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-   -   Updated Convergent Designs Flash XDR F.A.Q. (https://www.dvinfo.net/forum/convergent-design-odyssey/106861-updated-convergent-designs-flash-xdr-f-q.html)

John Mitchell November 5th, 2007 01:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 768632)
Hi Bill-
Regarding the the SxS vs CF performance discussion, using a USB 2.0 reader, the Express card has a read speed of 240 Mbps, while the Extreme III CF card is about 140 Mbps (according to independent tests). So, the Express card is still faster, but you pay quite a premium for this added performance when using USB 2.0 reader. In my view, the Express card only has value if you're planning to use the PCIe slot for transfers.
Mike

Not that I think you've picked the wrong horse with CF cards (they're much cheaper), but I just wanted to point out that a PC is not limited to one Express card slot... I don't want to post a link to a non sponsor but $US26.95 will buy you an Express Card to PCIe adapter.. and I think pretty soon notebooks will start doubling up their Express card slots in much the same way as they used to have 2 PCMCIA slots.

Eventually I think ExpressCard slots will become standard equipment on desktops as well as notebooks.

David Heath November 5th, 2007 03:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mitchell (Post 770285)
Not that I think you've picked the wrong horse with CF cards (they're much cheaper), ............
Eventually I think ExpressCard slots will become standard equipment on desktops as well as notebooks.

I made a few comments about this a while ago: http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=102312 . (Posts 15 and 22.)

I cetainly don't think CF is the wrong horse - but it would be good for the user to have the option which horse to back. I wondered about the possibility of 2 SxS slots, 2 CF? (Maybe with a possibility of SxS-CF adaptors to enable 4 CF cards if desired?)

I also still feel the market is crying out for a smaller, cheaper, lighter version - a "CF based, solid state, Firestore", IN ADDITION to the XDR.

Chris Hurd November 5th, 2007 07:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mitchell (Post 770285)
Eventually I think ExpressCard slots will become standard equipment on desktops as well as notebooks.

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Heath (Post 770304)
...it would be good for the user to have the option which horse to back. I wondered about the possibility of 2 SxS slots, 2 CF?

In all honesty the question of card format really is a non-issue here. The Convergent Designs XDR is a $5,000 unit which records from an SDI input, which is clearly a highly specialized application. Do you realize what a niche market that is. Obviously they're not going for broad market penetration here. What difference does it make if laptops have ExpressCard slots (in fact most new ones already do). So what -- not everybody who buys a laptop needs an SDI recorder. There's only a minority of SDI equipped camcorders in the first place, and if you have one and you can afford to add the XDR to your kit, then it's no big deal to add a CF card reader as well.

This isn't about backing a horse, as if there has to be a "winner" between CF and ExpressCard. Both formats are going to be around for quite awhile.

Bill Ravens November 5th, 2007 07:47 AM

Well, now, Chris, it would seem to me(and what do I know) that a company is in business to make money. If more money can be made with the same, or less, investment dollars, wouldn't it be prudent to go for it? I guess, I don't understand C-D's marketing strategy by going for a very high dollar, specialized niche market, when a very similar (and cheaper) product could bring much more return on their development investment dollar.

By Mike Schell's own admission, C-D has goiven NO thought to return on their non-recurring engineering cost! What kind of company is that? Certainly not one I would want to buy stock in. It would appear C-D's agenda is not one many of us can understand. IMHO, C-D is really the first to market with a device that many. many videographers would LOVE to have. Unfortunately, their pricing philosophy is out of line with the majority of the market. Considering the potential for an affordable solid state, direct to edit device, C-D doesn't seem, to me anyway, be doing much for most small videographers.

I, for one, am sick to death of high priced technology that becomes obsolete within 6 months. How many businesses can afford $5K outlays that have a halflife of 6 months?

How much is that doggie in the window?

David Heath November 5th, 2007 08:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 770355)
In all honesty the question of card format really is a non-issue here. ............

This isn't about backing a horse, as if there has to be a "winner" between CF and ExpressCard. Both formats are going to be around for quite awhile.

What you say is true if referred to a wholly self contained operation, but I was referring to my previous comment:
Quote:

At the moment, much production (at least in the UK) is still SD widescreen, and the use of such DVCAM cameras as the DSR500/570/450 is very widespead. High Definition and tapeless working are on the agenda, and likely to form two essential items when camera upgrades are required.

In practice, the tapeless facility of a camera is likely to be used much earlier the High Definition capability, though this will obviously vary from user to user. A lot of advance interest has been generated by Sonys announcement of SxS development. A device such as yours with SxS cards would enable a broadcaster to move on to a solid state infrastructure based on that platform, without needing to immediately replace all existing cameras. It would also enable a DVCAM tape recording to be made as backup/archive simultaneously to a tapeless recording intended for more immediate use.

It would also be potentially very valuable to such as a freelance with a DSR450, who may be working for clients who start to demand SxS compatibility. Until they start to require HD, he would be able to satisfy their needs without having to buy another camera.

Chris Hurd November 5th, 2007 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Heath (Post 770386)
A device such as yours with SxS cards would enable a broadcaster to move on to a solid state infrastructure based on that platform... It would also be potentially very valuable... for clients who start to demand SxS compatibility.

Point taken, but with only one SxS camcorder model about to debut, wouldn't you agree that we're still some ways off from the time when clients start to demand SxS compatibility? Who knows, perhaps by then Convergent Design will bring an SXS version of the XDR to market. For now, with the use of CF cards being more than sufficient for recording from SDI sources, and with CF cards being more affordable and more commonly found than SxS, doesn't it make sense to use them for the XDR in its current design?

I'll bet that a purchase of Convergent's CF-based XDR recorder will pay for itself several times over before the client demand for SxS really starts to hit; and by that time, perhaps Convergent will have a new SxS-based XDR recorder to transition into.

Thomas Smet November 5th, 2007 10:14 AM

The reason why I prefer CF cards is because I could walk into any computer store or Best Buy and pick up a few if I had an emergency. That is something that may take a few years for SxS cards.

Everybody talks about off loading to a laptop but what happens if your laptop dies in the field. Trust me it has happened to me. You are going to need to quickly pick up a bunch of cards to record to which is going to be a heck of a lot cheaper then buying a new laptop. Not to mention it is much easier to go out in the field with dozens of CF cards then it is to haul around a laptop. With the low cost of CF cards I could almost see handing them off directly to a client and build the cost in just like tapes. Or I can tell the client to pick up a bunch of CF cards to bring to the shoot.

Like Chris said SxS cards are brand new. They aren't even really out yet. What if it becomes one of those once off formats that never picks up widespread usage? CF cards will be around for a long time yet and they will only get cheaper.

David Heath November 5th, 2007 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 770448)
Point taken, but with only one SxS camcorder model about to debut, wouldn't you agree that we're still some ways off from the time when clients start to demand SxS compatibility? Who knows, perhaps by then Convergent Design will bring an SXS version of the XDR to market.

Indeed, but time scales are notoriously difficult to predict, and I do feel the whole impetus of solid state is starting to gather momentum now SxS has joined P2. Yes, the demand may still be a way off, but it takes time to bring product to market, so is it not therefore sensible to be making these suggestions NOW?

In answer to my points about SxS when first raised, Mike's reply was :
Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell
I also agree with your points on the SxS cards. As this format becomes more popular, many videographers will carry these cards as part of their basic kit, so compability will becomre more important. We'll continue to study this option for the future.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 770448)
For now, with the use of CF cards being more than sufficient for recording from SDI sources, and with CF cards being more affordable and more commonly found than SxS, doesn't it make sense to use them for the XDR in its current design?

It makes perfect sense, and I agree that CF is probably currently a better choice than SxS (or P2, for that matter) for all but the top end cameras - I actually wish Sony had used them for the EX.

But having SxS capability *in addition* to CF far from precludes CF use, and whatever you and I may agree upon about CF, if a near future client demands SxS, our views become irrelevant. A hybrid XDR would satisfy that demand, without taking anything away from the product as it stands.

I am most certainly NOT arguing for SxS INSTEAD of CF, but rather as well as.

Thomas Smet November 5th, 2007 10:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Ravens (Post 770367)
Well, now, Chris, it would seem to me(and what do I know) that a company is in business to make money. If more money can be made with the same, or less, investment dollars, wouldn't it be prudent to go for it? I guess, I don't understand C-D's marketing strategy by going for a very high dollar, specialized niche market, when a very similar (and cheaper) product could bring much more return on their development investment dollar.

By Mike Schell's own admission, C-D has goiven NO thought to return on their non-recurring engineering cost! What kind of company is that? Certainly not one I would want to buy stock in. It would appear C-D's agenda is not one many of us can understand. IMHO, C-D is really the first to market with a device that many. many videographers would LOVE to have. Unfortunately, their pricing philosophy is out of line with the majority of the market. Considering the potential for an affordable solid state, direct to edit device, C-D doesn't seem, to me anyway, be doing much for most small videographers.

I, for one, am sick to death of high priced technology that becomes obsolete within 6 months. How many businesses can afford $5K outlays that have a halflife of 6 months?

How much is that doggie in the window?

Bill clearly this device isn't for you then. It wasn't designed for you either. This is a SDI device to be used by those who want higher quality. Why do you think higher quality shouldn't have a higher price tag? When do any of us get anything for nothing? This product is aimed at a niche market because like Chris said it is usually only a niche market that "needs" this sort of quality.

I think Mike is doing a great job because he cares. He not only cares about quality but about us as well. That is why he is here answering a lot of our questions. Mike has a dream for a product that many of us have wanted for a very long time. He isn't a huge company and to be honest I'm glad about that. When is the last time you saw a large company directly ask for feedback on a product months before it shipped? How often do you see companies add in new features because the potential users asked for them on a forum?

How is this any different then RED who many at first thought they were a bunch of overpriced dreamers but now can't keep up with building the cameras they are selling.

I say let this product get finished instead of having them add new features all the time to the point where it never gets finished. I have been working on FX and video software for over two years and it never gets done because I keep adding things and changing them. Let Mike finish this product and then see what happens. Maybe later on they will make a different product that will be cheaper for firewire and HDV users. After all it could be cheaper because it doesn't have as much of the needed components. The SDI and SONY mpeg2 codec are my guess as to why this certain device costs a lot of money. Good mpeg2 encoders that can do 4:2:2 profile high level encoding are not cheap. SDI isn't exactly cheap either. A simple HDV device shouldn't even need a encoder built in. The camera does the encoding and the firewire just sends off the stream to the recording device. Unlike a Firestore this device has to have it's own encoder built in and the ability to take a SDI feed and encode it not only as studio quality mpeg2 but wrap it into MXF which isn't exactly a cheap standard either.

If somebody really needs 4:2:2 low compression quality a $5,000.00 device sure beats having to go out and buy a $35,000.00 camera.

I love these small companies like Convergent Design, Red and Letus because they really shake up the industry and bring people's idea for great products into reality.

Bill Ravens November 5th, 2007 11:02 AM

Thomas...

I couldn't agree with you more, with one exception. For anyone to believe that a small Indie like myself isn't interested in quality, is a drastic misconception. The level of quality I produce is directly proportional to the quality of the product I can afford. I'm constrained by the balance sheet for my business. If I think this device would pay for itself in short order, I'd run right out and get one.

I'm not an internet troll. My intention isn't to drag a company or their product down because it's a fun thing to do. But, I do feel it's necessary to exert some pressure on manufacturers, big or small, to keep their prices as low as possible, and to consider the useful lifetime of things they put a high pricetag on. Obviously, in the free enterprise system, caveat emptor.

David Parks November 5th, 2007 12:13 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thomas Smet (Post 770477)

If somebody really needs 4:2:2 low compression quality a $5,000.00 device sure beats having to go out and buy a $35,000.00 camera.

I love these small companies like Convergent Design, Red and Letus because they really shake up the industry and bring people's idea for great products into reality.

Exactly! That's the big innovation. It's one of the first products to realize that you don't have to bundle, sensor, recording mechanism, and various codecs into the camera. Like I said before, with this device you're not tied to a specific camera or codec.. You can use a Red on the high end, a JVC HD 250 on the medium, or an HV20 on the low end. And you can record to the data rate of your choice. That's almost like having the option to shoot the film stock of your choice. Excellent.

I second Thomas, don't beat up the innovators and risk-takers too much.
Besides, you can vote (for or against) with your purchase decision when the product comes out. I don't think it is our role to keep pressure on companies. Hopefully, our role here is to produce videos. And use the tools of choice to the best of our ability and problem solve issues along the way.

Mike, Keep swinging for the fences. True innovation is rare in this risk-adverse society. Thanks for listening to feedback. I can't wait to purchase your product.

Cheers.

Thomas Smet November 5th, 2007 12:20 PM

That is what is so tough about being an Indie. We all want to have the highest level of quality for the lowest cost. That is why we are in such a odd and tough situation.

Nobody said being an Indie was supposed to be easy. In fact usually it is very hard because we have to try to do things on a budget. This can be very hard when it comes to high quality. All we can do is to try to do the best we can for what we have to work with.

To some Indies this device will be worth the money to some they will not be able to justify the cost. That is the case with any equipment we use. Some Indies can afford a Canon H1 with SDI while others are lucky to afford a HV20. It's not that it is unfair to the person who can only afford a HV20. That is just the way it is. Quality costs money and it is something we all have to move into when we can afford it. I feel your pain but really nobody is obligated to give us the quality we all want just because as an Indie we may need it. I would love to have a SONY F950 but I do not get mad at SONY because it costs $100,000.00. I realize as an indie that it is out of my reach right now unless I rent it for a project. Maybe that is one area where the XDR can really help out indie's. Rental. I remember a time when a lot of indies didn't own their own film cameras. To me it would make perfect sense to shoot HDV as you experiment and then when you are ready to shoot your project rent a XDR. After the shoot you will have CF cards that can play without the XDR device so it isn't like a HDCAM deck you have to have around when you are ready to ingest.

Like I said before there are a lot of factors that go into the cost of this device. A firestore is pretty much just a hard drive that runs off batteries with special OS software to write files to the disk and look how much it costs. Here we have all the SDI ports, video processing, high quality encoder and MXF format support in one simple to use device. That stuff is not cheap. While it would be nice to see a cheaper scaled down version at some later point there are a lot of pros who do want the product as is right now and they are ready to buy it.

Chris Hurd November 5th, 2007 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Ravens (Post 770367)
...it would seem to me (and what do I know) that a company is in business to make money. If more money can be made with the same, or less, investment dollars, wouldn't it be prudent to go for it? I guess, I don't understand C-D's marketing strategy by going for a very high dollar, specialized niche market, when a very similar (and cheaper) product could bring much more return on their development investment dollar.

Thomas Smet above has already mentioned an excellent example of a successful high-dollar specialized niche market by citing RED (a project helmed by a self-made billionaire, so I think it's safe to assume he knows something about running a successful business). But there are a wide variety of other such specialized niche market products in this business... in fact, the pro video realm is full of them. Just check out the pricing on a Leader wave form monitor, or a Codex digital recording system. Point being, it doesn't have to be "cheap" to be successful; a company can make a thriving business with an expensive, high-end product. Restaurants are a perfect example: why should Morton's Steakhouse serve $50 plates in a nice dining room when they could just as easily sell $5 hamburgers at a drive-up window? The obvious answer is because that's the business they choose to be in. I think we should let Mike Schell determine what business he wants Convergent to be in, and let him choose his own path. There's nothing wrong with catering to the higher end of the specialized niche markets.

Quote:

What kind of company is that? Certainly not one I would want to buy stock in.
Not to worry; I don't think Convergent Design is a publicly traded company!

Quote:

It would appear C-D's agenda is not one many of us can understand.
From the top of their home page: "HDV, AVCHD, and DV Converters for Broadcast, Studio, and Independent Videographers." It should be clear that broadcast and studio applications are not low-dollar areas. And just because they're not "cheap" doesn't mean they're out of reach for successful independent videographers.

Quote:

Unfortunately, their pricing philosophy is out of line with the majority of the market. Considering the potential for an affordable solid state, direct to edit device, C-D doesn't seem, to me anyway, be doing much for most small videographers.
First, there's nothing wrong with their price. Remember, this is an SDI recorder. SDI itself carries a premium of several thousand dollars. In fact, the XDR represents perhaps the single least expensive way to record HD video from an SDI output. Consider that a High Definition VTR with SDI input will set you back about $20K. So no, there's nothing wrong with Convergent's pricing of the XDR. Show me a less expensive SDI recorder for HD video than that.

Second, small videographers are already pretty well served in the DTE market: while the FireStore is not solid state, it is an affordable FireWire recorder and there's a model for every major format variation. And we're starting to see camcorders with solid-state recording at the affordable low-end scale such as Panasonic's recently announced AG-HMC70, which records AVCHD video to an SD card.

Quote:

How many businesses can afford $5K outlays that have a halflife of 6 months?
I'm not sure where you're getting six months from, but no matter; a $5K outlay should easily pay for itself at least one time over within that time frame.

Bill Ravens November 5th, 2007 01:11 PM

"....don't beat up the innovators and risk-takers too much."

agreed!

Just a note of thanx to Chris, Thomas and Mike for your willingness to discuss this topic. Chris, thanx for not booting me or telling me to keep my mouth shut. I apologize if this discussion has offended anyone, I sincerely hope I haven't. You all make very good points.

Thanx, again.

Mike Schell November 5th, 2007 01:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by David Heath (Post 770475)
Indeed, but time scales are notoriously difficult to predict, and I do feel the whole impetus of solid state is starting to gather momentum now SxS has joined P2. Yes, the demand may still be a way off, but it takes time to bring product to market, so is it not therefore sensible to be making these suggestions NOW?

In answer to my points about SxS when first raised, Mike's reply was :


It makes perfect sense, and I agree that CF is probably currently a better choice than SxS (or P2, for that matter) for all but the top end cameras - I actually wish Sony had used them for the EX.

But having SxS capability *in addition* to CF far from precludes CF use, and whatever you and I may agree upon about CF, if a near future client demands SxS, our views become irrelevant. A hybrid XDR would satisfy that demand, without taking anything away from the product as it stands.

I am most certainly NOT arguing for SxS INSTEAD of CF, but rather as well as.

Hi David-
We would dearly like to include both SxS and Compact Flash support, but SxS requires a PCIe interface which would greatly increase our development time and add some additional manufacturing costs. We'll consider SxS support for a future version of the box.

Mike Schell

Mike Schell November 5th, 2007 02:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Bill Ravens (Post 770558)
"....don't beat up the innovators and risk-takers too much."

agreed!

Just a note of thanx to Chris, Thomas and Mike for your willingness to discuss this topic. Chris, thanx for not booting me or telling me to keep my mouth shut. I apologize if this discussion has offended anyone, I sincerely hope I haven't. You all make very good points.

Thanx, again.

Hi Bill-
Thanks for the feedback and recommendations! We're not offended. We're very excited about the Flash XDR and appreciate everyone's comments and thoughts. Naturally, we can't accomadate everyone's wishes with regard to features and product price. The old adage, "Good Engineering is knowing what to leave out" definitely applies. Feature creep is always a concern, but at the same time to want to build a product that accomadates a wide range of users. Most importantly, we want the product to be both reliable and easy to use.

So we're listening (and reading) all the comments and recommendations. Just know that we have to make compromises in order to get the design finished in a reasonable timeframe and to hit our manufacturing costs targets.

Mike

PS We do have a couple of very cool new features in the works, but we'll keep you guessing for a while longer.

David Heath November 5th, 2007 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 770576)
Hi David-
We would dearly like to include both SxS and Compact Flash support, but SxS requires a PCIe interface which would greatly increase our development time and add some additional manufacturing costs. We'll consider SxS support for a future version of the box.

Thanks Mike! Understood.

Before the start of the SxS/CF debate I did ask about Firewire i/p (post 40) -
Quote:

"Having a new look at the XDR spec sheet, I notice that whilst it talks of a Firewire OUTPUT, there's no mention of an INPUT.............

...........Hence, my question would be whether it would accept an input via Firewire? It would also be useful if it then also gave SDI out, so doubling as a Firewire to SDI convertor."
The XDR is what it is, but it does seem that a simple Firestore type device based on CF is something the market is crying out for, whoever was to make it. Lower power consumption, fast boot up time, silent operation, removable media - bring out such a product, and I can see Firestore sales plummeting overnight. Although the XDR is more expensive than a Firestore, if it roles Firewire/SDI conversion functionality into the same box..........? And this is extra to the features which are causing the most interest on these boards!

As an aside, if anybody doubts the credentials of Compact Flash for professional use, then I've just heard that the Grass Valley Infinity camera seems to have finally started shipping. The use of JPEG2000 means that better than HDCAM recording quality seems to be achievable at sub-100Mbs data rates, so it can also make use of standard grade (cheap) Extreme III memory.

Thomas Smet November 5th, 2007 03:49 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 770592)
The old adage, "Good Engineering is knowing what to leave out" definitely applies. Feature creep is always a concern, but at the same time to want to build a product that accomadates a wide range of users.

Man do I wish I could stop doing that to myself. I have this huge problem of never being satisfied with the tools I make which is why they never get finished. I make a rough alpha version use it on a project and then start it all over again. I give you credit for being able to say enough is enough and just get it done. For me that is the hardest part of making my own stuff like this.

Alan Waters November 6th, 2007 05:10 AM

Just been reading this thread and have to dash out but the three main headline points or questions for me are....

The Flash XDR will work with the new Holy Grail EX1 ?
It will be available in Q1 2008 for $5k ?
It will be available in Europe ?

Chris Hurd November 6th, 2007 07:46 AM

Sure, the XDR will be compatible with the Sony PMW-EX1. The EX1 has an SDI output and the XDR is an SDI recorder, so no problem. However, and this is nothing against what Convergent is doing, but I'm pretty sure that most folks who buy the EX1 will find its onboard SxS flash memory XDCAM HD recording system to be perfectly adequate for their needs, making the XDR redundant unless you want it there for dual media recording / instant backup duties.

Mike Schell November 6th, 2007 08:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chris Hurd (Post 770984)
Sure, the XDR will be compatible with the Sony PMW-EX1. The EX1 has an SDI output and the XDR is an SDI recorder, so no problem. However, and this is nothing against what Convergent is doing, but I'm pretty sure that most folks who buy the EX1 will find its onboard SxS flash memory XDCAM HD recording system to be perfectly adequate for their needs, making the XDR redundant unless you want it there for dual media recording / instant backup duties.

Hi Chris-
I would agree that most users will find the quality of the EX1 acceptable, but I think they will consider the Flash XDR for it's improved video quality. Both products record MPEG2 to Flash memory, but the EX1 is limited to 35 Mbps Long-GOP 4:2:0, while Flash XDR will go up to 100 Mbps 4:2:2 Long-GOP or 160 Mbps I-Frame Only. In this application, the SxS would be used as the backup memory.

Mike Schell

James Huenergardt November 6th, 2007 08:51 AM

Mike,

I'm wondering how the FAT32 4GIG limitation will affect my work flow.

If I have a clip that's going to be over 4GIG, once I get it onto my computer, is there any way to combine the clips together?

I guess I could put them in one sequence and the edit the sequence as a clip, but Premiere Pro really slows down when you do that.

How does one handle this in the editing software like Premiere Pro?

Also, I'm a little rusty on my computer math. At 160Mbps, how long is a 4GIG clip? What about 100Mbps?

I'm pretty excited about this device. I have an EX1 coming and can't wait to put my order in for the Flash XDR!

Also, am I going to need to use 'pro' quality batteries or will my old Sony batteries that power my Z1U work?

Alan Waters November 6th, 2007 09:46 AM

so how long can you record for with 100mbps?

Mike Schell November 6th, 2007 10:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by James Huenergardt (Post 770999)
Mike,

I'm wondering how the FAT32 4GIG limitation will affect my work flow.

If I have a clip that's going to be over 4GIG, once I get it onto my computer, is there any way to combine the clips together?

I guess I could put them in one sequence and the edit the sequence as a clip, but Premiere Pro really slows down when you do that.

How does one handle this in the editing software like Premiere Pro?

Also, I'm a little rusty on my computer math. At 160Mbps, how long is a 4GIG clip? What about 100Mbps?

I'm pretty excited about this device. I have an EX1 coming and can't wait to put my order in for the Flash XDR!

Also, am I going to need to use 'pro' quality batteries or will my old Sony batteries that power my Z1U work?

Hi James-
Very good questions. Your understanding regarding the 4G file limit is correct, you will need to place the files in the same sequence. The individual files could be combined together, but this would require a special utility on the PC/MAC.

At 100 Mbps you have 320 seconds of footage in a 4GB file, at 160Mbps you get 200 seconds.

We're still working on the battery options, so I need to defer this last question until we have the various options finalized. Currently, Flash XDR has a 4-pin XLR connector for power, but we are studying various other mounting options.

Mike Schell

Joe Carney November 6th, 2007 11:54 AM

Hopefully you will look at the upcoming SATA II compatible SSHDs. You could make a small removable Raid 0 cartridge for the XDR recorder, then a simple read only device with interfaces for PciE, eSata, Firewire.

Seagate is planning on 120gig SSHDs in 2008. Write speeds on current Raid 0 configurations are 45MB ps and getting faster each generation. Samsung's upcoming 64GB is supposed to be 100MB write.

Just my .02

Mike Schell November 6th, 2007 04:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Joe Carney (Post 771104)
Hopefully you will look at the upcoming SATA II compatible SSHDs. You could make a small removable Raid 0 cartridge for the XDR recorder, then a simple read only device with interfaces for PciE, eSata, Firewire.

Seagate is planning on 120gig SSHDs in 2008. Write speeds on current Raid 0 configurations are 45MB ps and getting faster each generation. Samsung's upcoming 64GB is supposed to be 100MB write.

Just my .02

Hi Joe-
We are watching this technology like a hawk and already have NDAs with some of the leading manufacturers of SSD. So, I can't say much, but you're on the right track.

Mike Schell

John Mitchell November 6th, 2007 06:44 PM

Mike is there any reason why the FlashXDR has to use FAT32? I know it is for cross platform compatibility, but could it not be designed to use both FAT32 and NTFS.

FAT32 is not very robust and the 2 gig files do present problems in NLE workflows. For example on multicam shoots when it comes to grouping clips, having a bunch of different clips that stop and start at different times creates brain teasing problems if you don't have matching timecode.

John Mitchell November 6th, 2007 06:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 770990)
Hi Chris-
I would agree that most users will find the quality of the EX1 acceptable, but I think they will consider the Flash XDR for it's improved video quality. Both products record MPEG2 to Flash memory, but the EX1 is limited to 35 Mbps Long-GOP 4:2:0, while Flash XDR will go up to 100 Mbps 4:2:2 Long-GOP or 160 Mbps I-Frame Only. In this application, the SxS would be used as the backup memory.

Mike Schell

That and the extra ease of editing and outputting I frame - I concur.

Thomas Smet November 6th, 2007 07:09 PM

What edit systems that can work with HD at decent rates still use Fat32? Didn't that die off with Windows 98? Sorry I have been using NTFS for as long as I can remember and I cannot remember what still uses Fat32.

John Mitchell November 6th, 2007 07:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Thomas Smet (Post 771343)
What edit systems that can work with HD at decent rates still use Fat32? Didn't that die off with Windows 98? Sorry I have been using NTFS for as long as I can remember and I cannot remember what still uses Fat32.

None as far as I know Thomas. I was referring to the fact that you can mount FAT32 on a Mac or a PC, not its edit capability. I was asking for NTFS because I feel it is more stable and there is no need to concatenate files.

Mike Schell November 6th, 2007 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by John Mitchell (Post 771332)
Mike is there any reason why the FlashXDR has to use FAT32? I know it is for cross platform compatibility, but could it not be designed to use both FAT32 and NTFS.

FAT32 is not very robust and the 2 gig files do present problems in NLE workflows. For example on multicam shoots when it comes to grouping clips, having a bunch of different clips that stop and start at different times creates brain teasing problems if you don't have matching timecode.

Hi John-
We choose FAT32 simply for time to market reasons. We concur that NTFS is a better overall choice. I'll add this to our engineering discussion tomorrow and ask if we can add this to the roadmap for a future software upgrade. I can't make any promises yet, but we will investigate further.

Mike Schell

John Mitchell November 6th, 2007 10:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike Schell (Post 771355)
Hi John-
We choose FAT32 simply for time to market reasons. We concur that NTFS is a better overall choice. I'll add this to our engineering discussion tomorrow and ask if we can add this to the roadmap for a future software upgrade. I can't make any promises yet, but we will investigate further.

Mike Schell

Can't ask for any more than that!

I guess it does become difficult for you guys to support multiple filesystems (I guess the Mac guys would like their's as well) but if it is on a wishlist that's more of a hearing than you'd get from many.

Carl Dieker November 7th, 2007 07:50 AM

FLASH XDR records in 10 bit?
 
I have been looking for info on wether Convergent Designs upcoming FLASH XDR records in 10 bit 4:2:2 100 mbps I-frame or only in 8 bit.
Does anybody know?

Thanks,

Calle

Mike Schell November 7th, 2007 08:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Carl Dieker (Post 771592)
I have been looking for info on wether Convergent Designs upcoming FLASH XDR records in 10 bit 4:2:2 100 mbps I-frame or only in 8 bit.
Does anybody know?

Thanks,

Calle

Since the Flash XDR uses an MPEG2 CODEC, it's 8-bits 4:2:2. All MPEG2 based products, such as the Sony XDCAM HD and EX family as well as HDCAM are all 8-bit CODEC, as well as the Panasonic DVCProHD CODEC.

Mike Schell
Convergent Design

Brian Langeman November 15th, 2007 09:47 AM

Could you choose any format to record onto the flash cards? For instance, if you were to use the HD SDI from the Sony EX1, could you record DVCPRO HD on the XDR? Or does it have to be XDCAM HD?

I would be interested in the full 1080P 4:2:2 160 Mbps I frame compression for compositing and editing issues as most people here probably are too. But does FCP 6 support this? I see XDCAM HD 35 Mbps options under the codecs. Does it limit it to 35 Mbps? Would you have to use something like the Apple ProRes codec, cause it's 4:2:2 too.

Chris Hurd November 15th, 2007 10:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brian Langeman (Post 775915)
... if you were to use the HD SDI from the Sony EX1, could you record DVCPRO HD on the XDR?

For the Flash XDR to transcode the EX1's output into DVCPRO HD, it would require a license from Panasonic... which isn't likely to happen.

Brian Langeman November 15th, 2007 10:08 AM

OK. So then can FCP 6 work with the 160 Mbps I Frame files that the XDR records? In any way?

Michael Galvan November 15th, 2007 10:55 PM

Using ProRes 422 HQ is probably your best bet in maintaining the quality of your footage, sans using Uncompressed.

Paul Curtis November 16th, 2007 05:55 AM

10 bit
 
Whlist the XDR looks like a fantastic idea i do have to say that 8 bit is no where near as attractive as 10 bit and whilst i understand that this is a factor of the MPEG2, i have to ask whether there's an alternative compressor that would be better (working with cineform for example)

The reason i say this is i feel that colour depth is more important than colour resolution for most people (whether they know it or not!). I like the EX for example and it might well be outputting 10bit on the HD-SDI (i don't think anyone knows for sure), but to get 4:2:2 10bit out of that camera would make the XDR very attractive (to me anyway).

It could be that by finding a way to include 10bit you lengthen the lifespan of the box and, indirectly, peoples cameras because surely 10bit+ will be the next important evolution for these levels of cameras.

just some musing...

cheers
paul

Bill Ravens November 16th, 2007 08:19 AM

In the For What It's Worth category:
I just assembled a Compact Flash reader that interfaces thru SATA II. It's possible to reformat the CF card as NTSF with this system. There's a number of other advantages to using SATA II, including, RAID configurations, high transfer rates and hot swapping.


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