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Old August 22nd, 2008, 12:31 PM   #1
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XDR/Nano HD-SD conversion

Can I use either the XDR or the nano in the following scenario:

Playback of HD material from Adobe Premiere CS3 timeline (Bundled with Matrox Axio LE) - output from Axio LE's breakout box via HD SDI output - into XDR/Nano SDI input - XDR/Nano configured to record as SD and not HD

By this way I would be converting HD-SD on the fly in real time and via hardware as opposed via software which up till now has given me aweful SD quality (at least when using the CS3 together with Axio).

I have done something similar but I've used the HD component out of the breakout box of the Axio and inputted SD component in into a DVCAM deck (Sony 1800) - the result was still not satisfactory (the footage was taken by an EX1).

I'm just hoping that the XDR/Nano will do a decent HD-SD downconversion. Any comments on this issue from Convergent please?
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 02:34 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Brian Cassar View Post
Can I use either the XDR or the nano in the following scenario:

Playback of HD material from Adobe Premiere CS3 timeline (Bundled with Matrox Axio LE) - output from Axio LE's breakout box via HD SDI output - into XDR/Nano SDI input - XDR/Nano configured to record as SD and not HD

By this way I would be converting HD-SD on the fly in real time and via hardware as opposed via software which up till now has given me aweful SD quality (at least when using the CS3 together with Axio).

I have done something similar but I've used the HD component out of the breakout box of the Axio and inputted SD component in into a DVCAM deck (Sony 1800) - the result was still not satisfactory (the footage was taken by an EX1).

I'm just hoping that the XDR/Nano will do a decent HD-SD downconversion. Any comments on this issue from Convergent please?
Hi Brain-
Thanks for the question! The nano/XDR cannot down-convert HD -> SD or even cross-convert 720p <-> 1080i. In general, your scenario would work fine, but you will need to do the down-conversion outside of the nano/XDR.

Currently, our products only support HD, but the SD firmware has been developed and just needs debug. So, we hope to add SD support in the next few months.
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 04:58 PM   #3
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for the reply - what I meant to ask is will my proposed workflow work once the SD support is made available (in the coming months)? And if in the afermative, will we have a very good downconversion (i.e better than the one we are getting today from the current NLE's)?
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Old August 23rd, 2008, 09:34 PM   #4
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Dear Brian,

When we have SD support avaiable in the Flash XDR/nanoFlash, we will support SD-HDI input (while we are in SD mode) and HD-SDI input (while we are in HD mode).

We will not be able to ingest HD-SDI and then record in SD. This would be a down conversion in the box, which is something we can not do.

Thus, the Flash XDR/nanoFlash should not be considered a hardware down converter.
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Old August 24th, 2008, 03:56 AM   #5
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Hi Dan,

Thanks for the clear explanation - I have misunderstood this SD part.

If I'm understanding right and if we take the EX3 camera scenario (which does not record in SD, but only HD) - I can record HD footage on the SxS cards whilst at the same time I can record the same footage in SD format by taking the SD-HDI output from the camera and going into the XDR of Nano input.

If so, my question is this - will the quality of the SD footage recorded by the XDR / Nano depend entirely on the EX3 downconverting capabilities or will it somehow be improved upon by the flash recorder?
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Old August 24th, 2008, 06:17 AM   #6
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Dear Brian,

My reading of the Sony EX3 specifications, confirms that the EX3 can provide a downconverted SD-SDI signal.

While there are definite visual (image) advantages to recording via the HD-SDI output, I feel that it is too early to tell if the EX3 / nanoFlash combination will provide a similar visual image advantage when using the SD-SDI output of the camera.

The nanoFlash should faithfully record the SD-SDI (once we enable the SD-SDI recording feature).

The HD-SDI signal out of most cameras, including the EX3 is the best way to get all of the quality (that a specific camera is capable of) out of a camera. Then the Flash XDR / nanoFlash will record this using a compression scheme and bit rate of your choice.

For example, the Sony EX3 records internally at 25 Mb or 35 Mb maximum variable bit rate. But using the HD-SDI signal, the Flash XDR / nanoFlash is capable of 50 Mb and 100 Mb maximum variable bit rate (and many other bit rate options).

These higher bit rates allow more detail to be recorded, thus giving you a better visual image.

Now, once your image is downconverted, in camera, and output via the SD-SDI, the Flash XDR / nanoFlash will go through a similar process.

But, since we have not yet developed this feature, I personally do not know what bit-rate options we will have available for recording.

The HD-SDI signal provides a vast amount of image data, while the SD-SDI provides substantially less.

We will do our best to provide the highest quality recordings that we can obtain from the SD-SDI signal.
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Old August 25th, 2008, 12:49 PM   #7
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Time Will Tell

For the simple folks like me with limited understanding about things I think I am finally starting to piece things together. If I am wrong about any certain points I look forward to being corrected.

The thing that sets me off the most about this type of thread is I see statements like "In my experience CD has been totally upfront about development and more open than any product development I've ever seen." ... George Kroonder, then I look at a company like Sony (the makers of the codec) or Cannon, or Panasonic, Et All, and ask myself how many people do they employ around the world dedicated to disseminating information to their clients on the professional and consumer levels and how do they really compare to CD.

More to the point of this posting, in my view, there seems to have been two key questions about these products since NAB 1) When will the product ship, and 2) When will we be able to see samples?

I am going to quickly deal with Question 2 first as it is more important to me personally.

Since beginning to inquire about video samples a plethora of reasons for no samples been given from very soon, to Sony would not allow, to we don't have a camera with high enough video quality, and the guy with unit on a cockpit needs extra clearances.

None of this was information but rather disinformation. If we listen to Mike Schell's most recent informative post, "Over the next few weeks we will be concentrating on the QuickTime and MXF file creation. We hope this integration will go smoothly, as our code has been extensively tested on the MAC and just needs to be transferred to the microcontroller in the Flash XDR.", what becomes clear is there have been no video samples because CD can not produce them yet from a Flash XDR unit. Given that CD expects to concentrate on these issues over the next few weeks, that alone takes us to when will the product ship.

Dan Keaton says, "The Flash XDR circuit boards are on the production line today. This means that they are in the process of being built and we expect the entire production run of boards to be in our hands by Wednesday, August 27. We will have some before then, but we expect to have all of this month’s production run by Wednesday.

We will start assembly, testing, and burn-in next week. After final testing we will be ready to ship." Sounds like all we need is for the hardware to come in, be assembled, tested, and then shipped. Sounds like things could start shipping as early as beginning of September.

But wait, Mike Schell said it would be weeks before the code to support .mxf files and QT files would be ready. Does that mean the hardware may be done but sitting and waiting for ported code? And then once the ported code has been added to the XDR units, isn't that really when testing of the XDR units should begin?

To suggest that Douglas Scott is somehow overly harsh is unfair to Douglas Scott. If you are told right around the corner enough times, after a few of the corners, one finds themselves right back where they start from. Douglass Scott's assessment was not harsh but highly warranted.

Speaking for the minority of me

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Old August 25th, 2008, 01:43 PM   #8
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Hi David-
Rather than get into all the specifics (we're already working a ton of overtime), I will simply say that we will continue to test and debug Flash XDR units as fast as possible. As soon as new firmware updates are available, I will post messages on this forum. As soon as the QT and MXF files are available, I will post a message on this forum.

Let's keep the personalities out of this discussion. I want to ship this product as much as everyone wants to get it. I'll endeavor to inform everyone about our progress and provide our best guess on delivery dates. But, a great deal of this work involves putting together new technology and is therefore prone to surprises and unexpected events.

BTW, can you tell us about your application? Clearly the Flash XDR / nanoFlash must offer some significant advantage(s) over alternative products.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 05:03 AM   #9
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Dear David,

I work very hard to be 100% accurate in my posts, which are based on the latest information that I have, based on in-depth conversations with Mike Schell.

The post that I made indicating that the circuit boards were on the production line was 100% accurate, as was the one discussing the porting of the Quicktime and MXF code to the Flash XDR.

However, we received reports of glitchy playback from a few "Alpha" units in the field.

Obviously this was very important to us.

As such, we put substantial resources toward determining the cause of the problems and towards finding the solution.

This diversion of resources prevented us from working on porting the Quicktime and MXF code as planned; but the problem was found, fixed, and a field installable upgrade to the firmware was promptly posted.

We hope that our customers will understand our dedication to providing a quality product and great product support.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 08:10 AM   #10
 
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I DO like a company who's priorities are in support of their products in the field. And I really like C-D's representation on these fora(is that the plural of forums?)
Thanx for your hard work, you guys. Holding my breath for the day my nano-flash is shipped.
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Old August 26th, 2008, 10:37 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Mike Schell View Post
Hi David-
Rather than get into all the specifics (we're already working a ton of overtime), I will simply say that we will continue to test and debug Flash XDR units as fast as possible. As soon as new firmware updates are available, I will post messages on this forum. As soon as the QT and MXF files are available, I will post a message on this forum.

Let's keep the personalities out of this discussion. I want to ship this product as much as everyone wants to get it. I'll endeavor to inform everyone about our progress and provide our best guess on delivery dates. But, a great deal of this work involves putting together new technology and is therefore prone to surprises and unexpected events.

BTW, can you tell us about your application? Clearly the Flash XDR / nanoFlash must offer some significant advantage(s) over alternative products.

Sorry this was posted to the wrong thread. I have re-posted to the correct thread. I hope you and Dan will respond there as well so this conversation can be continued in the correct place.

Speaking for the minority

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Old August 26th, 2008, 07:55 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Bill Ravens View Post
I DO like a company who's priorities are in support of their products in the field. And I really like C-D's representation on these fora(is that the plural of forums?)
Thanx for your hard work, you guys. Holding my breath for the day my nano-flash is shipped.
Hi Bill-
Thanks. I think you will be very happy when the nanoFlash arrives.
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