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Old September 18th, 2009, 09:23 AM   #1
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Mark's New Features Wish List for XDR

Hi Dan & Mike:
I'm starting this thread to list a series of possible features that I would use daily on my XDR if they would become available.

1. Microphone input shunting (Like on the XL H1): With this feature you plug a single track Microphone into input 1 and in the microphone settings menu you have the option to shunt it over to mic line 2 as well.

2. The ability to record amalogue audio in 96 Khz 24 bit as well. (They use this setting daily when shooting digital for cinema release). Both Avid MC & FCS 7.0 accept 24 bit 96 Khz audio rate capture and import.

3. Dual and quad CF Card Raid 0 striping to improve recording performance for higher data rate LOng GOP and I Frame recording. (This may become unnecessary with the new Ultra Fast CF cards, but is nice to have for taking advantage of the cheaper and slower Sandisk Extreme III cards. Also necessary for uncompressed recording most likely. If you could stripe only two cards at a time for Raid 0, then more economical shooting can be had because one uses less cards. Particularily good for really expensive 32 & 64 GB CF card media)

4. Enabling of FireWire Interface to have speedy card connection or ingest to Mac or PC for easy post without the need of a CF card reader. Also convenient for digital cut back out to HDV master or higher data rate Long GOP formats onto XDR unit itself for Digital VTR playout at film screenings, on air, etc. (Could also be done via HD-SDI but then one needs such output capability on their computer. Many don't have such capability. Especially if they're running Avid, because the box is *really* pricey)
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Old September 18th, 2009, 10:21 PM   #2
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1 & 2 are fine by me, though I can't really see any need to dupe the same digital data to a second track in the recorder.

3 strikes me as a generally bad idea. A striped raid 0 set of CF cards is a disaster waiting to happen. And how do you plan on reading this set of cards on your computer?

4 strikes me as ill conceived. I don't want my "reader" built into the recorder. I want to either take my media (the CF Cards) out and transfer the footage to any of a number of places (like a Nexto Extreme or a computer, etc), or I want to play it back in real time via HD-SDI. I certainly don't want to add the cost of a firewire interface to the recorder. I want the flexibility to get a faster reader when one comes out, and I also don't want to have to tie up my recorder when I want to transfer previously shot footage.

My 2 cents...

Billy
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Old September 19th, 2009, 08:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Steinberg View Post
3 strikes me as a generally bad idea. A striped raid 0 set of CF cards is a disaster waiting to happen. And how do you plan on reading this set of cards on your computer?
.....Not with Sandisk CF cards. You do not read the set of cards on your computer. You "read" them off of your Flash XDR.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Steinberg View Post
4 strikes me as ill conceived. I don't want my "reader" built into the recorder.
....Why not ? It simplifies having to purchase or carry around extra readers or storage. In most cases I'm assuming foks are using striped Raid 0 mode because they want to shoot uncompressed. Therefore, you do not want to ever unplug a Striped 0 set of CF cards and put them into something else because that *is* a recipe for disaster. Chances are the Raid 0 CF card array will not be re-created correctly and your video data may be lost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Steinberg View Post
I want to either take my media (the CF Cards) out and transfer the footage to any of a number of places (like a Nexto Extreme or a computer, etc), or I want to play it back in real time via HD-SDI.
...Playing it back in real time via HD-SDI is also a valid approach as long as you have the correct interface card in your computer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy Steinberg View Post
I certainly don't want to add the cost of a firewire interface to the recorder. I want the flexibility to get a faster reader when one comes out, and I also don't want to have to tie up my recorder when I want to transfer previously shot footage.
.....Uhh, Billy, the FireWire interface is *already* built into the Flash XDR.
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Old September 21st, 2009, 01:10 PM   #4
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Hi Mike. I like all of your ideas but I think some people are not seeing the benefit to all the ideas but I do.

1.) Routing a single mic input to both channels is a great idea and I love this feature on my HD100. I've used this feature to route a single mic on two channels, with settings for the levels and limiter. This is an excellent way to capture loud and soft sounds in run and gun situations and it gives you a choice in post to use either audio track in post.

2.) I also agree that higher quality audio is nice, I do this today but with a separate recorder of course. I'm not sure if the XDR hardware is capable of rates this high though.

3.) Striping is a very nice idea, but without implementing firewire (as in your point #4), it would be less useful. I also like my proposal to do uncompressed on the XDR by writing individual standalone quicktime files for each channel to each card. In a scheme like this:

Slot 1: Y
Slot 2: Cr
Slot 3: Cb
Slot 4: 4 channels uncompressed audio

Or even a little less desirable, but still workable:

Slot 1: R
Slot 2: G
Slot 3: B
Slot 4: 4 Channels uncompressed audio

and finally on your point #4. This would be crucial for any kind of striped recording. Ejecting cards striped with RAID 0 information would be a disaster waiting to happen. I much prefer my idea of standalone quicktime files for each channel.

Yes, I know I could play the striped recording out of the SDI port but the only thing I own with an SDI port is the XDR itself! However, I have many, many computers with firewire.
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Old September 21st, 2009, 06:40 PM   #5
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I'm sure I'm going to offend some Sony owners, but here goes, my intent is strictly technical.

Sony EX1/3 = Garbage in garbage out. Why use a cheap 1/2" entry level camera like many are suggesting using when you are trying to eke out a miniscule difference between Long GOP 100Mbs and something like separating individual tracks onto 4 cards. The benefit would unlikely be worth the risk and the cost. As one of many examples remember the smaller the sensor the harder the optics are taxed. So your picture is challenged compared to a 2/3" sensor before it even gets to the sensor. And it does not matter if you adapt a 2/3" lens, the lens needs to provide a sharper picture on the 1/2" sensor all things considered. I would like to see whether the effort of separating this all out would result in any meaningful difference as opposed to using a higher quality front end camera. The Sony doesn't even have 1920x1080 actual pixels (yes I know they are "effective" pixels).

I don't need a $3000-$5000 card reader. I'm happy with my $30 dollar ones and my Nextos. But let's get that port working, it's there, lets use it.

The simplicity of the workflow, the size, weight and quality over HDV with the XDR and Nanoflash are certainly some of its greatest selling points. I'm satisfied with that.

My wish list?

Let's get the firmware done and make the thing rock solid. Let's finalize the hot swapping, the timelapse, the compatibility with more non-linear editors and other useful features which will become essential. That will be enough for me and complete what I consider to be a $3000 bargain.

Jeff
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 07:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Silverman View Post
The simplicity of the workflow, the size, weight and quality over HDV with the XDR and Nanoflash are certainly some of its greatest selling points. I'm satisfied with that.

My wish list?

Let's get the firmware done and make the thing rock solid. Let's finalize the hot swapping, the timelapse, the compatibility with more non-linear editors and other useful features which will become essential. That will be enough for me and complete what I consider to be a $3000 bargain.

Jeff
Hi Jeff-
Reliability remains our utmost priority. We have greatly expanded our tests before each new code release, including extensive recordings over multiple boxes.

Time-lapse is scheduled for the next release, due at the end of Oct (along with a revamp of the menus and other minor enhancments). Hot-swap is due in Nov along with loop record.

The new Main Concept CODEC is due out in about one week. This plugin will enable support for all our formats and bit-rates in Adobe Premiere. We will then have (essentially) universal NLE support (although not all formats all supported in every NLE).

Best-
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 09:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Silverman View Post
I don't need a $3000-$5000 card reader. I'm happy with my $30 dollar ones and my Nextos. But let's get that port working, it's there, lets use it.Jeff
.....Yup. The FW is there, we paid for it, let's use it. Let us not forget it is another way to get our recorded video data in and out of most computers, not just an opertunity to record HDV video.
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Old September 22nd, 2009, 10:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Newsome View Post
Hi Mike. I like all of your ideas but I think some people are not seeing the benefit to all the ideas but I do.

1.) Routing a single mic input to both channels is a great idea and I love this feature on my HD100. I've used this feature to route a single mic on two channels, with settings for the levels and limiter. This is an excellent way to capture loud and soft sounds in run and gun situations and it gives you a choice in post to use either audio track in post.

2.) I also agree that higher quality audio is nice, I do this today but with a separate recorder of course. I'm not sure if the XDR hardware is capable of rates this high though.

3.) Striping is a very nice idea, but without implementing firewire (as in your point #4), it would be less useful. I also like my proposal to do uncompressed on the XDR by writing individual standalone quicktime files for each channel to each card. In a scheme like this:

Slot 1: Y
Slot 2: Cr
Slot 3: Cb
Slot 4: 4 channels uncompressed audio

Or even a little less desirable, but still workable:

Slot 1: R
Slot 2: G
Slot 3: B
Slot 4: 4 Channels uncompressed audio

and finally on your point #4. This would be crucial for any kind of striped recording. Ejecting cards striped with RAID 0 information would be a disaster waiting to happen. I much prefer my idea of standalone quicktime files for each channel.

Yes, I know I could play the striped recording out of the SDI port but the only thing I own with an SDI port is the XDR itself! However, I have many, many computers with firewire.
....Hi Aaron. As far as striped recording goes, I think it is really only a special arrangement situation for folks who need to do a ton of green screen, or go out to a 35 MM master negative at the end. For me, I will shoot full uncompressed with Four (4) 64 GB 90 MB Sandisk cards, then treat the cards like 400 ft loads of 35 MM film, which gives you only 4.5 minutes of dialogue per load and then you change loads. Actors and directors are pretty used to working this way. Now they will get way more time between CF card playout via HD-SDI or firewire dump to laptop or nexto or whatever array they have on hand. In a feature film you're only getting 1 to 3 pages a day anyway, so this proceedure would be just about right. I would edit in Avid in uncompressed MXF or QT and output back to a CF card for playout uncompressed HD-SDI via the XDR or a Nono.

.......Perhaps a flash update could include a time remaining on the Raid array in hours minutes and seconds and frames to give the operator and assistant an idea of how much shooting they have left before dumping the data ?

......A software would have to be written for MAC and PC which would take your RGB + 4 channels uncompressed PCM and put it back together as one uncompressed QT MXF or QT FCP for post.

.......I have *Always* seen the Flash XDR as part of the post production workflow as a VTR replacement. Let us not forget that CD has very wisely chosen to include an RS-422 interface. This is brillant ! The XDR and Nano are perfect for transfers to and from HDCAM SR. Both devices are HD-SDI and 10 bit 4:2:2:. (The HDCAM SR deck can do 4:4:4 as well). HDCAM SR = $140,000.00 Canadian. XDR = $5,889.92 Can. Nano = Less. A post house can buy one HDCAM SR deck and 10 XDR's with the uncompressed option enabled along with RS-422 control and pretty much go out from NLE or VTR. I'm speaking of mid to high end work here.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 03:57 AM   #9
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New Data Rate Recording Setting Request

Hi Dan & Mike:
Would it be possible to add a 75 Mbps data rate recording setting to the Flash XDR ? I consider 50 to be good and 100 Mbps to be the sweet spot but 75 Mbps would be a great compromise between good quality and maximum recording time.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 07:51 AM   #10
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Dear Mark,

We will consider your suggestion. We will discuss this as soon as possible.

Here is the downside:

For every new release of firmware, we have to thoroughly test each and every option that we offer. And test each option with most of the NLE's.

It now takes us at least a week just to perform these tests.

Adding a new option adds to our workload and affects how responsive we can be in releasing new firmware.
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Old September 27th, 2009, 08:20 AM   #11
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Big Testing Time

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

We will consider your suggestion. We will discuss this as soon as possible.

Here is the downside:

For every new release of firmware, we have to thoroughly test each and every option that we offer. And test each option with most of the NLE's.

It now takes us at least a week just to perform these tests.

Adding a new option adds to our workload and affects how responsive we can be in releasing new firmware.
...OK. Understood. It would be good to have this option.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 06:11 AM   #12
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Update Request on 96 Khz 24 bit audio capability

Hi Dan & Mike:
I was wondering if you folks at CD could give me an update on the possibility of adding 96 Khz 24 bit audio recording capability to the XDR ? Also, in a question related, can you confirm if the ballanced audio output from the Flash XDR is fully functional ? I would like to shunt the audio signal from the ballanced phantom power microphone I have plugged into XDR mic channel one to come out of the XDR and plug into the XLR inputs of my XL H1. I would like to have this function as a redundancy of being able to simultaneously record on HDV tape in the camera as I'm recording onto the XDR as a back up measure.
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Old November 10th, 2009, 07:48 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Job View Post
Hi Dan & Mike:
I was wondering if you folks at CD could give me an update on the possibility of adding 96 Khz 24 bit audio recording capability to the XDR ? Also, in a question related, can you confirm if the ballanced audio output from the Flash XDR is fully functional ? I would like to shunt the audio signal from the ballanced phantom power microphone I have plugged into XDR mic channel one to come out of the XDR and plug into the XLR inputs of my XL H1. I would like to have this function as a redundancy of being able to simultaneously record on HDV tape in the camera as I'm recording onto the XDR as a back up measure.
Hi Mark-
The likelihood of 96 Khz, 24-bit audio in the XDR or nano is small. Currrently it is not on our roadmap, which is already quite full for the next 6-9 months!

Balanced analog audio out is working fine on the XDR. The setup you described should work fine.

Best-
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Old November 10th, 2009, 08:00 AM   #14
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This & That

Hi Mike:
Is the 96 Khz 24 bit rate not possible due to a hardware limitation ? Does Convergent Design sell the appropriate ballanced audio out cable ?
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Old November 10th, 2009, 08:16 AM   #15
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Dear Mark,

Yes, we do.
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