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Old January 9th, 2009, 04:25 AM   #1
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Current Capabilities of the Flash XDR

Dear Friends,

I thought it would be helpful to post the current capabilities of the Flash XDR verus capabilities planned for future firmware releases.

Current Flash XDR Capabilities
Firmware Release 0.0.193

Recording and Playback

1. Recording and Playback of clips.

The Flash XDR records seamlessly from one CompactFlash card to the next.

The clips (files) are recorded in FAT32 format.

When the maximum size of one clip is reached, the current clip is closed, and another clip is opened.

There is no loss of audio or video during this process.

Playback is seamless from one clip to the next, even if the next clip is on another CompactFlash Card.

While the Flash XDR holds four CompactFlash cards simultaneously, the clips are written to only one card at a time.

There is no need to have more than one card in the Flash XDR for recording, unless one wants to increase the maximum recording time, as when one card becomes full, the next card is used automatically.

The Flash XDR will create standard Quicktime files as a menu option.

Final Cut Pro version 6.0.5 or later, with all of the latest updates, is required to work with the Quicktime files.

Quicktime allows one to take the files recorded onto a Compact Flash card to another computer system and immediately start editing with Final Cut Pro.

Alternatively, one can transfer the files to a computer and then immediately reuse the card.

The Lexar Firewire 800 CompactFlash or the SanDisk Extreme Firewire 800/400 card readers may be used to quickly transfer the clips to another storage device, such as a computer or laptop.

The transfer occurs at approximately 6x real-time for 50 Mbps clips or 3x for 100 Mbps clips.

If time is critical, one can play or edit the clips directly off the CompactFlash card when using the Lexar card reader.

2. Playback.

The last clip can be immediately played back by pressing the Play key.

Alternatively, via a menu option, all of the clips can be played back in sequence.

3. Saving of Current Menu Settings.

Appropriate current menu settings are saved in non-volatile memory.

The settings remain active through power down and power up and the changing of the battery or interruption of the power supply.

4. Naming of Clips.

Each Clip is given a “Flash XDR/Camera” unit number, a Clip Number, and a Sub-Clip number.

The Clip Number is a three-digit, sequentially assigned number. This number is remembered through power down and power up cycles.

Video

5. Video Modes Supported.

Bit Rate Compression Audio Format Subsampling Raster

100 Mbps Long-GOP CBR PCM 24-Bit 48K 4:2:2 1920 x 1080 / 1280 x 720p
50 Mbps Long-GOP CBR PCM 24-Bit 48K 4:2:2 1920 x 1080 / 1280 x 720p

6. Video Formats Supported.

1080i60/50, 1080p30/25/24, 1080psf30/25/24, 720p60/50

7. Long- GOP Mode.

Long-GOP mode is currently used for the video modes.

8. Recording Quality Options.

50 and 100 Megabit (Mb) Constant Bit Rate recordings are supported in all video formats.

Audio

9. Audio Recording.

· All recording is done in the 24-bit word format.

· Two external XLR audio inputs, mic or line level are available.

· The mic level option has a separate variable gain control for each channel, adjustable from +10 to +65 dB, and settable to 0 dB.

· +48V Phantom Power can be supplied, individually via menu settings, to each channel.

· The Headphone output can be used for monitoring while recording or playback.

· The External Audio Output provides two channels of audio output at line level.

· Two Channels of embedded HD-SDI Audio can be recorded.

10. Audio and Timecode Embedding.

The two external audio channels are automatically embedded into the HD-SDI outputs. External timecode is also automatically embedded into the HD-SDI outputs.

Timecode

11. Timecode.

Timecode embedded in the HD-SDI signal, or external timecode can be selected.

The current timecode value is prominently shown on the display.

The selected timecode source, external timecode or embedded timecode, is recorded with the audio and video.

The HD-SDI output will have the selected timecode embedded in the output signal.

Compact Flash

12. CompactFlash Card Support.

The Flash XDR may be used with Transcend 133x and 300x CompactFlash cards of any capacity, and Lexar 300x UDMA cards of any capacity.

Our next firmware release will support SanDisk Extreme III and Extreme IV cards of any capacity.

300x cards are required for any recording bit rate over 100 Megabits per second.

Other cards will be qualified in the future, including 64 GB cards.

13. CompactFlash Card Monitoring.

· Individual Gas Gauge for each Compact Flash card.

· The total remaining record time, the total time available across all cards, is displayed.

Current Flash XDR Capabilities

· Each CompactFlash card slot has an LED status light.

Green indicates ready to record, as there is sufficient capacity to start recording.
Red indicates that this card is currently in use for recording.

The status of the CompactFlash Cards is shown on the display allowing real-time monitoring of the remaining capacity of each CompactFlash Card.

14. CompactFlash Card Formatting.

CompactFlash Cards can be quickly formatted in the Flash XDR.

Four 32 Gigabyte CompactFlash cards can be fully formatted, in the Flash XDR, in under 15 seconds.

Record Trigger Options

15. Record on Incrementing Timecode.

The Flash XDR can be set to start recording when incrementing timecode is detected.
When the timecode stops incrementing, recording will stop.

16. Remote Start/Stop.

The Flash XDR provides a 4-pin Hirose connection for remote start / stop with a tally (recording) light.

17. Record Trigger Options.

Recording can be trigger via three separate options.

a. Incrementing time code.
b. Record Button
c. Remote Control

Each option may be individually selected or locked out.


=================================================================



Capabilities and Features Promised but Not Currently Available

1. MXF File Format.

MXF when finished will work with current releases Avid, Edius, Vegas, Premier.
MXF support is currently in development and a beta release is expected shortly.

2. ASI Support.

ASI support is undergoing testing at this time. ASI is an extra cost option.

3. I-Frame Only Mode.
I-Frame Only mode will be supported at the 100 Mbps and 160 Mbps bit-rates.

4. Audio Level Meters.

5. Redundant Recording.

6. Image Flip.

7. 3-2 Pulldown Removal.

8. Playback of Selected Clips.

Playback of the last clip, or playback of all of the clips, are currently supported.

Playback of individual, user selected clips will be in a future release.

9. Programmable Function Keys.

10. Keypad Locking.

11. Metadata Input/Recording.

12. Audio Recording Format.

Two channels of 24-bit, 48K PCM audio are currently supported.
8 channels will be supported in a future release.

MPEG1 Layer 2 (384 Kbps: 2-Channel, 192 Kbps: 4-Channel) will be available for streaming only.

All recording to CompactFlash cards will be uncompressed PCM Audio.

13. RS-422 Deck Control.

14. Time-Lapse Recording.

15. Pre-Record Buffer.

8 Seconds of pre-record buffer will be supported for 100 Mbps bit-rates, 16 seconds at 50 Mbps.

16. Audio/video Sync Adjustment.

17. Uncompressed Recording and Playback.

18. Various Maximum Variable Bit Rates.

19. IEEE 1394a – Firewire Output

HDV Support for steaming only, not recording, will be supported in a future release.

20. Hot Swap of CF Cards.

21. Internal Temperature Display.

22. Headphone Output Volume Adjustments.

23. Status Beeps in Headphone Output.

24. Delete Last Clip Function.

25. Blu-Ray Encoding.

26. Fast Forward, Rewind, and Pause Control.

27. Standard Definition Support.

28. Metadata Support.

29. MXF <> Quicktime Converter.
This will be a separate PC/Mac program, not a function of the Flash XDR.

30. Support for Internally Generated Timecode

Support for Flash XDR internally generated timecode.
Record Run, Free Run, and Time of Day timecode are planned.
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Old January 10th, 2009, 02:54 AM   #2
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Thank you Dan, very useful post.

I know that you are going step by step, but could you give us an approximatively idea on when all the promised features will be available? I other words, when will the Flash XDR software be completed and fully operationnal? For the NAB? This summer?
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Old January 10th, 2009, 05:37 AM   #3
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Excellent post Dan.
Any forecast for the nano?
Thanks,
Eugen
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Old January 10th, 2009, 07:02 AM   #4
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Dear Ronan and Eugen,

While I would like to give everyone a rough schedule of what we expect, this causes a conflict.

It is very important to me personally, and to Convergent Design, that we meet every schedule that we publish. I also think that this is best for everyone.

I fully understand that many want more information.

So, at least for now, I want to make feature and product availability announcements only when I am absolutely certain that we will make the deadline.

To elaborate, when we have the hardware designed, prototypes made, software working, we are starting volume production, and we are within 30 days or so of delivering intial volumes to our customers, then I will announce schedules.

The above may sound extreme and very conservative.

In addition, in order to be informative, I want to make announcements when we meet some major milestones.

To help with this and provide some meaningful information:


1. While we have had Quicktime working for some time now, our MXF support was not ready. MXF is now very close to being done.

This falls under the 30 day rule. We will deliver MXF within the next 30 days.

2. We have not spoken much about ASI support on this forum. However, this has been a high priority for us also. ASI is used for many purposes. One application is that it is a standard for transmission used by television remote trucks to send their signal back to their stations via microwave.

This falls under the 30 day rule. We fully expect to deliver ASI within the next 30 days. We are testing our ASI support using more than one microwave setup and this is time-consuming, but we expect to complete our testing soon.

3. We have been working to support more CompactFlash card brands. This is currently in process. We will release support for more card brands within 30 days.

4. High on my personal list of features are Audio Level Meters, Playback of Selected Clips, and Redundant Recording.

While all of these are important, each requires a software/firmware infrastructure to be developed. These may or may not become available within 30 days, it is too close to tell.

5. We are also making some changes to ensure that unexpected conditions do not cause problems.

For example, we recommend that all CompactFlash cards be formatted in the Flash XDR itself and that all cards are formatted before their first use. We are going to extra lengths to test for these conditions and then take corrective action. We expect to deliver this extra layer of protection in the next 30 days.

As for the nanoFlash, Mike Schell is now able to devote much more time to its development. We already have most of the circuit boards designed, one is left to go. We fully expect this last board to be fully designed in the next two weeks.

The nanoFlash does not fall within the 30 day rule.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 07:06 PM   #5
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Thank you for the answer Dan.
The 30 days rule sounds OK.
Please keep us posted.
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Old January 11th, 2009, 07:41 PM   #6
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Dear Eugen,

Thank you.

Yes, I will be happy to keep you posted.

Mike has been working on the nanoFlash all weekend.
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Old January 15th, 2009, 12:41 PM   #7
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Thanks for the update.

Happy New Year to the CD team. Glad to be on-board and glad to know that development is going on apace. Thankful that you are communicating to your client (and prospective client) base.

Looking forward to the uncompressed options in particular.

Jus.
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Old March 4th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #8
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Dear Friends,

I thought it was time to show where we are in the development of the Flash XDR.
New features are in bold.

Current Flash XDR Capabilities
Firmware Release 0.0.275

Recording and Playback

1. Recording and Playback of clips.

The Flash XDR records seamlessly from one CompactFlash card to the next.

The clips (files) are recorded in FAT32 format.

When the maximum size of one clip is reached, the current clip is closed, and another clip is opened.

There is no loss of audio or video during this process.

Playback is seamless from one clip to the next, even if the next clip is on another CompactFlash Card.

While the Flash XDR holds four CompactFlash cards simultaneously, the clips are written to only one card at a time.

There is no need to have more than one card in the Flash XDR for recording, unless one wants to increase the maximum recording time, as when one card becomes full, the next card is used automatically.

The Flash XDR will create standard, native Quicktime files, or native MXF files, selectable via a menu option.

Final Cut Pro version 6.0.5 or later, with all of the latest updates, is required to work with the Quicktime files.

Recent versions Sony Vegas 8.0c, Edius, and Avid support our native MXF files.

If the original files are recorded in Quicktime, we provide a free utility to convert them to native MXF files.

Quicktime allows one to take the files recorded onto a Compact Flash card to another computer system and immediately start editing with Final Cut Pro. The same process applies to MXF files with the other NLE’s.

Alternatively, one can transfer the files to a computer and then immediately reuse the card.

The Lexar Firewire 800 CompactFlash or the SanDisk Extreme Firewire 800/400 card readers may be used to quickly transfer the clips to another storage device, such as a computer or laptop. If one has an ExpressCard 34 slot, then a very high speed CompactFlash card reader is available for around $100 US.

The transfer occurs at approximately 6x real-time for 50 Mbps clips or 3x for 100 Mbps clips, or faster with the ExpressCard 34 card reader.

If time is critical, one can play or edit the clips directly off the CompactFlash card when using one of the CompactFlash card readers.

2. Playback.

The last clip can be immediately played back by pressing the Play key.

During playback, one can press the Left Arrow or Right Arrow to navigate to other clips/sub-clips.
One can quickly go from one clip to another.

Or, one can select the desired clip prior to starting playback.


3. Saving of Current Menu Settings.

Appropriate current menu settings are saved in non-volatile memory.

The settings remain active through power down and power up and the changing of the battery or interruption of the power supply.

4. Naming of Clips.

Each Clip is given a “Flash XDR/Camera” unit number, a Clip Number, and a Sub-Clip number.

The Clip Number is a three-digit, sequentially assigned number. This number is remembered through power down and power up cycles.

Video

5. Video Modes Supported.

Bit Rate Compression Audio Format Subsampling Raster

100 Mbps Long-GOP CBR PCM 24-Bit 48K 4:2:2 1920 x 1080 / 1280 x 720p
50 Mbps Long-GOP CBR PCM 24-Bit 48K 4:2:2 1920 x 1080 / 1280 x 720p

100 Mbps I-Frame Only PCM 24-Bit 48K 4:2:2 1920 x 1080 / 1280 x 720p
160 Mbps I-Frame Only PCM 24-Bit 48K 4:2:2 1920 x 1080 / 1280 x 720p


6. Video Formats Supported.

1080i60/50, 1080p30/25/24, 1080psf30/25/24, 720p60/50

7. Long- GOP Mode / I-Frame Only Mode.

Long-GOP or I-Frame Only modes may be selected via a menu option.

8. Recording Quality Options.

50 and 100 Megabit (Mb) Constant Bit Rate Long-GOP recordings are supported in all video formats
100 and 160 Megabit (Mb) Constant Bit Rate I-Frame Only recordings are supported in all video formats

Audio

9. Audio Recording.

· All recording is done in the 24-bit word format.

· Two external XLR audio inputs, mic or line level are available.

· The mic level option has a separate variable gain control for each channel, adjustable from +10 to +65 dB, and settable to 0 dB.

· Audio Level Meters are now provided.

· +48V Phantom Power can be supplied, individually via menu settings, to each channel.

· The Headphone output can be used for monitoring while recording or playback.

· The External Audio Output provides two channels of audio output at line level.

· Two Channels of embedded HD-SDI Audio can be recorded.
Eight Channels of embedded HD-SDI Audio is planned for the near future.

10. Audio and Timecode Embedding.

The two external audio channels are automatically embedded into the HD-SDI outputs.
External timecode is also automatically embedded into the HD-SDI outputs.

Timecode

11. Timecode.

Timecode embedded in the HD-SDI signal, or external timecode can be selected.

The current timecode value is prominently shown on the display.

The selected timecode source, external timecode or embedded timecode, is recorded with the audio and video.

The HD-SDI output will have the selected timecode embedded in the output signal.

Compact Flash

12. CompactFlash Card Support.

The Flash XDR may be used with Transcend 133x and 300x CompactFlash cards of any capacity.
SanDisk Extreme III and IV cards are now supported.
Some other UDMA cards are also supported.


300x (write speed) cards are required for any recording bit rate over 100 Megabits per second.

Other cards will be qualified in the future, including 64 GB cards.

13. CompactFlash Card Monitoring.

· Individual Gas Gauge for each Compact Flash card.

· The total remaining record time, the total time available across all cards, is displayed.

· Each CompactFlash card slot has an LED status light.

Green indicates ready to record, as there is sufficient capacity to start recording.
Red indicates that this card is currently in use for recording.

The status of the CompactFlash Cards is shown on the display allowing real-time monitoring of the remaining capacity of each CompactFlash Card.

14. CompactFlash Card Formatting.

CompactFlash Cards can be quickly formatted in the Flash XDR.

Four 32 Gigabyte CompactFlash cards can be fully formatted, in the Flash XDR, in approximately 10 seconds.

Record Trigger Options

15. Record on Incrementing Timecode.

The Flash XDR can be set to start recording when incrementing timecode is detected.
When the timecode stops incrementing, recording will stop.

Due to the inherent complexities of Record-Run timecode in certain cameras, we highly recommend using the wired remote control that we now offer.

For example, some cameras will not increment timecode unless they have a tape or other memory in the camera, and then they stop incrementing timecode if the internal media becomes full.

16. Remote Start/Stop.

The Flash XDR provides a 4-pin Hirose connection for remote start / stop with a tally (recording) light.
We now offer a wired remote control for the Flash XDR.

17. Record Trigger Options.

Recording can be trigger via three separate options.

a. Incrementing time code.
b. Record Button
c. Remote Control
d. None – Recording is lock out allowing for playback only.




=================================================================



Capabilities and Features Promised but Not Currently Available

1. ASI Support.

ASI support is undergoing testing at this time. ASI is an extra cost option.
ASI support is expected within 30 days.

2. SD-SDI Standard Definition Support.

Standard Definition Support is expected within 30 days.

3. Support for Internally Generated Timecode

Support for Flash XDR internally generated timecode is expected within 30 days.
Record Run, Free Run, and Time of Day timecode are planned

4. Additional Bit-Rate Options

35 Mbps 4:2:0 XDCam EX options are expected within 30 days.

5. Redundant Recording.

6. Image Flip.

7. 3-2 Pulldown Removal.

8. Programmable Function Keys.

9. Keypad Locking.

10. Metadata Input/Recording.

11. RS-422 Deck Control.

12. Time-Lapse Recording.

13. Pre-Record Buffer.

8 Seconds of pre-record buffer will be supported for 100 Mbps bit-rates, 16 seconds at 50 Mbps.

14. Audio/video Sync Adjustment.

15. Uncompressed Recording and Playback.

16. Hot Swap of CF Cards.

17. Internal Temperature Display.

18. Headphone Output Volume Adjustments.

19. Status Beeps in Headphone Output.

20. Delete Last Clip Function.

21. Blu-Ray Encoding.

22. Fast Forward, Rewind, and Pause Control.

23. MXF <> Quicktime Converter.

This will be a separate PC/Mac program, not a function of the Flash XDR.

Our Quicktime to MXF converter for the Mac platform has been released.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 12:19 AM   #9
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This is a great way of presenting this information, so the casual follower doesn't have to trawl tons of threads to catch up with recent changes.
Thank you.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 03:27 AM   #10
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Dear Mike,

Thanks for the nice comment!
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Old March 5th, 2009, 05:43 AM   #11
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Which brand of ExpressCard 34 card reader is recommended....

thanks for the list...
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Old March 5th, 2009, 06:21 AM   #12
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Dear Ray,

The brand name is Sonnet,

the product is Sonnet Pro Dual Compact Flash Adapter ExpressCard/34

Sonnet | Pro Dual Compact Flash Adapter | CFRW2XE34 | B&H Photo
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Old March 5th, 2009, 07:27 AM   #13
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What is the process for ordering a wired remote control for the Flash XDR?
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Old March 5th, 2009, 07:37 AM   #14
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Dear John,

Just send me a private message.

Please specify your desired cable length.
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Old March 5th, 2009, 08:33 PM   #15
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That dual card looks very nice... same its for a MAC only :-(


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
Dear Ray,

The brand name is Sonnet,

the product is Sonnet Pro Dual Compact Flash Adapter ExpressCard/34

Sonnet | Pro Dual Compact Flash Adapter | CFRW2XE34 | B&H Photo
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