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Old March 14th, 2010, 05:34 AM   #1
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Compare & Evaluate XDR FLASH vs NANO FLASH, appreciate suggestions

Greetings from Alaska...
I shoot and record Concert Performances... often 60-180 minutes in length. I use a XL-H1 HD-SDI and a SD MK II. I often have a soundboard feed but occasionally use Schoeps or Neumann microphones. In past, I used MXO2 max or HDV but now I am considering the NANO FLASH or FLASH XDR and plan to buy one. I could get by with 2-64GB CF but I am also interested in the XLR inputs on the FLASH XDR vs 1/8" mini input on NANO... As I stated, I shoot long concert performances of most songwriters (Joe Ely, Peter Rowan, Dave Alvin, etc)

QUESTIONS:
1) Is the FLASH XDR 1'st or 2nd generation? Is the FLASH XDR as good at being upgraded (firmware) at the NANO FLASH? Do both recorders accept audio as well as the other???

2) When recording the HD_SDI video off the XL-H1, will the audio I input to Nano or XDR be embedded into the video or will it be seen as a separate file in the CF (compact flash)?

3) Do you see any likehood I will get 1920 x 1080 out of the HDMI out on my 5D MK II? I love the camera but have problems breaking the concerts up every 12 minutes...

I sincerely appreciate your thoughts and look forward to your response... Peace, Joe Ray Skrha at: joeray@alaska.net
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Old March 14th, 2010, 08:16 AM   #2
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Dear Joe Ray,

Kenai is a beautiful area.

1. The Flash XDR is our first generation CompactFlash recorder.

The Flash XDR has two XLR inputs for analog audio, and 5-Pin XLR for Stereo output.

The Flash XDR and nanoFlash also accept audio embedded in the HD-SDI/SD-SDI signals.

But, your original XL H1 does not embed audio or timecode into the HD-SDI/SD-SDI output.

If you use the Flash XDR, you can input analog Mic or Line Level to the unit via XLR inputs.

If you use the nanoFlash, you can input the analog Mic or Line Level signals to the XL H1, then use a Stereo RCA to 3.5mm Miiniplug cable to the 3.5mm stereo analog audio input of the nanoFlash. This works well.

It also allows one to record the audio in the XL H1 and simultaneously to the nanoFlash. This can also be accomplished with the Flash XDR using a 5-Pin XLR to two 3-Pin XLR audio cable that we offer.


Both the Flash XDR's and the nanoFlash's firmware are updated with new features/improvements on a regular basis.

2. The files created by both the Flash XDR and nanoFlash contain both Audio and Video.

3. The HDMI output of all currently available DSLR's, as far as I know, including the Canon 5D Mark II, do not output a high quality HDMI signal, one apppropriate for recording by a high image quality recorder, such as a nanoFlashs or Flash XDR.

(Note: I am not certain of the HDMI quality of the new Canon Rebel 2Ti or EOS 550).

However, for instances where less than pristine quality is necessary, such as recording framing for Steadicam operaters, the nanoFlash or Flash XDR can be used.

Most people choose the nanoFlash as it is much smaller in size, offers the same image quality and modes, while drawing less power, and has HDMI input and output.

The nanoFlash is our second generation CompactFlash card recorder.

As we add firmware upgrades, we attempt to offer the upgrades for both the Flash XDR and nanoFlash at approximately the same time.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 01:23 AM   #3
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Results of use of Nano Flash on Canon XL-H1 and Canon 5D MK II

Dear Ken,
I used the Nano Flash with 2-64GB San Disk Extreme on my Canon XL-H1 with line feed from soundboard of unbalanced RCA into the 1/8" 3.5 mini plug. The video and sound was spectacular and very clean. Thankyou for your advice.
I should mention I experimented with other audio options. I tried a RCA to XLR cable out of the same soundboard out that I plugged into the XLR inputs on the back of the XL-H!. I then ran RCA out from XL-H1 to the 3.5 plug on the Nano Flash. This created hum and hiss even before it was plugged into the soundboard. When I ran XLR out of Soundboard into the XL-H1, no hiss or hum. Any thoughts???
Finally, I have one last question for you..... When I record video off the XL-H1, it records onto your Nano Flash using FAT 32 without having to stop and stop every 12 minutes or 4GB or in the case of the XL-H1, every 5 minutes or so. The recording is seamless. Why can't the Canon 5D MK II record seamless also? Also, Nano Flash appears to records seamless off HDMI of Canon Rebel 2Ti. We borrowed one and got great results in 1080P. Any idea if anyone has been successful with a 5D MK II? I experimented for hours. Again, I appreciate your expert analysis. I look forward to hear from you. Peace, Joe ray Skrha
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Old March 29th, 2010, 07:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Ray Skrha View Post
I should mention I experimented with other audio options. I tried a RCA to XLR cable out of the same soundboard out that I plugged into the XLR inputs on the back of the XL-H1. I then ran RCA out from XL-H1 to the 3.5 plug on the Nano Flash. This created hum and hiss even before it was plugged into the soundboard. When I ran XLR out of Soundboard into the XL-H1, no hiss or hum. Any thoughts???
Without being there, this one is hard to answer. If I wanted to use XLR out of the soundboard, I would have run Balanced Audio (XLR) out of the soundboard into the XLR inputs of the XL H1, then unbalanced line out of the XL H1, into the nanoFlash.

The simpler method is to use Unbalanced Consumer Line Out (Tape Out) of the sound board into the nanoFlash.


Quote:
Finally, I have one last question for you..... When I record video off the XL-H1, it records onto your Nano Flash using FAT 32 without having to stop and stop every 12 minutes or 4GB or in the case of the XL-H1, every 5 minutes or so. The recording is seamless. Why can't the Canon 5D MK II record seamless also?
We make this look easy. Actually is is very hard to do. It requires a lot of computing power to do this right. In a camera, such as a DSLR, they have to be very careful of heat, as the sensors will get noisy as they heat up. Lots of computing power creates heat.


Quote:
Also, Nano Flash appears to record seamless off HDMI of Canon Rebel 2Ti. We borrowed one and got great results in 1080P.
This is great news. Is the HDMI image, from the 2Ti full screen and free of viewfinder data?

Quote:
Any idea if anyone has been successful with a 5D MK II? I experimented for hours.
The 5D Mark II's HDMI output was not designed to be recorded, sorry.

That you for posting your experience.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 09:51 AM   #5
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Flash XDR User with Canon XL H1 Gives His Opinion

Hi Joe:
In my honest opinion the Flash XDR is what you want to use for recording long form programmation - such as live music concerts, for example. I give the following reasons.....

1. You have (4) four CF card recording slots instead of (2) two with the Nano Flash, thus, you have the option to use 4 x 64 GB CF Card media giving you uninterrupted shooting over a much longer period of time.

2. The audio facilities extant in the XDR are far superior, since you are in a world of two ballanced audio inputs for mic or line level signals (Along with 48v phantom power if required).
* Since the XL H1 does not embed the audio within the HD-SDI signal, it is far better to get a stereo line mixdown from a sound board directly into the XDR's stereo balanced inputs, **then take the stereo ***Ballanced output from the XDR into the H1 and ***NOT*** vice versa ! Taking the audio signals in via the 16 bit world of the XL H1's audio pre-amplifiers (As good as they are) will only add ****Noise**** into your signal, and I'm positive you wouldn't want to do so if you could avoid it.

3. Since there's no difference in the actual audio or video quality in the resulting .MXF or.MOV files between the Nano or XDR, then taking the larger XDR recorder minus the HDMI is a reasonable trade off to get an easier audio setup for live music concert recording with a camera which does not embed the audio in the HD-SDI signal while it outputs from its HD-SDI socket. Plus you're getting double the possible recording time.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #6
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I'll also warn against simple RCA to XLR adapters when trying to convert between balanced and unbalanced connectors. This will always cause noise and hum. The best way is to use the correct outputs out of the mixer board, if your recorder needs unbalanced then use an unbalanced mixer out. If the recorder needs balanced, then the balanced outputs will work best.

If your recorder doesn't have the same input as the mixer output, you should convert it to the correct type of output.

Also, obviously you'll want to minimize long unbalanced runs of audio signal, since that will cause noise too.

My advice, only use balanced out of the mixer, only use gear that accepts balanced inputs.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 10:53 AM   #7
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Hum and Hiss

Hello Joe,
One thought about the hum and hiss issue is that many of the smaller cameras have cut corners on audio to keep size and price down. I know that on certain cameras my sound person may have trouble with either the mic level or the line level going from his mixer straight into the camera, and it seems to vary depending on the camera, mixer, and even sometimes the location. I've had shoots where connecting two cameras to an a-b monitor has created a hum, and on at least one occasion trying to send multiple feeds from the mixer to several XL cameras, the audio person opted for multiple wireless feeds because of problems when cameras were in any way connected to each other. I'm not pointing a finger at Canon -- my sound people have complained about audio problems with small Panasonic, Canon and Sony cameras alike. I have found that once I got to the size/price point of the Sony EX and above, the complaints went away and the audio was fine.
So the moral of the story... If the Nano / XDR are recording clean audio straight off the board, be happy and grateful for good audio engineering!
My backup - I've started carrying one of the little stereo LPCM recorders (in my case the Sony M-10) and a few adapters to connect into the board if I'm roving and/or can't get a feed to the camera loacation. It's easy enough to sync up on the timeline, and so far seems to be within 1 frame of my EX1 over a 2 hour recording period. Very clean audio from it (as opposed to my M-audio recorder, which has ben problematic) and it's saved me more than once.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #8
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Like Dave, I've also been in the habit of carrying my audio recorder too. I use the Tascam HD-P2 for a couple of reasons. It records in BWF (broadcast wav) which means timecode is in the wave file. It'll take an LTC timecode input to keep the audio synced to what is recorded at camera. It'll also take input from Mic (and provide +48v), Line level balanced XLR and unbalanced RCA audio.
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Old March 29th, 2010, 04:21 PM   #9
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Hi Aaron,
Yes I've gone the small-and-cheap route with the Sony M10, but it's pretty much all I need - I guess partly because I'm using the EX1 so much - so there's no TC output there anyhow, it's small enough to hide in a corner of the carry-on camera case, and a couple of AA batteries seeme to last forever (>15 hrs) -- plus it still sounds great for less than $300. I do have a feeling that if I were doing multicam-EX3 / 350 shoots the Tascam would be a great option, though!
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Old March 29th, 2010, 05:43 PM   #10
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I hear ya Dave. My camera also does not have a timecode out either so I actually need a 3rd piece of gear that both XDR and audio recorder can sync to.
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