My First Shoot with the Flash XDR at DVinfo.net

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Old September 26th, 2009, 01:09 AM   #1
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Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
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My First Shoot with the Flash XDR

Hi Friends:
I wanted to give some end user feedback regarding my first shoot with my Flash XDR. The first of a series of shoots before the end of this month began early Friday Evening with a sit down one hour and nineteen minute interview with a well known local actress. The shoot was an embedded timecode output type which was being simultaneously recorded to HDV cassette tape as an emergency backup to the XDR recording on CF media.

I used one (1) Sandisk Extreme IV 16 GB card in slot one and two (2) Sandisk Extreme III 32 GB cards in recording slots two and three. Slot four was not populated with any CF media. The result was stunning picture and superb audio ! I nearly fainted when I saw each of the actress's hair strands in perfect pinpoint sharp detail beyond anything my XL H1 ever produced on HDV tape ! Wow !

When I stopped shooting after having rolled tape and CF card recording for one hour and nineteen minutes, I then observed the XDR close the recording session after a few seconds and the screen registered stop on it for operation condition.

However, when I pressed Play, there was a picture on the HD monitor screen for a half second, then a crackling sound in the audio and then nothing, while the Flash XDR froze !!!! I then turned the XDR unit off, then on once again, and the unit recognized the installed CF cards and when I pressed Play I saw perfect picture and heard excellent audio on the HD monitor. Why did my XDR freez up and become unresponsive ? Is this a bug ?
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Old September 26th, 2009, 06:05 AM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Augusta Georgia
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Dear Mark,

Sorry, but at this moment, I do not know exactly why your Flash XDR had a glitch on playback, but I suspect that it may have been a "DMA Read Error".

I feel that your recorded files are safe.

We are in the final testing stages of a new release. We will perform extra testing by repeatedly attempting to playback to determine if we can find a glitch.

I am assuming that the Flash XDR did not give you an error code, such as a DMA Read Error. We have had reports of this error occurring.

We thoroughly investigated the DMA Read Error and found a very rare condition that would cause this error.

Our engineers wrote some test code to continuously put the Flash XDR into the condition where this error could occur. During our testing, we uncovered the problem, fixed it, then tested it for days running this test code millions (or billions) of times successfully.

This fix is included in the firmware that we expect to release next week.

We will have nice surprises in this new release, as well adding the new features that we recently added to the nanoFlash to the Flash XDR. Among other features, we have added MPG file support to the Flash XDR.

As soon as our final testing is finished, we will release this new firmware.
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Augusta Georgia
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Old September 26th, 2009, 09:17 AM   #3
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Cannot Account For The Error

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

Sorry, but at this moment, I do not know exactly why your Flash XDR had a glitch on playback, but I suspect that it may have been a "DMA Read Error".
....Yes. This sounds exactly right. I say this because the file tried to play back but then cut out, as if the XDR failed to continue its read.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
I feel that your recorded files are safe.
....Yes. My files are there are look and sound fantastic ! :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
We are in the final testing stages of a new release. We will perform extra testing by repeatedly attempting to playback to determine if we can find a glitch.

I am assuming that the Flash XDR did not give you an error code, such as a DMA Read Error. We have had reports of this error occurring.

We thoroughly investigated the DMA Read Error and found a very rare condition that would cause this error.

Our engineers wrote some test code to continuously put the Flash XDR into the condition where this error could occur. During our testing, we uncovered the problem, fixed it, then tested it for days running this test code millions (or billions) of times successfully.

This fix is included in the firmware that we expect to release next week.
...Right on CD !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
We will have nice surprises in this new release, as well adding the new features that we recently added to the nanoFlash to the Flash XDR. Among other features, we have added MPG file support to the Flash XDR.

As soon as our final testing is finished, we will release this new firmware.
....I look forward to this latest firmware upgrade, as I understand there has not been an update for the XDR for a while now. I hope timelaspe is in there as well. (??) I so need this feature :-)

.....Dan - Mike, is it possible to give the Mic/Line inputs another 5 dB of gain ? I'm using a very nice Azden SGM 1000 Shotgun Mic on Phantom Power, and I have to drive the gain to the top to get good modulation. There is NO issue with audio quality.

Thanks,

Mark
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Old September 26th, 2009, 10:16 AM   #4
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Location: Augusta Georgia
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Dear Mark,

I am surprised that you need more gain.

The Flash XDR offers 0 gain, then 10 dB to 65 dB of gain. This is quite a lot of gain.

Mark, I feel that you already know this, but for others:

With 16-bit recording it is quite important to set the gain right, otherwise, in post one does not have enough detail to allow the levels in post to be increased without losing quality.

With 24-bit recording one can easily record with the levels low and raise the levels in post without a loss in quality. In fact, this is desirable to ensure that very loud sounds are captured without clipping.

I tried to find the output voltage of your mic, but I could not find the appropriate spec.

Is this mic known for a relatively low voltage output?
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Dan Keaton
Augusta Georgia
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Old September 26th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
Dear Mark,

I am surprised that you need more gain.

Is this mic known for a relatively low voltage output?
...I don't know for 100 % sure, but I find the voltage output on the low side for a shotgun mic. I think this is one of the ways Azden is able to achieve a low noise level on this mic. I am running this mic on a 50 foot cable as well. Perhaps this is exacerbating the microphone's gain output issue. (??) Yes, 24 bit recording allows for some breathing room in post. Actually, this is another reason why I'm requesting a 24 bit 96 Khz mode. It would be even sweeter to be able to do 32 bit recording to give approximately 1 dB of digital head room. (Of which there isn't really any such thing, but gives the preamps a break if you overmodulate)
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