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Old October 28th, 2015, 10:57 AM   #1
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Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Quote:
"Today Convergent Design announces Apollo, the industry’s first truly portable HD multicamera recorder/switcher. Apollo can simultaneously record up to four HD video signals, along with a fifth channel of either a live-switch between the four or a quad-split reference view. Apollo can also function as a four-channel live switcher while simultaneously recording the four isolated HD video signals. The size of a small tablet and able to run for hours on a camcorder battery, Apollo is truly portable and the only device of its kind that can both record multiple HD camera feeds as well as live-switch between them. It’s a production studio in the palm of your hand."
Full story, pics at Convergent Design Launches Apollo
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Old October 29th, 2015, 01:45 PM   #2
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Wow! That's pretty cool! 7.7" is going to be snug for 4 screens, would have rather seen a 12"+ screen, but still very impressive!
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Old October 29th, 2015, 05:19 PM   #3
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Sweet product! Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that it includes a keyer (or simple effects). At work, we record company meetings with the following:

1) Wide shot
2) Tight shot
3) Full screen PowerPoint slides
4) The PowerPoint slides over-the-shoulder of the Tight shot.

It would be sweet to be able to switch the meetings live with such a small, portable device.

I wonder if they will do an HDMI-focused version in the future? SDI implies a bigger budget, and with a bigger budget, I'd want a more capable setup with a hardware control panel.

Maybe the main benefit is battery power. ("Hey, kids! Rather than just sit around bored in this jungle, let's make a TV show. Yay!") In that case, it's not about Pro/Con-sumer & HDMI vs. Professional & HD-DSI; it's about the ability to switch in the field.
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Old October 30th, 2015, 07:53 AM   #4
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Dear Jon,

"Unfortunately, it doesn't seem that it includes a keyer (or simple effects)."

We have many additional features planned for the Apollo and the Apollo option.

We just have not announced them yet since they will not be in our initial firmware release.

And we want to learn which specific features are requested.

Respectfully,
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Old October 30th, 2015, 07:55 AM   #5
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

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Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
Wow! That's pretty cool! 7.7" is going to be snug for 4 screens, would have rather seen a 12"+ screen, but still very impressive!
Dear Dylan,

Thank you.

One can easily output the Quad Split to a much larger screen via HDMI or HD-SDI.

Respectfully,
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Old October 30th, 2015, 12:09 PM   #6
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

So... make a 12" or 14" version and include everything Jon wants. :)
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Old October 30th, 2015, 12:29 PM   #7
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

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Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
And we want to learn which specific features are requested.
Thanks Dan,

FWIW, I designed video switchers and other broadcast products in the '80s and '90s for Grass Valley Group.

One of the important features was "E-Mem" (which was basically a macro). It allowed the user to record a setup with transition that was accessible with a button push. So, for instance, you could push one button and fade to camera 1 with a the downstream keyer on top. For a small touch panel, or panel extended with a USB keyboard, 10-key pad, or MIDI controller, this would enable simple control of simultaneous transitions.

Fades are important. Wipes used to be a big deal. (Remember the heart wipe on Love American Style?) But wipes are out of style today.

A single, 2D effect would be nice for over-the-shoulder, news-type footage. The Daily Show uses this all the time and it's also important for corporate events with PowerPoint slides. A 3D effect with perspective can be nice, but it's not really necessary. A border (possibly soft) around the inset video would be good. Spinning and flying the inset video isn't necessary. More useful is a push from the side or a zoom between full-screen and inset views.

Keys become more challenging as a good key requires a character-generator or similar source with both source and key signals. With limited inputs and few, if any, battery powered key-generating devices on the market, I'd take a different approach.

One could store transparent PNGs of pre-rendered, static text or graphics and offer those as the key source. That lets you pre-render bugs and bottom third graphics that can be cut/faded on/off. Swipe to the next graphic, push the right E-Mem™ button, and switch to camera 1 while fading the bottom 3rd graphic onto the screen.

Those features, plus a possible HDMI-version, would enable a complete production, including multiple sources, static overlays, and an over-the-shoulder shot. A simple USB/MIDI keypad/keyboard/controller would give the operator an error free interface.

Another consideration is a Preview workflow. A live switcher typically has a preview bus that allows the next scene to be shown. The Technical Director says "Camera Two" and the operator presses 2 on the preview bus, "Cut!", and the operator presses the cut button. This allows the TD to see what will appear on screen before saying "cut" or "fade". Even with a single operator and no TD, it's nice to see exactly what is coming next before executing the change. This isn't necessary when displaying a few sources, and touching the one you want when you want it. Once you start adding text and effects, it's nice to preview the video before putting it on air.

Before delivery, one would want to trim the start and end. Oh yeah, don't forget to have fade to/from black, both for post-trimming and for live switching. I typically want fairly fast fades between videos and a slower fade to/from black, so those parameters should be independent.

Finally, providing a solution that enables Internet streaming would be great.

Currently, for our productions of this scope, we edit in post and then upload the result to the server for remote viewing. Prior to this, we covered such meetings with a single web cam, but the people in remote offices found the experience to be poor. They much prefer the broadcast-like experience with good quality audio, video, and slides. We've looked at live solutions, but they tend to be clunky, computer-based solutions with outboard boxes that make me feel they would be hard to maintain. There would be multiple pieces to put together after they collected dust for six months. Will it still boot with the latest Windows Updates? On the other hand, a small, integrated, embedded product would be easy to connect and feels like it would be more reliable - especially if it has a streamlined, simple interface.

And that's a key point. Keep it simple. Don't add every feature and option, but enable pre-rendered graphc overlays and limited insets, fades, cuts and fade-to-black. If I can cycle through the graphics and trigger macros from a 10-key pad (and possibly use the Enter key to execute the next setup), I'd have everything I need.
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Old November 1st, 2015, 02:30 PM   #8
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Convergent needs to hear from enough users of the Odyssey variants to add time lapse recording before they will implement it

Do you want time lapse added?
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Old November 1st, 2015, 07:52 PM   #9
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Hi All,

I used the Odyssey now as a monitor for my 3 or 4 camera SDI inputs. I split my SDI inputs going into the Odyssey and feed a switcher/scaler. That switcher outputs feeds into a NanoFlash. I do live events all the time and would like to get rid of my larger switcher especially for out the country events.

What I would need:
macro or ability to dissolve from camera to camera
ability to record whatever camera I want from whatever input (mostly likely will only need to record one camera and the switched output).
ability to see the Odyssey screen on HDMI monitor
recording format to be around 50mbps - just HD, not 4K like the NanoFlash I use now.

What I would like:
Ability to record VGA inputs (ie PowerPoints slides from a computer)
small touchpad or usb device with 4 buttons so I could dissolve from 1 camera to another.

that's all I can think of for now. James
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Old November 3rd, 2015, 01:46 PM   #10
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Dear Jon,

Thank you for your thoughtful suggestions.

We will be referring to your post as we consider what features to add to the Apollo and our Apollo Option for the Odyssey7Q and Odyssey7Q+.

Respectfully,
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Old November 3rd, 2015, 01:47 PM   #11
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Dear Dave,

I want us to add Time Lapse as soon as possible.

We are trying to fit it in, into our development schedule.

Respectfully,
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Old November 3rd, 2015, 01:59 PM   #12
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Quote:
Originally Posted by James Redmond View Post
Hi All,

I used the Odyssey now as a monitor for my 3 or 4 camera SDI inputs. I split my SDI inputs going into the Odyssey and feed a switcher/scaler. That switcher outputs feeds into a NanoFlash. I do live events all the time and would like to get rid of my larger switcher especially for out the country events.

What I would need:

1. macro or ability to dissolve from camera to camera
2. ability to record whatever camera I want from whatever input (mostly likely will only need to record one camera and the switched output).
3. ability to see the Odyssey screen on HDMI monitor
4. recording format to be around 50mbps - just HD, not 4K like the NanoFlash I use now.

What I would like:
5. Ability to record VGA inputs (ie PowerPoints slides from a computer)
6. small touchpad or usb device with 4 buttons so I could dissolve from 1 camera to another.

that's all I can think of for now. James
Dear James,

I numbered your requests so I could easily refer to them.

1. We want to add dissolves.

2. Yes, you will be able to record from one camera, whichever camera you choose.
I do not know if this will be ready on Day 1 or not, but we want to do this.

3. Yes, we want to display the Odyssey screen on a larger HDMI monitor.

4. We will not offer 50 Mbps recording when this is launched since we will be recording in Apple ProRes (in HQ, Regular, or LT), but all of these are higher than 50 Mbps.

5. We are not setup to record VGA outputs from a computer, but with the right computer or video card, we can record HDMI output (provided that the frame rate and resolution are normal video standards.

6. We understand your request for a keypad of some sort. This will not be available on Day 1, sorry. but this will be very nice once we add dissolves and other features.

Respectfully,
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Old November 3rd, 2015, 02:02 PM   #13
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan Couper View Post
So... make a 12" or 14" version and include everything Jon wants. :)
Dear Dylan,

I loved your comment!

As you know, we do listen to suggestions.

Respectfully,
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Old November 3rd, 2015, 04:11 PM   #14
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Thanks Dan!

At least you are listening. And I liked some of Jon requests too.

Looking forward to the release. James
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Old November 12th, 2015, 05:18 AM   #15
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Re: Ignition sequence start: Convergent Design launches Apollo

Dear Friends,

We are showing our Odyssey7Q+'s with the Apollo Option, in action, at the following booths at CCW Today in New York City: (in alphabetical order)

Abel Cine

B&H

Band Pro

Mitch Gross will be at Abel Cine and Band Pro (which are across from each other) and I will be at the B&H Booth.

We can show this working, and you can operate these "Hands On" recording four HD Streams + another channel which is the Live Switch or a Quad Split of the other four channels.

We can show Live View with switching, Recording and Playback.

The Odyssey7Q+'s are also being shown at Adorama and Canon and maybe other booths.

Respectfully,
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