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Old October 23rd, 2010, 03:38 PM   #1
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Nothing but disappointment with Nano Flash

I rented a Nano Flash this weekend to see what it could do on my Canon XLH1. The answer is, so far, not much. Since it records "uncompressed" video via an HD/SDI port before the signal is compresssed to tape, I expected to see files with more detail. Comparing the file on Nano Flash with the one captured simultaneously to tape shows no difference in quality, or ability to enlarge, even though the NanoFlash files are several times bigger. Frankly, the quality of the file, run on a VLC player, is pretty pathetic.

I then took the MXF files and tried to import them into Adobe Premiere CS4 4.2.1 with the Main Concepts XDCAM plugin installed. The error message: "file dimensions (width/height) are too large." prevented import. These files must be 1920x1080. How could they be larger than that? The Adobe forum suggests that this error comes about with codec problems, not necessarily size issues.

So far I am seriously unimpressed with Nano Flash. Can anyone shed some light on this little box before my rental time is up?
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 04:00 PM   #2
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Are You Using the DEvice Properly

Hi Steve:
It sounds like you are not setting and/or using the device properly. If you are capturing through the the Nano Flash and you can't see any difference in quality, then what are the settings you are using ? I use the Flash XDR with my Canon XL H1 almost daily now, and I am able to obtain flawless operation and results. Now I have to agree the HDV on tape results with the H1 are truly superb ! However, I -frame Intra recording @ 220 or 280 Mbps is utterly outstanding and visually superior to the in-camera VTR recording. Try setting your Nano to record in I-Frame and set the data rate to 280 Mbps. TRy it-you'll like it :-)
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 04:07 PM   #3
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Dear Steve,

I am very sorry that you are having problems.

First, the VLC Media Player is not the best way to judge the quality of the nanoFlash files.

Please use this link to download the Sony Clip Viewer, 2.30.

https://www.servicesplus.sel.sony.co...l-PDZVX10.aspx



Adobe CS5 fully supports our nanoFlash files right out of the box.

With CS4 + MainConcept software you need to use the manual to setup the codec options for the type of codec options that you are using.

You may call me for assistance.

What nanoFlash options are you using, Long-GOP versus I-Frame Only, I see that you are using MXF according to your post, and what bit-rate?

Please let me and other members of this forum assist you to get the best results out of your XL H1 and nanoFlash.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 06:00 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
the quality of the file, run on a VLC player, is pretty pathetic.
As Dan has already pointed out, that's an inherent problem with
the VLC media player, as I found out myself when I reviewed
Canon XF Codec MXF files with it. Don't use VLC. The free
Sony clip viewer will give *much* better results, trust me.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 06:45 PM   #5
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Dear Chris and Mark,

Thank you for your insight and suggestions.

I have been working with Steve Siegal.

We determined that his version of the VLC was very old. We installed the latest, 1.1.4 and it is working better.

We also downloaded and installed the Sony XDCam Clip Viewer 2.30.

As Chris says, this is a very good way to view our files.

Steve recorded at 100 Mbps, I-Frame Only, in MXF mode.

I have been helping Steve configure the MainConcept XDCam Plug-In for CS3/CS4. He is using CS4.

Steve reports that with the Sony Clip Viewer the footage looks much better.

I have recommended that he use 100 Mbps Long-GOP, in MXF mode tomorrow.

He only has an 8 GB SanDisk Extreme card at this time.

Mark, I will ask Steve to test the 100 Mbps Long-GOP, then upload his files, then test 280 Mbps, I-Frame Only, which we all know are outstanding in quality.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 07:33 PM   #6
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Dear Friends,

Steve is now able to import his files into CS4. We installed the MainConcept MPEG-2 HD Pro Plug-In for CS4.

We have not yet installed the Custom Presets for the nanoFlash files, for the MainConcept Codec, part of the normal routine to use this code for CS4.

But, Steve is now able to play the nanoFlash files that he recorded yesterday and today.
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Old October 23rd, 2010, 08:57 PM   #7
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Proper Configuration is the Key Here

Steve, you should see a demonstrable difference between your in camera XL H1 HDV camcorder tape & I-Frame only 280 Mbps recording in the Nano Flash. If you conduct a sound interview as part of your tests, you should also notice a perceptible increase in overall intelligibility (If you employ a good shotgun mic, such as a Rode or an Azden SGM - 1000) with 48 Volt phantom power from your Nano Flash via XLR cable. It should sound really clean.
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Old October 24th, 2010, 07:03 PM   #8
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In response to my plea for assistance, Dan Keaton came to the rescue and spent a lot of time helping me. My inability to see any difference between Nanoflash files and tape had a whole lot to do with the fact that I had a lot of the settings at odds with each other. I corrected the settings and that made all the difference.

I went out this morning and shot a Red-shouldered Hawk with simultaneous tape, and Nanoflash at 100mbps and, as I had hoped the color was noticably more intense. The edge of the bird's beak glistened, something I didn't get in the tape. I blew the images up 200% and 400% and could see
less pixellation, and more feather detail with the Nanoflash, now that I know how to use it.

I think part of my problem was that I am working with "home" equipment, not professional (monitor, etc). and am unable to see a lot of what the device is capable of. It did feel good collecting data at 280 mbps!
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Old October 24th, 2010, 07:16 PM   #9
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Do I read "I am sorry for the accusations..." and "Thank you Dan" between the lines here or it is my imagination!?! ;-)
I am Glad you came to your own discovery Steve! As Aaron've said in other thread NF is the way to go unless you have a really expensive camera that could deliver 4444, then you need a better equipment. Welcome to the club!
Cheers
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Old October 26th, 2010, 02:01 PM   #10
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Old October 27th, 2010, 02:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Siegel View Post
I went out this morning and shot a Red-shouldered Hawk with simultaneous tape, and Nanoflash at 100mbps and, as I had hoped the color was noticably more intense. The edge of the bird's beak glistened, something I didn't get in the tape. I blew the images up 200% and 400% and could see
less pixellation, and more feather detail with the Nanoflash, now that I know how to use it.
Steve, it's pretty easy for the Nano to beat 25 Mbps HDV, and you'll see obvious improvement in areas of motion. I'd describe the Nanoflash as analogous to mounting a slightly sharper lens in general and offering less crunch and thus clarity/fluidity in areas of high detail and motion. Although I would strongly agree that 100 Mbps is a huge improvement over the 25 Mbps HDV of a Sony Z1U, I would not say that the improvement is as large over 35 Mbps XDCAM. I had higher hopes for compression quality, but given that there were very few examples available comparing the differences at the time of my purchase, I suspected this would be the case. As others have pointed out, large increases of 6-8x the compressed data rate are needed for a noticeable increase in quality. This is obvious with 220-280 Mbps I-Frame Only mode, and definitely not obvious at Long GOP above 100 Mbps. You'll find threads in this forum discussing the disappointment in Long GOP, and there is customer hope that CD will be able to make improvements in compression quality so that 140 Mbps LongGOP can be as good as 220 or 280 Mbps I-Frame only.

I'm not sure of the CD market, but it seems to be very high end in which users pay a several grand for small improvements and the capability of producing 50 Mbps XDCAM 4:2:2 footage for professional use from lesser cameras and optics. But if you're upgrading from HDV, I'd liken the purchase of a Nanoflash to be similar to purchasing a next generation camera.
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Old October 27th, 2010, 05:23 PM   #12
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HDV Camcorders Upped by Nano Flash & Flash XDR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
Steve, it's pretty easy for the Nano to beat 25 Mbps HDV, and you'll see obvious improvement in areas of motion. I'd describe the Nanoflash as analogous to mounting a slightly sharper lens in general and offering less crunch and thus clarity/fluidity in areas of high detail and motion.
...Hi Gints: Yes indeed. HDV camcorders like the XL H1 benefit so incredibly much from the addition of the XDR or Nano ! As I've stated often, the HDV in camera compression quality is simply outstanding to begin with, but when I added the XDR to the equation, I was literally blown out of my chair by the overall improvements I was able to clearly see by shooting @ Long GOP 50 Mbps, and in particular I-Frame Intra @ 220 & 280 Mbps. The 280 Mbps produces a very striking and demonstrably superior picture clarity, which shows up highly on large screen TV's. I've been shooting for six weeks on an important documentary on homeless people in Montreal, and we chose to shoot the production with the Flash XDR @ Long GOP 50 Mbps to give us an industry standard broadcast XDCAM HD 4:2:2 8 bit codec to work with in post, along with certain sections where we went HDV only. We are posting on Avid Media Composer in native Canon HDV 24 F & XDCAM HD 4:2:2 8 bit 24p native (As processed in realtime on the XDR), and we are able to finesse very excellent results comparable to shooting with broadcast XDCAM cameras.

*There is only one shot where the deficiencies of using an 8 bit camera in HDV mode rears its ugly head - A shot of a homeless man behind a perpendicular set of parallel bars taken at a distance via the stock H1's telephoto lens produced a banding effect ! If I view the shot on an expensive monitor, then there is no banding effect visible. If I view the shot on a mid to inexpensive TV, then I can see the ugly banding ! I honestly have NOT seen any shot I have taken with the XDR at any data rate, which has produced a banding effect.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
Although I would strongly agree that 100 Mbps is a huge improvement over the 25 Mbps HDV of a Sony Z1U, I would not say that the improvement is as large over 35 Mbps XDCAM.
....I don't think the quality of the hardware in camera HDV MPEG - 2 encoder is as good as the one in the Canon XL H1 to begin with. The in camera XDCAM encoder in the EX -1/EX-3 looks pretty darn good, actually. I'm not surprised you don't see such a demonstrable improvement with Long GOP 100 mb. I would bet the differences of I-Frame 220 & 280 on an EX-3 would be quite dramatic.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gints Klimanis View Post
I had higher hopes for compression quality, but given that there were very few examples available comparing the differences at the time of my purchase, I suspected this would be the case. As others have pointed out, large increases of 6-8x the compressed data rate are needed for a noticeable increase in quality. This is obvious with 220-280 Mbps I-Frame Only mode, and definitely not obvious at Long GOP above 100 Mbps. You'll find threads in this forum discussing the disappointment in Long GOP, and there is customer hope that CD will be able to make improvements in compression quality so that 140 Mbps LongGOP can be as good as 220 or 280 Mbps I-Frame only.

I'm not sure of the CD market, but it seems to be very high end in which users pay a several grand for small improvements and the capability of producing 50 Mbps XDCAM 4:2:2 footage for professional use from lesser cameras and optics. But if you're upgrading from HDV, I'd liken the purchase of a Nanoflash to be similar to purchasing a next generation camera.
...Yup. I concur with your findings. This is exactly the impression I have using the Flash XDR with the Canon XL H1.
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