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Old June 11th, 2008, 01:54 PM   #1
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The Competitive Advantages of Flash XDR / nanoFlash

Here's a list of the competitive advantages of using Flash XDR and nanoFlash in your video acquisition and post production. All the technical discussion and comparisons are great, but at the end of the day everyone has to justify a business purchase based on the possibility of improving sales, saving time or greater margin. We think Flash XDR / nanoFlash can provide all three!

Video/Audio Quality Advantages
• High Bit-Rate Recording
o Use 50/100 Mbps (Long-GOP) or 100/160 Mbps (I-Frame) instead of 19/25/35 Mbps (Long-GOP) or 100 Mbps (I-Frame) for an overall quality improvement and reduced “mosquito noise”
• Full-Raster Processing
o 1920x1080i/p processing (as opposed to 1440/1280x1080i/p) and 1280x720p (as opposed to 960x720p) for improved horizontal resolution and reduction of jaggy lines.
• 4:2:2 Sampling
o 4:2:2 sampling (as opposed to 4:2:0) for improved color keying /compositing and overall quality improvement
• I-Frame Only Option
o Great option for high-complex, high-motion video which Long-GOP may blur. However, Long-GOP is probably the best choice for most applications
• 24-bit PCM audio
o Improved overall audio quality (24-bit PCM as opposed to 16-bit compressed)

> Final video now acceptable to almost all networks (BBC, Discovery, Nat Geo, etc)
> Increased sales (with possibility for higher price to end customer)

Post-Production Advantages
• No digitizing tape
o Video footage instantly accessible to NLE, no need to digitize, huge time saver!
o No drop-outs or time-code breaks
• Instant Post direct from CF cards
o Multi-stream (4 streams @ 50 Mbps rate) editing direct from CF cards via daisy-chain of FW-800 readers. Portable hard-drive recorders and other solid-state cards are limited to single stream editing direct from the media.
• MetaData support
o Find clips faster; search by event, date, director, etc.

> Faster Workflow, Save time in post

Cost Advantages
• No longer need to rent / purchase a deck
o nanoFlash / XDR is your “acquisition” deck (which can also be used for HD-SDI playback), while a stack of four Lexar FW-800 CF readers serve as the “playback” deck (total cost US $260).
• Low cost Compact Flash Media
o Transcend 133X 32GB Compact Flash cards are 1/10th the price of other professional solid-state media, but have sufficient performance for 100 Mbps recording/playback.

> Significantly lower costs, greater operating margins
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Old June 11th, 2008, 04:11 PM   #2
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Very nice. I definitely want one of these for my XL camera. Are we close to shipping yet? IS there going to be enough supply once released, or is it subject to more wait time (are preorders going to take up all of first stock)?
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Old June 11th, 2008, 06:33 PM   #3
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Thanks for the list...

Mike this also now brings to me that I have not considered the correct workflow utilizing
the 4 CF cards for off loading. With the XDR and nano the CF cards are in a raid format...

I have never worked with raid type drives, can you give some advice on how to go about working with 4 CF readers and how to configure the computer to address them??

What raid level are we working with here... I'd like to set up the hardware/software now
and work out any details that we might need to address now before the XDR is in my hands...

I could use all the help you can muster on this subject... I do have the CF cards and the readers on 800 firewire...

thanks in advance
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Old June 11th, 2008, 07:31 PM   #4
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Mike you forgot a huge one.

The XDR can be used as a record deck for your NLE. Users no longer have to rent or buy a huge expensive deck to record your edited master. All they need is a SDI card for their nle and they can record their realtime timeline directly to a card. That final master can then be transfered to another medium to store away as a master tape.

The other use of this is that as long as your nle can play your timeline in RT you will not have to render your project. Let the XDR do the mpeg2 encoding for you and let your computer just handle playing back your project. It's like adding a special mpeg2 encoding board to your system.

I can see a lot of people buying this to use as a record deck since it would be better then even a HDCAM deck. All we need are cheaper faster cards and we could use those as small HD master tapes.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 09:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Galvan View Post
Very nice. I definitely want one of these for my XL camera. Are we close to shipping yet? IS there going to be enough supply once released, or is it subject to more wait time (are preorders going to take up all of first stock)?
Hi Michael-
We are very close to shipping. I'll post a detailed report in the Flash XDR Update thread. All the initial supply for June and July are already allocated for pre-orders, but we may have available stock in August or September.
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Old June 11th, 2008, 09:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ray Bell View Post
Thanks for the list...

Mike this also now brings to me that I have not considered the correct workflow utilizing
the 4 CF cards for off loading. With the XDR and nano the CF cards are in a raid format...

I have never worked with raid type drives, can you give some advice on how to go about working with 4 CF readers and how to configure the computer to address them??

What raid level are we working with here... I'd like to set up the hardware/software now
and work out any details that we might need to address now before the XDR is in my hands...

I could use all the help you can muster on this subject... I do have the CF cards and the readers on 800 firewire...

thanks in advance
Hi Ray-
Just to be clear, Flash XDR does not normally stripe the data across multiple cards (RAID0) as the recommended Transcend CF cards are fast enough for data-rates up to 160 Mbps (see "Recommended Compact Flash cards" post). You can, however, operate two cards in a RAID1 configuration, which merely copies the same data to both cards simultaneously (for automatic backups).

You can daisy-chain up to four of the Lexar UDMA FW-800 CF readers onto a single Firewire bus. You will see all four readers as individual drives and have access to any of the files on the four cards. No special software or configuration is required.

We measured a read performance of 330 Mbps off a single Transcend CF card. So, you should have ample bandwidth to playback at least four 50 Mbps streams in your NLE timeline. Besides raw I/O speeds, CF cards have blazingly fast access times (0.4 mS vs 7 mS for hard-drives) and their performance does not degrade as the card becomes full (hard-drives experience a considerable drop in I/O performance as they fill up).
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Old June 11th, 2008, 10:23 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas Smet View Post
Mike you forgot a huge one.

The XDR can be used as a record deck for your NLE. Users no longer have to rent or buy a huge expensive deck to record your edited master. All they need is a SDI card for their nle and they can record their realtime timeline directly to a card. That final master can then be transfered to another medium to store away as a master tape.

The other use of this is that as long as your nle can play your timeline in RT you will not have to render your project. Let the XDR do the mpeg2 encoding for you and let your computer just handle playing back your project. It's like adding a special mpeg2 encoding board to your system.

I can see a lot of people buying this to use as a record deck since it would be better then even a HDCAM deck. All we need are cheaper faster cards and we could use those as small HD master tapes.
Hi Thomas-
WOW, you are absolutely correct, I never thought much about using the Flash XDR / nanoFlash for archival purposes. Clearly, you could set up the box for 100 Mbps (Long-GOP) or 160 Mbps (I-Frame) 4:2:2 encoding and master out your project to CF cards. You could then copy from the CF cards to a Blu-Ray data disk (for example) for long-term storage. You could save a small fortune in deck rental charges and get better than HDCAM quality.

Naturally, as the CF cards become cheaper, you could just write the project to a card and skip the copy to Blu-Ray.

Another possible application I forgot to mention was accelerated encoding of MPEG2 for Blu-Ray authoring. You can stream directly out of your NLE (via HD-SDI) and set up XDR/nano for 20 Mbps 4:2:0 encoding, which is compatible with Blu-Ray. You could then read back the MPEG2 file directly into your Blu-Ray authoring program. This hardware encoding would run much faster than the sofware alternative.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 12:46 AM   #8
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Dealers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schell View Post
Hi Michael-
We are very close to shipping. I'll post a detailed report in the Flash XDR Update thread. All the initial supply for June and July are already allocated for pre-orders, but we may have available stock in August or September.
Mike, will any of this stock go to dealers or do you just operate direct? I'd like to get one of these in the next few weeks for a mid July job.

Thanks,

Justin.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 03:19 AM   #9
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And without wanting to be a pain in the proverbial

but are you any closer to some video files to display what the unit can do? Maybe an example of each data rate, and also with 'I frame' only, and maybe hilight what it does with 1/3 and 1/2 inch camera's, especially in 4:2:0 flavours??


I know I won't be in the original run, but if a new TV series I'm shooting, Directing and producing pays off, this will be one of the first items on my must have list : )

thanks Mike

Last edited by Adam Letch; June 12th, 2008 at 08:25 AM.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:15 AM   #10
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Pro-Res Codec

Any talk of other codecs such as Apple ProRes. I know there is a chip available that encodes in real-time in the AJA IO HD box. There is 8-bit 145mbs and 220mbs 10bit master quality support on the chip. These are ready to go for effects, color correction and layering; not to mention apple friendly. They are superior to MPEG2 in this regard. This may be a better alternative to uncompressed considering the space requirements. Avid has a similar codec however I don't believe there is an affordable hardware encoder for that.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Letch View Post
but are you any closer to some video files to display what the unit can do? Maybe an example of each data rate, and also with 'I frame' only, and maybe hilight what it does with 1/3 and 1/2 inch camera's, especially in 4:2:0 flavours??


I know I won't be in the original run, but if a new TV series I'm shooting, Directing and producing pays off, this will be one of the first items on my must have list : )

thanks Mike
Hi Adam-
We were working on some captures today. We will be using a Canon XL-H1 and a Sony EX-1 for our tests. We do have some color chart test results which will be uploaded to our website tomorrow.

Our initial tests indicate a visually imperceptible difference in uncompressed and 100 Mbps Long-GOP. We'll continue our tests tomorrow and hope to post full-motion video early next week.
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Old June 12th, 2008, 08:45 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jerry Matese View Post
Any talk of other codecs such as Apple ProRes. I know there is a chip available that encodes in real-time in the AJA IO HD box. There is 8-bit 145mbs and 220mbs 10bit master quality support on the chip. These are ready to go for effects, color correction and layering; not to mention apple friendly. They are superior to MPEG2 in this regard. This may be a better alternative to uncompressed considering the space requirements. Avid has a similar codec however I don't believe there is an affordable hardware encoder for that.
Hi Jerry-
That's a difficult request as we have made many trade-offs in designing the Flash XDR (and especially the nanoFlash) with regard to power, size, weight and record media. We chose the Sony MPEG2 CODEC since it allows high-quality recording at reasonably low data-rates of 50 and 100 Mbps 4:2:2. This high-quality is achieved by employing both spatial (I-Frame) and temporal (P,B) frame compression. Without the addition of temporal compression, you would need to increase the bit-rate 3X to achieve comparable quality. Increasing the bitrate to the ProRes 143 Mbps level means that you are now forced into the higher performance CF cards with shorter record times (32GB cards are good up to 100 Mbps and cost $150. High speed 16GB cards run $240).

ProRes is a great CODEC, but I seriously doubt it can match the Sony MPEG2 CODEC for power or video quality at bit-rates below 100 Mbps. Our internal tests thus far, show the 100 Mbps 4:2:2 Long-GOP to be visually indistinguishable from uncompressed.

You should be able to drop the MPEG2 video into the timeline and set FCP to render all the effects in ProRes. This should give you the best of both worlds as the native video does not need to re-encoded to ProRes.
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Old June 13th, 2008, 12:15 PM   #13
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Revised Summary Sheet

Here's the revised summary sheet of the Competitive Advantages of Flash XDR / nanoFlash in video acquisition, post production and archival.

Thanks for everyone's input and suggestion.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf The Competitive Advantages of Flash XDR.pdf (75.8 KB, 419 views)
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Old June 17th, 2008, 09:23 AM   #14
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nanoFlash ...

when will you have a nanoflash order form up on your site?
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Old June 17th, 2008, 02:05 PM   #15
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when will you have a nanoflash order form up on your site?
Hi Dean-
Check our website as we just posted the nanoFlash info and pre-order form.
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