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Old September 30th, 2008, 09:18 PM   #1
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XDR field test 093008

I mounted the XDR on the back of my Panasonic HDX900 (1080/60i). It's a temporary setup; I will need a quick release system for everyday use and make a custom length video cable or 2. The 5 pin to 2-3 pin XLR cable that came with my camera works just right for length from the camera's audio output to the XDR's inputs. I had another 5 to 2-3 XLR I use for XDR to mixer to monitor audio. I extend this length with a couple XLR cables. Easy stuff.

You can do handheld work with the XDR on the camera, but it does stick out a bit on the back since I'm attaching it to the wireless plate that raps around the back of the battery. I could see having problems shooting in a car with the XDR attached, but you could always put it on the floor with appropriate cables.

I powered the XDR with a (NP-1 style) IDX Lithium-Ion NP-L7S, which is a 14.8v/71 watt-hour battery. I use these on my camera and power other equipment with them so it makes sense to use them for the XDR as well. The battery seems to last as long or longer with the XDR as the camera does. It will probably make sense to just change them both when the camera needs a new battery when shooting b-roll. I use AC when shooting interviews indoors.

You do have to wait a couple seconds for it to stop recording after you have pushed stop. I also give it some time to getting into the recording as well.

The XDR is still having some audio issues. Channel 2 audio is delayed on playback a couple seconds. The audio seems to be clean. They are working on the audio issue at C-D.

Since I don't have the ability to get the files into FCP until they upgrade the QuickTime function, I can't see video or hear audio from a timeline.

I carried the camera around the yard yesterday shooting different things: dog, birds, spider, etc. in the 50 mode. Things worked fine except the audio issue. Today I did a little setup on the deck with my wife as interview subject in the 100 Mbit/s mode. The picture looks good and didn't have any drop out or other technical issues as far as I could tell.

Moving the camera with XDR attached didn't seem to do any harm.

Tomorrow, if I have time, I might try some handheld work for a test.

My normal shooting is interviews and b-roll so that's what I'm thinking about as far as testing. If anyone has any specific tests they would like to see done, drop me a note and I'll try to do them.


Cheers,
Scott
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Old September 30th, 2008, 09:44 PM   #2
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Hi Scott-
Thanks for the feedback! Yes, we are working on the audio sync issue and the time-delay when changing modes (record to stop, play to stop, etc). We have also made some recent code changes to reduce the power consumption and subsequent temperature of the box.

Check out the QT file we just posted in the Quicktime thread in the forum. You should be able to play back on your FCP system.

We should have the firmware update in a couple of days for full QT support, just need to complete testing with all the various formats.
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Old October 6th, 2008, 02:08 PM   #3
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Quicktime posted

Hi all,
I just uploaded a 2 second QT shot during my ride to work this morning. The weather was off and on showers, so there are spots on the windshield and very low contrast. Sorry. The point was to see how the Sony Codec responds to motion. I think it did quite well although I don't have a comparison image at this time. I will shoot a simultaneous test soon.

This was shot from a Sony FCB-H10 block camera (POV style 1/3" Cmos Sensor with component HD out) An AJA converter was used to convert to SDI. The camera is set to 720P59.94 and the XDR is at 50 Mbps.

Since we are still pre-Quicktime Firmware I digitized the output from the XDR with an AJA Kona card at 10 bit Uncompressed. It was then exported using the same 10 bit uncompressed codec. The file is large as a result of no compression.

You will need the AJA codec if you don't have it, the mac and pc versions are at the link.

Index of /XDRTest
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Old October 7th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #4
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Handheld update

Hi:

I having been recording some handheld tests yesterday and this morning. They aren't going well. So far, as long as the camera is mounted on a tripod the XDR is recording OK. When the camera is mobile I am having recording issues.

First, I was using 90-degree BNC connectors. I thought I was having trouble with them so I removed them and went directly with the cable connections.

Even though the XDR is stating that the signal is good and recording, it is getting stuck. If it is stuck, you can't go past that area since there is no menu to delete that clip. I removed the CF card and removed the file using the computer. No good. The next clip wouldn't play either. The screen says No Errors and Playing, but it isn't. When you push stop, it does not stop and is stuck. You have to turn off the deck.

When a menu does surface from C-D, there needs to be a format lock. Now the unit is defaulting to 50 every time you start the unit. If you're recording in 100, it's something else you'll need to check every time you start the unit.

Another useful item would be a way to have a record light or something in the viewfinder so you know you are actually recording. If you're doing handheld work, you don't know if the unit is in error until you take the camera off your shoulder and look at the unit. This is not user-friendly system.

More later,
Scott
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Old October 7th, 2008, 02:21 PM   #5
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Location: Augusta Georgia
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Dear Scott,

I recommend that you call Convergent-Design and report the problem.

In the interest of resolving your problems as quickly as possible, could you please let us know the answers to the following questions?

Are you using the latest firmware?

Are you formatting the CompactFlash card in the Flash XDR itself, or formatting the card in a computer?

Are you deleting files from the CompactFlash using a computer?

Are you using Transcend 32 GB 133x cards?

Are you using Transcend 16 GB 300x cards?

Once we have the menu system working, you will be able to set your desired default bit rate and other options.

The GPI connector can be used to connect to a remote start/stop switch as well as a remote LED to indicate that you are recording. Mike and I have discussing building a little LED that can be mounted wherever you wish so that you can be certain that you are recording.

Overall, I suspect your BNC cable to be a problem, just as you suspected. If it works on the tripod, then there is no movement in the cable or connectors. You may have a loose connection, or a bad cable.

What is the length of the BNC cable?

Is it 50 ohm or 75 ohm cable?

I hope you do not mind me asking these questions. I would like to clear this problem as soon as possible.
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Augusta Georgia
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Old October 7th, 2008, 02:35 PM   #6
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I recommend that you call Convergent-Design and report the problem.

In the interest of resolving your problems as quickly as possible, could you please let us know the answers to the following questions?

Are you using the latest firmware? Yes .95

Are you formatting the CompactFlash card in the Flash XDR itself, or formatting the card in a computer?
Formatting on the XDR.

Are you deleting files from the CompactFlash using a computer?
I have, but on the tests this morning I reformatted on the XDR.

Are you using Transcend 32 GB 133x cards? Yes

Once we have the menu system working, you will be able to set your desired default bit rate and other options. Thanks.

The GPI connector can be used to connect to a remote start/stop switch as well as a remote LED to indicate that you are recording. Mike and I have discussing building a little LED that can be mounted wherever you wish so that you can be certain that you are recording.

Overall, I suspect your BNC cable to be a problem, just as you suspected. If it works on the tripod, then there is no movement in the cable or connectors. You may have a loose connection, or a bad cable.

I would agree about the bad cable except for the fact that the XDR says it has no errors and I can see it on a monitor. With the 90-degree connectors, you could disrupt the signal with some movement. With the cable directly connected, no movement of the cable seemed to disrupt the signal.

What is the length of the BNC cable? It's a 6' cable with the excess rapped and out of the way. I'm making a shorter one hopefully today.

Is it 50 ohm or 75 ohm cable? 75 ohm.

I hope you do not mind me asking these questions. I would like to clear this problem as soon as possible.

I too want this system to work. Thanks, Scott
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Old October 7th, 2008, 03:03 PM   #7
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
Posts: 5,413
I recommend that you call Convergent-Design and report the problem.

In the interest of resolving your problems as quickly as possible, could you please let us know the answers to the following questions?

Are you using the latest firmware? Yes .95

>>>> Version 115 is the latest. I recommend that you upgrade at your earliest convenience.

Are you formatting the CompactFlash card in the Flash XDR itself, or formatting the card in a computer?
Formatting on the XDR.

>>>> Good!

Are you deleting files from the CompactFlash using a computer?
I have, but on the tests this morning I reformatted on the XDR.

>>>> Good! Deleting files on a computer is bad, unless you then reformat on the XDR.

Are you using Transcend 32 GB 133x cards? Yes

>>> Good.

Once we have the menu system working, you will be able to set your desired default bit rate and other options. Thanks.

The GPI connector can be used to connect to a remote start/stop switch as well as a remote LED to indicate that you are recording. Mike and I have discussing building a little LED that can be mounted wherever you wish so that you can be certain that you are recording.

Overall, I suspect your BNC cable to be a problem, just as you suspected. If it works on the tripod, then there is no movement in the cable or connectors. You may have a loose connection, or a bad cable.

I would agree about the bad cable except for the fact that the XDR says it has no errors and I can see it on a monitor. With the 90-degree connectors, you could disrupt the signal with some movement. With the cable directly connected, no movement of the cable seemed to disrupt the signal.

What is the length of the BNC cable? It's a 6' cable with the excess rapped and out of the way. I'm making a shorter one hopefully today.

Is it 50 ohm or 75 ohm cable? 75 ohm.

>>> Good.

>>> Are you using 75 ohm BNC connectors and not 50 ohm connectors?

I hope you do not mind me asking these questions. I would like to clear this problem as soon as possible.

I too want this system to work. Thanks, Scott
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Old October 7th, 2008, 03:45 PM   #8
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 869
Quote:
Originally Posted by Douglas Scott View Post
Hi:

I having been recording some handheld tests yesterday and this morning. They aren't going well. So far, as long as the camera is mounted on a tripod the XDR is recording OK. When the camera is mobile I am having recording issues.

First, I was using 90-degree BNC connectors. I thought I was having trouble with them so I removed them and went directly with the cable connections.

Even though the XDR is stating that the signal is good and recording, it is getting stuck. If it is stuck, you can't go past that area since there is no menu to delete that clip. I removed the CF card and removed the file using the computer. No good. The next clip wouldn't play either. The screen says No Errors and Playing, but it isn't. When you push stop, it does not stop and is stuck. You have to turn off the deck.

When a menu does surface from C-D, there needs to be a format lock. Now the unit is defaulting to 50 every time you start the unit. If you're recording in 100, it's something else you'll need to check every time you start the unit.

Another useful item would be a way to have a record light or something in the viewfinder so you know you are actually recording. If you're doing handheld work, you don't know if the unit is in error until you take the camera off your shoulder and look at the unit. This is not user-friendly system.

More later,
Scott
Hi Scott-
On the recording issues, please do update to vr 0.0.115 firmware. We made a lot of improvements in this release, especially in the area of reliability. We found an occasional problem in which the directory was accidentally being overwritten.

Also included in this update is reduced power dissipation (about 2.5 Watt reduction) and a correction for audio/video sync on one of the channels.

We tested the code extensively over the last few days, this should make a significant improvement.
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