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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 March 19th, 2010, 10:01 AM   #1
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Mobile Hardware recorder box for SI-2K

Is there such recorder?

Kind of like nanoFlash for SI-2K Mini, recording to Cineform RAW.

Here's what I think it probably should be like:

Network in, DVI out (dual DVI would be nice), eSATA out, USB or Line-level Analog sound in, battery operated 6-16V.

Full SiliconDVR functionality hardcoded in. (firmware upgrades would be nice... but even now SiliconDVR is absolutely fantastic in features.)

Form factor like this:

AJA | Hi5 HD-SDI/SDI to HDMI Video and Audio Converter | HI5

Very silent fan or better, no fan at all. Same approach to heat dissipation as with SI-2K itself would be nice.

Power consumption maybe 10W-20W.

Weight should be 1Lb.

Price point - less than nanoFlash box if possible?

Attach battery, attach SSD or HDD via eSATA adapter, connect to field monitor, run Network wire to SI-2K Mini head, run audio connection, and voila - you are recording in the field to Cineform RAW at Quality 4, up to 150fps like the current Mini does.

Does such recorder exist? If not, is anyone working on it?

(I've built a similar machine myself, but since it's based on miniPC running Windows with 2.6Ghz processor, the weight and power consumption/heat dissipation is an issue. It works fine, but I wish it was smaller. Without a dedicated hardware though, i think my version is the smallest it can be at the moment. Thus a request for the dedicated hardware recorder...)
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Old March 20th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #2
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The closest I've seen would be the Cinedeck cinedeck
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Old March 20th, 2010, 05:46 PM   #3
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Mac mini rig

Is this what you had in mind?
it works flawlessly

Technical Data - Danit Sigler - Cinematographer

(scroll down, second paragraph "Modding the Si-mini")

Lior
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Old March 20th, 2010, 08:14 PM   #4
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Lior,

Danit's mod looks similar to what they used on Slumdog Millionaire?
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Old March 20th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohan Dadswell View Post
The closest I've seen would be the Cinedeck cinedeck
I think Cinedeck's price tag of $8K is a deal breaker since my SI-2K cam already outputs in Cineform RAW, and Cinedeck seems to be *mostly* oriented onto HD-SDI cams.

It says it has LAN port for "camera input" - but does it support SI-2K? I could not find this cam specifically mentioned on their site.
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Old March 21st, 2010, 03:25 AM   #6
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" Lior,

Danit's mod looks similar to what they used on Slumdog Millionaire?"


This set up is a bit more advanced, "slumdog" shot about 3 years ago when the mac mini's were'nt dual core so they had to make do with laptops stashed in a backpack- quite cumbersome and personally I have'nt met a laptop VGA output I liked and that did'nt disconnect itself all the time.
also cables dangling from a backpack and under your arm are an accident/shooting delay waiting to happen

this mod is a fully functional touchscreen unit operated by a single battery (industry standard ) it's cooled because the computer is built that way and doesnt require icepacks and such, and isnt a backpack solution with cables coming out of your back
Having worked with it documentry style we feel its a true hand held "ENG" set up

the Cinedek is a very cool little device, having toyed with it for a few minutes it seems packed with options.
personally i think that it has very loud fans, like a computer's,(the Mac mini is fanless because the power supply is external -and eliminated in danit's setup) .
and also it has these cooling vents in the sides which make it vulnerable to fluids and dust on set.
but it's tiny and has a great screen built into the unit.

Lior
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Old March 21st, 2010, 06:56 AM   #7
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Hi

I am sorry to day but what you ask is impossible by todays standards....
1. It would be possible to control the cam with some custom hw
2. You need to de-bayer the image and communicate this to DVI (the lowest GPU cards are 10-15W) that would be able to handle the 1920x1080 frame
3. You need to have something DVR replacement running from HW (power consumption unknown)
4. S-Ata controller
5. RAM - you need buffer
6. Cineform compression - even dual core atom would not be able to handle this as of now (2K @ 24fps, you might check this with David Newman - he seems to be testing this on regular basis) 13W only CPU

So on wide basis we can deduct about 50W if some new hardware option would become available - even if you would build this in ASIC that could come down to 30W of heat takes already a decent box or loud fan(price would go up 20-30 fold at minimum compared to current solutions).

Price point - how many cameras are there in the world that can use nano-flash (how many of the requested features does the nano actually provide) - this will NEVER be possible

Cinedeck does some of the things you need - SI has a special version for SI2K but no DVI/HDMI/SDI output, only VGA - price is bit more than the most expensive SDI unit ask directly from SI. Does even stereo.

If you need something small I could build one from 3.5" form factor Mobo(not the same but same size as cinedeck) on intel Core processor, it will be bigger than nano and will set you back about 2 months and 25K USD.

Unfortunatly this is the BEST I can do
-Kaspar
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Old March 21st, 2010, 09:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lior Molcho View Post
this mod is a fully functional touchscreen unit
1. Which touchscreen monitor was used, do you know? I think model was not mentioned in the article.

2. Does Mac Mini unit allow for full-resolution monitoring while recording?

3. Does it have throughput to support 150fps recording?

4. How does it cope with the NIC requirements that seem to require Intel Gigabit cards?

5. I searched it up and it appears that Mac Minis have processors ranging from 2.26 to 2.53 to 2.66Ghz.

Mac mini

Which one would you recommend?

6. I must install Win XP on it of course, to run SiliconDVR - correct?

7. Why is this solution better than the tablet PC like Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet, where touchscreen and battery are already integrated?


Thanks!
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 05:54 AM   #9
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1. Which touchscreen monitor was used, do you know? I think model was not mentioned in the article.

Xenarc 705TSV 7" TFT LCD Touchscreen Monitor w/ VGA & AV inputs
$269.99
from www.store.mp3.com

Preety bright, they have other models also


2. Does Mac Mini unit allow for full-resolution monitoring while recording?

we have'nt tethered it . the whole point is to work hand held with a small monitor.
I could check it out later.

3. Does it have throughput to support 150fps recording?
150 is a little hard for it, also dependes on what you're shooting. but 85 fps is a breeze, usually gives about a minute of recording time.

4. How does it cope with the NIC requirements that seem to require Intel Gigabit cards?
No problem. the DVR installer is compatible with it. (different install procedure covered fully in the PDF)

5. I searched it up and it appears that Mac Minis have processors ranging from 2.26 to 2.53 to 2.66Ghz.

Mac mini

Which one would you recommend?

we went with the simplest , smallest model available. it's a budget thing. you might want to at least upgrade the HD to a large one.
BTW. you can "mod" the mini and install flashdisks in it..but it's costly and voids warrenty.
but theoretically might get you up to speed of uncompressed recording.
have'nt tested it- were waiting for the warrenty to expire and flashdisks prices to come down:)

6. I must install Win XP on it of course, to run SiliconDVR - correct?
Yep. all macs come with bootcamp. install it first then the XP.
I got the whole installation from opening the box to shooting on the mac mini to under 50 min.
(Had to - dont ask :)

7. Why is this solution better than the tablet PC like Lenovo ThinkPad X201 Tablet, where touchscreen and battery are already integrated?
Many ways:
1.size -the lenovo is 12inch. danit didnt wnt to carry a large square on her shoulder.
the mini is tiny,a bit bigger than a CD plastic sleeve
screen is as small as you want...
2.Price - 1900$ compared to 1000$ for mac mini+Xenarc+Mikegyvercable.
3.the macmini runs on standard film industry batteries - no need to stock up on laptop batteries which are other wise useless. we own one battery and rent the rest at client's expense.
4.can you get the lenovo to run anything other then win7 with proper drivers for touch screen etc?I dont know but DVR is currently not running on win7

Bottom line for us is that the macmini mod works. definitly no the ideal "camera" in terms of specs (hell, the disk inside is only 5400rpm - and still it runs 20-30 minute takes!)
..but its a proven working worse horse .
It is what it is - a handheld 2k solution for under a 1000$...best deal in town as far as were concerned
:)
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 10:36 AM   #10
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Thanks Lior.

Re. monitor: seems like 705 has issues as discussed here:

NEW Xenarc 705TSV Monitor - Page 2 - MP3Car.com

Did you have any problems with Mac's video card and 705?

Native resolution seems to be 800x480 - what resolution are you running with SiliconDVR?

Is Xenarc 700TSV better? (users appear to suggest it has less resolution issues.)
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 10:55 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lior Molcho View Post
Mikegyvercable:)
Sorry, you got me with this - what is that, and for what purpose?

I found this:

Mikegyver's Store

but there are many options available, so I'm confused.

Thanks.
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 11:06 AM   #12
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Hi

There seems to be an error - it is 805TSV that is on the photos. That is native 800x600.
As for the rig it seems to be rather hard to operate, maybe try to place the computer and batt over the shoulder and use the handles from zacuto, then you get it much better balanced and less stress for operator.

I am trying to make wooden handle for 15mm rods that has laser trackball, interested?
Then you could use the Ikan 5.6" HDMI display and get smaller/sharper image.

-Kaspar
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 01:30 PM   #13
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LCD
we have no problem with the screen.
It is the spec i sent you.copied from the invoice.
it works fine with GFX card.I would'nt recommend if otherwise would I?
all VGA screens sometimes mess up the resolution settings, its because of VGA technology, I have withnessed it on laptop setups with 2 other LCD brands.
Just learn to live with it.

Mikegyver
we ordered a specific part from mike tailored to batteries available for rental in Israel.
you should check out what works for you and your local rental options.
Mike can basically make any connection you need to power the mini based on this part which he custom makes:
Mikegyver 120w or 90w DC Car, Boat, RV adapter for MacMini
Mikegyver's Store

Rig
those pics are pretty old, we now have a full rig going with handles and such we custom made.
As rigs, handle and such, there are so many options out there, choose which ever suits your needs and budget. the mini is connected to the rig VIA special scotch bought from Zacuto. probably available elsewhere also, but try finding industrial strength scotch.

The whole set up works just fine..we've shot a lot with it but hey, i'm not trying to sell you anything, my best recommendation is to borrow someone's macmini and try it out for yourself. custom make your own rig based on your needs, budget etc.
by putting up the modding page, Danit wanted to help other people who are looking for AFFORDABLE solutions, not PERFECT solutions.
we do not guarantee anything, just trying to send you on a possible direction that worked for us :)

this is just a suggestion of a set up that happen to work...go wild with it

best of luck
Lior
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 01:33 PM   #14
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Hi

Didn't mean to bitch about it - wanted to give constructive options. I also have my rigs, I must say much more expensive tough.
Again no offense intended!

-Kaspar
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Old March 23rd, 2010, 02:28 PM   #15
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Awesome, thanks Lior.

One more question - on the rig pictured, operator seems to have her right hand on some kind of joystick with 2 buttons on top and a fat white cable coming out to the Mac.

What is that?
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