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Old February 13th, 2009, 10:26 AM   #1
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Reliability is a Major Priority for Flash XDR

I just want to ensure everyone that reliability has been and will continue to be a major priority for Flash XDR. While I understand that some users have problems with Flash XDR, we do have many customers using the box on a daily basis with excellent success.

That said, in the short term, we plan to complete the enhanced playback as well as internal time-code generation and audio level meters. We will then focus our efforts to add more supervisory code to monitor and correct any errors during record and playback.

We plan to enhance the routines to constantly monitor the HD-SDI input for errors and loss of signal and relock/re-sync accordingly. The latest firmware does improve this relock, but we have a number of initiatives underway with additional improvements.

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Old February 13th, 2009, 10:49 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Schell View Post
I just want to ensure everyone that reliability has been and will continue to be a major priority for Flash XDR. While I understand that some users have problems with Flash XDR, we do have many customers using the box on a daily basis with excellent success.

That said, in the short term, we plan to complete the enhanced playback as well as internal time-code generation and audio level meters. We will then focus our efforts to add more supervisory code to monitor and correct any errors during record and playback.

We plan to enhance the routines to constantly monitor the HD-SDI input for errors and loss of signal and relock/re-sync accordingly. The latest firmware does improve this relock, but we have a number of initiatives underway with additional improvements.

Best-
....It is good to see your commitment to quality and support Mike. Such an approach will always point a company in the right direction with it's customers.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #3
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Who is using the XDR, where are they using it and in what format?

I can't get the thing to work properly on the bench let alone in the field.

Scott
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:18 AM   #4
 
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Mike...

I've only had the Flash XDR for a short time, but, I want to express my satisfaction with it. I've had very few problems, it's very well made and it has not let me down, yet. I continue to use it on a daily basis, building confidence in its reliability. I appreciate, most of all, the support CD actively provides, in particular Dan Keaton's presence. I'm looking forward to future enhancements. Having a T/C generated, internally, would be a great help for me. I use my JVC HD110 in a tapeless mode, so, getting a T/C signal isn't possible with this cam. It would be very nice if you could implement a "start" signal via the firewire port, as the HD110 generates a signal when I hit record.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:55 AM   #5
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Bill:

What format, frame rate and mbps are you using?

Are you using the XDR in the field, the studio or other?

Scott
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Old February 13th, 2009, 12:24 PM   #6
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Dear Friends,

As Mike indicated, our highest priority is the reliability of the Flash XDR.

This is a higher priority than adding new features, new recording modes, and everything else.

We are not perfect, nor is the Flash XDR.

At this time, our major issue is that we do not handle the loss of the HD-SDI signal gracefully.

We are working hard to resolve this issue.

Our plan is to continue recording the last good frame until we again receive a good HD-SDI signal. If we do not receive a good signal after 10 seconds, then we will stop recording.

This should handle the occasional glitch when switching from one HD-SDI source to another (depending on the switcher) or even manually switching cables.

Firmware release 0.0.245 occasionally had some playback issues, in which the playback would not always start properly. These were disclosed in the release notes. We feel that we now have this resolved and will be posting a new firmware release today or Monday.

On Tuesday, I publicly demonstrated the Flash XDR at a trade show in Toronto. In over 60 demo's, record and playback worked flawlessly, as it did in three solid days of shooting.

Also, we had reports that playback of 23.976 footage would not work. This has been fixed in our new firmware.


Here are the steps that we feel are appropriate to achieve reliable results with the Flash XDR.

1. Use an appropriate power system, such as a battery with adequate capacity for the event at hand. If you lose power during a recording session, you will lose the last "subclip".

The size of each subclip is now specified via a menu option from 10% to 100% of 4 Gigabytes. Thus you can now choose the size of each subclip that is best for your needs.

Please note that the Flash XDR manages subclips seamlessly. We close one subclip and open another without a glitch in recording or playback, even if the new subclip is on another CompactFlash card.

2. Use a good, secure HD-SDI cable. Cables with rotating BNC connectors, or unreliable cables will cause problems. BNC cables with 90-degree connectors are typically not recommended. If they work for you without problems, then feel free to continue to use them.

If the unit is receiving a good signal, we will show the format of the signal on the display. We will also display the timecode (if the timecode is embedded in the HD-SDI signal).

If you are using external timecode, then we will display the timecode when the timecode cable is properly connected.

If you do not see the timecode, then there is a problem and it should be corrected before recording. This could be as simple as selecting "LTC" when the timecode is coming in via the HD-SDI signal.

3. Use our latest firmware releases.

We do substantial testing of each new release before posting it. Even so, it is always prudent for you to test each new release in your environment before using it on a high profile shoot.

4. Use recommended CompactFlash cards.

Use of unsupported cards will cause problems.

5. Read our "Important Points" and Quick Start Guide.

I misnamed the Quick Start Guide; it is really a mini-manual.
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Old February 14th, 2009, 09:48 AM   #7
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Using the original XLH1 and XHG1 with XDR.
Usually using the 30fps, 100Mbps, Progressive Segmented Frame (psf).

I have only encountered 2 problems - both on my end.

1 was caused by a cheapo HD-SDI cable (shouldn't even call it that as it was just a generic cable). The BNC connector was intermittant and caused corrupted last file and freezeup. As suggested, don't scrimp on the cabling.

The second problem was with the XHG1. The XDR show No SRC (no source input). I switched over to the XLH1. When I got back to the studio, I learned to my chagrin that I stupidly had not reset the XHG1 camera menu back to outputting HD. We had used it for a live feed at a conference to an SD only Switcher.

So the clues Dan Keaton gave were good.

We've used the XDR in the Tahoe area in very cold weather.
We've used the XDR for an off-road vehicle which worried me because of the thick dust stirred up by the vehicles. (I would use the zip-lock bag solution next time).
It has worked flawlessly except for the above noted problems on my end.

I have tried the Firestore FSC to record the lower quality HDV via firewire and it was a frustrating experience and total lack of customer support.
The XDR has been an experience just the opposite - reliable product even in the midst of added feature firmware and fantastic (almost immediate) customer support.

Douglas - I am sure you will get a solid solution from Mike, Dan, Tommy and crew who are some of the most committed people I have come across.

Last edited by John Richard; February 14th, 2009 at 05:43 PM.
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Old February 16th, 2009, 12:32 AM   #8
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Firmware 0.0.245 playback reliability

I was about to install the latest firmware release 0.0.245 when I noticed in the documentation:

Known issues (0.0.245) :
o Playback from the Flash XDR is not 100%.

Since I use Premiere and it is not supported with MXF files, I play back via SDI from the XDR to my capture card and will have to continue to do so until Premiere support is available. Up to now I have had no problems with playback so it seems best for me to remain with the existing firmware until this playback issue is resolved. Any idea when this will be?
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Old February 16th, 2009, 07:25 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nic van Oudtshoorn View Post
I was about to install the latest firmware release 0.0.245 when I noticed in the documentation:

Known issues (0.0.245) :
o Playback from the Flash XDR is not 100%.

Since I use Premiere and it is not supported with MXF files, I play back via SDI from the XDR to my capture card and will have to continue to do so until Premiere support is available. Up to now I have had no problems with playback so it seems best for me to remain with the existing firmware until this playback issue is resolved. Any idea when this will be?
Hi Nick-
We hope to post the new playback firmware today. The initial release does allow playback of individual files, but menu navigation is a bit cumbersome. We have a much improved release coming shortly which allows you to jump from clip to clip using the up and down arrows and from file to file using the left and right arrows.

A clip is created whenever you start record. A clip consists of one or more files, depending on the time length of a record session (one file is about 5 minutes using 100Mbps).

Best-
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Old February 24th, 2009, 05:34 PM   #10
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Repair of Scott Douglas Flash XDR

Dear Flash XDR Users-
I wanted to clear the air concerning the Flash XDR from Scott Douglas, who recently made several posts on this forum.

Per our request, Scott shipped his Flash XDR back to us, which we received on Monday of this week. On examination, we found a cracked solder joint on the HD-SDI BNC connector. This would definitely explain virtually all the reliability problems Doug experienced in using the Flash XDR.

We have since repaired and strengthened this solder joint and given his unit a comprehensive test and overnight burn-in. His unit is being shipped back today, at our cost.

So, if any Flash XDR user is experiencing unreliable operation, please feel free to contact us and we will take appropriate steps to remedy the problem ASAP. We continue to exhaustively test each firmware release to ensure reliable recording. We now believe the Flash XDR is, in fact, ready for prime time use. However, if the unit has a faulty connection, no firmware update will correct the problem.

So, thank you Scott for returning your unit and giving us the chance to "make it right".

Best-
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