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Convergent Design Odyssey
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Old November 24th, 2008, 03:00 AM   #1
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A Little Un Happy

Hi,
I received my first Flash unit last week and imediately updated the rom.
Firstly it has not been made clear that this is clearly a prototype and you are using your customers as guniea pigs.
I have been waiting for this product for over 1 year and to have a machine that wont even do the basics i.e. I have no idea of audio level input! is not really on.
Mself being a SME who builds electronic equipment I fully understand you situation just wish I had been told.
The nag list so far from us is:
1 Audio level monitor
2 HDV output through firewire
3 Being able to fast forward through long files

At the moment I cannot use for serious production work and was hoping to buy 10 units.

JOnathan
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Old November 24th, 2008, 06:36 AM   #2
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Dear Jonathan,

We are very sorry that you are unhappy.

We are working very hard to deliver all of the features that we have promised.

We are delivering a product, for which not all of the promised features are enabled, due to the numerous requests for us to deliver a workable recording solution as soon as possible.

We have tried to be very clear that all of the promised features are not available at this time. We use this wonderful forum, DVInfo.net to communicate with our users.

New features are being added on a regular basis. You can expect a meaningful update the firmware to be released this week. This will include the enabling of more audio options.

With the release that you have, you have rock-solid recording, for various video modes, at multiple recording rates, in both Quicktime and another format.

Substantial in-house testing is performed prior to making any new firmware release available.

We are very sorry that we have not fulfilled your expectations and will work hard to regain your trust.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 08:28 AM   #3
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I don't have a Flash XDR, but have been keeping an eye on it for quite a while, and I was certainly under the impression that it was still a work in progress, and that if you used one you might expect there still to be quirks and even bugs in the system. I also assume that any problems that are resolved will be sorted via firmware, or presumably with a return to the factory if neccessary and a free of charge repair/upgrade to customers who have already taken delivery? This is way with ground-breaking new technology, also the case with RED for example.
Steve
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Old November 24th, 2008, 08:37 AM   #4
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Dear Steve,

Yes, your understanding is correct.

We are releasing firmware updates on a regular basis. As we do so, new functionality is provided to existing users of the Flash XDR.

Thus, in order to implement promised features (and possibly new features in the future), we fully expect that firmware updates will be all that is necessary.

In the unlikely event that we do discover an issue with the hardware (circuitry), then we will take the necessary actions to correct the units already in the field. We have no reason at this time to suspect that this will be necessary.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #5
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I understand all that but what is the point of having rock solid recording when you can distort the sound?

I wasnt made aware of just how much this is a prototype!

Also the price had increase since I first placed the order.

As we are all field trialing your equipment and providing you with invaulable field knowledge will we get paid for this work?

Or a discount on future products?
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Old November 24th, 2008, 09:01 AM   #6
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Have to respectfully disagree with Mr. Thursby's opinion that the current firmware version of the XDR is not ready for production use.

I know of no better solution for HDCAM 422 at 50mbps/100mbps without being tethered to a bulky capture card and computer and raid.

We are greatful that the decision was made to release what were called "alpha" units was made so we could make the tremendous step up in quality with our XLH1 and XHG1 instead of still being forced into the only choice of HDV or cumbersome capture card/computer/raid solution.

The AJA io is the closest overall solution to the XDR and I don't think the format is of equal quality and it's size/weight is bulkier.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 09:29 AM   #7
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How are you getting audio level correct?

I presume you are using audio over HSDI or output from camera, both of which you know what levels you are recording.

For me who uses unit as stand alone and Mic inputs I have no idea what level i am recording.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 09:36 AM   #8
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Can anyone help in getting footage into an Avid Adrenalin programe?

I really want this system to work as we currently have 16 HD POV cameras either the TOSHIBA or the Sony Block camera which are all downconverted and recorded onto SD,

This gives us a small 16:9 minicam with easy Avid ingest, we currently shoot aprox 36 hours of on-board material for a very famous English Car programe. But we are looking at all ways to go to full HD next year.

And at the moment this might mean either P2 or HDCAM,

We only get one chance to get the filming correct over a possible 7 day filming period.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 09:59 AM   #9
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Hi Jonathan,
If you have an Adrenaline, why not just play your files out of the XDR and digitize them? Soon the Convergent Design people are planning on releasing a QT <to> MXF converter for XDR users to switch media between formats, plus you'll be able to record directly to MXF at some point in the near future, which should work on Adrenaline.

For the audio, I just do a couple tests and set my mic levels as best I can. I don't expect people will be riding levels while recording to XDR anyway.

I shoot like you, with POV cameras, but in airplanes. I set everything and then it's out of my hands until landing. A reshoot is an expensive proposition so getting it right is important.

Since the only alternative to the XDR is the Panasonic P2 recorder or a tape deck, I was very anxious to get my XDR and though it's not completely finished, I've saved money in deck rentals already. I'm comfortable at this point using the XDR without a backup.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 11:24 AM   #10
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Hi Jonathan:

This isn't an answer to your question, but a bit of support for your opinion. I've had the XDR for a couple months now and have given up on speedy gratification. Yes it does record to the formats it has, but they are few. As a freelancer myself, I don't get to decide the format. I shoot what the client wants. I was also lead to believe that the XDR was a working unit when I purchased. It is not.

The lack of audiometers is unacceptable.

The inability to play different tracks or fast forward is unacceptable.

The lack of a true XDcam format is unacceptable.

The use of work-a-rounds for this unit is unacceptable.

The list is long on the things the XDR can't do, but should do. What we get is their answer that things are coming and will get better. You'll find that their supporters have a "faith" in C-D and you'll be asked to have faith too.

The marketing of the XDR has been made not to supply customers with a product that will fill a niche, but to beat their competitors to the punch and to deliver an almost working model to equipment shows for bragging rights. I've seen advertisements in magazines for the XDR for sale as a working model. This is premature.

I'm afraid Jonathan you'll have to do what I do now. When an update comes, put it in your unit to see what it can do and can't do. Then, place your XDR back in its box to wait for another update.

I believe this process will go on for 3 to 6 months before it becomes a truly working model. Until then, you'll have to rely on some other way of recording your projects.

The thing is, we all want this product to succeed and urge Convergent Design to keep working, but the sad truth is the XDR should not have come out until 2009 when it will be, I assume, a working product. Until then, keep your expectations in check or you'll get very upset indeed.


Cheers,
Scott
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Old November 24th, 2008, 12:11 PM   #11
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Scott and Jonathan this is very disturbing. I have my XDR FLASH on the way and it might even arrive today. If the unit is not dependable and will not offer what I am told it will do then we have a problem. I expect to use it right away for my business.

IF the XDR will record 50, 100, and 160Mbps 4.2.2 in Quicktime then it should fill my needs for now.

I was told audio is great and can go onto the XDR and my S&S EX1 cards at the same time.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 12:37 PM   #12
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Hi Jonathan-

I apologize for the mis-communication. Yes, the Flash XDR is a work in progress. Yes, we do need to do a better job communicating this status. However, we do have a fair number of customers using the box on daily basis for real production work.

We are expecting a firmware release today or tomorrow to enable the phantom power and to fix some of the playback issues. We'll also include 720p50/60 support.

Audio level meters and 1394 output are also planned, but I don't have an exact date yet. In the short-term, we will concentrate on MXF file support and playback of individual clips. The ability to select an individual clip for playback is actually quicker than the Fast-Forward function. Yes, FF is also on the feature list, but selection of individual clips (for playback) will come sooner.

If you have not registered your box, please send an e-mail to sales@convergent-design.com with the serial number. You will receive an e-mail whenever new firmware is posted.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 12:52 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Cronin View Post
Scott and Jonathan this is very disturbing. I have my XDR FLASH on the way and it might even arrive today. If the unit is not dependable and will not offer what I am told it will do then we have a problem. I expect to use it right away for my business.

IF the XDR will record 50, 100, and 160Mbps 4.2.2 in Quicktime then it should fill my needs for now.

I was told audio is great and can go onto the XDR and my S&S EX1 cards at the same time.
Hi Paul-
We have the 50 and 100 Mbps 4:2:2 Long-GOP working reliably in Quicktime now. We have not implemented the 160Mbps 4:2:2 I-Frame because the 100Mbps looks superb, even in high-motion situations. I seriously doubt the 160Mbps I-Frame will look as good as the 100Mbps Long-GOP.

Phantom power control will be fixed with the release planned for today. Embedded audio is working fine.

Yes, you can go to the SxS cards and the Flash XDR simultaneously. This is actually the preferred method as you automatically generate a second (backup) copy of the video.
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Old November 24th, 2008, 02:55 PM   #14
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Thanks Mike I know 50 and 100Mbps are working in QuickTime I was just making a statement for the reason I purchased.

Sounds like the 32GB 133x cards are the way to go for now. When the 160Mbps is running then I could try some of the 16GB 300x cards.

I agree going to the SxS cards at the same time will be nice.
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Old November 25th, 2008, 03:46 AM   #15
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I will explain again,
We supply footage directly to the BBC, and a very famous car programme you will know world wide.
We can not supply the XDR units to the edit suite to digitize from, as we shoot for 4 months solid while the edits go on.
We only have one chance to get the sound level correct in a variety of machines from F1, World War 2 Spitfires to the latest Bugatti Veron.
The edit is extremely tight on time as one 8 min piece in an hour show normally takes 4 weeks to edit and grade.
If they have to import into Avid via further software transfer, cost and time goes up extortionately.
I really have no problem with the fact this is a prototype unit that in theory will get better.

What I really have the problem with is these points.

1. I have paid retail price for a unit that is not fit for purpose and not a lesser price for a unit that is for testing only. I was sold on the features and have not got them, in the UK this is called misrepresentation and is a very serious matter.
2. I will help the manufacture improve the unit with feedback and receive no monetary help.
3. Not told how bad the prototype is.
4 I presume that once the unit is fully working then the price will go up again.

This unit is no where near usable in the British Broadcast area yet, I am sure it will be, but when?

An exact date with no maybe`s etc include in the quote would be very helpful.

I have to go HD rec next January and at the moment will be forced to pick other formats as this unit is just not ready.
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