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Sony XDCAM PMW-F3 CineAlta
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Old December 18th, 2011, 12:06 PM   #46
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
Shooting with ProRes HQ would have generated around 3.5TB of data compared to the 900GB that was shot with the Nano's. Not a job for a Gemini... that would have been 26TB from the 12 cameras!
My Green Day job on 11 Reds created 2.8TB. It was painful to get it all backed up the first couple days, but after that it wasn't so bad.

In the end it comes down to how much money people are getting paid (an overage on that job was paying overtime for the loaders, as they were still dumping drives and making backups at 10am the morning after the show) and what the budget for gear is.
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Old December 18th, 2011, 12:33 PM   #47
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

I agree that much will depend on the project budget. For this shoot we didn't feel that we were compromising the image quality by using NanoFlashes and the savings on media, storage and DiT time could be used on lens hire where we could see a real benefit to the quality of the end production.

Plus theres a huge difference between managing and storing 3 or 4 TB compared to the 26TB that uncompressed would have meant.
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Old December 18th, 2011, 03:02 PM   #48
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

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Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post

Plus theres a huge difference between managing and storing 3 or 4 TB compared to the 26TB that uncompressed would have meant.
I think you made a fantastic choice, especially if DP is more or less happy with the image before post tweaking. I'm never happy with out of camera images, but that's just me.

Nobody would consider uncompressed if they knew all the ramifications. It's not just 26TB of storage space. It's LTOs for backups, finding enough SSDs for the shoot, loaders and runners for the shoot. Cost gets exponentially large.

I was head loader on 2 separate 8-10 camera 35mm concert shoots back in the 90s. It takes a loader for every camera and a runner for every camera.
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Old December 20th, 2011, 01:35 AM   #49
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Hi Allister,
would you be willing to share the duran concert PP?
want to experiment on tweaking the F3 and need a good start.
I assume the pp was made for the kind of lighting used at live concert.
Thanks, Ron
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Old December 20th, 2011, 03:24 AM   #50
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

I was paid by the production company to design that profile specifically for their production, so it's not one I can share as I would normally. What I can say is that a cinegamma was used to avoid the nasty clipping that occurs when you use a conventional gamma and knee. In addition black gamma.was used to lift the shadows to allow a slightly lower exposure level to be used to help deal with the extreme stage lighting. The image was also desaturated to reduce chroma clipping.
The concert lighting supervisor had a monitor feed and additional follow spots were used to improve the on stage lighting balance between the band members and the effects lights.
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Old December 30th, 2011, 09:02 PM   #51
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

I've had an opportunity to work with the Cinedeck several times this past year on the PMW-F3 and encountered a number of problems in the field. Power consumption, weight, size and issues with it crashing or not recording an indexed file in some cases. This meant we were always recording 4:2:0 to the SXS cards as backup and having to deal with the image degradation and matching in post. We also tried to use the AJA Ki Pro Mini as well as other solutions with partial successful results.

I chose the Gemini as it is very compact, light weight, conservative power consumption and a reliable platform. I also comes with 2 SSD ports which is a huge benefit over most of the other systems currently available, especially shooting documentary and reality material.

Having said this, the work flow process presents it share of challenges currently. The only SSD reader is a eSata interface powered through a USB connection. This requires an eSata expressport/34 adapter, assuming your MAcBook Pro is older or the 17" model that has the express port and you have a USB port available. If you are on a newer iMAC then Thunderbolt is your only option or a series of adapters (nightmare) to allow for eSata connectivity. On our MAC Pro, we had to purchase a eSata card. Most of the MAC hardware now comes with Thunderbolt, the big benefit it can chain to your RAID system as well (in case of LaCie) solid state drives for quick and easy connectivity. Apparently Convergent Design will eventually have a Thunderbolt solution (we are hoping they will power it through Thunderbolt and eliminate the need for the USB power)

In the field the current system presents all sort of work arounds in order to accomplish a reasonable download process with a MacBook Pro, but it is doable with some patience and ingenuity.

Another consideration is transfer time as the .DPX files are very large. I recommend eSata drives or at least Firewire800 until the Thunderbolt solution is available. Anything slower and you'll be eating breakfast before it's finished.

Mounting the unit is also a major issue whether in studio mode or on location. There is only one 1/4" threaded mount on the back of the unit near the bottom making it difficult to mount on the rear of a camera assemble, using a Noga arm, hard mounting (Panasonic monitor form), inverse mounting (steadicam) or back mount to cheese plate.

Saying this, on the plus side, the 4:4:4 .DPX format allows for pure image data recording and in the case of low light hooting at 1600ISO, the detail of the image was not fully visible by the naked eye. It wasn't until we were in post on a 27" 2K monitor that we found image information not available during recording. The detail in the blacks and high lights was impressive. The Gemini truly utilizes the F3 XMOR sensor making it comparable if not superior to the Arricam Alexa under these circumstances.

There is promise of new recording formats as well as more functionality in the near future. I anxiously await there arrivals. In the meantime, in my opinion, the Gemini 4:4:4 is the most powerful as well as cost effective solution available currently even with some of it's work arounds.

I would like to point out that taxes in Canada start with the base 5% HST and in most provinces an additional 5 - 7% PST are added. That's up to %12 plus the higher price due to the currency exchange and the added freight and duty costs, making it a serious purchase.
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Old December 30th, 2011, 09:39 PM   #52
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

This is my F3 with the Gemini on top and my HDx35 with a Fujinon 18x up front. Excellent package for Documentary and Reality work.
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F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!-f3-no-bg-alpha.jpg  
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Old December 31st, 2011, 01:30 AM   #53
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Dear John,

Thank you very much for your comments on our Gemini 4:4:4.

1. We designed a solution to the mounting issues you mentioned.

We just received our first production batch of a small aluminum block that mounts on either side of the Gemini 4:4:4 (or nanoFlash).

This block has two threaded screw holes, 1/4" x 20 and 3/8" x 16, each a very strong stainless steel threaded insert.

The block is also powder-coated.

These will be available from www.nanoFlash.net very soon (as soon as today). We will also make these available to all other dealers.

Thus, mounting to a Noga Arm on either (or both) sides is now easily accomplished.


2. Convergent Design will offer a Thunderbolt Transfer Station in 2012.

We met with Intel many months ago, in prepartion for providing this new Transfer Station.

We have been waiting for the Thunderbolt interface chips to become available.

My best estimate at this time is that we will have these available by March 31, 2012 or sooner.

Another solution is the Sonnet Thunderbolt to ExpressCard 34 adapter.

(I believe we have one in our lab, but at this moment I do not know the results of our testing).

3. I recommend using eSATA or eSATAp external hard disk drives.

4. We completely agree, the image quality improvements when going full uncompressed can be significant.

5. Just a few side notes:

The Gemini 4:4:4 works equally well with 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 cameras.

Thus, it is ideally suited for getting the best out of a Sony F3.

It will also record well from the ARRI Alexa using the HD-SDI outputs.

By April, and possibly sooner, we will have our ARRIRAW recording option available.

Our engineers have been working on this extra cost option and are very happy with their progress.

Thus, one will be able to use the (relatively) low cost Gemini 4:4:4 to record ARRIRAW from any Alexa camera.
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Old December 31st, 2011, 05:18 AM   #54
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

I agree with John about the workflow issues with the Gemini. Pulling those big uncompressed DPX files off the SSD's is not the simplest task. But you have to remember that this will be pretty much the same with any device recording uncompressed HD footage. If you want the full quality available from cameras like the F3 then that's the penalty you have to pay.

PC users have an advantage currently as many PC's and laptops have integral eSata ports, so connecting everything up is much more straight forward. Over the coming months this will get easier for Mac users as more thunderbolt adapters become available, in particular the Sonnet adapters.

Currently my Gemini workflow for longer projects is to do a first pass transcode to Apple ProRes 444 or Avid DNxHD 444 as I copy the files off the SSD's to a firewire 800 drive. For commercials and shorter projects I'm keeping the DPX files.
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Old December 31st, 2011, 08:36 AM   #55
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!

Alister, thank you for posting.

We are working on multiple fronts to make this easier and faster.

1. I have found some wonderful ExpressCard 34 to eSATA, ExpressCard 34 to eSATAp adapters, and nice, small, HDD enclosures with eSATA and eSATAp.

eSATAp is the same as eSATA but it also supplies power over the eSATA cable.

I have used other items from this same manufacturer and they are of the highest quality.

I am importing a sample quantity of these items at this time.
After many days of waiting (and getting concerned), they clearned US Customs last night at 10:54 pm (finally!).

I will be testing these, then making them available.

2. We are attempting to make additional documentation available.

We already have some workflow documents on our webpage, which list the software that can accept DPX.
Most of these has been based on our actual testing of the software, thus it is time-consuming to create these documents.

We are in the process of creating a document recommending certain adapters or cards to add eSATA to various computers.

I have asked our team to prepare a separate Step-by-Step workflow document for each of the programs available that use DPX files.


Please note that there are two basic ways to use the Gemini 4:4:4:

a. In full uncompressed mode, where the DPX files are simply transfered to your computer or external disks.

b. In compressed mode, where the DPX files are used as the source for performing a "First Encode" to the compressed codec of your choice.

This mode is very effective for many users of the Gemini 4:4:4.
For example, one can decide to use ProRes 4:4:4:4 or DNxHD 440 or any other codec.

Also note, that once these initial steps are accomplished,

a. One can use their tried and true compressed workflow if they desire,

b. Or adopt a new full uncompressed workflow which has many advantages,
such as the ultimate in image quality and absolutely no generational loss.
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Old December 31st, 2011, 01:14 PM   #56
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Banovich View Post
I've had an opportunity to work with the Cinedeck several times this past year on the PMW-F3 and encountered a number of problems in the field. Power consumption, weight, size and issues with it crashing or not recording an indexed file in some cases. This meant we were always recording 4:2:0 to the SXS cards as backup and having to deal with the image degradation and matching in post. We also tried to use the AJA Ki Pro Mini as well as other solutions with partial successful results.
.
I've heard that as well (see post by Thomas Billingsley).

Sony F3 / Cinedeck Extreme / Zeiss Compact Primes Review: Part 3 of 3 Thomas Billingsley|Director of Photography

When were you using the Cinedeck? I think they've been updating firmware on it to make it more stable, but I'd like to know if they have succeeded.

Anyone have other recent experience as well?
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Old December 31st, 2011, 03:00 PM   #57
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Kimmel View Post
I've heard that as well (see post by Thomas Billingsley).

Sony F3 / Cinedeck Extreme / Zeiss Compact Primes Review: Part 3 of 3 Thomas Billingsley|Director of Photography

When were you using the Cinedeck? I think they've been updating firmware on it to make it more stable, but I'd like to know if they have succeeded.

Anyone have other recent experience as well?
I have recorded literally thousands of clips on my cinedeck and it has worked great. Its been in some extreme environments and temperatures, and it definately has stood up.

It does use a bit of power, but I typically don't power it up until we are ready to roll, or if I am by AC, I plug it in.

I did have a slight issue with the beta software I used, with playback, but since the official software release, not a single glitch I have encountered.

Not to mention the customer service is top notch, Charles @ cinedeck is AWESOME.

Ryan
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Old December 31st, 2011, 03:19 PM   #58
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Thanks Ryan. What battery do you usually use to power it?
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Old December 31st, 2011, 03:21 PM   #59
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

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Thanks Ryan. What battery do you usually use to power it?
Hey Steve,

I will fire you off an email!

Ryan
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Old December 31st, 2011, 07:22 PM   #60
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan Keaton View Post
By April, and possibly sooner, we will have our ARRIRAW recording option available.

Our engineers have been working on this extra cost option and are very happy with their progress.

Thus, one will be able to use the (relatively) low cost Gemini 4:4:4 to record ARRIRAW from any Alexa camera.
Will the Gemini 444 be able to record the uncompressed F3 signal to ARRI-RAW?
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