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Old December 8th, 2011, 09:25 AM   #1
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nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

So, the new XQD card format got me to thinking, if 2 XQD cards are striped as RAID-0, can't the Gemini be shrunken down to the size of a NanoFlash and still record uncompressed just fine? That would still be around 250MB/s write speed.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 12:55 PM   #2
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Dear Jack,

We learned of the new XQD Card spec yesterday.

One of the very nice features of the Gemini 4:4:4 is the LCD Monitor.

Would you want us to build a nanoGemini without a Monitor?

At this time, the size of the Gemini 4:4:4 is dictated by the size of the monitor, and the number of connectors. Of course there is also a lot of electronics inside.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 02:13 PM   #3
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Dan:

I for one am interested in recorders without monitors that can integrate into onboard camera builds more efficiently. Admittedly I haven't had the pleasure of using the Gemini (someday I'll have to tell you what happened on my series that we talked about before the Gemini was shipping) but I find for my purposes that I would rather have the recorder and an onboard monitor as separate devices. I did test out one of your competitor's products, which was like mounting a brick to the top of the camera--swinging the monitor from one side of the camera to the other was an epic manuever (no pun intended). Being able to remove the onboard monitor for Steadicam and low-profile handheld, specialty rigs etc is useful, and a form factor for a recorder that allows it to be tucked in without worrying about scratching the screen is handy. I'd like a small operational panel on the recorder but also a robust menu system available via looped-through video (i.e. can be brought up on onboard as required) to make it easier to navigate.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 03:26 PM   #4
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Dear Charles,

We greatly appreciate your input.

Our Gemini 4:4:4 is about the same size as a SmallHD DP6 monitor.

And it weighs 1.26 pounds, just a little be more than the DP6, and much less than the device your mentioned.

The feedback that we are getting is that those who have seen and used the monitor love it.
Alister reports that it can be used in direct, bright sunlight.

But, I think that our upcoming Sun Shade will be desirable for some situations.

The beauty of a touch screen monitor, like we have, one that is integrated into the design, is that we can create a very simple and logical menu system.

There are many areas where one can touch the screen, to perform useful things, such as getting detailed information on time remaining on each SSD, the status of the HD-SDI inputs, the overall status of the unit, etc.

If we did not have a touch screen, then functions would have to be in menus and the important functions I just listed would have to be multiple step processes. Now, one just touches the right spot on the screen.

Not evenone likes touch screens, mainly I feel since they can be smudged.

We provide a very convenient Stylus to prevent smudges.

While we could provide a two-piece system, but it would be hard to keep the touch screen feature, thus, in my opinion, it might make the Gemini 4:4:4 harder to use.

I a few days, I expect one of our major dealers to have a video ready that shows all of these things in a very effective way.

I do agree that taking care of the LCD is very worthwhile.

I expect our Sun Shade to fold down, thus protecting the LCD when it is not in use.

Also, I feel that our small unit is as different as night and day from the heavier unit that you used.

Let's talk at your convenience.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 03:53 PM   #5
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Let me start by saying I am not a fan of having a monitor mounted to the camera. Why would I want that extra weight, change to the center of gravity, and bulk? That's why a camera has a viewfinder. When I want a monitor, then I want at least a 17" that can be mounted on a c-stand.

Okay, with that said, when I'm using an external recorder, I definitely want to see what is being input into that recorder. I want the confidence that it is seeing the proper signal and it looks good. For instance, with the F3 it would be very easy to screw up the SDI output configuration and not be recording what you think you are recording. To me, using an external recorder that doesn't have a built-in LCD (such as the NanoFlash) without looping through to a monitor would be like using an audio mixer without headphones.

So, if we agree that a video monitor is necessary, then I'd much prefer to have the recorder and monitor be all one unit. And that is one of the best things about the Gemini. It has great LCD monitor that doubles as the touch-screen interface. Recently I had the use of a demo unit for a couple of weeks and I found the picture quality to be excellent and would certainly suit me just fine even if all I wanted was an on-board monitor. There's no way I'd choose to mount/power two separate devices when one unit will do both tasks very well.

I suggest that CD keep the Gemini just the way it is, and put their R&D efforts into other areas.

BTW, I usually chose to use the included stylus for better precision on selecting the menus, but I did not notice any smudges when I used my fingers. Either way would work fine for me.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 04:49 PM   #6
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Jensen View Post
Let me start by saying I am not a fan of having a monitor mounted to the camera. Why would I want that extra weight, change to the center of gravity, and bulk? That's why a camera has a viewfinder. When I want a monitor, then I want at least a 17" that can be mounted on a c-stand.
Viewfinders and monitors are good for different purposes, Doug, as I'm sure you'll agree. Even for operation, sometimes the ideal of shooting heads-up without the viewfinder attached to one's head is (arguably) desirable. However the main reason for an outboard monitor is for a camera assistant's purposes. It's been industry standard for around 20 years, starting with film and more so than ever today. Old school AC's use the monitor for reference purposes (knowing when something enters or leaves the frame to time a rack, for instance) and will confirm critical focus; newer AC's tend to rely on the monitor to determine focus, which is become more of an accepted way to work (and they are getting better at managing it). In addition, directors and others like to be able to see the frame right at the camera as required.

This is assuming a certain kind of shoot and a certain workflow. If one is a one-man band, operating and pulling focus, then an onboard monitor isn't necessary. (I'll stay on-topic and not go off into a rant about the fallacy of self-pulled focus on a S35 or larger sensor). However there may still be a reason for others to be able to see the shot, and if there is that little crew, humping around an external monitor may be an extra burden.

Most of the problem these days with the weight and bulk of an onboard monitor is the infernal Noga arm, which is astonishingly popular given their inefficiency. Certainly when mounted on a five lb camera body, there's a disproportionate amount of influence to camera operation involved, which is no bueno.

I also can't agree about the ease of "screwing up the output configuration". That would be the same regardless of whether the recorder has a monitor or not; you do have to make sure an outboard monitor is cabled from the recorder, but otherwise it's the same. Not rocket science there. Once that's in place, the procedures should all be roughly the same. Yes, it's extra gear. Yes, it's an extra cable. But if the recorder is integrated into the build of the camera setup in a logical way and the cables are properly managed, it shouldn't be a problem. Think of a unit that sandwiches between the battery and camera--no power management concerns, nothing sticking out, negligible added weight or bulk.

Again, the advantages of separate components are that sometimes it's just not as convenient to have everything combined into a single unit. For Steadicam, having a monitor/recorder on an adjustable arm is a bad idea because it can easily shift during a shot if there are fast pans or tilts, which will blow the shot. So now you are removing the unit and mounting it with a different apparatus for those shots, which takes time. Same thing with crane/jib work--gotta make sure the monitor is solid and secure in whatever position you leave it, or it will flop around. There are many instances over the years where we've had to make cameras low profile; throwing a shadow on the actors, getting a second camera in above and behind the first, etc. "Lose the monitor" is the call, and it better be done quick. If it's the recorder, you can't just lose it, you have to find a spot for it. Still other examples; working out of a splash bag, a crash housing, with a blanket thrown over the camera because of pyro/debris/reflection/etc etc.

Obviously, this is all dependent on what kind of shooting one does. If it's run and gun or doc style, small crew (no AC), no need to have anyone else see the shot from right at the camera, then it's clearly a different animal.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 05:59 PM   #7
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Charles, you and I definitely have different perspectives on the best camera setup and how to run a shoot. Your way works for you, mine works for me. I was just expressing my opinion that I DO prefer to have a built-in monitor on my recorder and would not want to buy a stripped Gemini that didn't have one. As you know, the Nano does not have a built-in monitor and I find that to be a hassle. I wouldn't want to carry that same deficiency over to the Gemini.

QUOTE: "you do have to make sure an outboard monitor is cabled from the recorder"

That is exactly the point I was trying to make, but I guess I didn't word it good enough. Yes, you have to have a monitor, so if you have to have a monitor, it makes sense to me to have it all as one unit. As you say, it's not rocket science.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 06:25 PM   #8
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

I was responding to what was probably a rhetorical question to begin with, i.e. "why would I want...etc". My point being that it's sometimes not about what wants as a camera operator, it's what what allows someone else on the crew to do their job better. If that isn't a requirement or an issue, then it's a moot point.

I agree that the Nanoflash can be difficult to manage but that has as much to do with the design of the user interface (and Dan and I have had discussions about that, it's no secret) than not having an external screen. It's easy to see why CD has moved into the touchscreen mode. I have definite concerns about touchscreens though--we've discussed smudging but there's also operation in difficult environments (water, cold etc). I've fortunately been out of the New England winters for 15 years now but I can only imagine that it's not the most delightful thing to navigate in gloves weather?
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Old December 8th, 2011, 07:48 PM   #9
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

I see your points. It's good to hear the thoughts and concerns of others with different needs.

I can't say that I've had the opportunity to use the Gemini when gloves were required, but I don't think it'd be hard. Firs of all, there are very few setup choices to make compared to the Nano and other external recorders I've used) but it's just a matter of using the stylus to tap the touch screen -- with or without gloves it's easy.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 08:29 PM   #10
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Dear Friends,

Our Stylus can easily be used with gloves on, so the touch screen can work in cold temperatures.

We have tested the Gemini 4:4:4 in extreme cold, in our lab.
Sorry, but I can't remember how low a temperature we used.

We have tested the Gemini 4:4:4 at 188.6 degrees F internal temperature.
Of course, this is an extreme test; we don't want the units to be run that hot.


We have performed hot and cold tests with the nanoFlash also. It works at -75F ambient on the cold side and +212F internal temperature on the hot side.

Two days ago I was speaking with National Geographic. They were communicating with one of their camera operators, with a nanoFlash, in Antarctica. It was working in the cold and had been for months.
I was assisting National Geographic with a timelapse question.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 12:27 PM   #11
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

The Gemini is a very compact unit. It's not actually all that much bigger than a NanoFlash, a bit heavier, but not significantly so. You can mount the Gemini in pretty much the same way as you would a NanoFash. It's not essential that you watch the screen all the time.

Assuming a remote or at least a tally light can be provided by CD, then the Gemini could simply be mounted on the back of a V-Lock or AB mount as many do with the NanoFlash and then the remote/tally be used to trigger and indicate record status.

Perhaps when used like this, purely as a recorder, CD could add the option for the LCD to go to sleep between touches, so in essence the LCD functions purely as a control panel, but with the confidence of being able to check that the camera feed is clear of overlays and of the right format.

if you do choose to use the LCD as a monitor, it really is very good. The best of all the smaller external recorders I've used by quite a margin IMHO. It's brighter than the F3/EX1's built in LCD panel and the resolution high enough for most one-man-band applications. Sure, there are better monitors to be had. But I travel a lot, and with the Gemini I only need to take one unit. An example of where just having a screen larger than the built in LCD can save the day is when recently doing a test shoot in a very noisy environment I could see tiny vibrations on the larger screen that were softening the image which could not be seen on the LCD, or a small external EVF.
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Old December 13th, 2011, 02:00 PM   #12
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Who wants to pay the 2-4x premium for flash cards over an SSD, 1.8" or 2.5"? I'd like to see a Nanoflash update with dual SSDs for parallel redundant recording even if it is slightly thicker.
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Old September 18th, 2012, 04:52 PM   #13
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Updates:

The CompactFlash association drafted a new CFast standard based on SATA III (6GBit) and invites participation on the next XQD standard.

The CompactFlash Association Announces CFast 2.0 Draft Specification The CompactFlash Association

If the CFast specification turns official, (currently it's a draft standard) The NanoGemini (should it be released before XQD 2.0 becomes a standard) could take advantage of the SATA 6Gb based interface to record everything the current Gemini can: from ARRIRAW, to Canon RAW, to DPX files.

Unfortunately, CFast cards are not cross compatible with standard CompactFlash, as it literally uses a connection similar to SATA, and not pins. Biggest problem is that CFast cards are also rare.

The XQD 2.0 spec according to the press release a few days ago is still under development, but looks promising to Uncompressed 4K capture with the use of PCI-Express 3.0, (and this is the key) with a smaller card than both CF and current 1.8'' SSDs. This is currently in use in Nikon cameras and with the PMW-100/150/200/F3, so it shouldn't be as rare as CFast.

The CompactFlash Association Invites Participation on XQDTM 2.0 The CompactFlash Association
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Old September 18th, 2012, 05:35 PM   #14
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Re: nanoGemini in the future with XQD support?

Dear Alister,

Thank you for your support and comments about our Gemini 4:4:4.

Dear Gints and Jack,

We appreciate your suggestions.

We greatly appreciate your input.
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