the details and hoping the Nano has a relatively soon release as I can see some future projects requiring HD at the end of the summer.

Thanks for your participation here!
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Old June 1st, 2008, 04:24 AM   #18
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Dear Tim,

Thanks for posting.

No, I did not think you were condemning the Flash XDR, just that you thought it was "Big".

I was holding the Flash XDR for Chris Hurd when he took that photo, which was a spur of the moment thing. (It was an honor to meet Chris for the first time!)

Neither one of us worried at the time that he was using a wide-angle lens, which would dramatically distort the size of the unit.

If you have seen any of those interesting extreme close-up photos of dogs, the ones were their noses are just huge, then you will know what I mean.

At NAB, many guests commented that it was bigger than they expected, which was very reasonable, as it has grown in size since the original concept.

However, when I handed them the unit to hold, almost all were surprised how light it was. Then the next comment from many was: I can live with that!

Mike will be posting more details of the nanoFlash in the next week or two.

We are happy that we will be able to offer two choices.

Among other things, I am big into audio. I am just can't wait until I can have my personal Flash XDR, so I can have high quality 24-bit 48k audio which bypasses all of the camera's audio circuits, but is still camera mountable when it needs it to be.

I currently record "dual system sound" to a Sound Devices 744t. But, I occasionally need more than four channels, so the Flash XDR is for me.

For Canon XL H1 owners that want one of the units, I expect most will choose the Flash XDR to overcome the lack of embedded timecode and audio in the HD-SDI signal.

The nanoFlash fits the needs of those who need a more compact unit and have a standard HD-SDI signal with embedded timecode and audio.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 08:55 AM   #19
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One simple way to obtain a factual first hand perception of the current size of the XDR is to merely take the dimensions on the XDR data sheet and draw it out on paper.

I had the opportunity to see and hold the XDR at NAB and feel the size and weight of the current XDR was not any kind of issue whatsoever when mounted on a Canon H1.

When I then compared what the available recording format qualities were compared to the FUTURE and current competition in these format qualities, the XDR is by far the smallest and lightest.

And that is not even including the potential Oct upgrade announced.

Maybe it would also be helpful if Mike or Dan could post the current weight specification including battery and CF cards, people could handle something of similar weight and then get a factual idea of how light the XDR really is.

I have a feeling that many are making judgements about the XDR's weight by looking at it's photos and then applying their handling experiences with hard-drive recorders such as the Firestores. That was my expectation until I picked up the XDR at NAB - I was suprised to not find my weight expectation.

One caveat, I cannot remember what exactly was loaded on the XDR I handled.

Switching gears .... I too have occasionally shot double system using a Fostex FR2 when I had enough budget (or kind friend) to make such added audio quality happen. The XDR with it's audio quality capabilities makes shooting double system a whole lot less complicated and much closer to attaining single handed ... although someone riding the audio is still the best.
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Old June 1st, 2008, 07:36 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Richard View Post
One simple way to obtain a factual first hand perception of the current size of the XDR is to merely take the dimensions on the XDR data sheet and draw it out on paper.

I had the opportunity to see and hold the XDR at NAB and feel the size and weight of the current XDR was not any kind of issue whatsoever when mounted on a Canon H1.

When I then compared what the available recording format qualities were compared to the FUTURE and current competition in these format qualities, the XDR is by far the smallest and lightest.

And that is not even including the potential Oct upgrade announced.

Maybe it would also be helpful if Mike or Dan could post the current weight specification including battery and CF cards, people could handle something of similar weight and then get a factual idea of how light the XDR really is.

I have a feeling that many are making judgements about the XDR's weight by looking at it's photos and then applying their handling experiences with hard-drive recorders such as the Firestores. That was my expectation until I picked up the XDR at NAB - I was suprised to not find my weight expectation.

One caveat, I cannot remember what exactly was loaded on the XDR I handled.

Switching gears .... I too have occasionally shot double system using a Fostex FR2 when I had enough budget (or kind friend) to make such added audio quality happen. The XDR with it's audio quality capabilities makes shooting double system a whole lot less complicated and much closer to attaining single handed ... although someone riding the audio is still the best.
Hi John-
All of our assembled Flash XDR units are out in the field now, but we should get a run of boards and cabinets in 1-2 weeks. I'll load up a box with four cards and get an accurate weight. The box we showed at NAB was complete, except for one user interface board, which adds very little weight.

You are certainly correct, that Flash XDR is by far the smallest and lightest weight (and lowest power) of any HD Recorder / Player. That said, we realize that many applications can use the embedded audio and don't need four Compact Flash slots. So, for those applications, we will offer the nanoFlash. nanoFlash and XDR will happily coexist for different applications.

On another subject, we are investigating remote control capability. Our thought is to create a PC/MAC application that would control one or more XDRs/nanos via a wired or wireless network. The network won't be fast enough for video / audio, only command and control.

We're considering metadata input, status info (is the box actually recording), control (play back Take #2), etc.

Any thoughts or recommendations would be appreciated. We're not making definitive promises yet, just investigating the possibilities.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 08:29 AM   #21
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remote control

Hi Mike,
I think remote control would be a good idea, though not always necessary. The Sony Block Camera I built has RS232 capability (since there are no buttons). I put a tiny bluetooth adapter on it and a friend of mine wrote a simple program for the phone. Now I can control the camera without any additional hardware. (A bonus for me since I'm shooting in an airplane half the time). If I could also start/stop record, adjust audio levels, etc and have some feedback from the XDR via bluetooth that would be great!
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 08:30 AM   #22
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Sorry I meant Cell Phone. I control the camera from a windows mobile based cell phone.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 11:18 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Michael Palermo View Post
Hi Mike,
I think remote control would be a good idea, though not always necessary. The Sony Block Camera I built has RS232 capability (since there are no buttons). I put a tiny bluetooth adapter on it and a friend of mine wrote a simple program for the phone. Now I can control the camera without any additional hardware. (A bonus for me since I'm shooting in an airplane half the time). If I could also start/stop record, adjust audio levels, etc and have some feedback from the XDR via bluetooth that would be great!
Hi Michael-
Can you give us the specifics on the Bluetooth adapter? This is certainly a possibility, but I think the limited range might be a significant problem for multi-cam shoots. We have been looking at a simple RS-485 twisted pair for communication. Yes, it is wired, but you go out 1000+ feet and don't have to worry about dropped calls. We'll be able to interrogate the box for status information, upload operating parameters (bit-rates, etc) and control the box (record start / stop, play back this file). We're also plan to update metadata information, such as Take number, marking the clip as good, better, best, reject, etc.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 12:11 PM   #24
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Wireless would be great to have, but there are many hurdles to overcome.

1. Wireless is subject to dropouts (a loss in communications) which may cause unpredictable results.

So a wireless setup, if implemented, should be well within the range of trouble-free communications.

Many claims of long distance with wireless are greatly exaggerated or under the most ideal of circumstances.

For example, many Bluetooth wireless earpieces claim up to 33' range. But, then you must have your cell phone very close to the Bluetooth earpiece to obtain clear communications. In fact, many recommend that you have your cell phone and earpiece on the same side of your body for it to work clearly.

2. Wireless can cause interference.

The wireless chosen must be of a low-power nature, and must not interfere with the camera, or audio gear.

On many sets, there is an absolute "no cell phones" or "all cell phones must be off" policy. Note that the cell phones must be off and not just in silent mode.

There is another post today reporting that a five-watt walkie-talkie caused problems with a camera's zoom and focus.

So the wireless challenge is to have reliable communications, but not interfere with a wide range of cameras and audio gear.

Personally, I would love to have two-way wireless communications with the Flash XDR and the nanoFlash. But one solution may not work for all.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 12:31 PM   #25
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My camera can work with RS232 or 422. I think the cabled lengths on 422 are extremely long. I included a 9 pin jack on my camera which I can use a cable to wire to my laptop or I plug in the serial bluetooth adapter and I'm wireless. The bluetooth adapter I use is a GridConnect Firefly and is powered off the 9 pin.

I used an external adapter for the same reasons anyone would be concerned about wireless so now I can have either. My future plans include housing the bluetooth adapter inside the camera case and mounting a switched 9 pin jack on the back of the camera.

There are also two kinds of bluetooth, one that is industrial grade and transmits up to 1000 feet I think but it requires a little walkie-style antenna. There are also off the shelf bluetooth circuit boards available.

I guess what I'm getting at, is you could put an RS422 jack on the box and include a little program that would allow someone to work wirelessly if they bought a bluetooth serial adapter. Also I think all the code you'd need to use the RS422 protocol is available from Sony or other sources.
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Old June 3rd, 2008, 12:40 PM   #26
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Hi Dan,
The cell phone I use is just a remote control. It's my old Motorola Q that is not connected to any service.

As for the wireless interference and reliability, since my devices are not constantly communicating I've had no problems. The way I use it is the same way you'd use a remote to set up any camera. White Balance, Exposure, Zoom, Focus, done. After that I might play with the zoom and exposure, but I'm not operating via bluetooth.

I would think that remote use of the XDR would be similar. Start/Stop, playback. since you're not broadcasting video as long as it doesn't interfere with any other devices there shouldn't be a problem and since bluetooth has to be paired with a device to work, there's very little opportunity for that to happen. Airplanes have a lot of electronics that could be negatively impacted by stray signals but I haven't had any issues.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 03:18 PM   #27
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Hi Michael-
Thanks for the feedback and recommendations. We have decided to change the RS-422 on Flash XDR to a RS-232 9-pin port. (nanoFlash will have this same port and connector). This will allow connection to wireless Bluetooth, RS-422, RS-485, and wireless LAN devices. We will include +5V power to pin 9 on the connector.

Additionally, we will publish the status and control protocol command set (including metadata updates), so anyone can write their own control program (similar to Sony Visca commands). We do plan to write control programs for the MAC / PC but this should open up control of the box to everyone.
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Old June 4th, 2008, 04:38 PM   #28
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Sounds Great Mike. Thanks for the update!
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