Recording Trap in NanoFlash Public Beta 1.5.31 at DVinfo.net

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Old March 1st, 2010, 12:23 AM   #1
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Recording Trap in NanoFlash Public Beta 1.5.31

Hello Fellow Nanoflash Users,
Well here is a trap using Public Beta 1.5.31, I decided to try the new firmware in the Nanoflash on a rehearsal shoot using my usual work flow. I set up my gear and as normal prior to the event and I shot some test vision. I played it back to check the audio and video and all worked well and the vision looked great. As this was a two camera shoot I want to start both camera’s on zero time code. I reformatted the cards in the Nanoflash then SxS cards in the EX3. I then reset the timecode in the EX3 to Zero so all devices would start from Zero. Well much to my surprise I discovered that when the event started and I hit record on the camera the NanoFlash would go into the record mode. I could see timecode working on the NanoFlash screen and could not understand what had gone wrong. I had to just let it go as the event had start and I had no time now to trouble shoot.
When I got back to base I checked all the setting and everything was fine the NanoFlash was working as normal again. After an hour of frustration I said what the &%$# is going on. I then reset up all the gear and went through the same setup steps and again and the Nanoflash would not record. Now that I was able to induce the fault it a matter of process of elimination to find the problem. I changed cards reformatted them always using the same workflow and then desperation set in “RESTORE DEFAULTS” and bingo I could record again. I formatted the cards again and reset time code as before and again the NanoFlash would not record but restoring defaults fixed the problem.
After an other hour of process of elimination I found that when ever you reset the timecode on the camera while the NanoFlash is still on it will inhibit the record function of the NanoFlash. The easy way around this is simply turn the NanoFlash off and restart it and it will work fine.
Perhaps CD can give us a technical explanation of what happening, I now as a matter of course after setting up and checking prior to a shoot always turn the NanoFlash off and restart it again. It’s a trap and I always check the NanoFlash tally light. Interestingly this has also revealed that when the camera rolls the time code on the NanoFlash and the NanoFlash start to record we have a sixteen frame delay.
Bye
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Old March 1st, 2010, 05:21 AM   #2
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Not wanting to jump the gun as I'm sure CD will have the correct answer but is it simply that as the nanoflash looks for increasing timecode. If the previous timecode was say 10 mins and the you go back to 0 mins the nano won't record (I assume you were using TC trigger) until it sees the TC increase past 10 mins. In other words it won't record unless the timecode increases over the previous recording.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:28 AM   #3
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Hello Alister,
Yes I think you have a very valid point but bear in mind that as soon as you change the time-code status in the camera it is reflected on the LCD screen of the NanoFlash. When you press record you can see the new incrementing time-code from zero and that it is a normal. The manual tells us that "Recording will start when incrementing time-code is detected" if I reset the time code to zero and press record then we still have incrementing time-code and the NanoFlash display's the new incrementing time-code giving you no cause for concern.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:10 AM   #4
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If I recall correctly, the description of the changes in the Beta said that the nanoFlash will no longer start recording if the camera reports an earlier time code. So, as Alister said, the nano will wait for the time code to reach the previous value. And yes, it will show the lower time code on its screen but it will not start recording until the old time has been reached.

This, again if I recall correctly, is to prevent the nanoFlash from recording spurious clips when you first turn the camera on.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:16 AM   #5
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Dear Lance.

In this Public Beta, 1.5.31, we introduced some new code.

This new code is part of our "Trigger on Incrementing Timecode" feature.

This new code was intended to allow shooters to review their clips in their camera without the nanoFlash re-recording the clips.

We are doing this by remembering the timecode values. If the timecode value is less than what we have recevied previously, we do not go into record.

So, reseting the timecode to a previous value, while the nanoFlash remains powered on, will cause the nanoFlash not to record.

Powering off the nanoFlash resets the remembered timecode value.

We will need to address this issue so that it works for you and others who reset the timecode.

We discussed this internally, prior to releasing the Public Beta, but our changes to prevent your situation would have delayed the Public Beta.

I am confident we will have a workable solution for you and others.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
Powering off the nanoFlash resets the remembered timecode value.
So, why did you remove the on/off switch from the hardware? Now you have to fiddle with cables, disconnecting the power and then reconnecting it.

I really wish you kept the switch on the unit, so we could just turn it off when we are not using it.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 08:48 AM   #7
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Dear Adam,

There are two reasons why we disabled the on-off switch.

1. The switch that we selected was not meeting our reliablity standards.

Some of these switches were failing in the field, thus preventing the nanoFlash from being turned on.

2. Much more importantly, the manual on-off switch required the switch to be pressed whenever the nanoFlash was to be powered on.

We found that this was a problem for some professional shooters.

The scenario was:

Professional Shooter
Trigger on Incrementing Timecode (which allowed the nanoFlash to just do its job without any interaction with the shooter.)
The nanoFlash was powered up at the begining of the day.
Later the battery was changed.
The nanoFlash was not powered up again.
Shots were not recorded since the nanoFlash was off.

We have a power save feature that works with HD-SDI (but not HDMI as you use).

This puts the nanoFlash in low power mode whenever the HD-SDI signal is lost.

Adam, I am assuming that you are using the AC power supply.

If so, you may wish to just add a low-cost outlet strip and turn off the AC power as approrpriate.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 10:16 AM   #8
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I am using SDI with my Sony EX-3. I bought a Swit battery and am waiting for the post office to deliver the cable to connect that battery to my nanoFlash (they are supposed to deliver it today). And yes, I would use the power switch to extend the battery life if I had such a switch.

Naturally, when I was testing the recording from the computer video card, I used HDMI and a power supply. But surely you do not think I only bought my nanoFlash for that! :o

But when working with the camera, there are many things that would ruin the shoot if I forgot them. I could forget to put a card in my nanoFlash. I could forget to turn the motor on in my 35 mm adapter. I could forget to set the focus on the lens. I could forget to set the proper exposure. I could forget to set the right white balance. I could forget to set the proper audio levels.

It is up to me to make sure not to forget any of those things. And if I did forget, I would be the one to blame, not the manufacturer of the equipment I use.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 04:23 PM   #9
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I guess I'm lucky in that my camera does not send any timecode at all, nor is there any transport or playback mechanism in my camera so this problem doesn't affect me.

On another note, I did my first recording ever using 50Mbps bitrate. My client was absolutely blown away with the quality of the file. She'd heard from another client that my camera was able to shoot to Quicktime files directlty. She was so happy to only bring a single hard drive and get all footage for the day after the shoot.

Getting back on track, I'm glad you figured this one out. The incrementing timecode feature was definitely the culprit.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 05:30 PM   #10
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Hello Dan & Adam,
I do understand now how this situation has come about but conversantly I feel that the implementation of this feature has the potential to cause a serious problems as there is no outward sign of a change in the status of the NanoFlash.
Suggestion:
Dear Dan from what you say “We are doing this by remembering the time-code values. If the time-code value is less than what we have received previously, we do not go into record.” When the camera’s TC is rest the NanoFlash automatically up dates it’s status has already determined that it is not going to enter the record mode then lets have a on screen message “RECORD INHIBITED ” or some other meaningful message. I really do think that this feature is a trap and has the potential to cause users much distress when users find that they have not recorded the event. Please remember that a many of us mount the NanoFlash on the rear on our camera’s and out of view while we are recording and expect the NanoFlash will record when we press the trigger on the camera.

Adam- My NanoFlash also has the power switch disabled. I use VLOCK batteries and have hard wired a slide switch into the VLOCK mount so I can turn the NanoFlash on or off at will and that my work around.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 06:27 PM   #11
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Dear Lance,

We realized, before we released the Public Beta that this could cause a problem.

So we tried to warn about it in the documentation.

Also, we wanted to change the code, but it would have delayed our Public Beta.

We are currently testing a new Public Beta with quite a few improvements.

We do not want to delay this new Public Beta either.

This is what we have decided to implement, prior to us releasing a "For Production Use" version.

1. We will have the code in place, but it will be controlled via a menu option.

2. The default for the menu option will be "Off".

3. Those who wish to review clips in their camera have the option of turning this option on, but then they should be aware that they can not reset the timecode.

I like your idea of "Record Inhibited" message.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:09 PM   #12
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Dear Dan,
I am sure your software engineering staff will come up with a workable option. I do like the idea of setting up personal profiles for the NanoFash so one can customise the device to the way they work and the features they require activated.
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Old March 1st, 2010, 07:11 PM   #13
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Dear Lance,

Yes, we will come up with a solution.

We also want to come up with Profiles as soon as possible. This will be a nice enhancement.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 05:40 AM   #14
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CF Configuration Loading

It's great to see this feature added.. I have recorded my record checks a few times. As the list of setup options increases maybe it would be possible to save configurations with a name to a CF card for easy loading. At some point you could say the setups are so extensive it verges on "feature bloat" and a good way to counter that would have the ability to save named configurations to a card then a specific group of settings could be loaded into the nano in a snap. This too could fall into the category of feature bloat, but would speed up the nano setup before you roll. This may be possible since the last Beta firmware has the ability to make a TXT file of the setup. In the interim this TXT file could be printed out I suppose.
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Old March 2nd, 2010, 08:27 AM   #15
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Dear Friends,

We will be adding "Profiles", "Presets" or "Configurations". I will use "Presets" in this disucssion.

First, we will be revamping our Menu system in an attempt to make it more logical.
Basically we want to group appropriate items together.

We want to revamp the menu systems before we tackle the Presets.

Our thoughts are to have a very robust Preset feature that will allow a nanoFlash or Flash XDR to be configured quickly and accuractly, while giving each nanoFlash owner the ability to select which menu items, in each preset, that can be quickly overridden.

In each Preset, every menu item can be preset to a selected value, then the menu item can be unlocked, locked, or possibly limited to certain preselected values using a drop-down list.

Note, our actual implementation may change.

If a menu item is locked, then it can not be changed in this preset.

If a menu item is unlocked, then it can be changed.

If the menu item is limited, then the user can use the preloaded drop-down list to select the desired value.

We may also have a way to prevent accidental changes, but with the proper confirmation, the item may be changed.

With this level of flexibility, a shooter, or organization, or rental house, can setup a preset for certain types of shooting.

For example, if an organization has certain standards, say 1080p30, Long-GOP, 100 Mbps, this could be set in a preset.

Another could be a preset for Timelapse mode.

Another could be for 720p modes.

One preset could be tailored for a certain customer's specifications.

So each preset can be customized so that the important menu items are locked, but other options can be easily changed for the situation.

We will probably also have a way to lock the unit to a single preset, with a security code necessary to change to another preset.

While all of this seems complicated, the goal is to be able to quickly switch modes in the Flash XDR/nanoFlash.

Thus one simple selection of a preset will set all of the various menu items quickly for the current shoot. We expect that the user will be able to name each preset.

All of this is preliminary and subject to change.
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