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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
HD recording with a Super35 CMOS Sensor.


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Old October 26th, 2011, 01:44 AM   #1
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Ki-Pro F3 problem

I just had a weird issue with a KiPro today. Input would be appreciated:

I was shooting a green screen corporate address to camera at 1080/29.97P. We double recorded to the SxS card and a Ki Pro (not mini).
It was just a 10 minute shot but the tech could see the KiPro take numbers changing every minute or so at different intervals throughout the shot. The CEO was a very tempermental guy so we didn't stop especially as we knew we had SxS back-up.

Turns out the KiPro recorded about a dozen little files numbered sequentially "Clip1TK1.mov" , "Clip1TK2.mov" etc. The size varied from 300MB to about 3 Gigs randomly. When I tried to stitch the takes together in Final Cut Pro there seemed to be short gaps between the shots. In other words we were completely hosed!

Fortunately the SxS card is fine and the key will I'm sure cut fine as the guy has not a flyaway hair on the loose. However we don't know what went wrong. The Ki-Pro appeared to be set up correctly and the tech was experienced and knew the KiPro. Moreover when we got back to the shop we tried to replicate the problem and we couldn't. That's actually the scariest part.

Some other details :
The camera was connected to and controlled by the standard Sony paintbox (forget the number).
Time code was on Record Run
The SDI for the KiPro was coming from A output on top and the SDI Out was feeding a monitor.
Dual Link was set to 1.5 YPbPr422 & Video
SDI Record Control was switched HD SDI Remote I/F (This turned out to be irrelevant to controlling the recorder since it was set to start from timecode anyway) The "Rec 2" note was flashing on the screen as I think its supposed to when the HD SDI Remote I/F is on.

We thought maybe the HD SDI Remote I/F was the problem but when we turned it OFF while still at the location the recorder still broke up into little files.

When we got back to the shop we could not get the reorder to do it again regardless of whether we had the SDI Record Control engaged or not and regardless of whether the cameras time code was free-run or record run and whether the KiPro was set to start from time code or not.

Any ideas? The hard drive did look a little odd - almost as if it could be pried apart very easily.
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Old October 26th, 2011, 04:06 PM   #2
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Re: Ki-Pro F3 problem

I used to have a KiPro Mini that would often do a similar trick with chopping files if I was running on batteries which were anything below maximum. I presume you were on mains power with the big KiPro?

They never do it when you're testing... only when it's important !!!
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Old October 26th, 2011, 04:57 PM   #3
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Re: Ki-Pro F3 problem

Leonard L. - If the Ki Pro (or Ki Pro Mini) is set to Arm Recording via TC/REC KEY, it uses the incrementing timecode values coming from the camera and perceives the cameras starts and stops of timecode and then starts and stops its own recordings. From the sound of what you describe, the Ki Pro wasn't entirely stopping recording (which would rule out media issues or signal issues), but it was starting and stopping unexpectedly. This would tend to lead one to believe that the timecode coming out of the camera may have been interrupted, or inconsistent, etc. Remember that SDI timecode is part of the ancillary data in the SDI signal that is passed to the Ki Pro and so your picture might be perfectly fine, but your timecode could be compromised. The fact that you have trouble replicating the issue again when you try would tend to lead to the assumption that there is an intermittent issue with the timecode value being received; I sometimes refer to this as timecode "burping" and with tape based cameras (which I know the PMW-F3 is not), a "burp" can often occur when a tape goes from an idle state to "record ready" state (quite common on HDV cameras). So one simple test to perform is this: does the Ki Pro Mini record as expected if you don't try to use the ancillary SDI timecode data to arm the recordings? In other words, if you use the physical record button, do you see the same behavior? If you don't, this is another clue that the issue is isolated to the timecode value's consistency.

With any of these questions, I strongly encourage people to contact AJA Technical support via phone or email. I try to watch these forums, but there are so, so many of them... it's not reasonable to expect that we will catch all of your questions I'm afraid. (Although I really try to track them if posted to the AJA sub-forum in the "Tapeless Video Recording Solutions" forum.

Hope this is helpful,
Jon Thorn
Senior Product Manager
AJA Video Systems, Inc.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 11:08 AM   #4
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Re: Ki-Pro F3 problem

How far was the run from the camera to the ki pro, sometimes at the longer distances the timecode will take hits before the video. Also sometimes even the slightest loss of video will cause the kipro to stop and create a new file.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 12:39 PM   #5
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Re: Ki-Pro F3 problem

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonard Levy View Post
When I tried to stitch the takes together in Final Cut Pro there seemed to be short gaps between the shots.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nick Hiltgen View Post
How far was the run from the camera to the ki pro, sometimes at the longer distances the timecode will take hits before the video. Also sometimes even the slightest loss of video will cause the kipro to stop and create a new file.
Sounds like a slightly bad cable, especially given that there were frames missing.
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Old November 4th, 2011, 01:54 PM   #6
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Re: Ki-Pro F3 problem

Not a very long run but the cable was old and perhaps the connection to the F3 might have been loose. Funny thing was we threw out another BNC that was monitoring from the other SDI out because it was bad.

We are assuming that it was a cable or connection problem but also will not run the KiPro to arm from timecode again or send start stop info from the camera. Will probably try to test to make it happen again but so far we can't so I am a bit spooked about the Ki Pro until I get a definite answer.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 09:00 AM   #7
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Re: Ki-Pro F3 problem

Leonard I relate to the spooked feeling very well, having shot with a brand new Ki Pro mini in LA recently and one particular shot looked 2 stops under when uploaded yet looked totally fine on the monitor while rolling. The shots before and after were unaffected and the only thing the AC noticed was that we plugged the mike into the Ki Pro at that point, but I couldn't see how that could affect exposure. Similarly, we couldn't duplicate the results again and never knew when it will happen again.
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