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


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Old November 26th, 2011, 09:11 AM   #1
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F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Hi there,

since I got my S-Log upgrade for my F3 I have been searching/waiting for the perfect 4:4:4 recorder and I was quite sure that I'll buy a Gemini444 when it is available. Now I have built my own setup at half the price of the Gemini with even more features. And it works great!

Read about my workflow here:
Sony F3 4:4:4 RGB uncompressed workflow | _mxr blog

Compared to the Gemini444 workflow there is one big disadvantage: its bulky, big, heavy, and you need external power supply no batteries. But remember: the Gemini 444 records onto SSDs with a max capacity of 512GB. The Gemini can span over two SSDs which gives you a max capacity of 1024GB and a recording duration of approx. two hours. When you shoot more than two hours of footage on set you have to buy additional SSDs or download the footage into a DIT-station which is practically the same thing as my workflow a computer with a RAID.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 11:20 AM   #2
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Where are you seeing the price of $8000 for Gemini excluding SSDs that you mentioned in your blog?

B&H sells Gemini for $5995 and 256GB SSDs for $749 each & will ship to most countries.
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Old November 26th, 2011, 11:48 AM   #3
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Quote:
Where are you seeing the price of $8000 for Gemini excluding SSDs that you mentioned in your blog?
I took prices from here: Results for search: gemini
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Old November 26th, 2011, 06:07 PM   #4
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Hi.

this a very interesting solution...what do you think...could the same workflow logistics be applied to the aja Io XT device? it has also dual hd-sdi inputs...could even serve as a 1080p 60p recorder...what do you think?

Io XT - AJA Video Systems

best regards
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Old November 26th, 2011, 07:27 PM   #5
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

If you use the Ultrastudio 3D or IO XT you're going to be tethered for both power and video signal. Not too good for field work. I think you could just go with a 4.4.4 card from Black Magic and do it cheaper.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 02:01 AM   #6
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

The Gemini is approximately $8000 once you've bought all the accessories. So if you live in the US, you're fortunate. However if you live in the UK or Australia, you can add one or two thousand in taxes.

Gemini = $5995
2x 256GB SSD = $1498
D-Tap battery cable = $93
Anton Bauer lithium battery = $455
TOTAL: $8041

With 2x 256 GB SSDs:
1080p24 (4:2:2): 66 minutes
1080p24 (4:4:4): 44 minutes
1080p25 (4:4:4): 43 minutes
1080p30 (4:2:2): 54 minutes
1080p50 (4:2:2): 32 minutes
1080p60 (4:2:2): 26 minutes

I went for the Sound Devices Pix 240 at around half that amount (with all the accessories) because I figured the Gemini created huge files with the need for something like a Mac Pro to do anything with them. Gemini owners must exclusively have 4:4:4 in mind for that price. Even so, 40 something minutes worth of raw data at any given time for $1500 worth of SSD is not really justifiable, I think. For that sort of money I'd consider Sony's SR-R1 external recorders. ($12,500 + $5700 for a 1TB card.)
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Old November 27th, 2011, 02:36 AM   #7
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Depending on what you're shooting, it's possible you may want more than 2 cards. With two cards you'd need to be regularly downloading, which you don't always get the opportunity for when out filming some types of material.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 06:17 AM   #8
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Dear Peter,

I fully respect your decision.

The Gemini 4:4:4 comes with the D-Tap/P-Tap cable.

A Sony F3 + the Gemini 4:4:4 can be powered for around 2 hours with a Swit EX1/EX3/F3 battery, the Swit 8u62 battery. Of course one needs a charger and any Sony EX1/EX3 will work or one can use the Dolgin or Swit chargers.

Anton Bauer batteries may be used, but are not required.

The Gemini 4:4:4, in order to create files that will be accepted by the leading software, upreses 1080p23.98/25 4:2:2 footage to 4:4:4, as 4:2:2 DPX footage is not widely accepted.
This is an intelligent upres using the weighted average of pixels.

Thus, 1080p23.98 with 66 minutes is not an available option, but 1080p23.98 4:4:4 at 44 minutes is.

The Gemini 4:4:4 is designed for when one wants to record 100% of the quality of the image from the camera.

There are no compromises, no image loss, no artifacts.

And when editing with full uncompressed 4:4:4 images, there is no generational loss, as the images do not get uncompressed and recompressed with every generation.

I thought the import tax for Australia was 10%, but I could be wrong.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 06:24 AM   #9
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Certainly the SR-R1 is an option for 444 with the F3, but the SR-R1 is huge and there is no realistic way you would want to use it handheld. The gemini on the other hand is very compact, sit's nicely on the top of the handle and has a screen bright enough to be seen in daylight. As I see it right now the Gemini is the only solution for truly portable or handheld 444 production with the F3.

The big question of course is do you really want 444? If 422 works for you (and it will for the many I believe) then there are lots of options. I've been playing with an Atamos Samurai and I have so far been very impressed.

I will be posting some examples of S-Log shot with a Gemini at 444, a Samurai at 422 and the internal 8 bit EX coded later in the week once I've had a chance to sort all the files and clips out.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #10
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Alister hi,

obviously the gemini is a sweet piece of hardware to have for those who can justify the need for it...I am really looking forward for the comparison of the video files when compared to samurai 422...we have just wrapped an intense tv campaign all shot on the f3 with the aja kipro...I will be also posting some results next week when the ad goes on the air...finding a cheaper way to record dual hdsdi out of sony f3 even in studio environement seems very important to us...cause only few can afford to spend as much for the s-log and external recorder which at the end rises up to the price of the camera itself...
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Old November 27th, 2011, 11:39 AM   #11
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

A slightly different opinion on the SR-R1 from Alister. Having used it hand-held for several days, it really helps counterbalance the camera and with a good shoulder rig, handles and perhaps the EngRig from DVTec, it is quite manageable hand-held. Or, I should say it was easy on the shoulder. Carrying the rig in my left hand for a bit by F3 handle exacerbated my tendonitis! I hurt!

The Gemini is amazingly compact and has a superb screen. The DPX workflow does add a step or two depending upon NLE but it remains a reasonably priced system even with the proprietary SSD's. It is less than the SR-R1 or Cinedeck (now, that's a very large and bulky device).

Ned Soltz
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Old November 27th, 2011, 12:56 PM   #12
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Dear Friends,

It is reasonable to describe our SSD's as proprietary, since only our SSD's will work in the Gemini 4:4:4.

However they are non-proprietary SSD's, it is just that only ours will work in the Gemini 4:4:4, others do not have the necessary performance.

We tested almost all, if not all of the of the 1.8" SSD's that were available at the time of our testing.

Many had the spec's, on paper, which would indicate that they would work.

But, we only found one that would work.

Then, to complicate matters the manufacturer decided not to sell, via retail channels, this particular high-end 1.8" model.

Background:

Based on our extensive experience, using CompactFlash in the nanoFlash, we found that many would use the CompactFlash cards on our "Qualified List", and others would not.

And, we found that many CompactFlash card manufacturers would change the formula quite often.

Two CompactFlash manufacturers work very closely with us and do not change their card formula, without notifying us first and allowing us to requalify the cards. These are Delkin and Axtremex.

Then comes the issue of testing and certifying each card.



The Gemini 4:4:4 is a high-end professional product and we do not want a shoot ruined by a SSD that will not work. This would ruin the reputation of the Gemini 4:4:4.

Thus, we buy the SSD's in very large quantity, then test them, then test them at very high temperatures to ensure that they will work in the field. We do find some that do not work well at elevated temperatures, even though they work at normal temperatures, so they get rejected.

Thus, each and every SSD has been thoroughly tested and screened.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 02:28 PM   #13
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ned Soltz View Post
A slightly different opinion on the SR-R1 from Alister. Having used it hand-held for several days, it really helps counterbalance the camera and with a good shoulder rig, handles and perhaps the EngRig from DVTec, it is quite manageable hand-held. Or, I should say it was easy on the shoulder. Carrying the rig in my left hand for a bit by F3 handle exacerbated my tendonitis! I hurt!

The Gemini is amazingly compact and has a superb screen. The DPX workflow does add a step or two depending upon NLE but it remains a reasonably priced system even with the proprietary SSD's. It is less than the SR-R1 or Cinedeck (now, that's a very large and bulky device).

Ned Soltz
Ned, how does the Cinedeck compare with the SR-R1 in terms of bulkiness. From pictures on the web, the Cinedeck looks much smaller.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 03:58 PM   #14
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

There appears to be a lot jostling for position regarding external recorders. I think cost is eventually the determining factor.

I've been spending so much time experimenting that I haven't done anything useful for anyone but myself. However I've got a lot of simultaneous footage with SxS card recordings and Pix 240 10bit 220mbps. I'll prepare some close up stills to show the difference. I'd like some Gemini owners to do the same; pixel for pixel, as it were.
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Old November 27th, 2011, 05:28 PM   #15
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Re: F3 4:4:4 recording solution? Forget the gemini!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter G. Johnson View Post
There appears to be a lot jostling for position regarding external recorders. I think cost is eventually the determining factor.

I've been spending so much time experimenting that I haven't done anything useful for anyone but myself. However I've got a lot of simultaneous footage with SxS card recordings and Pix 240 10bit 220mbps. I'll prepare some close up stills to show the difference. I'd like some Gemini owners to do the same; pixel for pixel, as it were.
Can't wait to see the results! Gemini and even Cinedeck comparisons would be great as well.

Thanks.
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