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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:07 AM   #16
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David,

How is XDCAM 50Mbp/s 422 timeline setting going to let you edit 160Mbp/s I Frame? I do not see a setting in FC that will let you edit this setting. Unless there is a options in uncompressed? What am I missing?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:52 AM   #17
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Paul,

Whilst there is no setting specifically labelled "160Mbps I-FRAME" in Final Cut Pro, the 160Mbps I-Frame files work fine with an XDCAM HD422 1080i50 (50Mb/s) timeline (or 1080i60, depending on your frame rate).

Final Cut Pro will actually prompt you to change your timeline settings to this if they're set to something else.

David's files did not work with Final Cut Pro as they were corrupted due to not using a card fast enough to record at the 160Mbps bitrate without errors.
Using a Transcend 300x speed card at 160Mbps you will not experience the same problems, the footage will work with FCP.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 06:06 AM   #18
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Paul I understand the card speed problem.

How can a long GOP time line handle I Frame? Does not make sense to me. Same thing with a 1080i timeline?
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Old March 13th, 2009, 06:28 AM   #19
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Dear Paul,

Long GOP has three types of frames, I-Frame and two other types.

When we create I-Frame Only, all of the Frames are I-Frames, we just never create the other two types of frames.

Long GOP handles this fine, it does not miss the other types.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 06:44 AM   #20
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Thanks Dan that straightens it out for me. Learn something daily.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 12:51 PM   #21
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Just out of curiousity, if the "bad" cards still playback inthe XDR, any reason the footage couldn't be captured from the SDI out? In this case it was a backup, but if it had been the only copy, this may be a solution in the future.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 02:18 PM   #22
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Dear Mike,

Yes, that is a good idea. When a user has any problem with a file, we attempt to find a way to recover the data.

If it does play in the Flash XDR, we could easily connect a second Flash XDR to record the signal. In this case, all we actually need is the card since we have two Flash XDR's.

Of course, we do try to let everyone know that the 133x card is not fast enough for the 160 Mbps mode.

We are going to offer a 140 Mbps (or so) mode that will work with the 133x cards. This was Mike Schell's idea and it makes sense to me.

We will also need to lock out the 160 Mbps mode for the slower cards.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 02:40 PM   #23
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Dan that is going to be a nice option at 140 Mbps.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 02:46 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
Dear Mike,

Yes, that is a good idea. When a user has any problem with a file, we attempt to find a way to recover the data.

If it does play in the Flash XDR, we could easily connect a second Flash XDR to record the signal. In this case, all we actually need is the card since we have two Flash XDR's.

Of course, we do try to let everyone know that the 133x card is not fast enough for the 160 Mbps mode.

We are going to offer a 140 Mbps (or so) mode that will work with the 133x cards. This was Mike Schell's idea and it makes sense to me.

We will also need to lock out the 160 Mbps mode for the slower cards.
Hi Mike,

Quite agree here in that had we not had tape source, we would have fed the data out the XDR SDI into the Kona card. Because we had the tape source it was better to work from this.

Mike Schell pointed out that in his tests the XDR played back his test material but the XDR had to re-sync every couple of minutes, so who know how much data would be lost.

I think I agree with Dan when he says slower cards should simply be locked out. This would keep slower people like me from even being able to try to use the slower cards.

To the positive for C-D, Dan Keaton, and Mike Schell is that their ability to respond to issues and implement changes is beyond compare in the industry. Clearly you guys listen to feedback and respond; this alone deserves praise. By the time the XDR is actually finished, it will be one solid product.

Speaking for a minority of one
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:25 PM   #25
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David:

I like your admission in your signature tag line ("Speaking for a minority of one") because as one of many owners of an XDR, I could not disagree more with your proposal

"However, I would say that had C-D waited until the XDR unit was truly a market ready product, then the constant updates to the firmware etc would be far fewer and then the adding of an addendum or "release notes" would be a much easier task."

Thankfully C-D did not follow this path for 2 major reasons:
1. All of us many users would still be waiting on this marvelous recording solution. We all have been able to use our cameras whose highly compressed recording components severely limited our final output. Thanks to the XDR we have all been recording at a format just under the big daddy HDCAM SR !!! And we've been able to supply 24bit audio without having a separate Fostex FR2 or similar audio unit to record double instead of the 16bit that most cameras record in.

2. The business method C-D has followed has made the XDR a better product than ever envisioned. By having the foresight and investment fortitude to build in and agressively pursue firmware upgrades, we have all been able to appreciate the ability to accomodate all the users' "I wish the XDR had feature XXXXX". Well all these firmware upgrades have been giving us XXXX ! And we have gotten all the added features at no extra cost - but it costs C-D investment in making it happen.

It's the same development model that the acclaimed Red Camera has followed. Both the XDR and the Red have had numerous firmware upgrades since released. But much of the XDR firmware releases were about adding features that incorporated requests by owners as well as some bug fixes. I think one would be hard pressed to find any XDR owner who would complain about the release method of the XDR. I also think the vast majority of XDR owners have long considered it ready for the market. We have been using the XDR to make money and product for many, many months as have others.

The mismatch of 166X Cards to the intended use of the 160 I Frame format would appear to be a miscommunication with the entity rented from. I would hazard a bet that any owner of the XDR that had installed the recent firmware upgrade adding the 160 Iframe format would have this info regarding the need for the 300X cards.

Convergent Design - don't change a thing; keep those added feature firmware upgrades coming.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 04:39 PM   #26
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Oh...

I almost forgot a big cost savings the XDR has provided a long time ago...

To capture and edit the XDCAM HD422 footage that the XDR records, we don't have the enormous cost of purchasing a deck for this format or the cost and hassle of rental of same.

We could use the USB reader that came with the XDR (built into the cost of the XDR), or we could buy a sub $200 Lexar 800 Firewire Reader.

Oh...

And I almost forgot the huge savings in media and the various sources that Compact Flash cards are available.

The XDR IS ready for market. In fact it beats anything on the market at this time and for a long time.
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Old March 13th, 2009, 07:47 PM   #27
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John,

Thank you for your explanation. You pose some very good points. And, if I were an owner I would most assuredly feel as you do. At least I think I would but we seem to have some how strayed off topic. The two key points of 1) The documentation for the unit on the C-D web site needs to be redone and updated, and 2) The system should lock out cards insufficient for the requested application have both been agreed to and accepted by both Mike Schell and Dan Keaton so I figure we are pretty much past that by now.

If you want to try to suggest that the problem with the speed of the cards was a communication issue with the rental house, OK. I still say this does not mitigate a manufacture from keeping their documentation up to date for they (IMHO) should be the leader in providing accurate and up to date product information.

As to the question of "Market Ready" products... I again can well understand your position. I think back to a few months before last year's NAB and remember that the XDR was originally marketed as a .mxf recorder capable of recording up to 160MB/s I-Frame only from an SDI source.

When the Flash XDR began shipping, I think this and many other features were in fact missing from the product despite all the original marketing hype. The subsequent firmware revisions (while exceedingly necessary) from what I can tell are primarily (please note I said primarily and fully accept that new features have been added) give you more of the functions originally promised. So as an owner with product in hand I to would be very excited that every week another feature gets turned on and I get one step closer to a finished product and everything I paid for.

So perhaps this type of marketing works for smaller companies with limited product lines like RED and C-D. I would say that I personally think even C-D sees this product release as a testing environment with an eye for everyone who is now sitting on the side line deciding if they should jump on board for this or the mini version.

And I will say again that C-D's ability to receive and deal with issues shows the true power of the small business in that it is easier to see, understand, and change very quickly based directly on customer and market demands is to praised.

Its good you use the product and its better that you make money with it. It is good you can turn your $6k camera into a much better unit. The thing is that the total number of XDR units sold compared to the number of EX1/3 or VX200 level cameras in the market is miniscule meaning C-D has yet to begin to reach their potential market penetration. This is why I think the product was rushed to market. This is also why C-D needs to be so responsive to their current user base.

When version 2 of the XDR unit comes about and the mini version is finished for C-D to be able to say the units are now all fully functional, field tested and suitable for network use is the prize they have their eye on and can take them from 500 units to early adopters to moving 10,000 of these units.

What I am curious about is this...

As an owner of the product, do you consider things like locking out cards that are too slow or adding a remote trigger to be new features or fixing design flaws? How about adding QT support? Or how about finally adding the .mxf support, new feature or finally getting what you paid for?

Speaking for a minority of one and happy to keep you amused,
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Old March 14th, 2009, 08:15 AM   #28
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John,

I feel obligated to step in here. We have found, even recently, that the XDR is still not 100% reliable. Recently, using firmware 265 before 275 came out we had several problems with recording and files which would not play back properly. As always we discussed this with CD and were told they were aware of a sync problem. All of our units now have 275 installed.

I am not sure who your clients are, but I know mine are not satisfied with a device which is reliable 99% of the time. I know that David's approach by testing and backing up the XDR with tape is the right way to go for critical, non-repeatable projects at this time.

So far in the last 2 months we have had enough problems with the XDR that on 2 shoots we felt we were not able to charge for the project overall. That has directly resulted in thousands of dollars of loss for our company.

I have had a XDR here from the beginning and now own 8 of them. We developed both the Portabrace case for the XDR as well as a custom laser cut Pelican case. I also am a big fan of how CD has involved the users in developing the XDR. Mike and Tommy have been tremendous resources every time I have called. People who know our company know we often adopt and design cutting edge technology. We commonly bring equipment to the biggest sporting events in the world which is hours old. I am used to equipment which isn't 100%.

I will not quibble with the rollout of features of the XDR. I feel that allowed me to suggest several features which have been adopted in unit. My only concern is it's reliability. And it isn't 100%.

That being said, I think I think the XDR is worth buying and renting at this time. It is one major element of the end of tape as a recording medium and a exciting new addition to our rental inventory.

Jeff
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Old March 14th, 2009, 04:08 PM   #29
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In answer to your questions to me David:
"What I am curious about is this...

As an owner of the product, do you consider things like locking out cards that are too slow or adding a remote trigger to be new features or fixing design flaws? How about adding QT support? Or how about finally adding the .mxf support, new feature or finally getting what you paid for?"

re: locking out cards that are too slow - "new feature" that was never promised; but based upon your experience of using the wrong cards, C-D is able to add that safety feature for you and others as a benefit. Could it possibly introduce a bug - of course. Importance to me - not important. Importance to a renter, first time or occasional user; important.

re: remote trigger addition - new feature made better than originally envisioned because of the C-D method of firmware upgrades to beta units in use - originally when planned, the XDR keyboard was not locked out when setup for remote trigger; beta XDR use found that if the keyboard was not locked during remote triggering, the active keyboard could mistakenly allow a key to change functions while bouncing around in a backpack or on a belt. Could this introduce a bug; of course.

Re: QT support and MXF support - C-D called personally and advised before my purchase and advised that the very first beta XDR units recorded in their proprietary CDV file format and would require something like an AJA or Blackmagic capture card with HD-SDI inputs to edit in an NLE. QT and MXF would come later thru firmware upgrades. I had the choice of accepting this portable compact flash card XDCAM HD422 workflow solution, or stick with HDV compression, or be tethered to a disk drive array/computer/capture card, or spend a hell of lot more to rent or purchase Codex, Stwo, Wafian solutions. Chose the XDR portable solution and haven't regreted for a second. As promised, the QT and MXF formats were added via firmware.

Which brings us back to the inference that C-D promised something that they haven't delivered. From the first day they offered to ship beta units they were very specific about exactly what the XDR could and could not do; what the future feature set would be; and how those features would be added over time. They have been one of the most responsive manufacturers I've ever worked with.

During my usage of the XDR, I have experienced 2 problems - both of which were on my end 1) using a cheapo SDI cable with a defective BNC to coax providing intermittant source signal that corrupted a few files (XDR firmware has even fixed this). 2nd problem - could not get the XDR to find the source from one of our cameras - found camera was last used for live Std Def feed to a switcher and was not changed back over to HD in the camera's menu.

Of course, with Silverman's use of 8 XDR's, he is a great resource for both reliability and feature request info and will defer to his broader usage experience. But the fact that some of his input on feature requests have been incorporated by firmware updates has benefited us all and made the XDR better than originally promised is further evidence of the value of C-D's method of having released the XDR as they have. And again, what would Silverman's choices have been had he not had access to the XDR's? what would his costs have been to get the XDCAM HD422 format?
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Old March 14th, 2009, 06:06 PM   #30
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John,

Don't get me wrong, I am very pleased about being involved with the XDR from the "beginning." I knew what I was getting into, I realized there would be growing pains, and I told the CD people I was ready for the challenge. I believe that almost everyone realizes the same about the XDR.

There is no doubt that the state of the XDR today is that of a very useful product. From a capability standpoint there are few alternatives. The FFV box has not been updated in any sort of a way similar to the XDR.

A good way to describe my caution with the unit is this. Recently we provided a pile of cameras to NBC Heads Up Poker Championship. There were 17 camera sources in NEP's Denali Summit remote truck which each needed to be iso recorded for 3 long days. If I believed that the XDR was ready, the producers from NBC Sports would have trusted my judgment and used 17 XDR's to record the whole show (which I would have rented to them). It would have been a huge advantage for them since all those DVCpro HD tapes will now need to be digitized. (They do a line cut but re-edit the whole thing). I could not recommend that option -- yet, even though I think we're extremely close. We did do a previous show where we generated about 4 terabytes of XDR files and had about 4 terminal CF card corruption failures, about 99% reliability.

I still have a headache from that 1%.

Jeff
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