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Convergent Design Odyssey
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Old October 17th, 2009, 04:47 PM   #16
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Dear Friends,

We are qualifying another 64 GB card which is far more reasonable, currently at $299 (US).

This is a high-performance card which makes the $299 price very attactive.

We are going thorough a thorough evaluation, including using beta testers, to ensure that this will be a good choice.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 04:50 PM   #17
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I'd probably agree that there are more widely wanted features than uncompressed recording. I think most users would still record 100Mbs long GOP, even if they had the uncompressed capability.

If the uncompressed feature were available as an upgrade for $995, I probably would not buy it right away. I'd wait until I had a project or a client that required it.

It's definitely something I'd want to have in my XDR though but thinking of the total cost to shoot uncompressed is bringing me down. 4x more expensive cards. Faster mac would be needed. More and faster disks in post production. Capture card. The cost of shooting uncompressed is a downer.

I think I'll stick with MPEG for now.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #18
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Gentlemen, you dazzle me with the technical possibilities and actual capabilities of the gear we now have at hand.
However, on the "other" hand we have broadcast networks asking for HD, settling for 4x3 betacam, and wishing they could send their own producer with a PD150 because that is "good enough".
There is an elegance to the Nanoflash that I appreciate as a user and as a consumer of what it possible. I do wish it were an "easier sell" to my clients.
From my perspective we are now at divergent streams, one the best possible quality, the other mass acceptance of a "format".
The same production that would like HDCam SR (looks great!) will also accept DVcam (looks like **it!). A 1000 mbps picture may theoretically look better but if no one can see it why bother?
I'm happy to agree with Sony that XDcam 422 50 mbps is the duck's ass. I'm making better quality pictures than I imagined possible and telling my clients so...but now I need a way to say "here - take it with you and make TV with whatever edit system you have".
To Mike and Dan and all who've developed this - Wow!, great job, I love it, don't want to be without it. I hope for you (and for us) it becomes the next "betacam". Convergent Design has a wonderful way to acquire whatever format the client wants but there is still a question on how to deliver it in a way recognizable to that client. Let's put our minds together and figure out how.
From my perspective it serves us all to come up with a standard way to deliver - kind of like the "Macie standard" for the US shooters among us - an "added value", better than whatever else is out there.
I have no idea what that is - I've tried .mov and flavors of .mxf and keep hearing "what is this?" when I send in a drive.
The Nanoflash is a superior product and maybe a game changer, but not if it means so many options that it becomes a "tower of babble", meaningless in the fray of too many standards.
Shooting time lapse iframes at huge data rates is nice but we'll all recoup our investment more quickly if we agree on and sell a median format and delivery system.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 07:37 PM   #19
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Uncompressed is not a drag :-)

Hi Aaron:
What's the speed of your external HDD and your current MAC ? Allot of folks think full HD uncompressed is a much bigger deal than it actually is. Yes, it's taxing on your system, but not as taxing as some would consider it to be. If you have a FireWire 800 external Raid 0 drive, then this is usually fast enough. If you have external Raid 0 eSata, then that's certainly fast enough. If you have 4 GB of RAM or more and an Intel Core 2 Duo @ 2.66 Ghz or faster, then you're OK for uncompressed. You can now use the newer 2009 vintage iMAC's to run FCS on without issue. I have found there to be a few caveates however.

Caveate 1: You need to be Running Snow Leopard on your MAC. Snow Leopard is a true 64 bit addressing OS and it can address a much greater amount of memmory. (8 GB of DDR 3 in my case).

Caveate 2: Your CPU needs to have a good amount of either L2 or L3 cache memmory on die. Core 2 Duo CPU's come in several different flavors of L2 to L3 onboard cached memmory from 4 MB up to 12 MB. (I run uncompressed successfully with a Core 2 Duo with 6 MB of L3 Cache memmory @ 3.06 Ghz)

Caveate 3: Your system drive should be 7,200 RPM to alleviate as many bottlenecks as possible.

Caveate 4: Run a nVidia GT series or a Quadro series graphics card with at least 512 megs of on board dedicated video RAM.

Caveates 5: Run the FCS 7.0 if you can. This version is different in that it has been optimized to run on 64 bit Snow Leopard. I've noticed FCS is much more zippy on Snow Leopard than on any preceeding version of OS 10 (Most likely because they are 32 bit)
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Old October 17th, 2009, 07:57 PM   #20
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Yeah Mark, this disk is a concern but I'm good on speed. I use dual 1U ProavIO 4x1TB RAID systems. These are very fast and can handle 4:4:4 Uncompressed. They connect via Firewire 400, 800, eSata and USB. eSata can handle it. I'm good on the SPEED of the disk, I'd need more 1U boxes though because these stay pretty full with stuff I'm working on.

The real problem with uncompressed is my lack of a MacPro. My main computers are 2 Macbook Pros and an iMac, all which top out at 2GB of ram. They all handle MPEG and ProRes footage up to full raster HD with no issues. They all stutter pretty well easily with uncompressed footage.

Any uncompressed work on my systems would require an offline/online approach with proxies and that's no joke.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:08 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis OKeefe View Post
Gentlemen, you dazzle me with the technical possibilities and actual capabilities of the gear we now have at hand.
...The XDR/nano *is indeed dazzling* and a device which is on the brink of being a real game changer because it bridges the gap between tapeless image acquisition/on line tape based editing/clip based post production. Who would have ever thought someone would or actually *could* come up with a device which could do that ? Denis, sometimes I wonder if the good folks at CD actually realise the full potential of what they came up with. I do not intend my statement as a criticism of the team at CD. I told Mike Shell last year they have been telling us for years how tapeless Solid State Digital Recording would change the way we work, but it looks like Convergent Design actually produced the *First* practical device which could actually accomplish this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis OKeefe View Post
However, on the "other" hand we have broadcast networks asking for HD, settling for 4x3 betacam, and wishing they could send their own producer with a PD150 because that is "good enough".
There is an elegance to the Nanoflash that I appreciate as a user and as a consumer of what it possible. I do wish it were an "easier sell" to my clients.
From my perspective we are now at divergent streams, one the best possible quality, the other mass acceptance of a "format".
....Ah yes, but is it a "Format" per se, or is it a workflow ? I say it is the workflow which is the key to changing the game and not the format.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis OKeefe View Post
The same production that would like HDCam SR (looks great!) will also accept DVcam (looks like **it!). A 1000 mbps picture may theoretically look better but if no one can see it why bother?
I'm happy to agree with Sony that XDcam 422 50 mbps is the duck's ass. I'm making better quality pictures than I imagined possible and telling my clients so...but now I need a way to say "here - take it with you and make TV with whatever edit system you have".
...Now you can do just what you wanted. You hand them the CF card out of your Nano or XDR and tell them to import that into Avid Media Composer, or Symphony, or DS, or FCP and when they are finished, then simply spit the edited sequence back out to the same CF card and playout out via HD-SDI to the network feed, or Sony HDCAM SR, or out to tape, or disk from their NLE. What could be simpler than that ? With an XDR you can bridge the gap between on line mastering style post or simple clip based editing. Now there is the proviso that CD must turn on the RS-422 interface on the XDR to make the online connectivity bridge complete, but with high data rate Long GOP (up to 440 Mbps Max) and uncompressed recording capability @ 10 bit color space, then you are walking around with an elegant solution which is both a image acquisition and complete VTR replacement/suppliment. What would you say if you had a simple-practical device which would allow HDCAM SR mastered footage to be editable on any laptop ? Tell your producer this ;-)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis OKeefe View Post
To Mike and Dan and all who've developed this - Wow!, great job, I love it, don't want to be without it. I hope for you (and for us) it becomes the next "betacam". Convergent Design has a wonderful way to acquire whatever format the client wants but there is still a question on how to deliver it in a way recognizable to that client. Let's put our minds together and figure out how.
...Yes lets do that. Start by handing them the CF card.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Denis OKeefe View Post
From my perspective it serves us all to come up with a standard way to deliver - kind of like the "Macie standard" for the US shooters among us - an "added value", better than whatever else is out there.
I have no idea what that is - I've tried .mov and flavors of .mxf and keep hearing "what is this?" when I send in a drive.
The Nanoflash is a superior product and maybe a game changer, but not if it means so many options that it becomes a "tower of babble", meaningless in the fray of too many standards.
Shooting time lapse iframes at huge data rates is nice but we'll all recoup our investment more quickly if we agree on and sell a median format and delivery system.
...Forget standards or formats and think workflow. It is the basic change to the workflow which makes the XDR and the Nano so unique.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 08:22 PM   #22
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Don't sweat the stuttering :-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aaron Newsome View Post
Any uncompressed work on my systems would require an offline/online approach with proxies and that's no joke.
...Aaron, don't worry about the stutter if you are delivering on DVD, Blu-ray or web formats. You are going to encode those out so they will be smooth upon final delivery format, so who cares ? - Stutter away ! :-) If you are doing a digital cut, then it's time for a MAC Pro or a 2009 iMAC 24 inch top model topped out with 8 GB of DDR 3 1066 Mhz RAM,
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Old October 17th, 2009, 09:14 PM   #23
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The stuttering, I was thinking more in terms of taking forever to edit because my systems are not fast enough. Editing data that my computer can't handle drives my nuts. I'd rather edit a proxy.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 10:01 PM   #24
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Edit a Proxy

Hi Aaron:
True. As long as you don't mind doing a later on-line conform to your proxy.

i.e. Allot of editors (including me) used to edit HD by proxy in Standard Definition. As long as I had the window dub of the HD source TC, or had the HD source TC fed to the VITC of my SD dub I was cutting, then I used by old Pentium II 233 MMX machine to cut and export a CMX 3000 EDL and have an online editor at the station conform it for me. This worked for quite a long while until computers got too good and the producers then asked me to edit, do 3D animation, complex sound editing, DVD Authoring, First & Secondary CC all on one damn machine ! Well. I still do these on two machines, but seem to collect the same check . Hmmmmmnnn ???
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Old October 18th, 2009, 03:31 AM   #25
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Mark is quite right about "formats". We need to educate production companies and users that the need to tie in to a format has long gone. I had a crew from NBC here during the week and it was clear that they had little knowledge of file based workflows. I offered to give them some stock footage on a hard drive as Avid compatible HD MXF's. They said, no, they could not accept it as they only used HDCAM. I spoke to the producer, "what do you edit with?" I asked. Avid was the answer. They just didn't get the concept of a file on a disk. It had to be on a tape. In the end I gave them the footage on an HDV tape.... Arrgh!

The problem is that for the past 20 years production companies have been tied to physical formats in the form of tapes. Until a few years ago this was the only way to deliver and share footage. To do this you had to have the correct (expensive) hardware which was a significant investment for the production companies. Producers, editors, cameramen have become so stuck in this hardware based "format" thinking that it takes a lot of persuasion to get them to even consider a different way of working. Most people reading this are probably already enlightened, but the majority of people working in TV seem to have little interest in learning new ways of working, even if it does open new possibilities and reduce costs.

It will happen, it has to. It just staggers me how blinkered some of the larger broadcasters and production companies can be.
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Last edited by Alister Chapman; October 18th, 2009 at 10:25 AM.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 08:25 AM   #26
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Alister, that is exactly the issue I face ( often). I'd gladly hand over the CF card but usually folks don't know what it is, how to use it, and if it needs any explaining it is easier to say "put it on a beta tape".
I've had total success handing lacie rugged drives to production companies, not so much with the networks.
For example, I'm shooting a job on Tuesday - I'll record on the Nano into MXF files at 50mbps. Transfer all the files onto a lacie rugged formatted MS Dos FAT 32 and make sure the windows side of my mac can see it.
I'll send it off with a usb cable and instructions to copy the contents onto a hard drive and ingest it to the Avid from there.
Am I missing something?
I did just this with a test project last week, the mxf files opened on my mac in FCP and under windows, but the client sent the drive back, said it wouldn't work with their system, to use a hdv camera instead. I'm still working on that one.
It seems a case of "so near, yet so far away".
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Old October 18th, 2009, 10:34 AM   #27
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The transfer to file based HAS to happen in Europe. Regulations about the use of any materials that can't be recycled or contain hazardous chemicals are making it very hard to produce pro grade tape transports at sensible prices. Because of this we are on the edge of a rapid need to switch to file based as tape based cameras become scarce. Hopefully the transition to file based will gather pace an all the old "format" problems will go away, free up people to use the most appropriate cost effective tools for the job.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 11:11 AM   #28
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Dear Friends,

Denis and I disucssed this dilemma on the phone.

I promised Denis that I will be happy to work with the major networks and others in attempt to gain widespread acceptance.

Our files are native Qucktime (".mov") and native MXF, so we can work with a wide variety of systems. Shortly, we will be compatible with Sony Optical media.

What is interesting is that this is actually a win for the networks. Our files can be transferred to their system via a low cost CompactFlash card reader, and the transfer should be faster than real-time.
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Old October 18th, 2009, 03:47 PM   #29
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Exactly Dan !

Hi Dan:
Upgrade the XDR just a few more firmwares and you can go to the them telling them you can bridge their online workflow to file based import and post their shows on inexpensive laptops running Avid Media Composer and FCP **And Retain Their HDCAM SR Original Full Resolution !!** Now that's gotta get their attention. Networks will always want a Master VTR running usually HDCAM SR somewhere in New York, Dallas - Fort Worth, Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, but they often have to update and re-edit and re-package their pilots and produced TV series. Due to the fact that they almost always have to go back to their edited Master tape and re-cut from this, thus, they have to handle the job specially with an inside editor running a high end *Finishing NLE* to maintain the HDCAM SR resolution. But now Avid Media Composer is resolution independent. The only bugaboo has been how to get the HDCAM SR master into the editor without going the usual million dollar online finishing suite.

....This is where the XDR and Nano come in. Capture it uncompressed in 10 bit onto 64 GB 60 or 90 MBps CF cards and import that into the network wide fiber optic intranet and they will AMC it wherever they want, then spit the edited sequence back out via their Intranet to a CF card, and that CF card goes into the XDR or Nano and playsout in realtime back to their HDCAM SR VTR and job done !

....Now the Winter Olympics are coming this Winter in Vancouver british columbia and my good friend is head of editing and spot creation for all of the Canadian and some of the Foreign coverage. They are taking a Media Composer, Two Avid Symphony's and I believe a Nitris DS system over to Vancouver to cut around the clock 24 hours a day...Now's your big chance CD ! Dan ! Mike ! Get that Rs-422 inteface on soon :-) I'll go over and show them how this works. :-)
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Old October 18th, 2009, 05:42 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Mark is quite right about "formats". We need to educate production companies and users that the need to tie in to a format has long gone. I had a crew from NBC here during the week and it was clear that they had little knowledge of file based workflows.
From 2006 to the present, I've been involved with pretty much every major media company (CBS, NBC, MSNBC, ABC, Geraldo, NatGeo, G4, ESPN, etc.). With the exception of G4 and ESPN, all wanted me to provide DV or HDV tape. ESPN was unable to accept my MXF files from EX1 at the time because their AVID and Quicktime were not completely current.

My favorite quote was from a fellow at NBC telling me that the files would "clog up the machine." Of course, the producer wasn't much better with my downloadable files telling me that the SD video .avi file (DV25) apeared too small on her monitor. She had no idea how to resize Windows Media player such that the video would stretch to fit her screen.
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