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Old October 16th, 2009, 12:58 PM   #1
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nanoFlash Progress Report

Dear Friends,

I thought I would take some time and provide a "nanoFlash Progress Report".

The nanoFlash is, and has been shipping for some time now. Our earliest shipments were in April, 2009.

We have shipped over 400 units, and we expect to have shipped over 800 units by the end of the year.

Hundreds of nanoFlashes are in the field; it has been field tested, and it has been field proven.

We recently received this in an email from one of our users:

Just wanted to send you a quick heads-up that the nanoFlash worked
flawlessly for a month in the jungles of West Papua! Never even took the
backup unit out of its case.

I took moderate precaution to protect it from the elements, but it still
faced some pretty harsh conditions- high temps, high humidity, jarring
motion, etcetera.

I especially loved waking up in the morning to find my HDW throwing
humidity warnings, totally unable to run tape...I'd just hook up the nano
and we were off and running!

Didn't lose a single moment to gear failure and in the end I only shot 1 tape the entire trip.



The nanoFlash has been

1. In an underwater housing, to the depths of the sister ship of the Titanic, off Greece;

2. To the dangerous waters off the coast of South Africa;

3. To over 98,000 feet, close the edge of space, in a helium balloon;

4. Flown in a F-22 Raptor;

5. Routinely flown in the high-vibration world of helicopters.

It is expected to fly on a critical mission on some of the largest solid rocket boosters in the world.

It has handled severe conditions, such as those found in Afghanistan, and other extreme environments.

It handled the extreme cold found at over 98,000', which is far colder than what is typically found on the surface of the earth. Eight nanoFlashes were flown in four helium balloons with each nanoFlash flown twice. All eight worked flawlessly.

We expect the nanoFlash, or it's bigger brother, the Flash XDR, to dive in a submarine, to some very deep depths of the Pacific.

The nanoFlash has been routinely working with the popular Sony EX1/EX3 cameras,
the Sony PDW-700/PDW-F800 cameras, Canon's cameras, Panasonic's prosumer and
professional cameras and a wide range of other cameras.

The Flash XDR and nanoFlash have been used for major productions by major networks and for feature films.

We have proven just how good high bit-rate Long-GOP can be. And we have shown
how great full resolution HD can be as we record full-raster, 1920 x 1080 without sub-sampling.

And we have shown how easy it is to work with our files, since they are native Quicktime or native MXF.

The nanoFlash was used for ABC/ESPN's Extreme Games where the vehicles were
subject to some extreme conditions. Major sports networks are also adopting the nanoFlash.

We have recently added many new features to the nanoFlash, including Pause
during playback, and Fast-Forward will be in the next firmware release.

The ability to record directly to the DVD and Blu-ray ".MPG" format was also recently added, potentially saving users many hours of post and rendering time. Now, a render for Blu-ray, at 19, 25 and 35 Mbps may be accomplished in real-time.

For Standard Definition DVD's or long recordings, one may use our ".MPG" format at
5, 6, 7, 8 or 9 Mbps.

If desired, one can record continuously, in SD DVD quality, for over 26 hours,
with two 32 GB CompactFlash cards, using 5 Mbps, or over 11 hours using 9 Mbps.

For even longer recording times, we are now qualifying new 64 GB CompactFlash cards.
Our preliminary tests are looking very good.

One 64 GB CompactFlash card offers very high performance, very large capacity, and a very modest price.

We just released our Time-Lapse Feature, as well as longer "Pre-Record Buffer" times.

We are also working on another significant feature, which I can not disclose at this time, but we know of no other camera or recorder that has this feature. We expect this new feature to open many doors for the nanoFlash.

Our nanoFlash supports progressive modes and "true" frame rates. Specifically 1080p24 (true) and 1080p23.976.

Please note that progressive modes are notable absent from most competitive, moderate cost recorders at this time.

We support both progressive and progressive segmented frame modes as well as Pulldown Removal.

And we now have an E to E mode for very low latency monitoring.

We have continued to increase the value of user's Flash XDR's and nanoFlashes by adding value, in terms of new, usable, highly desirable features on a regular basis. All of these enhancements have been free.

We will shortly support ASI, which is an extra cost feature, and we will have a very desirable GPS feature, also at extra cost.

The GPS feature will record the user's Location/Date/Time, etc. in every frame of video, but it will be stored as data so that the image will not be compromised. This is especially useful for many applications, such as aerial mapping and law enforcement.

We love this quote from Alister Chapman, after testing the nanoFlash:

Considering the low cost of both the NanoFlash and itís readily available
CompactFlash media, it really does make a lot of sense to have one in your
production kit.

I will be using mine with both my EX cameras and my PDW-700. Given that the
PDW-700 at 50Mb/s is already regarded as the superior of HDCAM,
then the 700 with a NanoFlash is edging towards the realms of HDCAM SR.

I now own the tools to produce HD images at a quality level that I never dreamt
I would be able to afford myself.

Even the EX1 and NanoFlash looks stunning. Well done Convergent Design,
Iím sure this product is a winner.




We will continue to enhance the nanoFlash. We have announced certain upcoming features, hinted at others, and kept some secret.

Mike Schell just posted the known issues with the nanoFlash. We continue to enhance the features and reliability of the nanoFlash.

We actively work on reported issues and we publicly and frankly discuss any issues on this forum. We also make ourselves available for private in-depth conversations.

And I reserved the best news of all for last:

Almost all of our backlog has been fulfilled.

So one can now receive a nanoFlash very quickly from many of our dealers, but of course stocking level changes on a daily basis.

We will be happy to direct you to one or more stocking dealers. And we will be happy to discuss the nanoFlash with you on a personal basis.

Our website is www.Convergent-Design.com
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Old October 16th, 2009, 01:14 PM   #2
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"Even the EX1 and NanoFlash looks stunning. "

We are all excited about this product. To make the statement above, there must be a comparison. More frame grabs and comparison video from various cameras are needed to demonstrate the benefits of Nanoflash.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 01:41 PM   #3
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Dear Gints,

Alister Chapman has a blog, "Alister's Blog" on XDCAM-USER.com.

Alister received his nanoFlash on August 21, and wrote amost daily about it until August 28.

Alister used the nanoFlash with the Sony PDW-700 and the EX1. He saw an improvement in his image quality with both cameras. A slight improvement with the PDW-700 and a greater improvement with the Sony EX1.

Alister's full mini-review and image quality analysis in on the website listed above.

In general, he felt that there was a nice improvment when the nanoFlash is used with the EX1. But more importantly, he felt that the nanoFlash footage holds up better in post.

The nanoFlash has been widely used with quite a few cameras.

To be fair, Alister and others have stated that the EX1 and EX3 produce a very fine image on their own. We fully agree.

We and many others also agree that the nanoFlash does improve these cameras and allows their footage to hold up better in post.

Alister's blog is very interesting and his words are better than mine. I recommend that it is best to go back a few pages to start with August 21st, then proceed forward from there.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 02:02 PM   #4
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Thanks, Dan. I've read his blog, including the Aug 28 entry:

XDCAM-USER.com Convergent Design NanoFlash Review Part 2 – Picture Quality

Are there really no more frame grab comparisons than the two images Alistair provided (sky example not a major sell, desert example a sell) and the two torture test images posted by your Convergent colleague? I have not seen a single video comparison. Please. Let us see more, particularly from the Sony EX1/Ex3.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 04:38 PM   #5
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I'll try to get some of the raw footage online next week. With the Sky frame grab do consider that in the video all those blocks in the EX codec footage are moving, while on the NanoFlash footage you just have camera noise. In a moving clip the differences are even more pronounced. I'll try and get a pair of matched 35Mb/100Mb clips to Dan for him to host.

The NanoFlash is worth every penny. It will most likely outlast my cameras, as I upgrade cameras, I'll still be using the Nano. In fact I'm just about to get a second one for a 3D Stereoscopic project I'm about to shoot.
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Old October 16th, 2009, 11:59 PM   #6
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Hi Glints,
At bare eyes you may be don't see the difference but as soon as you zoom a little you discover it.
When you try to pull a key you realize you are in other dimension.
rafael
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Old October 17th, 2009, 12:44 AM   #7
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I see mine as investments.

As Alister stated, they will go with you through camera upgrades.

And you are not stuck with proprietary memory that does not hold its value as it gets bested in the marketplace.

The Nano has the bandwidth for well into the future or dare I say never needing anything more as CF cards will continue to get faster and larger.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #8
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Thanks for the encouragement, guys. The issue is about investing $3k in a device today or wait a couple years (or possibly until Sony's October 20 announcements) for higher bitrates in the Sony EX line. If Nanoflash had some other unique features, I wouldn't see the need to sell the device in a few years.

1) Single frame grabber -> store uncompressed frame as TIFF or PNG, possibly as 2:1 JPG .

2) Play EX1 BPAV directories

3) Video monitor functions : peaking, 1:1 zoom, multi-channel histogram, 2D tone range map (for levels)

4) High speed camera

Record 720p60 or 1080p30 at full, half or quarter frame rate (uncompressed TIFF/PNG or 2:1 JPG) . SanDisk Extreme IV cards rated at 40 MBytes/Sec in both slots may handle up to 80 MBytes/Second. A single Extreme Pro at 90 MBytes/second may handle the job, but two could easily handle the job. A 4 MPixel D2H at 8 fps brought an unprecedented ability to cameras. 1280x720 from a 3 CCD device is probably comparable to a 3-4 MPixel Bayer sensor. 1920x1080 is probably closer to a 6-8 MPixel Bayer sensor image.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 06:42 PM   #9
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The EX1R announcement is out. No increases in recording quality. We'll have to wait until Tuesday to find out if the "R" means they added the new Exmor-R sensors.

http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/sony-xdc...-new-ex1r.html

What is typically lost with HDMI output vs. HD-SDI?
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Old October 18th, 2009, 07:16 PM   #10
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Dear Gints,

There is no quality lost if one uses HDMI versus HD-SDI, assuming normal implementations, which are usually the case. In other words, the quality is the same with both.

HD-SDI supports embedded timecode, HDMI does not.

HD-SDI offers longer, much more economical cable runs.

HD-SDI cables use locking BNC connectors.

HDMI has the bandwidth for 1080p60 (1080p59.94) whereas single-link 1.485 Gbps HD-SDI does not. This is the most common implemenation of HD-SDI. Some single-link HD-SDI implementations are 3G which do support 1080p60.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 07:45 PM   #11
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Dan, Thank you for your answers. I am eagerly awaiting the technology for 1080p60 for recording and would like to know how "future-proof" the Nanoflash. I really want to move from 720p60 to 1080p60.

1) Is Nanoflash capable of supporting 1080p60 in the future, if only over HDMI?

2) Is the Nanoflash HD-SDI implementation also 3G? (Sorry, I've never read the HD-SDI spec)

3) Is your current implementation of 160 MBps for Nanoflash Long GOP the highest possible?

4) Does the Nanoflash improve the 1080p30 motion signature, or is that just the look of 1080p30 at any bitrate? For action and panning, I find that 720p60 serves me better than 1080p30 on the Sony EX1. I would really like to see a parallel recording of panning. You have the "Garden of Gods" panning example on your site, but that is only from the Nanoflash, right?
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Old October 18th, 2009, 08:35 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
1) Is Nanoflash capable of supporting 1080p60 in the future, if only over HDMI?
I do not think so. There are two problems. One, our HDMI input would have to handle 1080p60 (it might), and we would have to handle twice the data as 1080p30.

Another world has recently opened up for us with the release of very high performance CompactFlash Cards. But, there is more to consider, for us, than just using a much faster CompactFlash card.

It is too early to give a full, final answer.

Quote:
2) Is the Nanoflash HD-SDI implementation also 3G? (Sorry, I've never read the HD-SDI spec)
No, we are single-link, 1.485 at this time.

We may, at some time in the future, support 3G. Please note that this is not a promise or a committment.

Quote:
3) Is your current implementation of 160 MBps for Nanoflash Long GOP the highest possible?
I do not remember if we have tested any Long-GOP rates above 160 Mbps.

I can not tell you that it is the absolute maximum we can do.

I can tell you that 160 Long-GOP is stunning quality.[/QUOTE]

Also, please remember that once a frame is full-encoded, without compromise, as is the case when a high enough bit rate is used, there is no benefit from using a higher bit rate.

Quote:
4) Does the Nanoflash improve the 1080p30 motion signature, or is that just the look of 1080p30 at any bitrate?
We just record the data, using the bit-rate and mode you select. We do not improve on the quality of the image that is actual sent to us. This is up to your camera.



Quote:
For action and panning, I find that 720p60 serves me better than 1080p30 on the Sony EX1.
Have you tried 1080i60 (59.94)? This is not for everyone, but it has its applications.

Quote:
I would really like to see a parallel recording of panning. You have the "Garden of Gods" panning example on your site, but that is only from the Nanoflash, right?
If I understand your question, you want to see native recording in the camera, and recording from the nanoFlash. We do not have any samples like this on our website, which is an oversight on our part.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
Dan, Thank you for your answers. I am eagerly awaiting the technology for 1080p60 for recording and would like to know how "future-proof" the Nanoflash. I really want to move from 720p60 to 1080p60.
1) Is Nanoflash capable of supporting 1080p60 in the future, if only over HDMI?
?
Where do you intend to grab the 1080p60 stream from?
To do stills (PNG etc) would be great, but you have only a YUV source.
The NANO is just a recorder and what is able to do will depends very much of the signal you are feeding him.
About the new EX-1R, it keeps his HD/SD-SDI on place.
rafael
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Old October 19th, 2009, 03:20 AM   #14
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Thanks to Dan his for reply endurance. Some of these threads should be added to the Nanoflash FAQ. I was interested in the 160+ MBps data rates for soon-to-be-true 1080p60. Since 1080p60 is twice the data rate of 720p60 or 1080p30, and both of those rates are serviced well by 100 MBps, I figured a 2x increase would be proper for 1080p60.

To Rafael, I don't have a 1080p60 source, but they will be here soon enough. The EX1 delivers 720p60 from a 1920x1080 sensor, so somewhere inside that machine is a 1080p60 stream that is plotting an escape.
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Old October 19th, 2009, 08:54 AM   #15
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Glint wrote:
"The EX1 delivers 720p60 from a 1920x1080 sensor, so somewhere inside that machine is a 1080p60 stream that is plotting an escape".
You are absolutely right about this. Before the 720 downscaling the stream must be 1080p60. and with a bit more of 35Mbps the Ex-1 would be able to write it with good quality. We know that is able to record close to 100Mbps.
In the end is a game of restrictions and limitations.
Is clear that the EX-1 is able of much more than that its offers.
With the correct firmware and the appropriate media could render something like the NANO unnecessary.
SONY won't do it. They have to protect their multi-K cameras market.
I'm not concern at all about if some time the NANO will record 500Mbps or Uncompress (what its offers now for me is al ready "La bomba"!!), but to have 1080p60, that really would be nice.
Best,
rafael
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