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Convergent Design Odyssey
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Old September 9th, 2008, 07:09 PM   #1
Convergent Design
 
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Latest Flash XDR / nanoFlash Newsletter

In case you're not on our mailing list, here's the latest newsletter and update:

Dear Video Professional-
Below is a brief update on our progress on Flash XDR and nanoFlash, the first Compact Flash based HD/SD portable recorder/players.

Just as a quick reminder, the Flash XDR has four CF card slots and analog audio I/O, while the lower cost nanoFlash only has two CF card slots and only SDI embedded audio (no analog audio). Flash XDR also offers the potential upgrade to uncompressed, while both products offer the same high-quality 50/100/160 4:2:2 MPEG2 compression using the excellent Sony CODEC.

See Flash XDR at IBC
Flash XDR units will be on display at the IBC show later this week in Amsterdam. Flash XDRs can be found at the Polecam booth (Stand 10.C49) and also at our EU distributor (Symbiosis) booth (Stand 7.A08E). I will be available at one of these booths for questions and discussion. We will be showing some awesome Flash XDR footage from OnBoard Images of a wing-walker and a stunt bi-plane.

Flash XDR Alpha Units Shipped
We have shipped a number of Flash XDR units and posted numerous firmware updates in the last 2 weeks. The record and playback reliability has greatly improved with some recent code revisions. Currently, we are supporting 1080i59.94/50, 1080p29.97/25/23.98 and 720p59.94/50 at 50 Mbps 4:2:2. The 1080i formats also work at 100 Mbps. We hope to have a firmware update for the 100 Mbps support for 1080p and 720p formats shortly. Line-level analog audio I/O was also recently enabled, as well as in-the-box formatting of the CF cards.

Over the next 4 weeks, we will be concentrating our engineering efforts on Quicktime/MXF support and completion of ASI I/O. After these updates are complete, we will then add other features, such as standard-def support, pull-down removal, image flip, time-lapse recording, and uncompressed record and playback. We will also add new menu displays, such as card level indicators, total time remaining across all cards and running time-code display, among others.

Production quantities of Flash XDR will begin shipping this week to selected customers.

QuickTime and MXF Update
We expect to start Quicktime file format debug starting Thursday of this week, with a goal of delivery before the end of this month. This new firmware will write .mov files directly to the CF cards. So, you will be able to edit footage directly from the card without transcode or re-wrap of the file whatsoever.

MXF file support is scheduled for October release.

ASI Update
The ASI (MPEG2 transport-stream over SDI) code is complete and now in simulation and debug. We have targeted initial deployment by the end of September.

nanoFlash Update
The nanoFlash board design should be complete by the end of this month. We are a little behind on the nanoFlash design, as efforts have been diverted to debug some of the Flash XDR initial issues. However, we do expect to have prototype units by late October.

Compact Flash Card Prices Continue to Fall
The Transcend 133X 32GB card is now priced at US $115 at mydigitaldiscount.com, or US $114 at newegg.com We expect 64 GB CF cards will be available by year-end. microdia.com has already announced a 64GB CF card, mass production is still waiting for delivery of the new Flash chips from Samsung.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 05:25 AM   #2
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Hi Mike, really exciting news. I have a question for ya. A HDV camera like the Canon XH-G1 can record 1080,25p 4:2:2 to the compact flash. Technically speaking, the recorded content is HD. However, the CCDs of the XH-G1 is not full 1920x1080 so can the recorded footage still be considered as HD?

If we record from both XH-G1 and EX1 at 1080,25p, 50Mbps via HD-SDI, would the footages show a differences? I should think 1/2" EXMOS vs 1/3" CCD should see some degradation.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 06:38 AM   #3
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Dear Sean,

Yes, 1440 x 1080 is considered HD.

Many HD cameras, and some very expensive cameras, use 1440 x 1080 internally, but produce a 1920 x 1080 data stream via HD-SDI.


Many use the term "Full Raster" to indicate that all of the elements in the signal chain, including the sensor, the internal processing, and the output or recording are not reduced to a lower value for recording or output.

The Sony EX1, EX3 and some other camera are "Full Raster".

The Flash XDR and the nanoFlash are capable of recording "Full Raster". By this I mean that none of the resolution of the image that the unit receives is thrown away prior to compression.

Of course, MPEG compression, as are most compression schemes, is "lossy" compression. But with the Flash XDR/nanoFlash, you can select the level of compression that suits your needs.

In this post I have attempted to be technically correct as well as understandable. I welcome corrections if I have misstated any points.

"Full Raster" 1920 x 1080 images have been superior in resolution, in our limited tests.

But, remember that resolution is not everything, resolution should not be the only item considered when selecting an HD camera.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 08:16 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Seah View Post
If we record from both XH-G1 and EX1 at 1080,25p, 50Mbps via HD-SDI, would the footages show a differences? I should think 1/2" EXMOS vs 1/3" CCD should see some degradation.
Sean, this difference is between the cameras themselves and not related to the Flash XDR since both camera will be outputting the absolute best they can offer.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 08:35 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sean Seah View Post
CCDs of the XH-G1 is not full 1920x1080 so can the recorded footage still be considered as HD?
Absolutely yes it is considered as HD.

Remember, 1280 x 720 is also HD. Try not to get hung up on the numbers.
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Old September 10th, 2008, 09:47 PM   #6
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thks folks. I understand now.Looking forward to the Nano to appear locally.
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