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Silicon Imaging SI-2K
2/3" 1080p IT-integrated 10-bit digital cinema w/direct-to-disk recording.


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Old October 5th, 2007, 07:43 AM   #31
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"We can get one for you if you want. Talk to Steve or Ari for pricing info."

Sergio,
Unless you've got money to burn, you might want to order this yourself. Last week I asked SI to get me their recommended touchscreen monitor for the SI-2K (I've never been able to find a product or price list for their accessories on their website). They charged me $1,046 and sent me a Xenarc 700 TSV, which Xenarc sells for $369 on their own website. Needless to say, I'm sending it back to them today.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 07:56 AM   #32
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Sergio,
What is at the core of this discussion is whether we should have the SI-2K hardware and SiliconDVR software be open ended or closed. If we release this camera and lock down all configurations that we currently approve of, this discussion would be unnecessary. In a closed camera, you would select either touchscreen (1280x720) or EVF (800x600) mode. Each mode would only put out one secondary video stream that we select - buy the correct monitor or don't use that output. We could even brand the displays "SI" so you would get them from us.

That is not the concept behind this camera. We want you to be able to use third party displays, mass storage and other accessories. We are in early production now and have not experimented with every combination of input and output devices for the camera. As you can see, we are quite willing to spend any amount of time, both publicly and privately to assist you in new configurations. For the most part, our specs for the camera have been improving - major additions like embedded Iridas OnSet and smaller ones like 50% recall mode. At times, we may not meet our original expectations. This has never been to the detriment of the recorded image quality. That is what we strive for first and foremost.

Your group has been on the cutting edge of our products. You are doing great work with them. I recognize that this has caused both of us some pain but I hope you don't doubt that we are trying to resolve your issues.

Best Regards,
Steve Nordhauser
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Old October 5th, 2007, 08:53 AM   #33
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Needless to say, I'm sending it back to them today.
If I'm not mistaken, the one you'll get direct from Xenarc won't be as bright . . . I know we've done some customization work on the back-light with them to get it brighter outdoors.

Of course I have no problems with you getting it direct from Xenarc, but just saying, there should be a difference.

I didn't handle the Xenarc customization stuff so that's why there's some uncertainty in my tone. I'd be curious to know what you find out.

But again, getting everything direct from us is not necessarily the way to go with every item . . . that's why we have an "open" platform.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 02:40 PM   #34
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OK, I did some checking up on the Xenarc monitors. Here is the full story. We were paying a premium for high brightness monitors. The ones from the Xenarc site are now all high brightness - this is recent. In addition to the monitor kit itself, our pricing also includes the flexible arm and a custom Lemo cable for powering the Xenarc off of the 2K power connectors.

Our price includes these items, the ability to sell through discounted distribution channels and the support (handling warranty and repair problems, etc).

Gary is absolutely correct that this price is above the parts cost and we have no problems with his going direct. This is not a "Silicon Imaging" branded monitor - it is an off-the-shelf unit with the above additions.

Same attitude on media. We sell empty carriers or full ones. We will give you Seagate part numbers for the hard drives if you want to build your own.

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Old October 5th, 2007, 03:18 PM   #35
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Gary:

The precise issue in this discussion is that if you use that display and need a secondo output (as most of the people does) you will need to adjust the resolution of the touchscreen to 800x600, loosing almost 40% of the screen area.

You and me are using the recommended hardware, thats why I dont understand, and im not willing to accept an excuse as a solution.

My only sugestion is to make some kind of optimization to preserve all the features that makes the camera functional and interesting.

Steve, the question is not if you have to close the solution, even as open as it is, you have to make it work flawless and smooth at the recommended settings. Im using the recommended display, the app only runs well at 1280x768, and now you tell me that I have to sacrifice the working resolution if I wanto to output to a second monitor wich is the case in almost every production enviroment. You say is the fault of the display manufacturers because they dont support your resolution, but if you`re developing an open solution you are the ones who need to be flexible. Right now im limited to work only at that resolution because otherwise Im not going to be able to record more than a minute. So there is a compromise in flexibility. At the end these kind of limitations makes the solution not as open as you feel it is, thats the point i was trying to make here.

In the Mini version, is another story if we speak about the flexibility of the solution, I can run it in almost any configuration available, even in a Macbook, thats cool. But in the operability side it has disadvantages when compared to the full DVR, but I loose all the flexibility of the Mini, and compromise some features too, of course there has to be a way to solve this, and im shure you`re working on that. But being defensive, and blaming the manufacturers you chose, is certanly not the right approach to a posible solution.

Im using, as Gary and many guys who are using the camera right now, the touchscreen display you recommended me to use, I got it from you last month. Yesterday, Jason told me that I have to change the display you are recommending for another one, as an excuse for the incorrect aspect resolution...thats the main problem, here. It`s absurd. If your recommended display configuration is the Xenarc at 800x600, then you have to fix the app to display correctly in the touchscreen you recommended us to use.

Believe me that I know very well, how to set up a monitor, and I dont use Intel video cards because of all the problems I`ve seen in the past with all the video cards that Intel manufactures. And now I can see that things arent getting better for Intel in the video area. I understand that you were forced to take that path, but that doesnt mean i have to agree with you.

Apart of the resolution issues, wich I wont accept in any way until you find a solution, or give me the video hardware update. I was asking if im able to use more than 2Gb in the camera right now as it is as im trying to find a solution as well as you. I now there will be new software builds, with more features and solutions. If Im telling you my issues, is because maybe you have to check some little bug, or adjust something to make it work better.

I believe that discussing this kind of issues will make the SI2K a better camera, thats the point. And I agree with Bob Grant (i think he was the one who posted it) that it is great if im able to discuss this kind of stuff directly with the guys responsible of making the camera work.

Steve I know you`re working on those issues.

Last edited by Sergio Sanchez; October 5th, 2007 at 07:08 PM.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Sergio Sanchez View Post
Gary:

And I agree with Bob Grant (i think he was the one who posted it) that it is great if im able to discuss this kind of stuff directly with the guys responsible of making the camera work.

From my reading of all of the above it seems that the issue at hand here goes back to a problem that occurred late last year. The original design wouldn't fly and so the SI-2K's internals were redesigned. That meant some features were lost or compromised. Nothing unusual with that.
What is disturbing is that we weren't told about this, that we've had to wait until a camera was delivered and a user starts jumping up and down for this information to see the light of day.
Winding the clock back, if we'd been told about the issues with the original design back at the end of last year, we might have accepted that the thing needed a bigger box, more fans, a monster battery and the odd connector reseated or an extra 'spare' camera or two on location. I can't speak for anyone else or even really know how we would have reacted to that news but I can only see being told the news and all of us given the opportunity to comment as a positive thing, who knows we might all have been fine with those compromises. Might have saved SI a bundle of money and gotten cameras delivered much quicker.

One of the few things that I do know is that being able to give the client a full raster preview with a Look applied is a pretty big selling point. If that isn't an option with the SI-2K in 16:9 2K @ 24fps, if we need the MINI connected to some number crunching monster or whatever, no problem here with that. What is a problem is not knowing this until this late stage.
And yes, we accept that this is a work in progress, we now have some insight into how hard a road this has been for SI to take. I say again though, knowing just where the progress is at and how hard the road is impacts all of us, keeping us in the dark achieves nothing apart from more 'Sergios' getting understandably upset.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 06:01 PM   #37
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In the Mini version, is another story if we speak about the flexibility of the solution, I can run it in almost any configuration available, even in a Macbook, thats cool. But in the operability side it has disadvantages when compared to the full DVR, but I loose all the flexibility of the Mini, and compromise some features too
As I've mentioned before, there were engineering trade-offs that had to be dealt with in power and heat output as well as weight, size, and ergonomics in order to get the "flexibility" in the mobile SI-2K design that you desire.

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But being defensive, and blaming the manufacturers you chose, is certanly not the right approach to a posible solution.
I'm not being defensive and blaming the manufacturers for what you feel are the "faults" of this system. I'm simply saying that choices from Nvidia or ATI that you have gotten used to on a laptop or workstation were not an option to us when we had to create a hardware solution that ran cool, ran with low-power consumption (so you can use LiON batteries that are off-the-shelf - like Anton Bauer or IDX - and not require custom batteries and power-managing features like laptops require so they don't blow-up their batteries), would allow upgradability, and would also fit our required form-factor.

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Im using, as Gary and many guys who are using the camera right now, the touchscreen display you recommended me to use, I got it from you last month. Yesterday, Jason told me that I have to change the display you are recommending for another one, as an excuse for the incorrect aspect resolution...thats the main problem, here. It`s absurd. If your recommended display configuration is the Xenarc at 800x600, then you have to fix the app to display correctly in the touchscreen you recommended us to use.
The SI-2K comes pre-configured for use with a single monitor . . . you get to pick whether it's a touchscreen or a EVF. The Xenarc was a great solution that we first started with and built the platform on. It was 16:9, supported HD input resolutions, and when there was only one monitor to use, it happened to be a great, low-cost fit that also enabled a very unique user interface design that no other camera has.

Now you are taking the flexibility of the SI-2K platform and adding more onto it . . . in this case a second monitor. This second monitor of course changes the scenario compared to how an optimal single monitor configuration would be set-up. The flexibility of the SI-2K platform is that you can configure it any way you like with any monitoring solution you like, whether it's provided from us, or from a third-party. Furthermore we knew that people may not want to use Xenarc's at all, they may like monitors from a number of different vendors like Marshall, etc., and they may not even want a touchscreen. So we found a hardware input device that would still let you use the GUI effectively.

I guess what you're faulting us with is the fact that the SI-2K is not a fixed add-on device like other closed-hardware cameras in the past behave, meaning that you add one thing, and then no configuration changes need to be made if you want to tack on anything else . . . that unfortunately isn't the case. The philosophy of the system is "openness", but that also means there are going to be times where if you change the accessory set (in this case adding a second monitor), you are going to have to change the setup of the system's video card for it to still run optimally. If everything was "fixed" and we said you can only use XYZ, then we can't allow you to take advantage of market forces which are perpetually moving forward . . . our camera would be strapped to the weakest accessory. That is not the case with our open platform. You can add any monitor you want. You can upgrade the hardware in the future. You can accessorize as you need with popular and cost-effective third-party solutions that are driven by market forces, not our proprietary and arbitrary standards.

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Apart of the resolution issues, wich I wont accept in any way until you find a solution, or give me the video hardware update.
I appreciate your open-mindedness towards working with us towards a solution. I have been spending countless hours on my end finding optimizations with our engineers for what you feel and are claiming is a total-loss predicament. While the electronics hardware is upgradeable, I can tell you honestly right now that you're not going to get a hardware upgrade tomorrow, nor even the rest of this year. We are working on other recording options that I hope you find pleasing, and different optimization techniques that will hopefully generate the resolution requirements that you demand on your monitors . . . but I have to tell you, this is an engineering tit-for-tat on our end, and as we scamble all our resources to help you out, I would appreciate if you could work with us towards a satisfactory solution, not stone-wall for only one solution that meets your needs. So far that is how I feel this thread is developing . . . I give you suggestions and settings, and you pop-back how I'm insane. My goal is to help you shoot, to help you get your film, and to achieve your vision. Whether that means not sleeping at night to find you a solution, or spending hours that could have gone towards other pressing needs and instead concentrating on the needs that you require, I would like you to know that every suggestion I make is for your benefit, either to help you gain the perspective to understand our system better and utilize it to it's strengths while minimizing it's weaknesses, or to make sure that you are not suffering from bugs or other issues that are preventing you from shooting and getting the footage that you need. The question I have for you then is "Can you help me meet these needs?" I feel that the demands for "XYZ solution or-else" will not be condusive to ever finding you satisfactory solution to your needs. You ask us to "optimize", which we are trying to-do with every resource in this company, yet you fail to understand that "opimizations" at this stage are really finding compromise points where we can find a happy common-ground . . . yet instead of being willing to find common ground, you are issuing demands that we might not be able to fulfill. As we iron out the issues, we may in the end still be a dual-monitor 4:3/16:9 display mix of 800x600 for the GUI and 1280x720 for the external monitor, not a "perfect-world" 1920x1080 multi-output solution like you are demanding of us. Now I can tell you that the "perfect world" and beyond is our goal, but we may not be able to get there tomorrow for you, but you have needs today and tomorrow, and so we need to-do what we can to get you through the "now" of today, not wish on what the future will bring.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 06:16 PM   #38
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I can't speak for anyone else or even really know how we would have reacted to that news but I can only see being told the news and all of us given the opportunity to comment as a positive thing, who knows we might all have been fine with those compromises. Might have saved SI a bundle of money and gotten cameras delivered much quicker.
We were working with some very respected names in the industry at that point in time (and still are) . . . they were very honest and told us it was DOA, that it simply wouldn't work for them. And if it didn't work for them, chances are very good it would not have worked for you-guys either. And it was more than simply a monitoring "problem" or short-coming . . . it was a system-wide failure. A Frankenstein of a box that over-heated in around 10 minutes in an air-conditioned room unless loud fans were going full-blast, the mechanicals weren't working right, and that frankly couldn't compete with it's potential contemporaries. What we have now is physically stronger, more stable, more ergonomic, mechanically correct, more power-efficient, etc., etc. . . . it's basically an improvement on all ends except for the monitoring abilities, which unfortunately had to take a step back to achieve these other milestones . . . that step back will be regained in the future. We felt that the compromises to take that one temporary set-back will enable our customers and users a platform that looks to the future, not something that is a fixed-point-in-time solution that may be "best-of-class" now, but will only be good for a door-stop later.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 06:32 PM   #39
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One of the few things that I do know is that being able to give the client a full raster preview with a Look applied is a pretty big selling point. If that isn't an option with the SI-2K in 16:9 2K @ 24fps
We completely agree. The only issue really is recording to CineForm *at the same time*. We actually give you this ability during preview, but the problem is if you have to have all of these same capabilities running during recording (dual HD monitors at full-raster resolutions, etc.), there is simply not enough CPU available. So we're going to have to find some compromises on what is a good balance between display and recording abilities. We're exploring a number of avenues, and we're also working on some short-term functions that well keep people running as efficiently as possible. We are taking this all VERY SERIOUSLY, and I can't stress that enough.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 07:47 PM   #40
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I would appreciate if you could work with us towards a satisfactory solution, not stone-wall for only one solution that meets your needs. So far that is how I feel this thread is developing . . . I give you suggestions and settings, and you pop-back how I'm insane.

I was fixing the resolution, and everybody who was entering the room always said...Whats wrong with the monitor? Isnt that to small?...Is it suppossed to look like that?... I`m going to take a picture of Andy the D.P trying to use the touchscreen at 800x600 with the image scaled down... He was very unconfortable using the interface with his small finger. Another thing is that it is very dificult for the camera operator to adjust the focus using the Xenarc, and lowering the resolution will make it more difficult. So it thats why it is very important to have a second monitor to check critical stuff, as focus, or makeup. I dont believe im the only one that shoots using a second output from the camera (even when shooting on film I always call a video assist).

Now that you tell me that for you a second display is not a primary feature. I tell you it isnt. The primary purpose of the camera is to capture images, compelling and beatiful images, so all the tools that let you mantain the deepest control possible of the quality of the images you`re capturing is primordial. The ability of previewing at a good size is very important to, I cant finish with a blind and arthritic camera operator.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 08:02 PM   #41
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I didnít read all the responses below so my apologies if this was covered.

Why not make an optional breakout box for multi-monitor/full raster playback. IMO people shooting fast pace documentary could care less and actually appreciate the lower power draw and size. On the other hand you have people on set that absolutely NEED up to 4 full raster monitors at all times. Just give them the option in a breakout box.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 08:23 PM   #42
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So it thats why it is very important to have a second monitor to check critical stuff, as focus, or makeup.
Just curious, in the short-term, is the 2 and 4x zoom-in modes with the pan-widgets (so you can move around the frame) at least enough to get you by with image inspection?

BTW, I'm not saying that a second monitor is not a "standard" accessory . . . what I'm saying is that we can't ship the camera configured for two monitors . . . the second monitor port is not active until you plug-in the second monitor. And once you plug-in the second monitor, you have to reset the video card settings for the optimal configuration. That's just the way it works. Again, if you are having issues with any equipment, or need an exchange, etc., just talk to Steve or Ari and get it arranged . . . although we are again working on some software improvements that will hopefully alleviate the monitoring situation in the near-term. So please be a bit patient with us as we develop a solution and can give you a definitive answer.

John, that was a very good idea, and we will definitely take it into consideration.

Thanks,

Jason
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Old October 5th, 2007, 08:25 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by Sergio Sanchez View Post
Now that you tell me that for you a second display is not a primary feature. I tell you it isnt. The primary purpose of the camera is to capture images, compelling and beatiful images, so all the tools that let you mantain the deepest control possible of the quality of the images you`re capturing is primordial. The ability of previewing at a good size is very important to, I cant finish with a blind and arthritic camera operator.
Sergio-

For what its worth, I completely agree with you about having peace of mind on set. There is no gray area when it comes to art.
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Old October 5th, 2007, 10:24 PM   #44
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I'm really liking this breakout box idea too.
Would it be possible to simply replicate the data packets between the head and the camera onto a port. An external device just 'sniffs' those packets and drives monitors. That external device could be whatever it needs to be and gets all the big issues out of the camera. This seems to open up some interesting possibilities apart from full raster 2K monitoring, like 3D monitoring from two cameras to head mounted displays.
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Old October 6th, 2007, 01:05 PM   #45
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They charged me $1,046 and sent me a Xenarc 700 TSV Gary Moss
Quick question. How does the Xenarc 705TSV model compair to the 700TSV SI is selling?
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