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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old November 9th, 2011, 01:44 AM   #16
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Re: External Recorder Choice

To add my 2 cents while on the topic: I have stated before that I believe the Cinedeck to be much better suited than the Gemini, and when total operational costs are included, the Cinedeck is faster and cheaper to use. Uncompressed uses a TON of space and there is no ability to upgrade the Gemini to record anything but uncompressed whereas the Cinedeck can currently record to Cineform 422, Cineform 444, Pro Res 422, Pro Res 444, DNxHD 422 (probably will add DNxHD 444), uncompressed 444 & 422.

With that said, I am still waiting for someone to explain the need to record 444 from the F3 when it doesn't have enough pixels to output an actual 444 signal.

Aaron, I would appreciate your thoughts on the Cinedeck. I have access to one and plan to conduct some tests with a F3 + S-Log soon. Do you record to Cineform, Pro Res or DNxHD and do you have a preference - if so, why?
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Old November 9th, 2011, 01:46 AM   #17
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Re: External Recorder Choice

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Originally Posted by Aaron Newsome View Post
Yes Dean, I'll agree that CD is pretty good and they make decent products. In my opinion though, they fall quite a bit short of "excellent history of support".

Anyone who owns a Convergent Design XDR (like me), has to agree with me on this point. It's a fact that CD promised a number of features for the XDR and simply never delivered. There's no apologies or explanations. It is what it is. They've moved on from the XDR and that's that. I actually understand a bit about why they'd just abandon the product for upgrades, so I'm not sore about it.

Ordinarily, I probably wouldn't have a reason to mention CD in a post at all but when I see something like this, I can't help but say something. Again, any XDR owner would agree with me.
Aaron you are correct about the lack of serious support for the XDR. I think convergent design hit a home run with the NanoFlash and didn't really look back. I think it would be good of them to give you original buyers of the XDR some sort of discount on anything new but I do recall being side-swipped when I bought the original DVX 100 only to have a very good upgrade come out shortly thereafter.
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Old November 9th, 2011, 01:55 AM   #18
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Re: External Recorder Choice

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Originally Posted by Dean Harrington View Post
Aaron you are correct about the lack of serious support for the XDR. I think convergent design hit a home run with the NanoFlash and didn't really look back. I think it would be good of them to give you original buyers of the XDR some sort of discount
I agree but I don't think that CD has any plans to do anything like this. The majority of the XDR owners are probably like me, not sore about the never delivered features and would probably buy the Gemini with or without a discount, if they saw value in it.

If I didn't own a Cinedeck, I'd probably give Gemini a serious look, even after they abandoned the only product I ever bought from them.
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Old November 9th, 2011, 02:11 AM   #19
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Re: External Recorder Choice

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Originally Posted by Steve Kalle View Post
Aaron, I would appreciate your thoughts on the Cinedeck. I have access to one and plan to conduct some tests with a F3 + S-Log soon. Do you record to Cineform, Pro Res or DNxHD and do you have a preference - if so, why?
Well I definitely don't record DNxHD on Cinedeck from my camera. They only time I've used DNxHD is to do real time re-capture of footage recorded with another codec (faster than a transcode).

My choice of whether to shoot Cineform or ProRes on Cinedeck is always a struggle. Every single time I start a project, it's painstaking to figure which one to use. Cineform is a much better codec, with an unmatched meta-data system, but ProRes edits so much easier for me since I use FCP studio. It's a struggle every time.

If I choose to shoot 4:4:4 though, my choice is made for me. The only camera I have that shoots 4:4:4 is the Viper and the Cinedeck can't record the Viper 4:4:4 in ProRes. So if I'm shooting 4:4:4, it's always Cineform on the Cinedeck.

Also, the Cinedeck chews through batteries like no other. A lot of the stuff I do, the Cinedeck won't work on at all.

Like the show I'm on now, we use nano flash and XDR. The Cinedeck battery life would be a showstopper for sure.
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Old November 9th, 2011, 03:31 AM   #20
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Re: External Recorder Choice

While the F3 does not have a R or B pixel for every sample in the 1920 x1080 frame the way Bayer works means that there is still more colour information in 4:4:4 than 4:2:2. Bayer calculates each individual colour based on all 4 pixels in the matrix (2 green, one red, one blue). Even the calculation for Green will take into account the amount of light falling on the Blue and Red pixels. A certain amount of colour cross talk is built into the system, so for example pure Blue will be detected by not only the blue pixel, but also (by a small amount) the R and G pixels and this is taken into account in the de-bayer algorithm and calculations.

You also have to consider that it is very rare for the colours in a scene to only contain the three primaries. More commonly there is a multitude of colours, so a purple object is going to be sampled by the red and blue pixels primarily, but possibly a bit of green as well.

So while there isn't a discreet R, G and B sample for every point in the 1920 x 1080 image, the bayer calculations will build something not all that far from full RGB, so 4:4:4 will have more colour information than 4:2:2.

Is it essential to record 4:4:4? No, not at all. 4:2:2 will work very well indeed, but the data overhead for 4:4:4 isn't that all that great (it's only about 35% more data) and it will give you more to work with. You don't have to record 444 with the Gemini, it will record 422 as well. Recording uncompressed is very nice, there are no compression artefacts, period. But very light compression would be almost as good. Avid will be releasing a 444 version of DNxHD along with Avid MC6 next month.

The idea behind the Gemini is that you shoot native 444 uncompressed and then choose how to work with the material when you offload the cards. You can offload and keep the footage as uncompressed DPX or transcode to the codec of your choice. It takes around the same amount of time either way, with a reasonably powerful computer such as an i7 or higher. As the original is not compressed the computer doesn't need to "uncompress" it's purely a single compression stage.
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Old November 12th, 2011, 09:50 AM   #21
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Re: External Recorder Choice

Dear Friends,

Technically, the best way to record S-Log or any Log footage is to record full uncompressed. And recording 4:4:4 is better than recording 4:2:2 if at all possible.

Of course, with the Sony F3 + S-Log + Gemini 4:4:4 all of this is possible.

Recording it to any compressed codec is a compromise, but, of course, one may be willing to accept those compromises.

There are no artifacts of any kind, or any loss of any kind when recording full uncompressed.


For the F3, one can use CineGamma 1, CineGamma 4, and record to a compressed codec.

We know for a fact that many are using our nanoFlash with great success with the Sony F3.
But, taking the technical high road, we do not recommend recording S-Log to the nanoFlash.

It is not that we have tested it, we have not. But someone is about to run such a test and report back to us.

S-Log is a great addition to the F3. And to record S-Log, we recommend the Gemini 4:4:4, for the reasons outlined above, as well as the fact that the Gemini 4:4:4 has built-in viewing Sony S-Log LUT support.


While the Gemini 4:4:4 is a full uncompressed recorder, it is very practical to take our full uncompressed files (in DPX format), and perform a "First Encode" to whatever codec you wish.

This is very important. Using this approach, you can have the full uncompressed footage (if you wish to save it) and still use any compressed workflow of you choosing: ProRes HQ, ProRes 4:4:4:4, Sony XDCam 422, and many others.

We choose to build the Gemini 4:4:4 as a full uncompressed unit. This keeps the weight down, the power low, and the quality high.

Just compare the Gemini 4:4:4 to any other recorder. It can easily be mounted on the hot shoe of the F3, or mounted using a Noga arm, as the Gemini 4:4:4 is about the size and weight of the Small HD DP6 Monitor. The actual weight is 1.26 pounds, a little heavier than the DP6.

Other full uncompressed recorders are much more difficult to mount on the front of a camera so that the monitor (if available) is in a usable viewing position.
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Last edited by Dan Keaton; November 12th, 2011 at 03:53 PM.
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